CASE STUDY: Leading B2B Distributor of Kitchen Goods uses Digital Marketing to Turn up the Heat.

Friday, Sep 01, 2017

Question: When Does a Website Redesign Lead to a 30.1% Increase in Opportunity?
Answer: When Your Marketing Company Requires you to Expect More.

Reaching the Top and Staying There Require Different Actions

Since 1957, Harold Import Company (HIC) has provided wholesale kitchen and cooking products for home goods retailers around the world. Currently, HIC distributes over 3,500 brands in over 41 countries and even manufactures their own lines of kitchen products. HIC products are found in specialty culinary shops, such as King Arthur Flour, to big-name retailers, such as Bed Bath & Beyond.

Over the years HIC has become an industry powerhouse, a household name to retailers across the globe. However, for a business to stay on top, requires leadership with vision, a propensity for innovation and an ever-vigilant eye toward the future.

Retailers are the lifeblood of HIC and the retail landscape was (and still is) in the fight of its life. With the influx of internet-based options for consumers, from e-commerce to social commerce becoming commonplace, HIC leadership knew they needed to take a hard look at the ways in which they acquire new retailers as well as new ways to add value and support existing clients.

HIC’s practices for acquiring new retailers were lackluster when compared to their innovative internal processes that keep them top of the heap as a modern and influential supplier. Traditionally, HIC historically acquired new retailers through the efforts of its sales team, tradeshows and print material. These methods are still in use; however, their effectiveness has been steadily diminishing over the years.

Recognizing the influence of digital trends in its industry, HIC decided it was time to improve its online efforts and believed the logical first step was a redesign of its website.

The Want Versus Need Challenge

While no one would argue that a website redesign was needed and would aid in increasing the perception of HIC’s brand, a simple design change alone would not achieve the lofty goals set by HIC leadership.

HIC engaged Single Throw Marketing for the task of redesigning their outdated website. Single Throw understood that their client WANTED a website redesign, however, they also knew that simple updates alone would fail to deliver the results HIC desired to achieve most—generation of additional revenue.

A new and ambitious marketing plan was presented to the leadership team at HIC. This new plan was far beyond the scope and budget of a simple redesign; however, the case would be made for an ROI-based marketing model that overlaid an accountability and tracking structure that would allow HIC to measure key performance indicators tied directly to goals and metrics associated with increased revenue.

For a bold new marketing plan to be put in place, HIC leadership needed to buy into the premise that, in this digital age, it’s time to expect more from marketing. A consensus was reached, and there was now a clear understanding that a website facelift alone, would not generate the needed opportunity the organization desired.

Formula for Success

Recognizing the opportunity to far exceed HIC’s original goals, Single Throw formulated a comprehensive digital marketing plan that addressed current shortcomings and outlined new strategies designed to achieve the ultimate goal of customer acquisition.

For marketing to create revenue opportunities for HIC, Single Throw determined exactly what actions create revenue for the company.

Revenue is created from retailers buying kitchen goods from HIC and selling them in their offline and online stores. Simply put, the formula for success: RETAILERS = REVENUE.

Single Throw developed a multi-faceted marketing approach that added value to retailers choosing HIC as their supplier of kitchen goods, gadgets and appliances.

HIC would have to provided added value to these retailers or risk them buying once and never again. Holding on to retailers clearly needed to be part of the equation as well, which meant, the marketing plan needed to provide the newly indoctrinated HIC retailers with revenue opportunities, too.

Execution of the Plan

An accountable marketing plan specifically designed to attract, convert, retain and support new retailers, would contain the following elements:

  • A Website Re-Imagined: Since all marketing would drive potential customers to the HIC website, one of the first steps was to redesign and re-imagine the current HIC website. The new design would be simple, yet not lack in detail or information. A cross-device structure was put in place that focused on usability, user experience (UX). A user’s journey became the focal point of all design efforts. Clear paths to success were implemented and tested, ensuring each client type would follow a predictable and thoughtful flow from first click to last. Images and code were optimized to make sure load times across all devices were as fast as possible. Tracking elements were implemented to validate journeys and course correction signals, should there be issues in the future. Design, navigation and structure all underwent a massive facelift.

  • Catalog Functionality: HIC has thousands of products in their paper catalog. To accommodate the vast inventory of goods distributed by HIC, a catalog-engine was incorporated into the website's structure. Following UX best practices allowed potential and current retailers, as well as consumers, to quickly and easily find the information they needed with a minimal amount of clicking. Use of a catalog engine to organize products also allowed HIC to assign various cross selling functions such as: related items, price reduction tagging, as well as leveraging community engagement by dynamically displaying products viewed by other retailers.

  • Merchandising: One of the most challenging aspects (and the most exciting) of this marketing program was doing what HIC had never donemarketing to end users of their products. Marketing in the B2C space was a cornerstone of a strategy designed to acquire and retain B2B retailers. The goal was to attract end users of HIC’s kitchen products, creating awareness and desire for the brands HIC supports. Once we created affinity for HIC brands among consumers, we then directed these end users to HIC retailers to make purchase. Creating consumer groundswell around HIC brands would add value to current and future retailers and give HIC an advantage over competing brands.

    Merchandising a B2B website to also speak to a B2C audience was challenging. Content needed to incorporate a consumer-friendly tone without losing the necessary elements and context required by retailers.  Specific sections were created that highlighted the more popular HIC brands as well as trending products. These areas were consumer-journey focused, however, retailers found value as well, using HIC’s consumer-focused content and layout for their own marketing efforts.

  • Retail Locator: A robust, “Where to Buy” application was added to the website to allow indoctrinated consumers to find a local or online retailer that carried the exciting brands and products supplied by HIC.  Where to buy functions added a new level of value to retailers. Not only was HIC suppling amazing quality kitchen goods to sell, they were helping their retailers acquire new customers that were ready to buy.

  • Digital Marketing: Having a great website, an optimized user experience and great content is wonderful, but if no one sees it, what’s the point? A robust digital marketing program was implemented to support the new HIC digital presence. Search Engine Optimization was a vital element of HIC’s digital marketing plan. Identifying targeted, intent-based phrases searched by potential B2B and B2C users was the starting point. Creating a plan to grow authority of the HIC brand within Google’s index was shouldered by an expansive Content Marketing program designed to create unique and informative articles and posts that provided value to site visitors and those searching for kitchen goods.

HIC’s new web presence was designed from the ground up to be search engine friendly. It was fast and easy to use, with a robust content footprint, clean code and a top-notch navigation structure. HIC’s new website development program focused on user experience, which is always rewarded by Google.

In short order, HIC was appearing on page one of Google for phrases such as, “Gourmet Kitchen Store” and “Wholesale Cooking Supplies” with brands such as William Sonoma, Sur La Table and other leading retail brands.  HIC was not only being found by B2B and B2C users, they were being chosen.

Results of an Accountable Digital Marketing Program

The following data represents year-over-year increases Harold Import Company has enjoyed since the implementation of their new marketing strategy.

  • Total organic traffic has increased by 44.5% year-over year,

  • Organic Traffic to the "Find a Retailer" page increased by 30.1% year-over-year,

  • Contact Form submissions increased by 22.4% year-over-year,

  • "Become a Reller" form submissions, on average, per month. This metric is particularly significant because it centers on HIC's ability to grow its distribution relationships and thus represents the most important part of any business's goals: accountable, strategic growth.

This is What Happens When you Expect More of Marketing

HIC is a company that has always looked to be 4 to 5 steps ahead of the competition. An innovative mindset is standard among the leadership team.  Couple innovation with a desire to support their customers, and you have a formula that just can’t lose.

On the onset, HIC believed that a design facelift of their website would be sufficient to move the needle. After consideration and discussions with Single Throw Marketing, they soon realized their lofty goals needed a lofty marketing program.

HIC jumped into digital marketing with both feet, implementing a robust strategy that included a UX re-focused redevelopment of their website, data driven website merchandising, SEO and content marketing program designed to showcase both B2B and B2C value while at the same time, building a leading authoritative digital footprint.

HIC was now attracting new retailers at a pace that rivals all past efforts. The benefits and value enhancements within the programs created a stream of new retailers while at the same time, created added value to existing customers.

Single Throw insisted that HIC “Expect More From Marketing™” and HIC, now with expectations of marketing firmly reset to a higher bar mark, will never expect less from marketing again.