Getting our businesses ready for a new year is quite different process these days, isn’t it? Our budgeting and growth planning process is now joined by a nagging voice in our head reminding us that change will be on the horizon once again.
This new column is here to help. Every other week in the SIA newsletter, I’ll offer resources and insights to help you navigate the changes that continue to rain down in the specialty snow and outdoor business.
My name is Kristin Carpenter-Ogden and I’m the founder and CEO of Verde Brand Communications, a leading communications agency in the active outdoor lifestyle markets. I’m also the host of the Channel Mastery podcast, which I founded almost two years ago to help Verde’s clients navigate the incredible changes taking place in our businesses due to the ongoing evolution and preferences of today’s omnichannel consumer.
While there are a lot of resources on navigating this change available to large consumer-packaged goods, automotive and pharmaceutical companies (just to name a few categories of broader business), there are exactly no resources tailored to support specialty businesses navigate multi-channel disruption. I like to call us “special snowflakes” because we are. … Our’s is a tribe of independents who create products and experiences for individuals who use our wares and services to enjoy the very best times in their lives. They wear our brands as identity badges, and we know how to build community, deliver experiences and do brand storytelling like no other market. That’s our advantage.
Unfortunately, the juggernauts like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Walmart have our special snowflakes in their cross hairs. One only has to read the Sept. 7 Wall Street Journal article, titled: “Walmart Just Wanted to Sell Pricey Outdoor Gear, then all Hell Broke Loose.”
Before you dismiss these behemoths from our world, know this: your consumer loves Amazon Prime, trolls Facebook more than they care to admit, has likely tried Walmart’s curb-side pick up, and uses Google as part of his or her everyday existence. The behemoths are part of our competitive world.
And where we have an advantage with emotional connection, storytelling and creating incredible brand experiences, they have a huge advantage with acquiring and using data to acquire and serve our consumer. These companies are expertly positioning themselves along the online consumer decision journey today – and they’re getting better at it daily.
That’s a problem. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you with that.
In fact, in January at the SIA/OR show’s Industry Intelligence Day, I’ll be leading a panel on how our markets can close the gap on the Digital Divide that’s been created by the behemoths. I hope you will all join me.
I was told to keep these columns tight, so today’s post serves as an introduction and an invite, but I also want to leave you with some ammunition in the form of insights.
On the 60thepisode of Channel Mastery, which aired in early October of this year, I interviewed an upstart powerhouse retail analyst, Chris Walton. He’s the founder of the Omnitalk podcast and co-founder of Red Archer Retail. Chris is convinced that the retail landscape is going to change precipitously more in 2019, and in our show, he debuted his top five trends to watch in 2019.
To Chris’ point, we are at a pivot point in the trajectory of retail. Every 30 to 40 years retail goes through cycles. Go back all the way to the invention of the Sears catalog up through today and you’ll see this pattern. It happens every 30 to 40 years like clockwork.
We’re in another pivot point, and in this podcast Chris describes the top five changes in how today’s consumer discovers and acquires products and engages with brands. This podcast is a must-listen as you finish planning your business in 2019 and should also serve as a solid tune up as you review your plans in the early part of next year. Because things are going to continue to change and change fast.
I look forward to serving you in this newsletter every other week going forward, and please check out the Channel Mastery podcast, where I offer resources and strategy every single week to help you win the hearts and minds of today’s omnichannel consumer.