A lot has changed during the 20 years marketing director David Mahoney has worked at outdoor apparel retailer Peter Glenn Ski and Sports.
From Mahoney’s perspective, one of the main shifts is from “less of the shotgun” approach of marketing with TV and radio promotions, to the use of more targeted ads—specifically, more targeted digital ads with Facebook Inc. and Google Inc.’s AdWords and Product Listing Ads, he says.
While the retailer still uses billboards, TV spots and store event marketing, Peter Glenn finds that a combination of both traditional and digital forms of media is the best approach for generating sales, Mahoney says. PeterGlenn.com has used marketing analytics platform AgilOne Inc.’s customer data platform since 2015 to help manage its shopper database to effectively advertise.
More than 25% of Peter Glenn’s sales are e-commerce sales, and those are “continually growing” year over year, he says without revealing more. The rest of the retailer’s sales stem from its 10 physical locations. Both online and store sales help build the retailer’s overall customer database.
For example, Peter Glenn has nearly 500,000 home addresses in its shopper database, and “a much smaller email database,” Mahoney says. Peter Glenn has gathered its postal list since 2004, which is much earlier than when the retailer began to put an emphasis on acquiring email addresses. Although the email list “has grown substantially over the past four or five years,” Mahoney says. In stores, associates are trained to capture shoppers’ email addresses.
With the AgilOne platform, Peter Glenn is able to merge the postal and email databases together to identify which email address is associated with which postal addresses to create a single view of the shopper. The platform also helps identity if one person is using two email addresses. This is especially important if the retailer is using online purchasing history to target that person with direct mail, as sending a direct piece of mail is expensive, Mahoney says.
Peter Glenn frequently uses direct mail campaigns in which it will target consumers in its database that are within five to 10 miles of a store to come in for a sales promotion.
Postal addresses also can inform digital ads, as the retailer can run a video ad on YouTube based on shoppers in a specific geographic area, just like it does with TV ads, he says.
For digital marketing, Peter Glenn creates audience segments for Facebook ads and retargets shoppers who have previously shopped on its e-commerce site, Mahoney says. The retailer will also use its AgilOne database to find audiences that look like its current shoppers with Facebook’s lookalike audience feature to target shoppers on Facebook that have similar interests or demographics to current shoppers, , he says.
However, Mahoney admits it’s a challenge to attribute sales to a Facebook ad. For example, it’s rare that a Facebook ad is the “final touch” that drives a shopper to purchase. The retailer struggles to determine if a consumer saw a Facebook ad and later made a purchase, how much that ad played into their consideration, Mahoney says.
This is why Mahoney puts the majority of its digital ad budget into PLAs and text ads, he says.
“In general we see better returns on both of those,” Mahoney says, comparing them to Facebook. For search ads on Google, depending on the time of year, the cost of the ad spend is around 12% of sales.