Jackson Zilko is the digital specialist for Specialized—a brand that designs and manufactures bicycles and related products. When they committed to a new digital strategy, Jackson was tasked with building out a seamless transition plan. The move to digital was a big success; Specialized saw a 7% increase in customer retention and a 25% boost in direct-traffic conversions.

We sat down with Jackson to hear his #DareToGrow story and to find out how he rode the growth speedway to success.

AdRoll: How did Specialized come to be?

Jackson: Everything started in 1974 when our founder, Mike Sinyard, sold his Volkswagen Kombi to fund a riding trip in Europe. While he was there, he saw a lot of premium cycling parts that weren’t available in the states. He put two and two together and saw a big opportunity.

When he got back, he began selling tires he constructed on his own. Before he knew it, he progressed to components and then, eventually, complete bikes. Now, 45 years later, Specialized is a global company with bikes that are ridden by world champions both on and off the road.

AdRoll: Has there been any interesting challenges during your time at Specialized?

Jackson: I came aboard at a very formative stage. The business had just taken a huge shift, deciding to heavily invest in digital, not just in boosting our online sales but also promoting retailers that stock our products. That involved us selling equipment online and capturing what our retailers have in store and making that available on our website. My job was to take care of the digital advertising side of things. I oversaw the SEM, some of the social aspects, web banners, and pretty much all the digital channels.

AdRoll: Did you encounter any challenges?

Jackson: With the new focus on digital marketing, it was apparent that there were elements that were completely foreign to me. I had no choice but to familiarize myself with concepts like audience segmentation and tailored customer journeys. I knew needed outside help.

AdRoll: How did you solve these challenges?

Jackson: AdRoll had the playbook. They spelled it out for us and helped us transform our creative strategy. They envisioned what ad creative should look like and the variations in which we should be running with that.

They also helped us from a targeting perspective. We saw a great return on our advertising spend and learned which ads resonate with our riders. By dicing up our audiences into different segments, we were able to cater our marketing specifically to them. As a result, we’ve been better able to tailor our messaging and creative to our customers.

AdRoll: What was the outcome?

Jackson: Our site loyalty rate increase by 7% month-over-month and our direct traffic conversion rate increase by 25%. These were encouraging signs and validated our investment.

AdRoll: What did you learn from this experience?

Jackson: With these metrics in mind, we now know that we really should’ve jumped on earlier and employed these digital tactics at a much earlier stage. Things move fast; you need to agile and flexible.

We’re always adapting and evolving as a company, and we’ve incorporated that same mindset with our digital marketing strategy. We’ve adopted this mindset. I think is best summarized by a Tour de France winner, Greg LeMond, who says, “that it never really gets easier, you just get faster.”

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