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Consumer acquisition - specialist outdoor

start-up, scale-up or grown-up?

When we started working with Cotwsold Outdoor with 13 stores they were emerging from a long start-up phase (since 1974!) – though with a very grown-up reputation. Now Cotswold Outdoor are definitely in scale-up mode, having grown into a nationwide brand with over 80 stores, an online mail order service, a loyalty programme and a reputation for specialist outdoor pursuits knowledge.

how did we help them grow?

We wanted to get the word of Cotswold out into key audiences at the expert end of their customer base. So we targeted student climbing clubs – an audience with two helpful additional helpful attributes (i) safety is not their strong point so Cotswold Outdoor expertise is invaluable and (ii) they are at a life-stage where disposable income would continue to increase. We helped Cotswold Outdoor engage directly with mountaineering experts and commentators to ensure they were clear that the company was not ‘selling out’, and to affirm Cotswold’s position as a retailer for experts from experts.

We developed a microsite that held a cool competition with clubs invited to submit a planned route that tested their abilities with an emphasis on safety. The prize was £1000 of Cotswold Outdoor kit and training and accommodation with partners Plas-y-Brenin – this affiliation further amplified the non-commercial element of the safety message. The website exceeded its objectives in targeted visits, a large portion of which came from emails. The success of the emails was apparent with many university clubs linking through to the site. Visitors who came from the UKC website via the banner, arrived at an above-average click-through rate, and an extra 5% visits were achieved from people clicking through from club links. This has provided a strong member-get-member opportunity.

and what about technology-powered marketing?

We used Wordpress for simplicity and integrated a flash banner to generate click-throughs from the UKC website. The banner outlined the Stay on the Edge competition and invited visitors to find out more. To raise awareness an email was sent out to 150 mountaineering clubs across the UK, detailing the competition and introducing the site. The campaign was also referenced in Cotswold Outdoor’s regular newsletter to its database. So this was about thoughtful integration of multiple online channels.

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