Talkoot + Dr. Martens

Dr. Martens writers get to focus on cool shoes instead of making sure their Excel cells are correctly formatted.

Executive Summary

Makers of the iconic British boots with the air-cushioned sole, Dr. Martens is a brand with a devoted fan base and deep cultural ties. When the opportunity arose to work with them, Team Talkoot jumped at the chance.

Like pretty much everyone else, Dr. Martens had been dealing with the rapid growth of ecommerce. Fewer consumers were arriving to their stores to check out the products; instead, they were visiting stores to try on styles they had already seen (and researched extensively) online. This meant it was more important than ever to provide accurate, informative and branded digital content. Dr. Martens understood the value of their PDP content, but relied on existing technologies to manage the complex content creation process, which was painful in more ways than one. We’ll explain those in just a minute, but for those of you who want to skip to the ending:

Dr. Martens’ best practice process now includes:

* Ability to work faster and happier together

* Increased accuracy due to copy and project guardrails

* Increased visibility into process and copy

* Increased consistency and reduced redundancy

* Ability to create more channel-specific content

* Increase in YOY sales

 

Now, back to those pain points.

Writing in Excel sucked.

Dr. Martens has a relatively small product range. It might seem like a company with only 700 styles per season could manage its product copy in a single Excel sheet. But even at this size, writing product copy in Excel is like using a toothbrush to sweep a gym floor.

Excel was never designed as a writing tool. A simple move like creating a paragraph break within a cell requires a series of finger gymnastics that varies from computer to computer. But, sadly, Excel has historically been the default for product copy.

Most writers are not known for their Excel skills (sorry, but it’s true). An errant copy/paste or one slip of a column sort could set in motion a cascading series of errors, leading to a lot of head-scratching.

“I recall one time someone had sorted a column not realizing that only that column sorted. When the file was re-imported, all our models were mixed up. The fix was very manual and very tedious.”

– Allie Kolb, Dr. Martens’ Ecommerce Merchandise Manager

To avoid writing in Excel, the Dr. Martens’ writers would copy-and-paste the source material into an MS Word doc, write the product copy, then copy-and-paste it back into the Excel sheet, then email that version of Excel back to the manager who then routed it for feedback, rewrites and approvals. Ouch!

For Dr. Martens, getting the heck out of Excel and into a tool that was designed for writers by writers was a game-changer.

Talkoot has a couple of different views to work in. One is our writer workspace; this is a clean page with just an image, product info and a place to write.

Another is Job View, for those times when you need to work quickly on many models at once. It’s a smart grid that is super flexible, powerful, and easy to navigate and write in, and you can import data to and from Excel.

 

Ugh. Those darn rules! For example:

Amazon needs a copy description and 3-5 bullets minimum with a 250-character count max.

A “z-welt stitch” is always written with lower case z, unless at the beginning of a sentence.

Keeping track of and implementing these types of rules was beyond painful for Dr. Martens, especially when rules changed after the product copy was finalized. Arrrgh.

Thankfully, Talkoot’s editing tools (like preset word counts, hyper-smart spell/brand check, speedy find-and-replace and helpful search tools) have made life so much easier. Now, when the legal team wants to make a change to previously written copy or current copy, it doesn’t feel like a punishment.

“When I think of the many time savers in Talkoot, word count comes to mind. It’s not necessarily a time saver in the moment, but the fact that I can write knowing that I’m not exceeding a rule has all but eliminated getting that last-minute call because the copy is getting cut off on the eCom site.”

– Laura Shinn, Dr. Martens’ Copywriter

Multiple channels? Oh my!

Writing copy for multiple channels in Excel sheets made it challenging for Dr. Martens to keep the copy consistent and accurate across those channels.

There was no easy way to cross-reference product data or view how a product was described in past seasons or channels.

Talkoot allows the team to see a quick view of previously written copy for each product, so the team is singing from the same songbook no matter what copy channel they are writing for.

“It’s clear that Talkoot was designed by writers for writers. It warms my heart knowing that.”

– Laura Shinn, Dr. Martens’ Copywriter

Redundant work makes writers and product managers sad!

Each season, Dr. Martens folks used to have to either dig through folders and files, hunting for last year’s copy to carry over, or just start from scratch, which was a huge waste of time and effort for everyone involved.

Now with Talkoot’s carryover functionality, they simply migrate carryover copy to the new season’s job and update the copy according to whatever is new. (Insert smiley team face here.)

 

Brace the team – it’s time to route copy for feedback.

One of Dr. Martens’ favorite aspects of Talkoot is the smooth collaboration it has brought to their teams.

Before Talkoot, when it was time to route copy for feedback and approvals, it was a nail-biting affair full of errors and redundancies. Dr. Martens struggled with the back-and-forth using Excel sheets with multiple versions and emails for routing. They lived in constant fear that feedback was being missed or the wrong version was being used.

Now, the intuitive flow and constant visibility of the copywriting process removes this fear and reduces the time spent figuring out what needs to be reviewed and rewritten. They can focus on their to-do list and get that copy to market lickety-split!

“I used to double check every product because it was unclear if I’d missed something. The feedback loop is so clear now I only need to spot check copy, but even that is less and less as I slowly recover from old fears.”

– Allie Kolb, Dr. Martens’ Ecommerce Merchandise Manager

Hello product copy. It’s me, the writer.

Like many brands, the US Dr. Martens team has just one writer tasked with creating all of the copy for the brand. (Insert tears here.) She used to be the lone soldier out tracking down data, talking to product managers here and there, and working in isolation. She often spent more time tracking down info than actually writing.

She also tended to feel a lack of community or team support in her role. And those working with her lacked visibility into her work, so they couldn’t easily offer help when needed.

Now, having all the product info, images and previously written copy in one place she can focus on writing, which (surprise!) has increased the quality of their content. The rest of the team has visibility into the work and can dive in to help out and answer questions when needed. The overall happiness factor for the team has increased dramatically, which we are so proud to have helped with.

Super fast set-up? No problem.

Dr. Martens had data in a few older systems as well as images in a DAM and wanted to get up and running fast. We used Excel exports of their data along with the image URLs and uploaded it all into Talkoot to get them started. This took about a day, since we were focusing on only a few projects and the team didn’t need to have too much data in Talkoot.

We also discussed their current process and how best to translate that into Talkoot’s workflow. Once that was established, we trained them on each of their roles and they were off to the races!

We always provide got-your-back support, but in addition to that we did a full workflow review and training about six months after they got started, so we could

nip and tuck the process to make sure everyone was working together as smoothly as possible.

Now, almost two years since we started working together and after a lot of system changes on their side, we might be doing integration, which is so exciting! If all goes well, Dr. Martens will use our Restful API to connect their product management tool (PPM) to Talkoot so data can flow into Talkoot from PPM and copy can flow out to their ecom platform (Hybris) by way of PPM.

And one final happy note.

Thanks to all of the improvements that Talkoot has brought to the Dr. Martens copy process, their year over year sales have increased, and they attribute part of that growth to in the increase in quality and quantity of their product copy. Yay!

“Our sales have increased YOY, as our old copy that was used on our product detail pages used to also be the same as our catalog copy. So the quality and ability to produce more copy has helped with our sales increase.”

– Allie Kolb, Dr. Martens’ Ecommerce Merchandise Manager

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