Buzz marketing challenge


Communication
Image credit FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is the true story of a successful buzz marketing campaign. In this blog I will review the campaign from start to finish. From the starting scenario through the criteria that needed to be met, the planning, implementation, execution, results obtained and lessons learned.

The lessons are valuable, and the story itself contains a great amount of information that may help you determine how to run a great buzz marketing campaign and get your customers talking about you and your products in a positive way. Because of this I have broken it down into three parts. So let’s start with part one.

Setting the scenario. We operate in an established industry, with increasing competition, reducing margin, a discretionary spend bulky goods product, we are in the furniture retail trade…. overall the industry has stagnated and is declining for 2 main reasons.

Firstly, the large major players of the industry, with their substantial marketing budgets control the communication mediums through their never ending barrage of repetitive messages of cheap finance and secondly, all of the independents are competing for the remaining market share with small and insignificant differentiation of offers. Most of these independents are trying to compete with the loud repetitive message by discounting and mainly using the print medium of local press to get their product message out. This just wasn’t working for anyone.

In reviewing the bigger picture, to stay competitive these independent furniture retailers must do two things. They need to break through the media barrage and stand out of the crowd of mediocrity.

For any independent this is a big marketing challenge. What would you do?

This is the story of one marketing campaign implemented by Furniture Direct and designed to break through the barrage of repetitive messages, stand out above the rest of the competition and increase sales through better awareness of their product and services.

The challenge is set.

Most retail consultants will tell you that you need to get your customers to come back and purchase again. That is all good and well if your product is seasonal or a higher turnover item. If your offer and service is acceptable to the market, your customers will come back and buy from you again. With furniture retail the concept of repeat customers is valid, however, they may not come back for 5 or even 10 years. Repeat customers are a great area to focus your marketing efforts, but with furniture you have a substantially extended timeframe between return purchases.

We were working with a small marketing budget, relative to the large players of the industry and we wanted to create a new marketing campaign that addressed the issues we were facing in the industry. The first thing we did is set the goals of the campaign… not the monetary returns we wanted to achieve but on what the campaign itself was to achieve. We knew we had a great product and great service, but we also knew that our message wasn’t getting through as it was being crowded out by all the noise from the rest of the industry.

We needed to get our message to prospective new clients. Our message had to be consistent and ongoing for a period of time. We wanted to develop a marketing campaign that would make Furniture Direct stand out from the crowd. We wanted to find another way to get our message to our prospective customers. We realised that the best communication medium for us would be word of mouth or buzz. We needed to get our existing customers talking about us in positive terms in a big way.

The big question is how?

In part two of this blog we look at how we conquered this challenge.

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