How Indochino’s lean marketing team gets big results during the competitive holiday season

Kirtarath Dhillon / November 2019

Indochino has grown from a Canadian online startup to the world’s largest made-to-measure apparel brand, with more than 50 showrooms across North America. Digital marketing manager Kirtarath Dhillon shares Indochino’s holiday strategy for measuring, experimenting, and achieving big results with a small marketing team.

The holiday season is competitive and standing out online can be a challenge for any brand, not just emerging ones. But there are some real advantages to being a small marketing team in the fast-moving retail world.

People are constantly evolving how and when they shop. Small marketing teams are often more flexible and have fewer stakeholders in the mix, which makes it easier to recognize emerging trends and rapidly shift strategies to seize opportunities.

We’re leaning into our digital spend to maximize measurability and ongoing campaign optimization.

This flexibility allowed Indochino to break through the established men’s suits retail category, and continues to fuel our growth. Here are some lessons we’ve learned from past holiday campaigns, and how they’re informing our strategy this year.

Invest in channels you can measure

Like most omnichannel advertisers, trying to measure offline transactions can be challenging. That’s why this season, we’re leaning into our digital spend to maximize measurability and ongoing campaign optimization.

Indochino is ruthlessly data-driven and focused on KPIs and metrics that enable sustainable growth. We’ve seen up to 70% growth in Indochino search volume in markets where we open a new store, and an increasing amount of our business is now transacted in showrooms. A complete understanding of our customers’ omnichannel journey with Indochino is critical.

This year, we’ve been successful by launching key digital campaigns early and reaching our customers during the discovery phase. We also established success benchmarks and contingency plans for each phase of the campaign.

Be flexible and test as much as you can

Testing is part of our DNA. We test elements of our media mix and our personalized messaging at a small scale at first, establish learnings quickly, then go all-in on the winners.

Indochino in article.jpg

We have a three-part approach to testing: We identify what we want to test (like an upcoming opportunity or problem to solve), give ourselves a 30-day testing window (our average customer’s purchase cycle), then evaluate whether to proceed or adapt our strategy.

Freeze before Black Friday

We test and learn all year then apply what we know during the holiday season. Data has taught us to experiment throughout the year and establish learnings early, then implement a testing freeze before any tailwinds from Black Friday or Cyber Monday kick in.

Craft a data-driven holiday strategy

We have a good sense of who our core customer is, but we rely on analytics to help understand what our customer wants, and their ever-changing path to purchase. Last holiday season, we were surprised to see a spike in walk-in traffic and in-the-moment buys. We’re shifting this year’s campaign to cater to that impulsivity.

We rely on analytics to help understand what our customer wants, and their ever-changing path to purchase.

Typically, we run our customers through a multi-channel campaign with video and search ads. This year, we’re shortening the journey and prompting for more purchases in-store through discovery ads, local campaign targeting and radius targeting.

My advice to small marketing teams is to use your size to your advantage. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the holiday chatter, cut through it by crafting an innovative solution that works for you. Test as much as you can throughout the year, incorporate those learnings into your holiday strategy, and have a solid understanding of what’s working and what’s not. This flexibility will allow you to reach the right customers for your brand.

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