Staples is an American office supply company based in Massachusetts. It was founded 31 years ago by Leo Kahn. Their revenue is roughly $20 billion per year, and their profit is $380 million per year, as of 2015. They employ 80,000 people worldwide. Staples has a 35% market share for office supply stores, which is the most of any company, but it is not the majority, and stores like office depot and department stores have a huge percent of the market share. Even though they make over $380 million per year, Staples is far from maxing out the amount of profit they could make, and this is because they don’t market often, and when they do, it’s not memorable. Think to yourself, “When’s the last time I’ve seen an ad for Staples”. You will not be able to answer not. Staples really needs to step up their marketing, and this is my plan to do that.
Currently, Staples does utilize some advertising and some ways of getting their name across to consumers, but it’s not done on a large scale to the point where it would make a difference. Currently, Staples main form of advertising is through mail in the summer through back to school flyers advertising their good deals where they sell their products for very low prices. For example, having a pack of pens for 10 cents. Through personal experience, I can confirm that these ads really do work well for Staples or other companies who publish them. They also do one of these for Black Friday, and that one does a very good job at driving customers to their stores as well. But these flyers only get them to go there maybe once or twice a year. If someone goes into Staples soon after one of these flyers is sent out, the store will have a ton of customers, but if they go on any normal weekday, the store will be almost empty.
The second biggest way that Staples advertises is through Google AdWords, which essentially just lists ads on the top of the page under certain search terms. This is a very good way to get customers to their website, if they utilized it correctly. They don’t though. Instead of using it correctly and putting it on search terms for their competitors or on popular products that they sell, Staples decided to put it under the search term for their own website. The ad is right above the normal link to the site, and they both go to the same place. This is not only a gigantic waste of money, but it is also counterproductive to what they are trying to accomplish. They is due to the fact that whoever Staples hired to do their AdWords decided to accidentally put Staples customer service on a link that just goes to the home page on the site. This is a huge failure on Staples part, because now they are essentially paying tens of thousands of dollars to confuse their customer and bring them to the same place they’d be without the ad.
One of the good things Staples does is that they have coupons for certain products on their website homepage. People are much more inclined to buy things that they don’t even want when they have a coupon for it. They did a very good job at implementing this. They have a youtube channel with very well produced videos on it. They also have a rewards program. Unfortunately, they don’t do a very good job at running and promoting it. Frugal people love stores that will give them coupons and gift cards for buying a certain amount of products. However, with how Staples manages their program, those people will never be able to find out about it. Staples doesn’t have it anywhere on their homepage, unlike 90% of large companies with rewards programs. This is a big mistake on their part because this is where people who are interested in this would be looking for it. It can be found if it is searched for on google, but many people won’t do this because they already assume that it doesn’t have one.
In order for Staples to advertise themselves better, there is a lot of work that they need to do. To start, Staples needs to stop doing the things that don’t show the company’s core image, and are probably losing them money. They do Technology servicing, office installations of things like HVAC, and financial services. These are not widely used, and Staples should get rid of them. One service they have that is actually used is their printing service. They can print whatever people need. Staples should advertise this more so that more people know this is a thing. This would cause people to go to Staples for their printing needs before going to a local print shop. One thing they are in dire need of is to get their AdWords fixed. They need to fire whoever they currently employ to do this and hire someone who actually knows what he is doing. They are losing a ton of money and confusing people all in the same time. Their AdWords could be much more optimized to drive converting traffic if they just changed the search terms.
Think back to 2006, when the Staples easy button was popular. It was just a giant button that said, “That was easy”. This was insanely popular, and to this day, Staples is still associated with that button. The problem is that no one really thinks about those buttons anymore. Staples needs to bring back those buttons in addition to making other buttons that say similar things. Then, they should run a large TV advertising campaign on a TV channel where the targeted demographic of people who are most likely to buy these would be. These buttons would trigger nostalgia in some people, and they could make a lot of profit with these. This would also drive customers into the store, where they are likely to buy other products as well. These should be released right around Black Friday. I could see them being a very popular product and getting tons of people into the store on Black Friday, and after that as well. When these customers are in the store, they should also promote their rewards program, in addition to actually putting a link to it on their website. The key to having a good advertisement is for it to be memorable of funny. Advertisements of these buttons would undoubtedly be memorable. Another good idea for an advertisement for Staples to run TV advertisements during for Back To School deals, which their competitor Office Depot does very actively, but they don’t.
With this Marketing plan, Staples can definitely make a much larger profit than they have been making, especially when they are bringing in so much Revenue and not much profit compared to it. They are currently losing money on Ads for no reason. Staples needs to get it together and fix their marketing department.
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