Callaway Golf taps external firm to develop and manage marketing efforts

Since 1982, Callaway Golf Company has been a respected and well-known premium brand in the golf industry. The company’s goal is to make the best products it can to meet the needs of golfers at different levels to allow them to play better and enjoy the game more. When the golf industry faced headwinds in 2012, Callaway ran into a rocky road and decided it was the right time to do some restructuring and shifting to maintain its position in the marketplace.

To that end, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company hired a new management team including Harry Arnett, current senior vice president of marketing, to facilitate the changes needed to regain share and influence.


“Harry’s vision of the marketing team was completely different than what we were used to and his goal was to make the brand both aspirational and accessible, which sometimes don’t go together,” says Pete Avery, Callaway’s director of retail marketing.

“He wanted the marketing team to act like a creative agency, because the people working here know golf better than any outside source and could come up with creative concepts to breathe new life into the brand. He also wanted the department to act like a newsroom and talk show, be current and topical and have the marketing staff and team pros address different issues to spread information and act as resources and be readily accessible,” Avery says.

“We execute an ongoing digital and brand strategy, have in-house camera people and editors and can gather content, do all of the production in our studio and can get things out to the public quicker than many other companies.”

Focusing on execution

Callaway decided to shorten its product lead time and introduce new items year-round, instead of just once a season. The problem was that marketing and procurement teams were stretched thin due to the company’s restructuring — just three marketing specialists managed all of Callaway’s point-of-sale in North America. This resource allocation challenge led to inflated costs and increased turnaround times.

Seeking a retail marketing execution partner, Callaway tapped InnerWorkings to manage and bring innovation to its marketing, print, displays and fixtures, fulfillment and the retail environments. InnerWorkings leverages proprietary technology, an extensive supplier network and deep domain expertise to streamline the production of branded materials and retail experiences across geographies and formats.

“Many of our clients come up with a big idea or a half-baked version of what they want to accomplish. We evaluate that idea and determine how to best bring it to the marketplace [in a way] that improves return on investment for the client,” says Ryan Cox, InnerWorkings senior vice president.

“Much of what we do for a brand is to develop the physical state. That includes fixtures, displays, direct mail, point-of-sale materials, packaging and more. We focus on the complex job of executing the program and we do it faster, better and for less cost than the client could do without us.” Cox says some things that differentiate InnerWorkings from the competition are its longevity in the market, proprietary technology, employee expertise and depth, quality of service and global presence and flexibility.

InnerWorkings’ hyper-local supply network can distribute artwork within 24 hours to more than 700 Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy stores.

“We have been doing this for over 15 years, have better technology, with experts on staff and over 1,500 employees in 62 offices globally in 37 countries,” Cox says. “That allows us to cross over verticals and industries.” InnerWorkings embeds employees at client locations to get a better handle on what their needs are and allow for easy interaction with client teams.

“It is critical for us to be on site so we can assist them on a daily basis, tell them what can be pulled off, help them with timelines and to make sure that they are grounded and everything is properly executed,” Cox says. “Our teams work extraordinarily well together in collaborating, and that allows us to work through challenges and changes as they come up in real time, ensuring we become an extension of their teams.”

Facilitating feedback

Avery says that having InnerWorkings staff housed in headquarters allows Callaway to not only get quick feedback, but also create urgency and speed up the go-to-market process.

As part of the newsroom strategy and focus on reducing speed to market, InnerWorkings leverages its national supply network, including hyper-local systems that can distribute artwork within 24 hours to more than 700 Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy stores. The strategy not only cut days from turnaround times, but eliminated up to thousands of dollars in freight costs.

“With them being onsite, it allows us to outload some of the work and our staff didn’t have to triple bid,” Avery says. “We can use InnerWorkings’ network of contacts and vendors and find out who has the best availability, cost and delivery time.” This allows Avery’s team to focus on more strategic activities and transformational approaches to retail.

An example of how the two companies accomplish goals together is the first “shop-in-shop” effort with Golfsmith stores. InnerWorkings developed and executed the program from scratch including designs, engineering, construction and delivery to the retail environments. “Golfsmith liked it so much, it gave us a larger footprint and expanded it to a wider space, which meant that the designs had to be revised with no additional time,” Avery says. “InnerWorkings finished the project on time and on budget.”

“InnerWorkings has delivered all of the items we asked with [for] cost and design savings of around 15 percent.”

Pete Avery
Callaway Golf Company

Callaway also asks InnerWorkings to design, produce and distribute the temporary launch displays for all of their new product lines. They’ve collaboratively built a process where Avery’s team shares their initial vision for the display and tasks InnerWorkings with finding innovative ways to execute it. The process is designed to share Callaway’s vision with InnerWorkings’ most creative design resources as well as third-party vendors, with the ultimate goal of identifying the most premium design that’s on brand, in budget and optimally features the product at retail.

In a recent execution for the XR line, the team engineered and built prototypes of the display before producing and shipping all 60 components to a fulfillment center where the displays were assembled and kitted, then delivered to more than 2,000 North American golf retail stores.

Sales took off — Callaway’s XR clubs quickly became the number-one selling iron in terms of dollars. However, Callaway needed to change the display’s messaging on over 10,000 points of distribution and 33,000 pieces of marketing collateral, all within 10 days. The message changing and fixture retrofitting was all accomplished on time.

“We have partnered with InnerWorkings for three years and they have delivered all of the items we asked [for] with cost and design savings of around 15 percent,” Avery says. “From where I sit, we didn’t have the speed to market that we should have had. They provided that, along with partners who are in our building, give us feedback, understand our culture and are part of the team.”

This article was published in the November 2016 issue of STORES Magazine.