By Leah Gross—By design, marketing campaigns aim to attract customers, increase sales and generate profits. Problem is, no matter how much research and preparation are done ahead of time, they don’t always deliver on their promises. As one of the biggest and most important investments a company can make, doing your best to ensure the desired outcome is essential, especially in this uber-competitive economy.
It was a common belief historically that the nature and degree of promotional activity was driven by market knowledge with a blend of experience and a dash of gut feeling—that does not fly in today’s business landscape. Consumers today have high expectations, and their behaviors are unpredictable. The retail market now faces increasingly stiff competition as shoppers are flooded with promotional offers—all designed to drive traffic.
How do you break through the clutter? What are the best ways to influence behavior and move a consumer to purchase? For most businesses, especially the larger ones, marketing promotions are a fluid and constantly changing process that continually stay in motion.
FCNews reached out to several retailers across the country to answer those questions and uncover some of the best and most successful marketing promotions. Following is a sampling of some of them.
PROMOTE YOUR BIRTHDAY
Fike Bros Carpet One Floor & Home Yeagertown, Pa.
Fike Bros Carpet One Floor & Home in Yeagertown, Pa., celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. Playing on that theme, the company offered $40 one-room or whole-house carpet installations, $40 one-room or whole-house window treatment installations and 40% savings on select hard surface flooring options. “We designed our March marketing campaign around our anniversary and took a birthday celebration approach,” said Jessica Fike Pheasant, owner. “We also offered 18 months 0% interest on all purchases and, of course, a ‘birthday gift’ to everyone who entered the store. The 18-month, 0% interest was a huge driver.”
To promote the campaign, Fike Bros did a targeted direct mailing with an oversize postcard that featured different offers and nostalgic pictures illustrating the store’s history. “We also supported the postcard with social media posts and an email to our customer list,” Pheasant added. Meanwhile, back in its showrooms, the company decorated using the birthday party theme with balloons, party hats, streamers and such.
Pheasant noted that the store’s 40th anniversary celebration was an extremely successful campaign. “2020 was the year that didn’t count, as we were shut down early in the year. So, looking back to 2019, we did a 350% increase in residential sales and the best part is our average ticket more than doubled! We found with this sale, customers purchased better quality and added on more areas of the home.”
ALWAYS STAY TOP OF MIND
Petersen’s Carpet & Flooring, Frederick, Md.
According to Sarah Ruckert, assistant sales manager, the store’s most successful marketing promotion is an ongoing one—not a single event, ad or campaign. “The best marketing for our store comes from connecting with our community,” she stated. “We do that with our marquee on the busy street our store sits on. Ninety-nine percent of the messages on our marquee have nothing to do with flooring, aside from the occasional flooring pun or joke. By connecting with our community in ways that touch them through humor or make them pause and reflect or just smile, they remember us when they need flooring. We also feature pictures of every marquee on our Facebook page.”
Petersen’s receives regular phone calls from people driving by thanking them for the messages on their sign, Ruckert noted. The store’s signs have even gone semi-viral on Facebook. “I had a woman stop in the store a few weeks ago who brought me flowers because she loves our sign so much.”
LESS IS MORE
Yates Flooring Center, Lubbock, Texas
No magic bullet or secret formula here. Yates Flooring has found that its long-standing excellent customer service legacy and 47-year history are the best promotional attributes it could ask for. “No amount of advertising, marketing or promotions can match the power that our reputation affords us,” said Ryan Rogers, owner. “We are so blessed to be so embraced by the community that we just do not need to do much in the way of advertising and marketing promotions. The takeaway from our success story is striving every day to deliver on customer expectations and doing whatever is necessary to keep your relationships strong. I accomplish through various low-budget advertising, which helps to keep our name fresh in peoples’ minds. Other than that, I am not doing much to reinvent the wheel.”
GO BIG OR GO HOME
Interior One, Tulsa, Okla.
Paul Johnson, owner of Interior One in Tulsa, said the store had one of its best quarters in recent history this past fall following a marketing promotion that Johnson refers to as “The Big Event”—a multi-pronged promotion in which the company doubled up on its television ad buys and radio promotions, and ran double-sided ads in a local, daily paper.
“The mix of these three media vehicles always works magic for us, so we promote with a heavy mix in these categories,” Johnson explained. “We also tap into social media, which—together with the traditional outlets—delivers extremely high impact.” As a result of the promotions, Interior One’s profits soared more than 20% over a four-day period with sales topping $500,000. “When we start preparing to do our ‘Big Event’ our manufacturer partners clamor to be included in the promotion because it drives so much traffic and is always so profitable,” he noted. “They line up to be one of the 10-15 products that we select to be a part of the event, so we have to be very picky and make sure that we are spreading the opportunities around evenly among the companies that we work with.”
In deciding on pricing for the “Big Event” promotion, Johnson said Interior One relies heavily on customer feedback. “The information that we garner from consumers who come into the store dictates a pricing strategy that we know, without a doubt will get attention, create excitement and drive foot traffic,” Johnson explained.