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Smartwool Pushes Boundaries for Dealer Support [Interview]

Smartwool approaches specialty dealer support as they do their products: with a sense of discovery and a mission to push boundaries.

Since its beginnings, the high-performance apparel brand has relied on its specialty dealers to help share their goods and story with consumers leading an active outdoor lifestyle. With these dealers as the main points of marketing distribution at the local level, Smartwool now seeks to create further top-down alignment by providing them with a supportive, mobile-first approach to digital marketing.

To learn more about this approach, we recently sat down with Denise Anderson, Wholesale Marketing Director at Smartwool. In this role since December 2014, Denise is tasked with activating the Smartwool brand with their retail partners in digital environments.

smartwool denise anderson

Denise Anderson, Wholesale Marketing Director at Smartwool

Set the stage for us – what kinds of challenges do your specialty dealers face?

Our specialty dealers are struggling with generating foot traffic right now. It’s become a matter of figuring out how to use digital marketing to drive brick-and-mortar traffic and not just website traffic.

With digital marketing specifically, though, there are a number of challenges based on channel and the size of the business. Some specialty dealers struggle establishing a digital presence, becoming digital marketers, and pushing their store digitally overall.

[Tweet “”We have to figure out how to use digital marketing to drive brick-and-mortar traffic.””]

Can you speak to the importance of aligning dealers to the national brand messaging?

Aligning dealers to our national brand messaging, specifically in the digital space, has always been a challenge. Anyone can grab images from anywhere and create a digital ad or social post. Promoboxx allows us to create digital content on a regular basis (and not just seasonally for 1-2 products) that is channel-specific and in alignment with what our brand’s digital channels are featuring.

For example, on Cinco de Mayo, we pushed out a simple, cute, “You can never have too many margaritas” campaign because we make a margarita sock. For me, to have twenty dealers pick that up day of and push it out over their social channels, is huge.

Here is an example of the Cinco de Mayo campaign as promoted by one of SmartWool’s dealers through Promoboxx:

smartwool dealer support

Example co-branded Facebook share


Related content: Timberland Redefines Its Brand Story with the Help of Independent Retailers >

Can you describe some of the challenges faced to create this alignment?

Challenges include getting information to the correct contact at a retailer (i.e., these digital assets are available to you), understanding who is using the assets and to what degree of success, how to track our investments with retail partners, and how to make it easy for our partners to market the SmartWool brand on a regular basis.

[Tweet “”One challenge faced was making it easy for our retailers to market our brand on a regular basis.””]

How did you initially become interested in a solution like Promoboxx?

We have always used a multi-purpose platform to distribute digital assets to our retail partners. However, I didn’t know how many retailers were downloading and using the digital assets I was providing. It wasn’t great for showcasing what a social campaign could and should look like.

I initially wanted to create a social media hub for our partners to access content on a regular basis, but then I found Promoboxx. It fit our needs perfectly.

Related content: Outdoor Industry Cuts a Path for Specialty Retailer Digital Support >

Your launch on Promoboxx was quite successful – what steps were involved to make it great?

Involve reps: Starting out, I gave a big presentation on the initiative at a Smartwool sales meeting back in the fall to start generating internal interest and excitement.

As we got closer to the launch date, the reps called their accounts and relayed that there was this new platform and other info to get them started. Once the reps saw that the dealers were getting excited, they started getting excited, too.

Campaign deck for retailers: I also prepared by building out our campaigns for the next few months. Once created, I put them into a Powerpoint deck and sent it over to the dealers. We worked really hard to get everything created, so that our dealers could plan ahead and we could address any concerns in advance.

Incentivize dealers: We kicked things off with Local Ads, which gave dealers ad funds to use on Facebook when they participated in the campaign. The first fifty locations received the ad funds, and they were all claimed within the hour! After that, we’ve only seen an uptick in dealer activity and engagement on the platform.

Here is an example of a Local Ad on Facebook:

smartwool dealer support

Example Local Ad on Facebook

How has your experience with Promoboxx been so far?

I’ve only received great feedback on how easy it is for the dealers to use the platform and that the level of help they receive from the Promoboxx support team has just been amazing.

They also love the insights into their digital marketing efforts. We love the insights, too!

Related content: Osprey Packs’ Forward-Thinking Approach to Supporting Specialty Retailers >

Do you have a favorite metric that you like having access to?

Well, we love all of the metrics [laughs]. Before, it was really hard to quantify our efforts, so all of the visibility we now have through Promoboxx is very exciting.

If I did have to choose a favorite feature, though, I’d say it’s the insights into dealer engagement. We can now easily go in and see who exactly is engaged, what they’re promoting on their social channels, what content they like. I can speak to the numbers, too.

[Tweet “”Our #1 goal is to really grow brand awareness. A key way to do that is through our dealers.””]

What are your top marketing goals for 2016?

Our number one goal is to really grow brand awareness. A lot of people know Smartwool, but there’s a lot more noise in the space now, so we really need to set ourselves apart. A key way we can do this is through our retail partners. There’s a huge opportunity in utilizing them to help us grow.

We also strive to have the best dealer support, so another goal is to continue providing them with turn-key programs and making it easy for them to talk about Smartwool.

Outside of that, we have a mobile-first mentality, and I love that Promoboxx makes everything mobile-friendly. Some of our partners can barely do digital marketing, let alone mobile, but this helps in a big way. It’s getting them to that next level quickly.

Here is an example of a mobile-optimized landing page that highlights both Smartwool and the dealer’s local store:

smartwool dealer support

Example mobile-optimized landing page


Thank you, Denise, for taking the time to speak with us and share your insights into the importance of providing specialty dealers with digital marketing support!

Looking to Provide Your Dealers with Simple, Effective Digital Marketing Support? Promoboxx Can Help.

By partnering with Promoboxx, leading outdoor brands like SmartWool give their specialty dealers easy access to professional marketing content, all co-branded to highlight both the brand and the dealer’s store. Together, they extend national messaging and amplify brand awareness at the local level.

Hear why Denise partners with Promoboxx to promote national brand marketing campaigns through their local retailers:

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Related Content:

Timberland Redefines Its Brand Story with the Help of Independent Retailers >

Outdoor Industry Cuts a Path for Specialty Retailer Digital Support >

Osprey Packs’ Forward-Thinking Approach to Supporting Specialty Retailers >