- RALF RINGER this year clarified its marketing strategy for the next three years. What are its goals and expected results? How will the company's positioning change?
- The logic of the RALF RINGER marketing strategy for 2010-2012 years is determined by three factors.
The first factor: we have achieved the goals set several years ago. Over the years, the company has increased its brand awareness, and today 77% of the target audience know us. This is a very high result. Only two or three foreign brands and none of the domestic ones can boast of a similar level in Russia. But further growth in recognition will no longer significantly affect sales, so the need for such work is gradually decreasing. For ten years, we have been actively working on building customer loyalty (this is a much more complex process: it is necessary to simultaneously improve the quality of the product, study the needs of customers and meet them, give the customer a clear idea of the benefits of the brand). We have been and remain a company focused on long-term results and interested in repeat purchases and customer loyalty. The results of work in this direction are very successful: 54% of those who at least once bought RALF RINGER shoes declare that they will definitely buy them in the future, 36% intend to continue purchasing them subject to a number of conditions. But we are aware that the situation on the market is changing now, our customer is changing, and it is unlikely that it will be possible to maintain such a high level of loyalty with the “old” instruments.
The second factor: the evolution of brand communications with customers. RALF RINGER's marketing communications have come a long way. We started by offering Russian men versatile off-road boots. Then we talked about the technological advantages of our product (non-slip sole, special insole, natural materials). In 2004, noting the growing demands of customers, they were the first to propose the idea of comfort: “When it’s not shaking anywhere”; then they supplemented it with a “sub-idea” of security: “Guards”. In the 2006 year, gaining a foothold in the field of comfort, we took the first step towards emotional communication with customers: “Turning the Earth”. The Earth Twirling advertising campaign was the longest in the history of RALF RINGER. And perhaps the most successful. But she could not continue indefinitely. Sooner or later, something should come to replace.
Third (key) factor: company values. This is what has remained unchanged for many years. As well as the principle "The basis of development is the mission, the values of the company." Developing a new marketing strategy, we decided not to build on the company's values, but to make them the basis of marketing communication.
If we summarize all of the above, we will get a new promotion strategy “WAY OPEN!” Designed for more than one season. It is designed to expand the circle of RALF RINGER shoe connoisseurs (including through buyers of other brands of shoes and non-branded shoes); solve the problem of “fathers and children” (traditionally, children do not buy parental brands); to strengthen the emotional (namely, emotional (sic!), and not based only on the product) relationship between the company and the target audience; show a new product line of the company - injection shoes in casual style.
"THE WAY IS OPEN!" Continues the concept of "Twirling the Earth." And this is extremely important. We do not cross out the previous advertising campaign, but throw the bridge between “yesterday” and “tomorrow”. At the same time, it is also a bridge between different target audiences. We want to attract new customers with a more active life position, but the new positioning does not repel those for whom RALF RINGER is “Spinning the Earth”.
The current strategy is based on the ideas of “overcoming obstacles”, “the ability of a person to change the world, to live by his own rules.” These ideas surprisingly coincide with the values of the company (throughout our history we have overcome difficulties and prohibitions: “it is impossible to sew shoes in Russia”, “Russian shoes cannot compete with imported shoes”, etc.), as well as with the target worldview audience, which is characterized by a rejection of prohibitions and restrictions, a protest against unfreedom.
At the same time, the new concept is extremely positive and constructive. We tell our customer: act, try, and we will help you (with our shoes). And together we can, we will succeed, we will win! Among other things, this makes the “WAY OPEN!” Strategy close to people who are focused on success, on growth, on achieving results (whether it’s “I’ll write a novel” or “I will become Gazprom’s general director”).
The idea also fits perfectly with relationships with retail. The analysis showed that in recent years, many in the shoe market of Russia have a misconception that it is difficult to cooperate with RALF RINGER. But this is not so. And with our new advertising campaign, we want to tell the market: the path to PARTNERSHIP is open. We are open, let's work together.
- What media will you use in your seasonal advertising campaign?
- One of the advantages of the “WAY OPEN!” Idea is that it fits perfectly on any media. In the season “autumn - winter 2010 / 11” the main tool will be television, as it is able in a short time to bring the idea to the widest audience and support the sales of our partners. An advertising campaign on TV starts in September and will last almost the entire season - until November. “WAY IS OPEN!” Will be released on a wide pool of channels, among which are exclusively male (for example, “Russia 2”), and equally oriented to men and women: First, Ren-TV, TNT, etc. We They refused to post only on men's channels (as they did before), since we are no longer exclusively a men's shoe brand: this fall, sales of the first collection of women's shoes RALF RINGER will start.
Another large-scale tool will be the action of the RALF RINGER Buyers Club - “There can be a lot of money”, which starts in August. Each buyer will find a stock coupon in the box, giving him the opportunity to win money; however, he will have to “change the world” in order to receive a code for sending SMS, he must erase the scratch layer that says: “NOT”, thereby changing the phrase “there is never too much money” to “there is too much money”. According to our forecast, about 200 thousand buyers will take part in the action. It seems to us important to make the buyer an active "accomplice" of the new marketing strategy. The implementation of the “WAY OPEN!” Concept is unlikely to bring big dividends only when you passively watch the video while sitting on the couch. Therefore, we consider the game as another tool, so that a person literally becomes a "path opener".
In September, POS materials for the “WAY OPEN!” Advertising campaign will appear at RALF RINGER shoe sales points.
Through the Internet, we intend to convey a new message to 250 thousand people already in the upcoming season.
We complement the campaign with press releases and regional distribution.
- Tell us more about the Buyers Club: what it is and what opportunities you have with its creation.
- For the first time, the company announced the Buyers Club in 2004. But for a long time, work with him was carried out in shadow mode: the project was not developed, but it was not closed. It all came down to processing questionnaires that buyers filled out and sent to the company. This year we began to actively develop this project (for example, from January to June, we significantly increased the number of club members).
The essence of the project is the construction of direct (that is, bypassing intermediaries, primarily in the face of the media) two-way communications between the company and customers.
What does this give us?
First: the possibility of obtaining reliable feedback. Of course, wishes and complaints from our customers come to us even now. But judging any question by 2 or 20 letters is incorrect - this is too subjective. Another thing is if we have the necessary sample. For example, before launching a new advertising campaign, we sent letters to club members aleatherg them to come up with slogans with a “NOT” particle. And they were completely sincerely happy when, more often than others, buyers sent the phrase “The path is not close to the goal,” that is, the one that was used in the commercial.
Second: customer flow management - both in time and in space. For example, in Syktyvkar, our partner for some reason (for example, during the season firefighters closed the store for two weeks) sank sales. He is ready to announce a sale, discounts, but how to tell the buyer about it? Now for this they put on the streets promo staff and advertise in the media. All of this, of course, works. But at the same time, communication can reach a huge number of people who are not interested, and not reach those for whom, in fact, this message is intended. Having such a channel as the Buyers' Club, we can inform people who are loyal to the RALF RINGER brand that there is a sale in Syktyvkar, in a store on Lenin Street, within two days without investment in advertising. The club will allow us not to lose customers in the event of a store closure: we will be able to send them to another retail outlet in the city where RALF RINGER shoes are sold.
There is a third bonus. Thanks to the Buyers' Club, we plan to divide advertising communication into two areas in the next two to three years. Communication in the media will be aimed exclusively at attracting new customers. And with people who have already bought RALF RINGER shoes, we will communicate through the Buyers Club. This will save the marketing budget (direct communications are several times cheaper than direct advertising) and increase the effectiveness of communication, because we will not communicate for everyone, but for a more clearly defined audience. Accordingly, the return will be higher.
- How are marketing ideas incorporated in the change of trading equipment? And what is his novelty?
- None. Moreover, we believe that our retail partners know better what trading equipment they need. Therefore, we abandoned the principle "only our proprietary trade equipment can stand in a formatted retail outlet." And they suggested that customers put the equipment that suits them, naturally, coordinating with us the branding of outlets.
But some of our partners cannot (or do not want) to independently search for and install commercial equipment. For them, we have developed several concepts. They can order trading equipment either from us or from manufacturing companies using the technical documentation that we provide.
- In your opinion, how effective can a temporary staff rotation be for a shoe manufacturer when technologists and engineers work for some time in a call center, answering customer questions and complaints?
- Previously, I was convinced that this was necessary. We put on the hotline "salespeople." The entire marketing department stood up for the store shelves. At first glance, this really helps to better understand the buyer. The question is how much better? And how useful is such a rotation?
Firstly, a “one-time” shift on the hotline is not able to give a complete picture of the customers. We keep statistics of incoming calls from 2004 of the year and see seasonal spikes - both claims (by groups) and offers. For example, if you put a person on the 4 – 7 hotline in May, he will get the impression that we are selling extremely low-quality shoes, and our customers just hate us (for some reason these days have a peak of complaints from year to year). On the contrary, in July we are literally overwhelmed with thanks and substantive questions. There is another objection to this practice: often too deep immersion in work can prevent a person from making the right decision based on objective data and the laws of the market / marketing. Especially if he had never before dipped so deep into the process of communication with customers.
Therefore, now we are going the other way. We process feedback from customers, analyze the data received and provide them to all specialists in the company who may find this information useful. Claim reports, customer service work, letters (with thanks and complaints) from buyers are regularly received by the general director, employees of the quality control service, sales department, company retail network, and production department.
- Almost all companies verbally or in fact declare customer loyalty as a value, as one of the main assets of the company. What does this concept mean to you? And do you monitor the outflow of customers? If so, how?
- We consider loyalty as customer confidence in the actions of the company. The ideal loyal customer, in our opinion, is the person who came to the store, saw our new product, significantly different from the shoes that he usually buys, and purchased it. Because he believes that if we replaced the old product with a new one, then this is correct and the new model is better. Or another example: a loyal customer purchased our shoes, ran into some kind of problem, but did not “put an end to” the RALF RINGER, but began to sort it out calmly. Because he believes that we tried, and if we “screwed up”, then not intentionally and will be able to solve his problem.
We monitor the number of buyers making repeat, third purchases. But we are aware that this is not enough. This year we are installing equipment that will allow us to keep the history of each specific customer in our own retail: when was the last time he bought shoes, which model, for how much. This will help to reduce the outflow of customers, return those who, for some reason, "left" the stores.
- How to calculate the cost of attracting one new buyer, his retention and return, if necessary?
- On the day when we learn to calculate all the marketing tools, we will begin a completely different life. In the meantime, we are surrounded by a world of approximate figures and expert estimates.
What can be more or less accurately measured today? The cost of contact on TV / radio / Internet / work of promotional staff. But this figure is very controversial. First, we do not take into account the quality of the contact (and the difference between the advertising message that a person is forced to watch (if he does not switch to another channel at all) during a football match and the information that he voluntarily and consciously studies on the site for seven minutes - huge!), and secondly, we do not know how this contact is converted into sales.
In sales, we consider the starting point of the cost of the work of promotional staff in shopping centers. There are statistics saying how many leaflets need to be distributed in order to increase sales by 10%. Accordingly, if there is a forecast that a certain acacia will give the same 10% for less money, it is recognized as cost-effective.
It is even more difficult to estimate the costs of customer retention. According to rough estimates, this figure is five to eight times lower than the cost of attracting new customers.
- A customer-oriented approach involves a change in marketing strategy - instead of product-oriented marketing plans, a customer-oriented plan appears. And the goal is not market share, but the share of the brand in the wallet of a particular buyer and the lifetime profitability of the buyer. And an instrument to achieve this goal is orientation not on a deal / sale, but on relations. How does this concept fit with the RALF RINGER approach?
“That's exactly what it is.”
Of course, market share is an important thing in itself. But we see that the market is moving towards the “share of the brand in the end customer's wallet,” towards the return of the customer. For a long time we have been working in the trend of growing consumption, believing that buyers will purchase more and more shoes. We talked about market shares, shares in our segment. Now it is becoming more and more obvious that the end customer's budget is limited, that we compete with manufacturers of not only urban comfort or classics, but also sports shoes (the buyer may well prefer sneakers to casual shoes), non-leather shoes from other segments (in this sense, advertising is very indicative. the campaign of the "CenterObuv" network in 2010: it is addressed, among other things, to people with more income than the target audience and offers instead of one pair for 3 thousand rubles to purchase three pairs in the stores of the network for 800). Plus, an increasing number of foreign companies are entering the market. All this, sooner or later, will force the company to pay more attention to a specific customer, evaluate him as a certain amount of purchases throughout his life, consider brand / store loyalty, repeat purchases as a key value. Those who are still convinced that it is possible to work according to the principle of "lower prices and buyers will run in" will face problems.
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