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Marketing is similar to rock climbing; it requires strategic thinking and the utmost focus to climb to the top. It’s also an upward struggle, especially for small businesses going up against big-box retailers with bottomless dollars.
Topo Designs — an apparel and bag company that celebrates the Colorado lifestyle — is familiar with this struggle. Although they’re rock solid in their brand identity and the quality products they offer, they don’t have the clout or budget of big companies such as Patagonia or Columbia. Despite this, they’ve emerged as a favorite among many outdoor enthusiasts.
But, how did they manage to stand out from a noisy marketplace? By developing a reliable and robust marketing strategy.
Growing up, founders Jedd Rose and Mark Hansen didn't just share a passion for the outdoors — they also shared a passion for the gear they used. They believed that outdoor equipment should be durable, dependable, and most importantly, come from a brand that connects with their customers. That's why in 2008, Topo Designs was created. Jedd took inspiration from proven classics and sewed backpacks in his Fort Collins basement while Mark sought out business partners in the Denver Metropolitan Area.
Eventually, they added apparel to their product line, and Topo Designs’ popularity reached new heights. Even with a limited marketing budget, they were able to create a loyal fan base — a testament to their high-quality products that perfectly capture the essence of Colorado.
While Topo Designs found success with their five retail locations and partnerships with other shops, they still lacked the robust retail presence and name recognition of incumbent brands like Patagonia. This obstacle posed a challenge to e-commerce sales because online shopping requires a degree of faith; buyers can't physically see or touch the products they're ordering, so they usually purchase from brands they trust.
The marketing team at Topo Designs knew that their efforts meant little unless they could build their brand presence and convince consumers to take the next step. That’s why Topo Designs decided to find a digital and growth marketing strategy partner to help widen the scope of their ad campaigns and improve their ability to track data. Enter: AdRoll Growth Marketing Platform.
With AdRoll, Topo Designs was able to understand how they were spending their advertising dollars, what ads were working, and how they could pivot and adapt their online campaigns based on consumer demand.
Here are some key learnings to ease your “climb” to the top:
Originally published on June 25th, 2020, last updated on September 16th, 2022.