Today’s fast-paced world brings with it a high degree of required flexibility – especially when it comes to digital brand campaigns. In times of lockdowns and trade restrictions, yesterday’s best plan may no longer work today. In our interview, Christina Mann, Marketing Manager, tells us how she responds to these ever-changing challenges with the help of the socialPALS platform!
Christina, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Weber-Stephen!
Since 2017, I have been working for Weber-Stephen GmbH. I started as Marketing Manager for Austria and Switzerland. Since January 2021, I am responsible for Trade Marketing in the DACH region.
How is your sales organization structured, and which sales channels are you using for which purposes?
Overall, the sales channels are divided up as follows: There is the specialized retailer, i.e., the (barbecue) specialty stores, some with their own e-com business, and the BBQ stores. Then there is the large-scale sector, which includes home improvement stores and garden centers.
Beyond that, there are the Experience Worlds, i.e. the Weber Original Stores and Weber Stores – which, on the one hand, show the entire Weber range and, on the other hand, offer a 360-degree brand experience through the associated Grill Academy. For the sake of completeness, there is also the brand website weber.com, including the online store.
You use our platform to continuously deliver high-quality campaign content, especially to your specialist retailers and Weber (Original) stores. Why did you decide to permanently integrate this new approach to automated multichannel marketing into your communication concept?
Essentially, we have been pursuing a local marketing approach with our retailers, also referred to by Weber as “Local Heroes”, from the outset. Linking our campaigns and brand messages to the retailer and their region has always been part of our media strategy. Only the channels have changed over time. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Google are a logical extension of established channels such as print and (D)OOH.
With socialPALS, a new, easier way to share our content with our retailers has presented itself – and without having to go through many individual manual steps on an ongoing basis. That means time-saving for both sides – that’s where I see the massive advantage of this retail marketing platform. Plus, it is also entirely transparent for the retailer to follow or evaluate the KPIs of the “live” campaign or at the end of the campaign.
What challenges are you currently facing - both for you as a brand and for your retailers? Have you been able to solve them with the help of socialPALS?
I see the challenge – and we are certainly not alone in this as a brand – in the fast pace of life, which entails a tremendous degree of flexibility. In particular, the last two seasons, with lockdowns and severe restrictions in stationary retail, have shown that yesterday’s best plan can no longer work today.
And here, too, socialPALS has solved a problem: Since the retailers have access to the content calendar during the entire campaign runtime, they can stop a campaign themselves and, with little marketing knowledge, adjust or cancel posts due to external influences requiring so.
What was the goal of the "Spring Weeks" campaign and how much internal effort did you put into marketing to get it off the ground?
The Weber Spring Weeks kick off the season every year, usually starting in March. The goal here is to launch the season and, ideally, to link the campaign for the consumer with a limited-time offer.
The Spring Weeks was the first campaign we implemented with socialPALS. In my opinion, it was relatively straightforward – even though it took about two to three months of preparation time to get colleagues on board, present the new opportunity to the retailers, and work together with socialPALS the retailers to create their profiles. For the subsequent summer campaign, we were able to start within about two weeks.
How difficult is it to motivate your retailers to participate? Is the "online marketing" module accepted as an integration into a sales concept?
Many retailers are already highly successful in terms of online marketing and do not need any more support. On the other hand, many do not have their own marketing team or online agencies, so they gladly accept such assistance.
Have you managed to draw any helpful lessons from the campaigns you've run so far? For example, which channels/formats are best suited for the advertised product?
Firstly, it has become apparent: Less is more! In the first campaign, we relied on several different motifs. In the second campaign, we reduced the designs considerably so that the repeated playout and repetition would also ensure the recognizability of the campaign – which is also shared by Weber itself nationally across the channels.
Secondly, we observed in the socialPALS brand dashboard whether the Google Display Ads were performing better or worse than the social media ads – accordingly, we adjusted the distribution of the playout and re-targeted posts.
Are you considering more campaigns to support your distributors?
Yes. We are delighted with the implementation results so far and would like to offer a consistency that allows us as a brand and our partners to plan to a certain extent.
Then we'll be curious to see what Weber pulls out of its bag of magic - thank you very much for the interview, Christina!
Here's what our retailers have to say:
The cooperation was uncomplicated and the socialPALS telephone support was competent and helpful in answering open questions. The platform was easy to use and self-explanatory.
Weber Original Store Berlin
Leon Wolff / Store Manager
We took part in the campaign for the Weber Spring Weeks again in 2021 – this year for the first time under the aegis of socialPALS. We were genuinely highly satisfied with the advertising materials, communication, handling of the platform and personal support.
Corinna Hohls / Marketing