blog | 4 min read

Customer Spotlight: Melanie Allen from Brooks Running

October 21, 2021

Amplifier Spotlight: Melanie Allen, SVP, CMO at Brooks Running

We're back with another customer spotlight! Our power users are always inspiring us, and we love catching up with them to learn about the magic they create with Amperity.

Melanie in five: 

  • SVP and Chief Marketing Officer at Brooks Running

  • Started at Brooks Running when Amperity was adopted and has grown with us from 1.0 to 4.0

  • Uses Amperity data to power Brooks' "runner-first" mindset

  • Applies customer data from Amperity to identify segments and personalize 

  • Loves to spend time in the snow and ski with her daughter

Can you describe your role in three words without using your title?

Storyteller, team coach, and analytics wizard.

It's been a huge year for Brooks, you crossed the $1B revenue mark, can you share more about this hyper-growth?

It's been a great year! At the end of June, we crossed the $1 billion mark on a rolling 12 months basis, and by the end of 2021, we should hit it on a calendar year. Our strategy has remained the same over the years — creating performance running gear for the runner and making the best gear possible to keep them healthy and happy.

Can you talk a bit more about your vision for runner centricity at Brooks?

The runner is at the center of everything we do and our entire organization is grounded around that goal —it’s one of the core values that inform our culture. Our purpose is to inspire everyone to run their own path that is unique to them. This unites us and has helped us toward that runner-centric mindset we've been striving to build.

We also have a whole team focused on research around biomechanics, and we open source all of that research in hopes that more brands can use it to design products that keep runners healthy while they run their paths.

What does engagement look like to you?

When we think about engaging the runner, we often think about how we have to earn the runner every single purchase. It's up to them where they choose to buy their gear, and our job is to connect with them in a way that makes Brooks the obvious choice. To us, engagement means that we've resonated with them and met their needs.

Brooks was an early adopter of Amperity and a CDP. What led you to that initial investment?

I actually joined Brooks around the same time we were partnering with Amperity. We had this problem of having data everywhere. We had it from different sources, nothing was connected, and it was all in different formats. So we couldn't even answer easy questions that we should have been able to, like what our runners were buying!

How has your use of Amperity changed over the years?

We began with ingesting customer data safely and securely. Once we felt good about where the data was housed, the next step was analytics. We found that the amount of data we had was really overwhelming, and we don't have data scientists or a big data analytics team, so we didn't have a way to look at the data. Luckily, we were beta for AMP IQ, which essentially gave us data science for marketers — helping us understand segmentation better. 

Because of AMP IQ, we are now able to take personalization to all of these different channels and start to learn and test. So that's been a huge win for us.

How would you describe how the day in the life of a marketer on your team might has evolved since implementing Amperity? 

Our marketers used to rely on our agency partners, and have to go with their gut or whatever generic information we had on hand. It was kind of a one-size-fits-all approach, and we weren't really asking questions because we didn't have the answers.   Now, our marketers are always asking questions — how we think about the audience, the message for the audience, are we using the best channels to communicate. Our approach is a lot more sophisticated.

Can you share the role that analytics and insights has on your ability to drive personalization?

Data and analytics drives personalization, product development, and customer service across the board. We used a tool from the CDPa to map out customer data usage across different functions — it really helped us connect and see how customer data threads throughout the enterprise.

This was a key point that united us all, and expanded our understanding of the different uses of customer data across the organization, and the various viewpoints and needs to take into account. We all have to be connected, talking, and learning,  and if we're not, then we're not able to make that connection into the next step of the customer journey.

Can you share a bit about how Amperity works with your customer service platform, Zendesk? 

The connection between Amperity and Zendesk allows our customer service agents to service the runner better because they can access important information like past purchase data and preferences. 

Usually, when somebody is calling in, they have a problem with their order or they're trying to figure out what the best product is to order. Being able to reach past purchasing information easily helps our agents have a faster, more productive exchange with our runners. 

Can you tell me a bit about how you're using your customer data for your paid search program?

Thanks to personalization, we can identify different segments and analyze them separately. So, for example, if one of our runners belongs to a high value or loyalist segment, we can plug that into our paid search and create a higher bid for that consumer and that target audience. We couldn't do that before because it was above our average ROI, and we had no way of even reaching that high-value customer because we hadn't identified the segment they belonged to. Now, we can run tests easier and if we see great ROI returns on it, we lean into it. 

"Our mindset has been runner-first — and now we have all of the functions to use the data in a way that speaks to that...Amperity is really allowing us to live what we believe."

Can you share some of the results you've seen? 

We sit around the table and sometimes question, are these even real?! Our click-through rate on paid search has gone up 260% since starting with Amperity. 

How does the data you've uncovered with Amperity inform your overall business strategy and customer-centric transformation? 

Our mindset has been runner-first — and now we have all of the functions to use the data in a way that speaks to that. We see it across the whole business, not just in certain departments. Amperity is really allowing us to live what we believe. Placing the runner first was always our goal, but we didn't always know exactly how to do it. Now we actually have the operational model to do just that.

Can you share a bit about how Amperity fits into your technology stack? 

Ah, the tech stack, my favorite topic! I do feel like our tech stack is ever-evolving. We're always adding new tech and evaluating what's working for us or not. I feel like the CDP is at the center of our tech stack, and it's the middle of the sandwich. You've got all your data points that come into the CDP, which informs our marketing strategy, product roadmap, and customer service platforms.

Are there any use cases that you've seen some really stellar results from recently?

We've had some great results. I think, again, sometimes we question like, OK, is this data too good? We just continue to see growth. And when we don't see growth, we have the opportunity to learn more because we can dig into our wealth of data to identify why. Metrics that we've seen are:

  • Over 125% increase in our overall ROAS 

  • 150% average increase in our paid social engagement metrics

  • Email click-through rates 16x previous

  • Open rates 2.4x previous

    What these tell us is that our personalization engine and our segmentation from AmpIQ are working. Amperity feeds our whole ecosystem and informs how we reach runners and communicate with them. 

What's one of your hobbies outside of work?

One of my favorite activities is snow skiing, especially with my daughter … It's our winter thing to do.

Melanie Allen and friend posing with skis

Thank you Melanie!

Brooks Running is a joint customer of Amperity and AWS.

Stay tuned for more customer spotlights! In the meantime, you can check out previous installments here.