What: Successful offline launch of a bathroom range, generating £1 million turnover in the first year
How: Focussing heavily on the distribution network and availability with communications through print
Now admittedly, this one goes way back before we had the confidence to go it alone. But it’s well worth listing this as a case study as the main bulk (99% of what was used – with the exception of only a few only PR pieces and digital ads) was offline, in traditional print.
Not only that, but it is a masterclass in not just focussing on the promotional element of the marketing mix. To successfully launch into the bathroom distribution market meant analysing and competing on distribution, pricing, product, customer service and comms.
While working for a heating, plumbing and kitchen distributor, research showed that there was a gap in the market for a competitively priced bathroom range. Although there weren’t many competitors within this market and what competition there was, was fierce and pretty much had the whole market share within the competitively priced bathrooms sectors.
In a time when e-commerce was very much in its infancy and trading within the construction industry merchants was primarily done over emails and meetings, more traditional methods would be needed to make the launch of this new bathroom range a success.
Competitor and customer research confirmed two very important things;
The competitively priced bathroom sector was indeed ‘competitively priced’ with a heavy focus for clients being, the cheapest wins.
What was offered by competitors in terms of service and printed assets matched the low prices of the products.
This analysis provided the insights we needed to break into this market and steal market share. The strategy was to be as close to the competitors’ pricing as possible but improve on all the other factors: customer service, distribution, product quality and marketing materials.
Making sure that the correct stock was in place to fulfil the majority of orders within 24 hours ticking the box for distribution and placing orders up until 4pm the previous day for delivery the next day (at a time when telephone orders were more prevalent than online) was a huge benefit to customers.
Secondly, white-labelled products weren’t just sourced from the ‘buy it cheap, pile it high’ aisle. They were chosen to cover entry-level (for the most part), mid-range and luxury, allowing upselling and cross-selling to be done much easier than if a customer was purchasing from two or three different bathroom ranges.
And finally, the integration, the glue that held it all together. The communications and marketing literature.
Advertising space was purchased within the most popular merchant publications for a period of six to twelve months, with a heavy focus at launch. This complemented the press releases to launch the bathroom range as well as further PR later on in the year. The same style of creatives were used as had been done in previous campaigns for the company, making sure merchants linked the new range with the organisation.
The bathroom brochure (distributed to over 3,000 independent merchant stores) was followed up over the following weeks with communications via the sales team and customer service centre.
The brochure itself was designed to stand out. Most brochures were black, bland and focused on the products, whereas this brochure focused more on the aspirational side of viewing the bathroom products within a stylish setting. This was done for two reasons:
It stood out, with its lime green front cover and sleek imagery inside.
It could be used by independent merchants to show their customers and in turn end-users what their bathrooms could look like, meaning they were less likely to throw it away or use it as a door wedge!
Utilising all facets of the tactical mix allowed the launch of the bathroom range to be a success. With only a £10,000 investment, plus labour costs and other remedial charges, over a 12-month period, the product launch turned over £1 million.
Creating a unique offering, standing out from the competition and a consistent approach to communications resulted in a very successful launch.