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Marathon Sports Sets the Pace for the Boston Marathon [Interview]

Welcome to Retailers Rule!, the interview series that shares key retailer insights into digital marketing that help them better connect and align with the brands whose products they sell.

For this special edition of Retailers Rule, we spoke with Erin Engelson, Assistant Marketing Manager for Marathon Sports: an acclaimed Boston staple, one of the best running stores in the US, and an invaluable supporter of the annual Boston Marathon.

With the marathon coming up on April 18, we talked to Erin about how the store atmosphere changes leading up to the event, the brand support they receive during this exciting time, their access to co-branded New Balance content, and how they leverage digital marketing to bring the retail experience full circle.

erin engelson, marathon sports

Erin Engelson, Marathon Sports

Tell us a little bit about your business and your role.

I’ve been with Marathon Sports since 2005, off and on. I came back in full in June 2015 because the leadership team decided to expand as far as social media marketing and events and that type of stuff. They created the position with me in mind. I’m thrilled to be back.

How does the store atmosphere change leading up to Marathon Monday?

There’s a palpable energy in the air leading up to the Boston Marathon. We always get super busy in the stores, particularly in our store right on the finish line. We have all of the Boston Marathon gear, so we’re always trying to promote the fact that we sell it. There’s so much going on. It’s a lot, but it’s really fun at the same time.

We also work really closely with the vendors for events promoting the special edition Boston Marathon footwear, as far as social media assets, the type of copy they want us to use, and the promotion schedule.

How are these brands who sponsor the event helping out your store with digital marketing?

We’re always trying to remain relevant with our content, continuously doing what we can to post things that are interesting and keeping up with what our competitors are doing.

marathon sports new balance

The Last Long Run, sponsored by New Balance

In particular, I’m looking for photography content, and these brand sponsors have a much bigger budget for those types of high-quality assets. They provide us with the assets, and we’re then able to utilize them on our social channels. It’s great that our vendors drive the bus on content and allow us to take it and tailor it to our voice.

Outside of the Marathon, how does digital content and marketing affect your store?

Everyone has a smart phone now. I feel like whatever they’re seeing on there is their first impression of the store, so I want to provide them with a great digital experience. Then when they arrive in the store, it all comes full circle. Our staff is so wonderful, well-trained, and friendly, so I want the digital experience to mirror that.

Are you doing any local advertising or mobile advertising?

Some Facebook advertising, as far as boosting posts. We’re looking more into how to best utilize these types of things to make sure that we’re spending wisely and finding a good return. For example, we know people are interested in the Marathon jacket, so we’re going to throw some of our resources behind that content.

How long have you been using Promoboxx?

Just a month or two I think, and it’s been great so far. I mean, it’s so easy. It’s nice to be able to just log on, access New Balance content, and with a few clicks, you’re ready to go. I now don’t have to call or email someone and wait for them to get me the assets.

What does your marketing mix look like?

It’s mostly digital for us. New Balance obviously does a big push around the Marathon, and we take advantage of that. We’re much more focused on social, digital, and more grassroots kind of stuff. We don’t do a lot of traditional media. We’re then able to utilize vendor support to help promote.

I’m sure a lot of brands and retailers are probably starting to look outside of traditional media more and more, based on cost alone. We personally find it to be more worthwhile to focus on social channels rather than traditional media.

Do you have a favorite New Balance campaign?

I really like their Made by Miles campaign. The whole idea around that campaign is that a shoe is just a shoe. You are the one who turns it into a running shoe. It’s all about the person, and that’s what we’re all about. When a person comes into our store, we want to learn everything about them. The Made by Miles campaign feels true to us, as far as the focus on the individual.

new balance made by miles

What has your experience with Promoboxx for New Balance been like so far?

I just log on, find the content I want to use. It’s very simple, very easy. I love getting the email alerts about when campaigns and content are available. We can grab assets and also tailor them a bit to make sure it’s mirroring our messaging as a company.

new balance promoboxx email alert

Example New Balance email alert, sent through Promoboxx

How was it previously securing content through New Balance?

It was a matter of shooting a rep an email for assets for a product launch, or we would repost content from them on social media. Promoboxx’s campaign-based approach definitely makes things easier, rather than having to send out individual emails to reps. It’s also easier to keep track of product, too, and everything that the brand is doing.

marathon sports new balance dashboard

Promoboxx dashboard for Marathon Sports

What advice would you give to retailers who are just starting out on Promoboxx?

Play around on the platform and see what it can do for you and help you accomplish your goals. For retailers where time is such a premium, use features like share scheduling and automation.

Thanks so much to Erin for taking the time to speak with us! Be sure to check out Marathon Sports on Facebook, Twitter, or in one of their eleven retail locations.

Ready to provide your specialty retailers with the content they want and need? Promoboxx can help.

You have a great brand story that you want to reach local customers. Your specialty retailers are hungry for high-quality brand assets. There’s an easy way to accomplish both and more.

With Promoboxx, brands give their specialty retailers access to professional, co-branded marketing content for promotion across key digital channels. By leveraging Promoboxx, brands extend national messaging and amplify brand awareness at the local level, all while providing their retailers with an easy-to-use digital marketing solution.

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