Commentary

A New Frenemy: The Amazon Calculus

Can your enemy ever become a friend? Yes!

Keen Footwear, for example, found that one of its strongest ecommerce days last summer was Amazon's Prime Day. So, as Kristina Smith, director, global digital ,arketing, Keen (far right), told our Search & Performance Insider Summit on Friday, "now we are going to intentionally plan for that next year. We're a little behind the times but we're getting there."

What she means is that the company is learning to work with its former enemy. Over the last several years, Amazon had been managed through Keen's wholesale team. "We left money on the table," said Smith. "There was a gap in capability. Amazon is a beast that deserves to be treated differently" from, say, Dick's Sporting Goods. 

With an 18-month-old reorganization, Smith says the brand has gone from zero to 60. 

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"We're integrating better, but still having those who's-on-first conversations. This is the first time in our history that wholesale and ecommerce have partnered this way." Calling them good growing pains, she said they are forcing the right conversations about what the strategy should look like. 

"Should it just be a new Frankenstein of individuals from other parts of the org or dedicated individuals with a dedicated P&L, a dedicated budget? I don't have the answers -- but the fact that we're asking these questions internally is a massive step in the right direction for us."

Keen is having the mindset that it is not us versus them. "It definitely helps everyone keep their sanity," Smith said. "We're trying to generate capital for KEEN with a capital K. We're making sure our KPIs are serving all parties absolutely at the starting point. Having clearly defined roles and responsibilities and clearly defined P&L are big components of what we still need to close the gap on."

Other panelists included, left to right, moderator Kerry Curran, Executive Director, Marketing & Growth, GroupM Performance, Catalyst; Mark Kapczynski, CMO, Wrench .com, and  Eric Moretti, Performance Digital Marketing Manager, The Scott's Miracle-Gro Company.

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