This Marketing Strategy Made Crocs' Sales Soar
Updated: Jul 11
They’re everywhere. It seems like no matter where you go—you’re sure to see them. Whether it’s the mall, your local coffee shop, working out at the gym, dining at one of your favorite restaurants, strolling the aisles at Walmart or Target, walking your dog, heck—you’re even likely to spot them at your doctor’s office.
These days, you’ll be hard-pressed to leave your house and take a trip anywhere without eventually seeing someone wearing a pair of Crocs.
If you’re one of the remaining people that have no clue what Crocs are—they’re those funny looking shoes that look like a cross between clogs and sandals.
As a brand, Crocs is currently in a position that just about every footwear brand on the planet besides Nike could only dream of—they’re one of the few fashion brands that has become a staple in society.
Crocs are either loved by those that wear them, or loathed by those that think they look hideous. However, regardless of how you may feel about the product—you’ve got to admit that Crocs, Inc. is an extremely successful brand. So much so, that the company reported record revenues of $2.3 billion in 2021.
And as with most companies that report record revenues—the impetus for the success of Crocs’ sales could be attributed to a terrific marketing plan. This is how they did it.
Is there a current television series that you love so much that you look forward to watching every week during the season it airs? If so, have you ever noticed that no matter how much you were into the show’s latest episode—you still found yourself reaching for your phone regularly to either Google something, or to check out something on one of your social media pages while viewing the show?
The reason for that is—as a society, we’ve become digitally dependent.
Whether it’s at home watching television, out at a sporting event, or even while pumping gas into our cars at the gas station—we're all attached to our phones. And better yet—we're all attached to the internet.
Which is why the astute executives at Crocs decided that in order to maximize their marketing budget—it would be best to reach consumers where they actually are the most these days—which is online. Crocs blitzed digital marketing by going all-in on internet advertising—as opposed to dividing their marketing budget on more traditional avenues of advertising like television commercials.
In an interview with Forbes, Crocs’ CFO Anne Mehlman explained the brand’s shift to focusing on digital, “A big shift in our marketing strategy last year was to shift 100% of our marketing spend to digital. This is much easier to scale on a global basis, and it also allows you to target your existing customer base and potential customers in an efficient way.”
By putting an emphasis on digital marketing and targeting consumers at the touchpoints they're attached to (even when they’re watching television)—which is the internet, Crocs was able ensure their products would be seen by their target audience on multiple occasions throughout various websites on a daily basis. Needless to say, their focus on digital has paid off big time.
Enlisted Brand Ambassadors
Although Crocs as a company had its struggles early—one of the things that has played a pivotal role in helping the company rebound was its understanding of the impact that influencers could have on a brand.
Despite what some product managers may vehemently try to rebut—I'm of the belief that any product could be sold to an audience when backed by the right influencers.
And while the funny looking footwear may not be appealing to everyone aesthetically—Crocs’ utilization of influencers across the globe has helped position their shoes as one of the trendiest products on the planet.
By partnering with celebrities like: Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Pharrell Williams, John Cena, Priyanka Chopra, SZA, Bad Bunny and many more—Crocs has been able to become a mainstay in pop culture—which always equates to added sales.
During the pandemic in 2020, just about every company around the world had to make a pivot in one way or another. Some decided to hunker down, and did things like reduce the amount of money spent on things like marketing.
While others seized the opportunity to connect with communities by doing things like increasing their manufacturing in order to provide free products to help frontline workers—which is exactly what Crocs did during the pandemic.
In an interview with TD Ameritrade Network, Crocs’ CEO Andrew Rees explained how one decision to help frontline workers during the pandemic ended up becoming mutually beneficial for the workers and the brand, “We donated a huge number of shoes, over 860,000 pairs to frontline healthcare workers—completely free to them; created a great deal of goodwill with that community, and a much broader set of people.”
In business, acts of kindness often generate the type of halo effect for brands that even the biggest advertising budgets couldn’t pay for. As was the case with Crocs. By donating nearly 900,000 shoes to frontline workers—Crocs was able to accomplish two things:
1. Crocs became the go-to footwear brand for essential workers around the world—which led to Crocs becoming even more popular the street in a world that was already veering towards a more casual lifestyle prior to the pandemic.
2. The move generated a great deal of positive publicity for the brand—which is priceless.
I’m sure you’re probably wondering, “What does a brand being benevolent have to do with marketing?” Great question! As I often say, at its core—marketing is all about creating concepts to connect with consumers.
And whether intentional or not—Crocs’ act of kindness during the pandemic definitely connected with consumers. A connection that has been beneficial for both—consumers that are fans of the brand, and the brand’s bottom line.