Skullcandy Eyes Advanced Targeting, Device-Based Experiences To Boost Sales

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skullcandySkullcandy knows that getting consumers to buy multiple designer headphones and earbuds can be a tough sell.

After issuing an initial public stock offering at $20 a share in 2011, the Park City, Utah-based company’s stock fell as low as $4.80 last May and hovered at $9.54 on Friday.

The company has vowed to turn around its losses and will begin rolling out new product lines aimed at women as well as merchandise sold at “entry-level prices” at Walmart later this year. Skullcandy’s digital marketing and advertising will naturally play a large role in this turnaround.

AdExchanger spoke with Ben Meacham, the company's Web analytics and multivariate testing manager, about Skullcandy’s efforts to boost its marketing strategy.

AdExchanger: What marketing challenges does Skullcandy face?

BEN MEACHAM: We’re trying to get a handle on the personas of people who are coming to our site and how to target and speak to them in the most effective way. We’re also trying to understand our full marketing channel attribution model, such as how much an email address is worth and how much a first touch point is worth vs. middle touch points and the closer.

We’re focusing most of our big marketing campaigns on our core demographic of young people and people who are into sports, but then we have to understand that someone might come to our site who is not our typical customer, so we always talk about someone’s grandmother trying to buy them headphones. The challenge is to stay relevant to our core demographic but provide experiences that any demographic can move to intuitively.

How are you addressing that challenge?

We use Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target. Analytics gives us the flexibility to model the tracking and reporting we do on our site to make sure it’s aligned with our customers’ needs. I’m also really happy with the overall direction Adobe is taking with the marketing space. A lot of integrations are getting developed on the Adobe side and as we’re starting to look closer at the consumer, Adobe is about to roll out tools that we’re thinking of using as well.

Are you combining Adobe’s solutions with other platforms?

We have Google analytics, because it’s a free second opinion. We also have a few channel-specific vendor pixels tracking our marketing campaigns. We use Adobe as the place where we keep all that information and layer them on top of each other. Adobe is the only view we have of how our email campaigns play with our paid search and our retargeting efforts.

How do you collect your CRM data?

We use Salesforce.com but this year our online group is working with the IT team to build a customer-focused live database. The idea is to start using the same language across the company and connect our different data sets in one place and hopefully get some robust targeted marketing out of it. The holy grail will be to know one customer and the three devices he or she is hitting us from and the best time to hit that person via any of those experiences.

What is the breakdown between your wholesale business and consumer sales?

Most of our sales are with wholesalers like big box retailers and specialty shops for skateboarding and snowboarding. We would like to grow our online business and we’re looking at digital and international markets as majors areas of growth.

What is your mobile strategy for targeting consumers?

In the second half of last year, we started to take a close look at our mobile traffic. We ended up building a mobile specific experience that was more of a responsive delivery than a traditional responsive design. Our desktop side is coded and the mobile experience pulls in content from the desktop side, including the tracking data. And Adobe has out-of-the box reporting tools on device types, screen size and other areas.

How do you segment your audience to target your ads?

Besides gender and a few other typical segmentations, we also do geosegmentation. For example, our Icon3 headphones are designed for a mountain experience and you can tap the ear bud instead of clicking the microphone to make it easier to adjust the volume and answer calls while you’re on the mountain or on the chair lift. And so we’re starting to play around with timing campaigns on based on seasonality and weather conditions.

What channels do you advertise on?

We hit all the major social networks and we try to stay on top of the social networks that our target demographic is using. What we’re seeing and hearing from other people is that Facebook engagement is down since some of the pricing and advertising models have changed. We see a lot of our demographic switching to Instagram and they look at Facebook as something that their parents use.

We’re also on YouTube. We don’t always have the budget for major TV marketing campaigns, but our demographic is consuming a lot of their media online, specifically on YouTube these days. We also do email, paid search, retargeting, a few display ads and we’re getting into the product listing ads on Google, too.

What success metrics are you using?

Most of our marketing campaigns come down to sales generated and brand awareness. The sales side is easy, but a lot of the campaigns are not necessarily focused on sales. We often do campaigns on upcoming products that are more about brand awareness. Adobe Analytics version 15 has some awesome segmentation features. It lets us compare the effectiveness of reaching out to people before a product launches as compared to just saying, "Here’s a new product. Come buy it right now if you like it."

What’s on your road map in terms of marketing projects?

We’re starting to look at more device-type experiences. We started with the mobile experience and that project exposed us to data that we’ve been collecting but not really using. That was a fun time where we went into Adobe Analytics and realized we have a year and a half worth of data that we’ve barely touched. So now we’re looking at more segments and thinking of the desktop experience and tablets and smartphones as separate experiences.

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