Adweek Webinar Highlights How Rothy’s Used Its Current Customers to Acquire New Ones

Posted on Jun 23, 2020 · 3 min read

Acquiring customers is especially difficult right now. For Rothy’s, a direct-to-consumer shoe company with a whole-brand approach to sustainability, that’s no different.

When the economy took a turn and consumer spending began to drop, many brands made a knee-jerk reaction, running promotions and super-sales. Not Rothy’s, though. They didn’t want to dilute their brand’s perceived value and lower customers’ expectations with weekend flash sales. Instead, the company looked inward to its own customers.

In a recent Adweek webinar, Matt Gehring, SVP of growth marketing at Rothy’s, spoke with SheerID’s CMO, Sai Koppala, to discuss how Rothy’s found a unique and effective way to support the business in this uncertain time.

Rothy’s Teacher Consumer Tribe Serves as its Guide

Rothy’s sustainability established a strong core audience of educated, middle-aged women. Its fandom is impressive, uniting customers around their loyalty to the product. “It’s more than a shoe: it’s a sisterhood,” a Rothy’s customer said. 

Gehring’s team recognized that teachers made up a large chunk of this audience. Rather than running a universal discount, they decided to reward the company’s devout followers, so they built an exclusive offer for educators. It was wildly successful.

Giving Back and Gaining Customers

When the pandemic hit, Rothy’s knew it should help those who need it. This makes sense, given that people believe that brands are responding more quickly and effectively than the government

Rothy’s asked its community, “What can we do?” The overwhelming response was that it should create and donate face masks, so that’s what the company did. It went a step further, though, recognizing through social listening that doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers love its shoes.

As other brands were busy with weekend flash sales, Rothy’s built a new personalized offer for medical professionals and first responders. An offer to this audience served a dual-purpose; the company wanted to solidify its connection with this group and support and reward them for keeping our communities safe.

To preserve its premium brand status, Rothy’s provided an exclusive, one-time offer that was both generous and dramatic. The offer drew plenty of positive press. Gehring noted that it drove short-term revenue while establishing a new tribe of medical professionals, proving that Rothy’s move to support their most loyal customers was effective.

3 Key Reasons Rothy’s Offers Were Successful

Rothy’s approach was effective because it was:

01  Authentic.

Rothy’s understood that teachers, medical professionals, and first responders were part of their core audience and groups the public saw as deserving of a reward. (In fact, 89% of people said they want brands to support social causes, like providing health workers with free or discounted products during the pandemic.) All of the eligible groups enjoyed the recognition, and the offers felt genuine because they were a response to what the company heard from customers.

02  Compelling.

The discount was significant–one that you don’t often see for top-quality retailers like Rothy’s. The company also strengthened the teacher offer to match the increased discount for medical professionals and first responders.

03  Tied to its brand promise.

The earth-friendly mission remains intact. Rothy’s quality, from its materials to its production, goes unchanged as it delivers personalized offers to its customers. If anything, these exclusive offers strengthen the company’s commitment to creating an eco-friendly shoe.

In this period of uncertainty, brands can effectively engage consumers by following Rothy’s lead: skip the mass discounts and focus instead on providing value to key customers and groups like medical workers that consumers want brands to support.

Watch the Webinar: Find Your Brand’s Consumer Tribe: Personalize, Engage, Promote and Verify

Ryan Eberle by Ryan Eberle