Lynn Gore, VP of marketing at Plow & Hearth, discusses strategy for a uniform brand message across various channels.
Q: Plow & Hearth has been in business for 30 years. How does the company continue to innovate while remaining true to its roots??
A: We retain the spirit of the original business in our products and the organization. Our e-commerce has changed and these changes happen rapidly. We recently started working with ChannelAdvisor to reach out to customers everywhere they are on the Internet and help them make the best product selection wherever they are.
Q: In your corporate mission statement, Plow & Hearth says it would like to make itself truly multichannel by serving customers through retail stores, catalogs and online. How do you do this??
A: We make sure our marketing messages are consistent. If we run a promo in our catalog, we support the promo online, in email, through affiliates and on shopping engines. Many customers prefer a catalog, while many prefer email. Lots of customers also use search. We position our communication strategy so that it’s the most efficient for a particular customer.
Q: Plow & Hearth is an eco-friendly organization, yet you do still produce catalogs. Can you explain how you counterbalance the paper used for your catalogs??
A: In addition to working with printers who produce responsibly, we also have a couple of programs for planting trees to replace those we do use. For 18 years, we’ve planted two trees for every one used in catalog production here in our home state of Virginia. For the last three years, we’ve worked on the Campaign to Reforest America. During holidays, for every transaction we donate a seedling to the National Forest Foundation.
Q: Will you continue to produce catalogs? Will you ultimately switch completely to digital? ?
A: I don’t see us eliminating catalogs in the near future. Even as more customers use the Internet, they enjoy catalogs to make their decisions. While we’ll be smart about who we mail to, we will continue to catalog.
Q: Other than catalog, what channels are included in your direct marketing mix??
A: Email and we have Facebook pages for all of our brands. We brought search engine marketing (SEM) in-house. We use Channel Advisor for e-commerce. One thing we try to do on SEM is make sure that content on the Web and wherever customers are is robust. We make sure product names are formatted for SEM, trying to ensure whatever keywords are important are promoted across channel.