What started as a conversation on a staircase in 2016 about helping hockey players level up their game because of the phenom Connor McDavid turned into the creation of Roket Gear. Fast-forward 5 years later, Co-Founders Dr. Niz Saab and Eddie Halabi are ready to launch their unique, innovative first product, Roket Gear: Hockey Strength and Speed Training System, in 2021.
Roket Gear created the world’s first weighted hockey training system. The product was backed by research and they completed initial strategic direction and branding projects. They came to Roadmap to develop an in-depth strategy to reach three sales channels, direct to consumer, retail, and an affiliate marketing program (hockey schools). To reach these customer sets we created sales and marketing plans, enablement tools, promotional items, and a website with an integrated customer relationship management system (CRM), essentially developing a comprehensive go-to-market strategy.
The project began in November 2020 with workshops to create marketing and sales plans. With the completion of that work at the end of December, the founders decided to unify their marketing efforts and engage Roadmap to project manage vendors (packaging design and creative direction) and begin projects to launch their brand with the timetables agreed to in the marketing and sales plans.
As Roket Gear did not have an online presence, the first assets that we created were all the social profiles and a landing page to drive the target audience too. This step began to build a distribution list and provide a company and product overview for end consumers and future partners and retailers. At the same time, product packaging for the pilot product order got completed. To capture the contacts for future marketing and segment the audience lists (consumer, retailer or hockey school partner), we implemented and connected the starter suite of HubSpot CRM with the intent to scale with the business.
We used the existing brand guidelines for the tone of voice with messaging, ad copy, and brand visuals. In addition, we needed more brand visuals to launch the brand, and Roadmap provided creative direction for a photo and video shoot.
We rolled all this work into an e-commerce website launched to the public to pre-order products. A paid demand generation campaign with designed ads and audience sets was created and ran for six weeks to increase brand reach. The website included automated consumer review messaging and an affiliate marketing portal for managing co-promotion and attribution for the partner schools.
At this point, Roket considered the brand officially launched, and direct selling efforts to create school and retail partnerships began.
Launching a brand is never easy, and as this project was self-funded, Roadmap was mindful of the use of funds to provide the foundation for Roket to get to free cash flow. The founders also both had full-time jobs. This project was off the side of their desk passion project, so we had to work around their availability.
All this was accomplished in the height of COVID with arenas closed and reopening, forcing continual juggling of schedules and safety considerations to get creative assets (photos and videos).
We worked with the founders to bring their vision to life, creating all the brand assets (messaging, website, CRM, pitch decks, images and video). We needed to work with the founders to "get" them as Roket Gear was more than a business. It is a passion. As a result (and as expected with new business start-ups), the founders reviewed and approved every design, social post, image, and creative idea. Ultimately this produced higher alignment with the vision to launch the brand.
An entire technology platform was needed to be created and connected to their financial institutions to manage the sales channels. The required distribution and warehousing had to be sourced and aligned with their online assets. By June of 2021, the following platforms had been implemented and integrated: Shopify E-Commerce, HubSpot CRM, Lead Dyno Affiliate platform, Stamped i.o. Review platform.
The Roket Gear Go-To-Market implementation foundation had a plan to guide and measure milestones. The founders had validated their idea with market research and then follow-up strategic planning, but they needed day-to-day execution tactics. Enter Roadmap. The first step was creating an integrated marketing and sales plan that, upon approval and adoption, provided all the timelines, budgets, requirements and expected results.
The overall plan, budget and results were measured weekly in project meetings to inform the founders and provide a forum for feedback, corrective actions, and project adjustments. This weekly pulse was necessary to drive results for a project with a short duration and large volume of deliverables.
A consistent content schedule and sharing of the founder's story occurred to build an audience. In time campaigns were woven into the narrative. All developed assets were on-brand, pitch decks, social, website, etc. The brand needed to be consistent and a continuous story in the early days of a launch. Eventually, we employed paid campaigns to reach larger audiences.
All the technology employed was scalable in capabilities and cost. To start a basic landing page and the ability to capture and segment contacts was required out of the technology platform. Scaling up included a complete CRM with marketing automation, sales quotas and service married to an e-commerce site with abandoned cart campaigns, automated reviews, and affiliate marketing. The technology platform chosen can continue to scale as Roket Gear does, matching budget and capabilities with the business needs.
For a project of this scale to succeed, there must be high workability in the relationship. Coincidentally, two Roadmap partners and the two Roket Gear founders were all graduates of the Unstoppable Conversations Being a Leader course. Additionally, all Roadmap team members have training on the course's communications principles. This shared language created a quick, concise, and clear understanding of the needs of all parties.
At the end of the engagement, the project was wrapped up and handed off to the founders, and ongoing support continues as needed.
The work results are that Roket Gear launched with an e-commerce site, integrated CRM, systems and a foundation to take the brand to the next level.
Finally, during eight weeks in the hockey offseason, a soft awareness paid campaign, plus the previous six months of social media marketing reached an impressive audience that validates the market pull for the product.