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IKEA Adds Summer Brochure Amid North American Expansion

Swedish furniture retailer IKEA North America expects to drop its first summer brochure in four years by the end of March, targeting 10 million customers and prospects in the United States and Canada.

Building on a 12-page holiday brochure and another in February, the 52-page IKEA summer book will be complemented by 1 million e-mails to customers and a microsite on www.ikea.com for information on new products.

“This whole idea of brochures is a little bit different for us,” said Rich D'Amico, relationship-marketing manager at IKEA, Plymouth Meeting, PA. “It's something we experimented with over the past year, and it's worked really well for us.”

IKEA currently mails an annual catalog in August and September. Prices in that book hold for a year.

The $1.5 million brochure effort comes as IKEA embarks on a plan to open 50 stores nationwide and in Canada. The chain, which sells home furnishings for tightly budgeted consumers, has 15 U.S. stores and nine in Canada.

U.S. consumers will receive 65 percent of the brochures, and the rest will go to Canada. Customers account for 60 percent and prospects 40 percent.

U.S. consumers will get the IKEA brochure by mail and via a freestanding insert in newspapers. Canadians will have neighborhood-targeted courier delivery in three drops.

“It's the same way we do our catalogs [in Canada],” D'Amico said. “We don't use Canada Post; it's not the most effective way for us to do it.”

Given Canada's two-language policy, IKEA produced the brochure in English and French.

The call to action in both print and online materials, D'Amico said, is “Spring is here. It's light, it's bright, it's cheerful. People are anxious to move outside to get some sun, to begin that process of evolving a new season.”

The brochure includes lounge chairs, curtains, children's furniture, candles, terracotta pots, baskets and plants. The book also touts IKEA's PS collection, a designer line at budget prices.

“For us, it's really about getting people to the stores,” D'Amico said. “And the challenge here is to cut through the media clutter and go directly to consumers with our brand message and motivate them to come in and make a purchase.”

IKEA is trying to convert more of its consumers to communications via the Internet.

“The fact is that we'd rather e-mail, if that's what the consumer wants, than to have to mail a piece,” D'Amico said. “It's certainly a lot less expensive and a lot less intrusive to do it that way.”

For this effort, the brochure cost 10 cents to produce, and including postage and insert costs it was 15 cents to 20 cents. An e-mail costs IKEA 2 cents to 3 cents to produce and deliver.

Clicking on the e-mail takes U.S. users to ikea.com and Canadians to ikea.ca.

“The real strong direct component here,” D'Amico said, “is really the online piece of it, because as we build up our database, we get more and more e-mail addresses, so we could go right out to customers and say, 'Hey, summer's here at IKEA, click here and you can see everything that IKEA has to offer.' “

This direct push also follows a switch in advertising agency. Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, which helped IKEA distribute the brochure — creative and the microsite were handled inhouse — lost the entire ad account to Crispin Porter + Bogusky. The Miami agency will have a $40 million to $50 million budget.

Called in November, the review included presentations from Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, and Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, New York. Carmichael Lynch, which held the IKEA account for less than a year, did not participate. Pile and Co., Boston, managed the review.

D'Amico said IKEA wanted an agency to help it through its aggressive expansion plans for the United States and Canada. Direct marketing will play a more prominent role than before, he said.

“We've sort of turned everything upside down now,” D'Amico said. “We know that we have budget framework parameters. Relationship marketing is the opportunity we have to bring the brand to individuals.

“We want to continue to build relationships one-to-one with consumers,” he said, “so we know direct and interactive will play a key role in that. We just don't know what yet.”

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