Columnist Lee Schafer provides short takes on economic incentives and choices, business strategy and performance, market moves, what business leaders are saying and doing and other topics that pique his interest.

Why I really want to buy some Allen Edmonds shoes

Posted by: Lee Schafer Updated: February 14, 2014 - 1:48 PM

Sometime in the past week the thought crossed my mind that the Allen Edmonds marketing budget for 2014 had to be nearly exhausted, with more than 10 months to go in the year.

Allen Edmonds, a premium shoe manufacturer and retailer based in Wisconsin, has been on an online advertising campaign so thorough that it seemed that every website open on the screen had a small Allen Edmonds shoes advertisement.

Just a moment ago, when checking the latest stock price for Ecolab on Google Finance, right there on the right-hand side of the screen was a small announcement of the Allen Edmonds winter clearance sale.

It was the only ad on the page.

Paul Grangaard, the CEO of Allen Edmonds and a well-known executive here in his hometown, explained Friday morning that there was something fundamental about online marketing that I didn’t get. The company isn’t really advertising every day on every website in North America.

I had apparently searched for Allen Edmonds at some point using the Google search box, and Google stuck a little piece of software on my personal computer to remind it of that. To get rid of Allen Edmonds ads I would have to cleanse my Google Chrome browser of cookies, although he added that his company's Google campaign was going to be dialed back a bit, anyway.

Ah, now I get it.

That explains also why I see Volvos advertised every day all over, too, usually in a rotation with Allen Edmonds shoes.  I had once “googled” Volvos here at work for news on the expected launch date in North America of a new Volvo plug-in hybrid station wagon, and now have long since forgotten why I once considered that something worth knowing.

I’m not sure Allen Edmonds and Volvo are getting their money’s worth repeatedly advertising at my workstation. On the other hand, I really want a new Volvo and I really want a new pair of Allen Edmonds Park Avenue shoes.

And I have budget for at least one of them in 2014.

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