Shares of footwear designer Crocs (CROX 5.37%) put on their running shoes this morning, rising as much as 4.5% on fairly average trading volume.
The catalyst for Crocs' big move is somewhat unusual. The company just elevated Andy Sackmann from VP of marketing to the C-suite title of chief marketing officer.
Why is this seemingly minor adjustment of Crocs' marketing department such a big deal? The answer is twofold, I think.
First, Crocs' business is very much driven by marketing and brand image. There's no shortage of copycats and wannabes who offer similar products, often at a lower price. So hammering home the message that Crocs is different and better is a crucial part of the company's sales strategy. We've seen this film a million times before, just not too often in the casual footwear market.
Second, Sackmann has been doing a heck of a job so far. In every earnings call since his VP appointment two years ago, upper management comes back to "effective marketing programs," successful campaigns with an emotional message, and a rising focus on social and mobile promotion. These plaudits run right through Sackmann's office, particularly the digital components where he personally held the reins.
Sackmann's predecessor, fellow digital media expert Andrew Davison, didn't exactly do anything to lose his job. He certainly played a large part in all these positive brand-boosting activities, being Sackmann's immediate boss and all.
But the company is ready for a tighter focus on digital and emotional marketing, and it looks like Sackmann's the better guy for that position. Expect a louder Crocs presence in social media from now on, as Sackmann's style takes hold.
Investors sure seem to agree with that conclusion today.