Buzz marketing challenge part two.


In part one of this blog I covered the issues faced by small independent furniture retailers in getting value for money in their marketing efforts. In part two we look at how the buzz marketing strategy was developed and the planning behind the campaign.

Prior to setting out to do a new marketing campaign we had improved our customer service, improved our on-time delivery, improved on most aspects of the business including new uniforms for the staff and developed a great new positive and friendly image. In a crowded industry, how do you get your customers talking about you when your offer is very similar to what all the other players can provide? It was a tough question and we needed to come up with some answers. We needed to answer this fast and take action as what we were doing was what everyone else was doing and it just wasn’t working.

In one of our regular marketing review sessions, one of the team had told us a story he picked up in a book he had read, about a restaurant that was slow and what the owner had done to get people in through the door. The story goes that the owner on his quietest night had picked a large table and told the guests that dinner was on the house. This created buzz about the event and what had happened. He picked a different table on the same night each week for a period of time and eventually through the buzz and stories that were generated by the customers who got the free meals, the quietest night become the busiest.

Based on this inspirational story we spent some time brainstorming ideas on how to create this marketing buzz as we knew this was the appropriate way to get our customers to talk about us. There were a number of things we had to consider to ensure that the campaign was a success. After a while we came up with a plan that would enable Furniture Direct to create some real buzz or word of mouth marketing and not blow out the marketing budget in the process.

The plan is set.

To define a framework on how to approach the campaign a number of decisions and assumptions had to be made up front. Any marketing campaign needs to run over a period of time so the timeframe was set for 12 months as we didn’t feel that a shorter length of time would provide any significant results. We decided to give money back to our customers and in turn we hoped they would talk to their family and friends about Furniture Direct and the experience they had with us. We also knew it would take some time for the buzz to kick in. The uncertainty was on how long this would take.

Our marketing budget was set and the money being given back to our customers had to come out of the marketing bucket. We also knew how many customers purchased goods from us each week and the average invoice value. In addition we had to have enough left in the marketing budget to ensure all the other items we needed to do to make this campaign a success could be covered. This was for new signage and support by mainstream media such as local print and radio. We felt that TV was out of the question as that medium was far too crowded and owned by the major players in the industry.

Using simple spreadsheet modeling to structure the offer, we determined half of our annual marketing budget would be given back to our customers and the other half was to support the campaign. Based on the 12 month timeframe, the volume of sales and the average invoice value we estimated each week we could give one customer their money back. The new buzz marketing campaign was set to run for 52 weeks and each week one customer would get their money back to the value of their purchase. The conditions were simple. You needed to purchase goods and you would go into the weekly draw to get your money back. We called it “Win your money back”.

In part three of this blog we will look at how the campaign was implemented and what results were achieved.

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