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How This CrossFit Footwear Brand Raised Customer Lifetime Value 30%

Looking to expand beyond its niche in the CrossFit community last summer, Nobull teamed up with Bluecore to develop a new, retention-driven growth strategy.

Fourteen months later, the athletic footwear and apparel brand, now the CrossFit Games’ title sponsor, has both added new categories like golf, cycling and swimming, and increased its predicted customer lifetime value 30 percent, it said. Its repeat buyer rate, meanwhile, has reached 46 percent.

A retail marketing technology company, Bluecore helps direct-to-consumer brands by matching first-party shopper identity information with behavioral and product data. According to Sarah Cascone, its vice president of marketing, this includes anonymous cookies; emails and phone numbers; what consumers are searching, viewing, adding to their cart and purchasing; and the size, style, color, price and stock status of inventory at Nobull, which Reebok veterans Marcus Wilson and Michael Schaeffer founded in 2015.

“With insight into what products customers have engaged with in the past, we can predict what customers might want in the future and in the channel they’re most likely to engage—even if they have never engaged with a particular product,” Cascone told Sourcing Journal.

Even as it has added new golf, cycling and swimming categories, Nobull has raised its predicted customer lifetime value by 30 percent.

In Nobull’s case, Cascone said the two companies first worked together on expanding email personalization, beginning with behavioral email campaigns, such as cart abandonment or back-in-stock notifications. Later, they introduced personalized batch emails. These more proactive campaigns predict what shoppers will buy next based on individual preferences and what they’ve previously engaged with. With Bluecore’s help, Nobull then scaled these techniques across channels, including Facebook and Google.

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“Personalization is not about the channel, but the customers and their unique preferences,” Cascone said. “Personalized marketing means unique content, offers and product recommendations for individual shoppers based on who they are and what they interact with. And it’s more than just simply generating one-time purchases—personalized marketing will nurture shoppers into lifelong customers that buy again and again.”

Nobull’s Bluecore Communicate-powered email program drove a 92 percent lift in conversion through merchandising triggers like price drops, new arrivals and back-in-stock notifications alone, it said.

Even as it has added new golf, cycling and swimming categories, Nobull has raised its predicted customer lifetime value by 30 percent.

Beyond boosting retention and conversions as it had hoped, Nobull’s partnership with Bluecore also produced “pleasant yet unexpected” consequences, Joy Huang, director of loyalty and retention marketing at Nobull, said. Previously, Huang added, customers would receive advertisements for products and sizes that were unavailable, or for items that didn’t match their preferences. Teaming with Bluecore, Nobull was able to reduce the traffic this created in its customer-service channels.

“Our marketing can’t just be about selling; it must prioritize cultivating long-term customer relationships and community that will result in longevity for the business,” Todd Meleney, chief marketing officer, Nobull, said in a statement. “The challenge that we’ve been able to successfully address with Bluecore is our need to move at the speed of the consumer without sacrificing brand and without access to limitless resources. With Bluecore, we’re able to scale our personalized communications no matter how large our audience becomes.”

The marketing success comes as Nobull, the “brand for people who train hard and don’t believe in excuses,” according to Wilson, partnered with Exeter Capital, whose support will “propel” the label in chasing its “vast addressable market,” said Julia Adam, a founding team member and principal at the Boston private equity firm.

“Exeter proactively pursued an investment in Nobull because of its authentic and differentiated brand,” added Steven J. Collins, managing director at Exeter Capital and also a member of the founding team. “We are excited to partner with Marcus and Michael to help them further accelerate Nobull’s growth as the brand continues to expand beyond footwear and push into additional sports.”

Additional reporting by Jessica Binns.