Can you remember life before the Internet; before there were such words in our daily vocabulary as “online,” “social media,” “tweets,” “emoji” and so on?
Looking back, marketing in those pre-Internet days now seems a whole lot less complex than the present age of digital marketing. Finding success these days is a multifaceted and mercurial venture, because it seems the goalposts are often moved without notice as with the rules of the road, which are written and rewritten.
Take social media, for example. I understand that combined, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest have some 2.5 billion active users. That means any company not participating on these platforms is really missing out on new and potentially sizable targeted audiences.
Independent flooring retailers pursuing success on Facebook and Twitter have their work cut out for them. Most lack the deep pockets to hire the necessary talent and/or the expertise to develop and execute a marketing program of their own on these platforms, which can also be difficult to understand for many dealers. 3 Many manufacturers have meaningful social media efforts, and those that have dedicated aligned retailers go even further by providing them with various tools to make their online experience more rewarding. One such program is called Promoboxx, a digital platform designed to support mills’ retailer partners and their online strategies, with customizable content for their social media platforms, websites, email and now advertising as well.
To gain a better understanding of how this whole mysterious and imaginative media service works we invited Sonciary Honnoll, co-founder and senior vice president of client services at Promoboxx, and Todd Callaway, director of digital content at Shaw, to talk about the program and help retailers get a handle on how it works.
The following are some excerpts from the conversation, but you can listen to it in its entirety by going to the TalkFloor website at talkfloor.com.
TF: Fill us in on what Promoboxx is, what it does and its goals.
Honnoll: Promoboxx is the only marketing platform that connects and aligns national brands with local retailers to increase consumer reach and to drive sales.
The company’s goal is brand-to-retailer alignment. Promoboxx is a digital marketing platform and essentially it allows brands like Shaw to upload their national content and allow the company’s independent retailers to customize that content and then promote it on their most important digital channels.
As a result, Shaw is able to help provide the world-class marketing materials that its independent retailers need to help them not only be better marketers but better businesspeople, while also increasing the reach of its digital content.
TF: Tell us about the steps prior to Shaw linking up with Promoboxx.
Callaway: Promoboxx offered a service that was so beneficial to our retailers. In our marketing group, we spend a great deal of time thinking of ways we can make the lives of our retailers easier. We thought about the solutions we could come up with that would be of help to them. We know they have their hands full running their businesses every day, and if there are things we could do that would help make their lives easier it would be a great help.
We have a program through Shaw Web Studio that assists retailers in managing their websites; we assist retailers with their product catalogs on their existing sites or on a website through Shaw.
Through the Promoboxx platform we saw an opportunity in the same way to help retailers with their social media. It allows us to write content, put together professional imagery and links to pertinent articles on their behalf. Often you will see retailers excited about the prospect of launching a Facebook page or a social media channel of some kind, but after about six weeks are stumped about what they are going to write about.
TF: Is this a co-op program?
Callaway: No. There are components I understand that would prompt that question, specifically the launch of the new Promoboxx Local Ads platform. [Plus] there are certain components of the program that are similar to a co-op program.
But what we are offering through Promoboxx is for retailers to publish content that we make available to them on a variety of social channels as well as email. And all Shaw aligned dealers are invited to be a part of the program, which is a complementary service.
For retailers outside of the aligned dealer program, it is available for a nominal cost.
TF: Promoboxx then helps establish the Shaw brand and the retailer’s brand at the same time?
Honnoll: Exactly. It’s co-branding and it’s been happening forever; we just provide a way for it to easily happen in the digital space.
It’s really a one-two punch, [as] anytime a consumer sees an ad, a promoted post or organic post about the retailer’s location, its promoting that brand and an awareness as to where to purchase that brand.
TF: Will the messages put into the Promoboxx system appear on all of the social media that we are all familiar with?
Callaway: The services Promoboxx currently offers is for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and we are able to provide the content for each of those channels.
There are other social media channels that will not yet permit a third party to post messages on another’s page.
TF: Because consumers purchase floor covering so infrequently compared with other products they buy on a weekly or monthly basis, I suspect it would be more difficult to connect with people on a social media platform?
Honnoll: Floor covering is a considered purchase and, as a result, consumers conduct a substantial amount of research to discover what products make the most sense for their home, their family and their lifestyle. So it’s very important for retailers to stay connected to those that have purchased from them and their network of friends and followers who potentially [will be] looking to make a purchase in the near future.
It’s really about relationships and developing those relationships with any means possible.
Everything that is being promoted by a retailer is not just focused on a specific campaign or direct purchase. Much is focused on inspirational content and that is part of the relationship-building component—to inspire the customer and remind her about the store. That it is here and available for their friends and family. It’s also an effort to stay on their radar for the next time they are ready for a purchase.
TF: For the content posted on a retailer’s social media page, is it the choice of Shaw or does the retailer have input?
Callaway: We make a certain number of posts available to retailers, a certain number of choices for them on a monthly basis. There are a number of options available to retailers. They can select one called automate, which means they pre-approve the content and it automatically goes to their page. Most dealers, however, will peruse the options for that particular month and select the ones they want to post and schedule when they would like [each to be posted].
TF: Are there other tools available to retailers through Promoboxx?
Honnoll: Absolutely. Promoboxx was built because it was our desire to address the fact retailers are marketing assets to a [bigger] brand and it’s very important to support them with the content and information they need. So retailers have lots of opportunities to customize and co-brand the content that is made available to them.
We try to create an environment where their brand is honored and one way that is done is to provide tools for them to customize and co-brand much of the material.
TF: You mentioned a new offering from Promoboxx a little earlier, the Local Ads program. Can you expand on that?
Callaway: This Promoboxx program is founded on social media and digital marketing principles in general. The people at Promoboxx are continuing to evolve their platform and offering new services. One of the areas they have tapped into is the need to assist retailers with marketing in general and, specifically, digital advertising.
When we think of the factors and placing digital advertising on websites, apps or even search engines, we are aware a certain level of expertise is required and many dealers don’t quite know exactly where to start. So Promoboxx, through the new Local Ads program, has developed a way for placing ads as easily as we are able to share social media content.
It’s great to know they are continuing to look in the [flooring] industry and developing opportunities that permit us to help out retailers.
We tested this program prior to its launch and it permits retailers to place ads on premium websites and premium apps within a certain radius of their store’s location. It’s a great tool for a dealer.
It’s a new way to make themselves known to people in their market area and it is easy for the retailer to take part. They can test it with a small investment or larger dollars based on what’s working for them. The ads are on either Google, Facebook social ads or digital display, which are on mobile applications or websites.
We’re extremely excited about this. We’re able to work with this foundation of retailers who are already using the service and loving it, and recognizing that it’s [not only] easy to use, [it is] taking them into an entirely new, meaningful arena.
TF: Local Ads appears to be the next logical step for Promoboxx?
Honnoll: Local Ads is a huge opportunity for us. Our goal is to help support brands to place world class digital content in every storefront around the world.
We have a very large goal. We want to support independent businesses and help them not be just better marketers but better businesspeople. We have [already] covered the organic space. The question then becomes: How do we really help build on the connection that we have helped clients like Shaw build with their retailers? How do we further that reach, that consumer reach of the content? The biggest way for us to do that is through this paid opportunity.
Editor’s note: As mentioned, there is a great deal more to this interesting conversation than space permits. Check out the entire three-part interview, “Promoboxx’s Sonciary Honnoll & Shaw’s Todd Callaway Discuss Promoboxx,” by visiting talkfloor.com, clicking on Floor Radio and scrolling back to the interviews posted on March 16, 17 and 18.
We’d also love to hear your feedback of this and other conversations you’ve watched or listened to on the site, as well as any ideas of people or companies you’d like to see interviewed. You can contact Dave Foster at email@example.com.