As one of the leading home décor and gift retailers in the United States, Kirkland's has been providing customers with a broad selection of distinctive merchandise from lamps to framed art for close to half a century. Founded by Carl Kirkland, Kirkland's opened its first store in 1966 in Jackson, Tennessee, and since then has grown to include over 300 stores operating in 31 states. As a consumer-centric business, Kirkland's prides itself on developing a strong customer loyalty by offering a unique combination of style and value.
Despite always having a strong consumer following, in 2009, Kirkland's found that the traditional marketing techniques it had always relied on to engage customers were no longer producing the same positive results they once were. Instead of sinking more money into mail flyers and promotional postcards, Kirkland's decided on a new approach, jumping into the social media and e-marketing sphere with hopes of attracting new shoppers, boosting sales, and further strengthening their relationship with their existing customer base.
Vendor of Choice: RedPepper
RedPepper is a self-described naturally integrated advertising agency that develops strategies to help companies grow their brand through interactive, social, print, and video marketing tactics. As a 10 year-old firm with offices in Nashville and Atlanta, RedPepper focuses on brand identity and strategy, media planning and buying, web design and development as well as packaging, and is committed to making sure that it is always growing and experimenting with new marketing techniques and technologies.
The Challenge In-Depth:
When Kirkland's sat down to create its 2009 marketing strategy, it decided it needed to make a change. It realized that since more and more consumers were turning to the web and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with their favorite brands instead of running to the mailbox, the traditional interruption-based marketing techniques it had employed for years were no longer worth the time and money. Mark Krebs, VP of marketing for Kirkland's, explains that "we had done some direct mail, some post cards, and we really weren't getting the return for the investment. Primarily the cost of printing, but postage is killing out there today." Consumer behavior was shifting, and to be successful, Kirkland's had to find a way to keep up.
According to Tim McMullen, founder of RedPepper, the challenge Kirkland's was facing was not unusual. "The marketing landscape now changes at the speed of technology. In the old days, it didn't change that fast. Now with the consumer and technology being so integral to how marketing works, it's very difficult for companies to keep up with what they should be doing and what is going to be effective." To engage audiences today, "you've got to involve the consumer, you can't speak at them. You have to interact with them. You have to intersect with their lives, not blockade it. The days of stopping people in their tracks and making them listen to your advertising are no longer."
To accomplish this goal, Kirkland's "decided that we wanted to go down the path of e-marketing and social media versus traditional marketing," says Krebs. First though, they had to find a marketing agency that met their needs, one of which was staying close to home. "That was another prerequisite, we wanted to have someone here in town that we would be able to partner with and be able to get the service we needed." Luckily, they only had to look as far as Nashville, Tennessee to find their answer.