How Leatherman Used Brand Loyalty to Create a Robust D-to-C Sales Channel
Leatherman, a multitool manufacturer based in Portland, Ore., started its business with a prototype and a Cabela’s order for 500 of its multipurpose tool products. Since that original sale in 1983, Leatherman has expanded its reputation and brand among tinkerers and problem-solvers globally, developing recognition for quality products among a very loyal customer following.
While its retail sales were performing well, Leatherman wanted to enhance interactions with its customers using a more direct approach. For its next phase of greater market penetration, Leatherman sought to leverage its brand loyalty and complement strong retail sales performance by developing an approach to interact directly with its fan base. Its strategy was centered on a CX approach to first understand its customers and then putting the knowledge into action to create a strong direct-to-consumer (D-to-C) sales channel.
As Liz Lee, Leatherman IT director, put it, “Customer preferences are changing. Retail remains an important part of our winning strategy, while customers increasingly seek out direct relationships with brands they trust.”
Lee and the Leatherman team needed to better understand how its customers interacted with and felt about the brand, create a consistent omnichannel experience, and enable personalized D-to-C marketing strategies. They sought to design a centralized data system for information and workflows while managing and growing their existing marketing contact system of profiles and data on more than 350,000 customers.
The three steps toward achieving the strategy included: customer journey mapping, 360-degree customer profiles, and activation driven by technology.
Leatherman first identified the paths customers took when researching and purchasing its products: what their experience was like in-store, online, and post-purchase. Leatherman worked with Avtex to capture the paths on a master customer journey map — a visual representation of customer steps, brand interactions, and existing pain points. Using these insights, the Leatherman team could design more personalized marketing strategies that would optimize customer engagement at each stage in the journey, ultimately increasing D-to-C sales.
With journeys in hand, Leatherman added new insights on customer personalities, needs, preferences and opportunities for improvement to its existing demographic, behavioral and transactional data. It leveraged artificial intelligence and machine learning to combine customer data from several disparate sources for a 360-degree profile of the customer, which is now its single source of truth for marketing, sales and customer support.
Having this profile view, Leatherman can glean useful and actionable insights into customer behavior. It uses these insights to target potential customers at scale, yet with a granular level of personalization that was impossible with its previous approaches and systems. This is particularly useful in refining the company’s email marketing using personalized messages. Now, email and other channels (including social) work in unison to deliver the right message at the right time to support more compelling and successful customer journeys. Customers’ experience with Leatherman is now streamlined and optimized, paving the way for more sales directly to consumers.
What’s next for Leatherman on its journey of digital transformation? The company plans to leverage customer service omnichannel voice and chat and first-party voice channel technology to create a true “all-in-one digital contact center” for interacting with customers. This will require the surfacing of customer insights and use of customer service views. Leatherman also plans to leverage automatic transcription for insights on future content that would be valuable for customers and measuring customer sentiment. Measurement will also include tracking CSAT and NPS scores with follow-up surveys via email, phone and chats with customers.
Brian Lannan leads the Avtex retail experience team in developing go-to-market strategy and new IP to expand offerings to the retail industry.
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Brian Lannan leads the Avtex retail experience team in developing go-to-market strategy and new IP to expand offerings to the retail industry, helping Avtex customers transform and differentiate by delivering innovative, personalized, and engaging experiences for their customers. Brian joined Avtex, a TTEC Digital company, in 2021 from Target, where he led the guest experience team and was responsible for experience strategy and insights, guest-centric culture development, voice of guest, and brand and reputation insights.