How to implement a Marketing Strategy: The IKEA Case
What is a Marketing Strategy?
To keep it simple, a marketing strategy is a roadmap that indicates how to best target your audience and how to convert them into customers.
In order for your marketing strategy to work you have to answer the following questions:
What is your company’s value proposition?
What does your brand stand for?
What does your target audience look like?
What are their needs?
How do you communicate with your (prospective) clients?
With these questions in mind you will have a better understanding on how to create your advertising and PR campaigns.
This allows you to gather enough information about your market in order to make the right decisions for your strategy.
IKEA’s killer Marketing Strategy
Being one of the most recognizable brands with an iconic logo helps to understand why IKEA’s marketing strategy is a success story.
Still wondering how they have achieved that positioning? Keep reading.
IKEA prioritizes projecting a consistent brand message across all 7 elements to create a strong connection with their customers.
Nr. 1: Product - Quality meets expectations
In our current era marked by the use of disposable items, IKEA has decided to go in the opposite direction by promoting sustainability.
All of IKEA’s 9.500 products have the goal to last long and to be reusable.
The elements of democratic design include:
Form - Beautiful designs that capture the attention of the consumers.
Function - The product must have a clear purpose.
Quality - Quite simply, the durability and good condition of IKEA’s products and materials.
Sustainability - From using only the necessary materials and resources to create the furniture plus reducing the amount of waste these designs produce.
Low price - Achieving the right balance between good quality and affordable prices by looking at the materials, changing the design, or going through the production process again.
Nr. 2: Price - Affordable for everyone
The price should match the perceived value your customers have regarding your products.
By researching your target audience and creating buyer personas you can find out how much they would be willing to spend on each item.
Looking at your competition plays also a huge role if you want to get ahead of them.
You can do that by under-pricing your competitors or by making sure your products match the price point.
IKEA strikes the balance between attracting people who want to spend a limited amount for their furniture and getting enough profit for each product purchase.
The furniture retailer uses clever techniques to keep the costs low.
First, the retailer reduces its staff by letting their consumers pick themselves the items in the storage unit.
Second, selling the furniture in their individual components instead of getting them already assembled is another decision based on keeping costs low.
Third, IKEA’s pricing strategy is designed to appeal to the customer’s emotional decision-making instead of rational decision-making.
The company applies the Price Point Perspective (PPP) that makes the price of your new office chair €59.99 instead of €60.
This psychological trick makes your mind believe that you are saving money and prompts consumers to purchase more.
Nr. 3: Place - Leveraging offline and online channels
The best way to identify where to sell your products is by truly knowing about your customers.
Some key features you might look into should be where your audience spends most of their time (supermarkets, regular brick-and-mortar stores, online stores) and to analyze where they would look for your products (search engines, magazines).
One of the reasons why hundreds of millions visit IKEA stores is because of their smart positioning.
They slowly shift from their original huge warehouses outside of towns to smaller stores in the city centres to get closer to their customers and make it more convenient for them.
Regarding online channels, the furniture giant includes multiple marketing channels such as print advertising and media advertising, sales promotions, events, public relations and direct marketing.
Nr. 4: Promotion - From a picturesque catalog to creative and original ads
“Experience the power of a bookbook” is a parody of Apple in which the new IKEA catalog is presented in a funny way.
This point refers to all the marketing, advertising and sales strategies combined to reach your customers online or offline.
Each page is designed to the smallest detail and their furniture is staged in the best conditions to make it aesthetically pleasing to scroll through.
It’s undoubtedly one of their best marketing contents and focuses on telling stories about their products.
They stir people’s creativity by placing their items in such a way that it becomes a complete picture with no detail out of place.
Furthermore, IKEA’s advertisement campaigns are infused by their humour to position the brand as a casual brand and to make them more approachable.
Nr. 5: Physical Evidence - Managing a strong trust relationship
This is the aspect of your company that is perceived by your customers as legitimate and trustworthy.
This comes in two forms.
First, it is the evidence that your company exists.
Basically, everything that is created under your company's name like your logo, business card, banners, your social media accounts, etc. is proof of your company’s existence.
Second, it includes all the physical and non-tangible items showing that your customers have purchased something from you or the service you have delivered to your audience.
This can be receipts, brochures, pdfs, etc.
IKEA manages to have a strong visual presence with for example their simple but unique logo, their well-designed annual catalog and their huge bags people use for many different tasks now.
Establishing trust with your target audience is one of the most important factors that influence how your brand is perceived by the public.
Showing your brands visibility online or offline will ensure that your customers will have engaged with your company before they engage in purchasing actions.
In order to understand the different strategies that other companies have used to build trust among their target audiences, you would first need to conduct a Competitor Analysis.
Nr. 6: People - Be open for new influencers
Anyone who is directly or indirectly connected to your company is included in this category like your employees, influencers you are working with, company shareholders and so on.
It is crucial to have people working for you who have the necessary understanding of their role and received enough training to represent your company in a positive way.
This point goes further when you collaborate with influencers who are representing your brand as they can have a big impact on the type of customers they attract.
For example in this video the famous artist Zara Larsson is trying out typical Swedish snacks that you can get at IKEA.
Nr. 7: Processes - Family-friendly stores
The last element of the 7 P’s of marketing talks about the various touchpoints you have with your customers when delivering your product to the customer.
This includes examining the payment methods your customers use to purchase something, delivering your product but also more hidden processes like nurturing your customer relationships can be part of this point.
IKEA has shown with their kids-friendly manuals that they care about making the customer processes as comfortable as possible.
The company also experiments with augmented reality (AR). With the IKEA Place app, customers can visualize a new piece of furniture by using the camera of their phones.
This way, IKEA ensures that their customers prevent having a negative experience in case they find out too late that a new purchase wasn’t as fitting as they thought it would be.
Another example is their in-store layout in which they create a clear pathway with catalogue stands on the whole path to make it very easy to look up for your chosen products no matter where you are in the store.
Finally, a key component of their strategy is their facilities for children to play in while their parents are shopping for furniture, which is also a great example of customer care.
IKEA has shown over the years that they are a company that cares about providing value to their consumers and delivering a great customer experience.
The company’s marketing strategy focuses on creativity and doesn’t shy away from experimenting with new ideas.
They undoubtedly are a beacon for other companies on how to best address their target audience.
IKEA's marketing strategy goes way beyond developing quality and affordable furniture options.
They focus on creating a comprehensive experience that also includes dining and recreational options for children.
These additional customer-centric alternatives make the company a tempting choice for many families who even go to the store to enjoy these leisure activities.