Meet the Robotproof Leader: An Interview with Matt Robison About Boosting Product Sales
Matt Robison is the Founder & CEO of a marketing agency called Robotproof. The company is aptly named because he has a unique perspective on how to boost product sales by entertaining and engaging humans — and training the people who sell to them — at multi-location retailers.
Robotproof’s primary focus is experiential marketing — physical, digital, and omnichannel.
Robison’s background led him to start the agency. Having run global strategy for the Beats audio brand at Apple, he founded his own company three years ago to use his knowledge of human interaction to boost product sales at the retail level.
Apple purchased the Beats brand for over $3B, so boosting product sales was imperative. Through that experience, Robison learned that broad-reach ad campaigns and PR are great at building awareness but that moving products at the retail level was vital.
When Robison went out on his own, the pandemic was just beginning. So, he capitalized on the timing to build his agency’s Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) muscle. Apple and Samsung were among Robotproof’s first clients and he is now working with a wide range of innovative start-ups as well as Uber.
Samsung has five branded “Experience Stores,” but they largely depend on other resellers (big box electronic stores, phone stores, etc.) to sell their products. So, we asked Robison, how can a strong brand rely on multiple locations to market its brand and remain consistent across a wide range of storefronts?
Robison offers up his three time-tested strategies for ensuring a brand stands out among a sea of other attractive products.
Of course, knowing where to buy a product and whether it’s in stock is the first step. Millions of dollars in ad campaigns will go wasted if the consumer can’t try and buy what they’re looking for.
Then, at the retail level, these basic principles are essential to completing the customer brand experience, according to Robison:
- The more visual, the better. Limit narrative content. Especially when selling an electronics product, speak to the consumer experience in compelling and graphic ways. This principle of good retail is, perhaps, more important than ever before.
- Demos are essential. Salespeople must be huge fans of a product to sell it to the consumer effectively. In one of Robison’s campaigns, the brand gave away a pair of headphones to every salesperson who sold five. “Learn, sell, and earn!” Robison reinforces. “The salesperson’s personal story will carry 10 times the weight of any form of advertising.”
- Get consumers to connect with what’s important to them. Do not over-emphasize “the single reason to buy.” For example, Beats buyers are often music lovers. They don’t need to understand all the functionalities of their listening devices. They need to know that Beats will make music sound better. Robison points out that electronics brands often get overly consumed with the features and functionalities of their products rather than the end consumer benefit. One of the challenges in the retail environment is that salespeople don’t have demographic and attitudinal details about shoppers. So they must be trained in active listening skills and tailor their sales pitch to the consumer’s needs and passions. For example, if someone has sight issues, the ability to adjust font size on a phone is critically important to them and can help close a deal. Packaging can also play a role in consumer targeting. Robison points out that the Beats box focuses on how music will sound rather than the device’s features.
Says Robison, “VR is becoming a big part of store staff training. It’s more engaging than traditional training methods and can lead to better retention.”
Robison educates brands on the importance of “planning for scale” from Day one. A great ad campaign will fall flat if it doesn’t work at every retail touchpoint. Sales leaders and merchandising managers need to be at the table when in-store marketing is in its planning stages.
Retail staff also needs a certain level of autonomy and involvement when campaigns are rolled-out. Their consumer feedback can also be invaluable in planning next-generation marketing campaigns and product development.
Although someone may start their shopping journey with a simple search, the experience they find at the retail level can make all the difference in brand loyalty — no matter where someone buys the product.