If ever there was an American brand that represented the past and present of marketing its Timex. After its legendary days of “takes a licking and keeps on ticking” the watch company now has to focus on the future and that means some creative budget management and cross-channel innovation. Its new marketing team is moving toward both goals.
“We did a fair amount of brand research last year and found that there was a very high unaided and positive awareness of Timex as a brand,” says Online VP Calvin Crouch. “But people did not see us a very exciting or stylish brand. We felt like we were in a very similar spot to Oldsmobile a few years ago where it needed to prove that ‘we’re not your father’s Oldsmobile.’”
With a limited budget and marketing staff, Crouch set out in May 2008 to define the brand’s customer base, business goals, branding targets and ecommerce mission. Timex matched its three sub-brands to its most active customer segments. TimexStyle is the mid-priced women’s oriented brand. It has recently scored a few public relations wins, placing one of its models in People’s Magazine’s “hot and not” issues. It also makes use of style guru and Timex spokesperson Amy Goodman on its website. Timex Ironman is the closest thing to a traditional brand the company has, creating mid-priced digital watches for casual and style conscious athletes. TimexExpedition is where Crouch wants to break out. It is a higher-priced more extreme sports focused brand.
Crouch has implemented distinct images and web presences for each separate brand, but would like to move toward funneling all traffic to the Timex.com site. That site generated a 15% traffic boost from 2007 to 2008. So far this year, traffic is up another 10%.
Its ecommerce effort is in its nascent stages. Crouch says Timex doesn’t currently have a large customer database. One of his goals is to increase it and the corresponding voice of the customer that comes with it. Toward that end Timex recently added BazaarVoice’s online review software. He believes it will create a wealth of user-generated content that the brand will leverage in its quality assurance efforts, as well as its new product development.
“We run our site on the Amazon platform, but we chose to work with Bazaarvoice on our social commerce initiatives because they are on the cutting edge of the market, and we appreciate their culture and focus on innovation,” Crouch says. “By adding Bazaarvoice, we are ensuring that our customers can share their authentic opinions about our products and make the best purchase decisions possible.”
Timex worked with the Bazaarvoice team to integrate into its Amazon eCommerce platform. That included hosted technology, advanced analytics, and syndication. Tag-based social navigation allows Timex shoppers to immediately surface the most relevant reviews from their peers.
Timex’s ecommerce effort may be starting to find its legs but its retail partners lack nothing. WalMart, JC Penney, Target and many sporting goods chains have been in its corner for years. Crouch says the customer data and website traffic data are shared with key accounts by sales teams on an “informal” basis.
“We know that traffic is up, our ecommerce numbers are improving and we’re finding out more about our customers,” he says. “We’re going to look to paid search and organic search to drive down our costs per lead, and keep our eye on the goal of driving more traffic.”