Integrated Marketing Communication Plan The Comfort Center Olivia Dowling, Sarah Frank, Dennis Moore, Walker Pratt, T.J. Simpson
Executive Overview This IMC Plan will show how we have analyzed the needs of The Comfort Center in their promotional mix and have found solutions we believe will meet and go beyond the criteria.
Gather a larger market share in the St. Joseph area; increase local sales over the next fiscal year. 2 Increase awareness of the personal touch of the local family business that knows their community. 3 Implement tracking tools to measure success rates of advertising and marketing campaigns.
Company Analysis Company Mission The Comfort Center has been serving the community since 1981, now located on the North Belt Highway of St. Joseph, MO. As a family-owned business, The Comfort Center focuses on high quality and personal service on luxury items like pools, spas, and fireplaces. Communication Goals In this IMC, our goal is to communicate the uniqueness of this luxury pool company. We will communicate this by showcasing the expertise of the staff and the exclusive edge The Comfort Center offers through awareness promotional tools. We want to emphasize the personal touch of the opportunity to meet the business owner on your own lawn. Budget for IMC We have $500 to implement our integrated marketing strategy for The Comfort Center.
Situational Analysis Issues that might directly impact on the communications strategy The time that someone would need to implement and maintain the metrics and promotions strategies this IMC proposes. A relatively small budget that relies on the co-op return on investment in direct mail. Geographic Analysis The majority of customers to The Comfort Center are in Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. There are few customers in St. Joseph. Most of these customers are lawyers and doctors (especially from Heartland Hospital), and the number one customer group are farmers. The demographics of current market include those in the age range of 45-65 and who have an income of $50K and above. Competition Analysis The St Joe based competition itself is not very threatening, most of the competition comes from out of town. The out of town competition should push The Comfort Center to market themselves as a local St. Joe business to eliminate the out of town threat. All of the competition of The Comfort Center have a website and unfortunately a lot of the websites are better. These competitors are beating The Comfort Center with their webpage marketing and the way to beat that is to strive to have the most attractive web page in the market. Competitors tend to leave out several expenses in the marketing process to try and pull the potential customer in with low price. The Comfort Center needs to address the fact that there are no hidden costs when buying a pool from them, the price you see is the price you pay. 5
One company The Comfort Center should look at is Family Leisure in Kansas City. They are a bigger company based on the presentation of their website but they could serve as a great example of what The Comfort Center’s website design could look like. The presentation of Family Leisure’s webpage gives them the high quality look that The Comfort Center is aiming for. SwimThings Inc. is another competitor that currently has an advantage that The Comfort Center should try to eliminate. SwimThings Inc. does a fantastic job of selling the “package deal” that gets customers to envision their products as a whole new package which in our opinion is better than simply buying a pool or a pool supply from a company. A customer buying a whole package not only leads to higher sales but will make the customer more eager and excited to spend a substantial amount of money to transform their backyard weekend plans.
IMC Objectives Objectives of this plan include:
To analyze The Comfort Center’s competitors and outline important points our client should be aware of. To update owned media in a way that will create a great brand experience with the customers and will initiate sales and a larger customer base. To address some ideas for marketing campaigns for The Comfort Center. To introduce some small considerations that our client can implement at very little cost that will raise the attention to detail in the store environment
Target Audience Key Messages Families & Retirees are Large They have good spending power Two Groups Can Be Narrowed Based on Needs Needs Need to Be Appealed to in Advertising Primary Audiences Families with Children and Retired Couples are the biggest target group with a decently high spending budget in St. Joseph. This lays an emphasis on pools and spas. Fireplaces could appeal to a lower spending audience and the regular audience. Based on average St. Joseph incomes and ages, an increase in spa sales should be feasible. The chart below shows the Zip Codes in the immediate St. Joseph area that have a decent number of households within the target income. 7
The projections for sales are very hopeful. While the median income in St. Joseph is only $38,000, the median house value is around $97,000. This shows people are willing to invest significantly higher than their income. This excludes many outliers who have a very large income and should be in your target market.
Relevant Target Audiences we have determined: Dollar General Interested in pools, will definitely have to finance a fiberglass long term Fireplace will appeal to increase home value Mid-Lifers Want to feel young, this might involve purchasing a pool or a newer fireplace. Large Interest- Spas Appeal to health interests, including arthritis and insomnia Rekindle Romance Safe Family Fun Safety- Vinyl pools should be strong with safety benefits Fun- Show Vinyl Color variations and additions- diving boards, basketball hoops, ect. High Roller These guys need the package deal and image Fiberglass pool with spa and outdoor fireplace Want to have a nice setting for dinner parties and other events Packaged image will curtail their perception of your quality 8
Athlete’s Paradise Athletic families Health Benefits of spas and a pool should sell on its own
Promotional Mix Owned Media Website Update the look of the company website to make it more modern and user-friendly since it looks dated compared to other pool websites. Suggestions include finding softer color palette for background colors and layout colors. Make content neater, cleaner, and less cluttered. Add buttons for following The Comfort Center on Facebook and Instagram since those are the two important forms of social media to stay updated on. Add an email subscription section to start collecting a database for customers and followers of The Comfort Center. Add drop-down menus for the navigation bar which can be labeled Home, Products, Services, Our Story, Contact Us. Make sure to make pictures and videos hyperlinked so that they click through to certain pages. Place all supplier names and websites not on the homepage but on a separate page and go into greater detail about which products from suppliers they carry because it is unclear; this can be done by showcasing pictures of the products The Comfort Center does carry and making sure that the click through to the supplier websites do not navigate away from The Comfort Center website. Being clear about the specific spas and pools The Comfort Center carries will help those who go to the website stay interested by browsing their purchase options. This will also prevent potential customers from going to other pool websites where they might see examples of products and have a better experience with that company and so buy from them. Obtain permission of the suppliers to use pictures of the products from them would be beneficial since the suppliers have some photos that have good appeals for the target markets.
Use testimonials from customers who drive all the way from the Kansas City area to get their pool supplies at The Comfort Center to enhance the quality found here in St. Joe. Increase awareness of the knowledge of the staff at The Comfort Center by showcasing their expertise. Create a page on the navigation bar called “Meet the Experts/Staff” and have little bios about each employee promoting them as an expert you will encounter at your visit to the store. In updating the website through the website provider, it is important to invest in search engine optimization; include keywords in the code of the web that will enable potential customers to find The Comfort Center when looking for good service in a family owned pool company. This would be implemented through Hibu, the current web design provider. A website update through them would include search engine optimization for Google and Yahoo, and a design update may include the features mentioned above. Social Media: Facebook and Instagram Keep the Facebook page active and updated. For creative content on the page, make statuses about new things in the store, adding pictures of what has changed. Share small stories from the staff’s lives that will give that personal touch to the business. When a project is underway, try to get the permission of the client to take pictures of the progression and post them as they work. Before and after pictures are important to show the improvement The Comfort Center makes on a home. Pictures of the employees help to improve the family image of the business. To engage customers, like photos of the pools the business has installed, and thank clients who’ve come in to an experience at the store. An instagram page can be beneficial for the company. It is free to set up and it can be a great way for customers to see beautiful work that they would want done in their backyard. Pictures that are posted to Facebook can be posted to Instagram as well and can be referenced by the Facebook page. Customers will get a feeling that the company 11
is involved in their customers’ lives if they are posting to multiple pages and can show how modern The Comfort Center is. Store Atmosphere Revamp the floor layout of The Comfort Center. Currently, when a customer enters The Comfort Center, a check out desk is ten feet in front of the store. To the left there are accessories, chemicals, and a water test area. This creates a quick circular trip for pool/spa owners to pick up any chemicals and accessories without even looking at ¾ of the store. We propose all chemicals and accessories should be moved to the back wall, causing all customers to walk through the store. If additional hot tubs were displayed with water in them and some margarita glasses with margarita mix to the side, this would enable customers to imagine the luxurious experience they could have if they decided to invest in the spa. The placement of the fully functional pool could be moved closer to the front of the store. A mixture of light music during in the background would also improve the customer’s experience. For instance, investing in a Pandora business account and playing “tropical” music would encourage customers to linger while looking at luxury items. Employee The budget allows for $275 per month bonus salary to an employee of The Comfort Center who manages the social media pages either daily or a few times a week as needed. Paid Media Radio The radio advertisement needs to convey a message that will make the listeners wonder why they haven’t thought about The Comfort Center earlier. In the message they need to question the listeners why they would leave St. Joe to look for pool. The message has to remind them how simple it is to find the listeners dream pool or spa right 12
here in St. Joe. After reminding them of the quality pools and spas available in St. Joe they need to make a point of telling the listeners that by staying local right here in St. Joe they are going to be dealing with quality employees in a family business to find a high quality pool or spa. The last point the message should convey is that The Comfort Center does not have hidden costs like the rest of the competition. “The price you see is the price you pay”. Facebook Advertising Campaign Facebook ads are usually a simple picture accompanied with text, with the goal to encourage a specific action from the viewer. The two options that would work best, either promoting clickthrough to the Comfort Center website, or promoting the Comfort Center facebook page likes. The text and image should coincide with the goals for the other advertising campaigns, namely promoting local quality. Facebook is a great choice because of the ability to track its effectiveness, and that the company is billed only when the ad is effective, or when a viewer performs the action promoted. The initial amount we suggest is a fairly low number, but has an effective reach of 13,000 within our target market, as well as the option of being able to increase spending at a later date. Earned Media Yelp Update pictures and information on Yelp. When a customer buys, ask them to give a review so that the business can continue to know what customers think and can improve as needed Posts on Facebook Any time someone posts something, tagging The Comfort Center or referencing their pool provided by The Comfort Center, that is publicity for the company. This is good earned media for the company and stems from a good experience supported by the owned and paid media.
Communication Vehicles Social Media Facebook Facebook provides a great marketing opportunity for relatively low price. With Facebook advertising we are not only getting a low price marketing tool but we are also utilizing a very measurable marketing tool. Facebook’s measurability in their advertising is going to provide us with very valuable data for our future marketing plans. Instagram Instagram is a very simple and free way to show off quality work that the Comfort Center provides. This is an excellent opportunity to give potential customers a preview of what they could experience by coming into The Comfort Center. Having an instagram is another way of showing that The Comfort Center is modern and up to date with the online social world. Website The website is going to be one of The Comfort Centers most important marketing tools. Anytime somebody hears about a company they are most likely going to go home and check out the website. The quality of the website is going to be very important in giving the potential customers a good first impression of the business. Radio Radio advertising is very important in catching the attention of potential customers. Our message in our radio media is going to attract the listeners to our facebook, web page, and ultimately into the store. 14
Additional Tools to Advance Communication Vehicles Hootsuite Hootsuite is a website that will assist in our social media marketing. The free version is going to be a very useful tool for The Comfort Center to use. This social media tool is a fantastic way to manage more than one social media platform at one time and also provide measurability which will benefit the business is future marketing. MailChimp MailChimp is an online tool that will help us build our emails to customers. The free version is going to allow us up to 2000 subscribers which is plenty for the business right now. This will help the business send more attractive and informational emails to drive subscribers to check out the new website or revisit the store if they are prior customers.
Promotional Budget Facebook ● Advertise through Facebook ads, totaling $39 Radio ● Advertise through two 30 second ads on KKJO-FM in the 5PM to 7PM slot three days a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, costing $31, totaling $62 per day and $186 per month, with the possibility for frequency discounts upon request. Pandora for Business ● Cost for personalizing music station to play in store, total $24.95 per month. Salary for Media Manager ● Salary for new employee to handle increased work and traffic on Facebook and website, as well as email subscriptions to a newsletter, totaling $275per month Website Update ● Website design service through Hibu one time cost of $799. Total Costs ● Monthly: $524.95 ● One time: $799
Conclusion The Comfort Center has a $500 budget that will be used for various important promotional tools to help enhance the story it has to tell. We first suggest investing in a one time cost of $799 to update the website; the importance of updating is key to the experience potential customers will have when they visit the website. The content has to fit what they are looking for in quality product and personal service. All other promotional tools we have suggested are designed to bring customers to the website for the final research moment before paying a visit to The Comfort Center. Some tools will help build an online presence that can be accessed by the potential customers our advertising tools will target in the St. Joe area. Including the salary for the employee to manage these tools, the $500 budget will be met. We believe the Integrated Marketing Communications Plan we have presented will meet the Marketing Objectives of increasing awareness of the business’ uniqueness against competitors and gathering this awareness in the St. Joe area, and implementing tracking tools that will enable The Comfort Center to see the effectiveness of campaigns.
Resources Mailchimp Hootsuite Facebook
mailchimp.com hootsuite.com facebook.com/Ads
Marketing Project worked on during Undergraduate Marketing Degree.