Q&A: James Keller, CMO of Shoebuy.com

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James Keller
James Keller

James Keller, CMO of Shoebuy.com, explains the importance of relevance in social media and mobile marketing.

Q: Last November, Shoebuy.com ran a promotion that offered customers 50 Facebook credits with their purchase. Why did you approach social marketing in that way?

A: With social media, we've recognized that you can't just put something out there and expect it's going to draw a great audience. You have to be relevant. It happens that there's great demographic overlap between our base and the folks that like to play Facebook games. 

We know that people like Facebook credits but don't like to pay for them, so we thought that was a nice, fun reward for folks. What worked out very nicely is that as folks completed the shopping experience, they were invited to share their experience in a way that propagated out to the Facebook news feed.

Q: Relevance and resonance are huge for digital marketers. There's been a trend from creative to data to better target content, but to an extent there's a reversal back towards creative because better content has the potential to go viral. Is that what you're seeing?

A: People have always said content is king, and it's very true, even in the e-commerce world. Even though we have over a million stock-keeping units on the site, more than 50,000 styles, for every one of those styles, we're investing in writing original content. We do a tremendous amount in terms of enriching the product information with relevant data and all kinds of related content. We do it on Facebook, our blog, the product pages and the brand pages. 

For us, the fact that we're seeing the results in the way of search engine rankings, site stickiness and conversions, is a win.

Q: With mobile marketing, many companies are still coming to grips with whether to differentiate between a tablet and a mobile phone. To what extent does Shoebuy.com differentiate?

A: For us, the jury is still out. We've been testing quite a bit in mobile, and that's one of the areas we'll continue to test: Which experience does best on the tablet? The good news is we see a lot of people purchasing from tablets. We're still learning in terms of how to best optimize the area, and again it's a very new area, so we try to take our time in learning our way into these things in a thoughtful way.

Q: To inform that process, are you looking at data, such as browsing history and purchasing patterns, specific to each platform to segment consumers by device?

A: Often the way that we do it is to isolate a particular audience and test a variety of different experiences to subsets of a population. We just look at what tends to resonate best. Certainly the things we look at the most are conversion, revenue procession and people's buying behavior.


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