Case Study: Road Runner Sports Keeping Pace
Primarily a catalog company, RRS uses many forms of direct mail to connect with its customers.
It sends more than 23 million direct mail pieces a year. Using several different marketing vehicles, RRS targets customers with messages related to their profile and via their preferred method of contact. For example, frequent buyers are different from RAC members and different again from just apparel buyers—each gets its own marketing package.
“The foundation of the marketing philosophy and focus is caring for the customer. We truly believe that and implement it at every level,” says Mary Shanahan, RRS marketing director.
The Shoe and How it Fits
Catalogs are mailed seven times a year with 28 different covers each drop. The value shoe mailer, (shown at right) a 16-page self-mailer that offers discounts on popular shoes, is mailed quarterly. The “Endangered Shoe” postcard is one of the more brilliant marketing programs RRS does. The postcard alerts runners that their favorite shoe is about to become extinct.
Few things drive a runner battier than the loss of a favorite model. Shoe manufacturers now change or update shoe lines about four times a year, so the chances that a runner’s shoe will be discontinued is pretty good. RRS alerts runners so they can purchase a bunch of shoes before their chance is gone. A spin-off of the program is the “Classic Shoe” program. RRS obtains rights and the mold to extremely popular shoes and continues to make them for its customers.
“We offer over 20 styles of shoes in which the shoes are not made any more but for Road Runner Sports,” says Ness. “We are able to have vendors continue to make our best selling shoes. It has to hit a consistent sales figure to remain a Classic, at least 700 pairs sold a month. We still offer the Brooks Chariot, which was first announced in 1981.”