D2C Growth Teardown: Tracksmith
A closer look at Tracksmith’s brand strategy and growth opportunities.
This was originally a Twitter thread. Feel free to read it there.
Okay — I need to talk about Tracksmith, so settle in.
It’s rare to come across a brand that invests so much in strong, compelling creative — especially this “early” in their growth. I say early because, damn, they ain’t playin. I’m drooling over the aesthetic:
They’ve elevated the sport of competitive running beyond performance and into the realm of self-actualization. The commitment to content is impressive and almost on its own justifies the price points. But also, check out these prices:
You’re paying to be in the tribe. And if it resonates with you, the price of admission is worth it. Even for a non-runner like me, their short films speak to the humanity behind running, motivating and inspiring you to just be better.
For D2C lifestyle brands, growth is directly correlated with the growth of the community. Obviously you need word of mouth, but also that joining the tribe is an obvious and easy choice — not a challenge.
50k Instagram followers is nothing to scoff at. I wonder how many of their fans are their customers 🤔. I’ve seen their retargeting ads on IG as well, so I’d guess the ads are performing for them.
But compare them to Outdoor Voices… They have 350k followers on Instagram and I’d be willing to bet that half are customers or intend to buy in the next 6 months.
Also, not having a presence at all on Pinterest is an… interesting decision. Brands that rely heavily on visuals to motivate purchasing decisions should take Pinterest verrry seriously… why?
Because Pinterest is full of high earners with disposable income that make purchasing decisions ON THE PLATFORM (80%+).
I think that Tracksmith will grow, and maybe challenging their potential customers is the point… positively pressuring them to be better than they were yesterday. BUT it may also limit the upside potential of the brand. Can it be a $20MM brand? Sure. How about $200MM? I guess we’ll see.
Not because of the appeal of the brand, but the price points and exclusivity factors. I read somewhere (here) that they make you verify your Boston Marathon registration to buy certain merch. High bar much?
Tracksmith elevates running as the mechanism for their differentiation. But when you’re bordering a seemingly unattainable elitism, even great photography and fire content struggles to make up for the coldness of running alone for miles. Your ability to engage authentically with your community is the lifeblood of a D2C lifestyle brand. And they all seem to have the same challenges:
Brand. Community. Accessibility.
Your eCom experience and CRO will always take a backseat to those three. Once a fan decides to become a customer, they’ll jump through hoops for you.
VC backed companies need to grow now to return for their investors. Nike and Patagonia had the benefit of time.
That’s it. See you when I write the next one, and follow me on Twitter for more threads like this :)