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Trek Bikes’ Jeremy McKinley On Helping Retailers Become Better Marketers

For those of you in retail marketing, you would’ve been inspired by Jeremy McKinley, Global Retail Marketing Manager at Trek Bikes, and the talk he gave at 3M’s 2013 ThinkTANK.

ThinkTANK, held at 3M’s Innovation Center in St. Paul, MN, is an event that gathers 3M’s 60+ divisions together to share best practices, trends, and technology platforms in online marketing.

While many guest speakers elaborated on big ideas and trends, Jeremy brought the conversation back home with one simple question: “How do we help our retailers become better retailers?”

How Trek Helps Its Retailers Become Better Retailers

Trek Bikes sells a lot of bikes. After all, Trek is the leading industry brand in market share. But the brand won’t sell anything to you or I directly – their bikes are sold only through independent retailers. Emphasis on independent; Trek doesn’t control any of them.

Trek has more than 2,000 stores in North America alone. These stores are owned by approximately 1,800 men and women. These owners started off with a love for bikes, not necessarily a love for business. So, if Trek wants to dominate the market, that one question comes creeping in: “How can Jeremy continue to help Trek retailers become better retailers?”

5 Simple Steps to Great Retail Marketing

To answer Trek retailers’ pressing question, “How can we build better businesses?,” Jeremy came up with 5 simple steps to great marketing:

1. Have a story (and tell it)

2. Get to first base with every customer (meaning, get their email and use it)

3. Fire someone; you know who it is (and do it)

4. You are not a designer (don’t try to be)

5. Have a marketing plan (and execute on it)

In addition to educating dealers on how to be better marketers, Jeremy launched the Trek Business School complete with with seasonal promotions, a retailer store locator, harvest marketing components, Trek TV streaming, Promoboxx, and much more.

Why all the help? As Jeremy puts it:

“We don’t control our retail distribution, but our retailers are our marketers on the field. So, we have to educate and equip them. That means, as the #1 performance brand in the world, we need to share our message with our retailers so they can share it with our customers.”

Jeremy presses that helping independent retailers is the only way Trek can continue to thrive. Since all competition has the same issues as Trek (product differentiation, pricing, placement, etc.) Trek has to be be different and that differentiation is ensured by really and truly caring about the success of its retailers.

As Jeremy puts it:

“Trek makes sure its retailers are the best businesses they can be. Then, we all win.”

Store owners tell Trek that it’s better than its competition because Trek is helping them become better businesspeople.

After all, selling a product is about telling a story and making a connection with a new customer. Trek is helping its retailers do just that.