Growing at 70 per cent year-on-year in India, fitness and lifestyle brand Skechers is delivering an impressive performance in a challenging environment. Clubbing in product activations for every launch, whether it is online or offline, the brand seems to be engaging consumers heavily and is also increasingly roping in fitness influencers to strongly communicate the ethos of the brand. exchange4media speaks to Soumen Das, Senior Marketing Manager, Skechers, on how the brand puts its best foot forward. Edited excerpts:
What are the factors that drive your marketing strategy?
Our marketing strategy is broadly based on the products. Since we are focussing heavily on product campaigns we need a very heavy reach in terms of the products that are coming in so that more and more people know about the investments, benefits and positives of the products. Hence it is completely driven by product strategies. Our marketing calendar is completely derived from the product calendar that we have for the month.
What is the brand positioning as against its competitors?
Our USP as Skechers is comfort. It may sound generic but it is very important for us because anybody who has bought a pair of Skechers once, certainly comes back to us. So for us repeat buyers is not a problem but the first buyer is something that we are addressing right now. We are positioned as the most comfortable shoes today in the Indian market.
Can you tell us about the marketing mix?
We are chasing reach. We are chasing more and more customers to be aware of the brand. So for us TV is important, print is important but digital is very important because our audience is engaged heavily on social media and mobile phones. So we are pushing content very aggressively on the digital platforms. Simultaneously outdoors and cinema ads are extremely important for us. There is also a lot of importance given to consumer activations and consumer engagements.
How do you drive word-of-mouth publicity?
Word of mouth publicity for us is driven with activations because what we have seen is that if the consumers are trying a pair of Skechers , they are buying a pair of Skechers. So we are getting more and more consumers to engage with the brand. We had events in key cities and are now extending it to Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities. Engagement-activities were only focused on the metros but we are now entering the smaller cities. This has been planned for the next 2-3 months and it will extend the reach to 8-10 cities. We want to engage the consumers with the product first-hand as that helps us understand what they feel about it and another benefit is that they also get a chance to gauge the added advantage our products have as compared to the market competition right now.
What is your per year marketing investments?
It is 6-7% of the total turnover.
Can you tell us about the marketing challenges you face?
We haven’t faced a challenge in terms of a campaign not working or a product category not working for us. We are on the other side of the problem where we are outselling so we are trying to restrict a campaign communication for only two months.
How do you ensure that the product is communicated strongly?
At this point of time, we are ensuring that we are there on all mediums with digital being at the forefront, we are pushing fresh content there and ensuring that activations are practically clubbed in for every launch, be it online or offline.
Any brand activities/associations from Skechers in the pipeline?
We recently associated with celebrity fitness trainer Yasmin Karachiwala and are also associating with athletes and fitness influencers. We will keep doing it but will only look at associations that will be in line with the product.