Pottery Barn – Push Pull Marketing and More

Pottery Barn’s most prominent traditional push marketing material is their catalog that they distribute through the mail – Just ask the “overwhelming number” of individuals that declared Pottery Barn their favorite home decorating magazine (Tischler, 2003). Although they also participate in push marketing via email, those individuals receiving the emails have often opted in through one of their pull tactics such as their email sign-up on their website (shown below)  or by providing an email when purchasing an item.

Pottery Barn E-mail Sign-Up

 

Another push marketing technique Pottery Barn participates in is sponsored Facebook advertisements, like the one shown below. In fact, I received this post on a Friday after viewing the displayed item earlier in the week.

Image

Other pull platforms Pottery Barn participates in include their website and blogs (“Inside & Out” and “Have and Hold”), as well as numerous social media platforms discussed in my previous blog post, “Pottery Barn’s Consistent Brand Personality (and fabulous decor)”.

Seeing as Pottery Barn is a retail store, they are constantly updating their website with new products. Pottery Barn also regularly maintains the two blogs I previously mentioned, both of which they update with fresh content almost daily. In addition to the products and blog, Pottery Barn also maintains a consistent image across all marketing platforms, and transforms it seasonally with a fresh look.

Pottery Barn is most definitely mobile friendly, with an easy to navigate product menu, and an option to utilize a side menu as well, depending on the user’s preference.

Pottery Barn Mobile

Pottery Barn Mobile

In addition to the icons that link to the Pottery Barn social media pages on their website, Pottery Barn also has social sharing buttons on their product pages. While viewing a product you may choose to “Like” it you are logged into you Facebook account or “Pin it” to one of your Pinterest boards, if logged in.

Below the product pictures, users have the option to "Pin it" or "Like" the item

Pottery Barn’s social sharing buttons – Below the product picture, users have the option to “Pin it” or “Like” the item (see far left bottom corner).

Pottery Barn also offers the option to have a live chat on-line with a sales associate; however, they are only available between 5:00am and 7:00pm PT. You may also choose to have a Customer Service Representative contact you by phone by selecting the “Let us call you” option, which then opens a screen that asks for your phone number (shown below).

"Live chat" or "Let us call you" options on the Pottery Barn website

“Live chat” or “Let us call you” options on the Pottery Barn website.

The box that appears if you select the "Let us call you" option

The box that appears if you select the “Let us call you” option.

From an IMC/branding point of view, I believe Pottery Barn could improve on the consistency of their customer service. While I do believe they do a great job of resolving a customer’s dissatisfaction after there has been a complaint (as discussed in my previous blog post), they could benefit from taking preventative measures. For instance, while completing this post I went to use the live chat option to see what it would lead me to, which was the restricted hours stating no one was available. A little frustrating if that would have been my preferred method of communication. From a company as large as Pottery Barn, you would expect them to be able to have at least a small number of individuals working odd hours, as it is not uncommon shoppers to be online during evening hours. Even more frustrating, when I went back to view the live chat hour restrictions to take a screen shot and confirm what days this included, the option was no longer there. Whether Pottery Barn has removed it indefinitely, or only during restricted hours (which wouldn’t be a bad idea, in my opinion) is unknown at this time, but either way it may inevitable lead to a confused or irritated customer.

Pottery Barn's need help box with no chat option.

Pottery Barn’s need help box with no chat option.

All that being said, Pottery Barn has done an incredible job integrating its products and brand online since introducing themselves online in August of 2000, and has done and even more impressive job of maintaining their goal of mirroring their popular catalog look (Khan, 2000).

With the recent release of the 1st quarter revenue for 2014, the Williams-Sonoma, Inc./Pottery Barn brand has produced impressive growth, so they must be doing something right. Laura Alber, President and Chief Executive Officer, attributes their success to, “Innovative, high-quality product, personalized service, relevant marketing and strong execution across all brands” (Williams-Sonoma, Inc., 2014).

Resources

Tischler, L. (June 2003). How Pottery Barn Wins With Style. Retrieved on June 5, 2014 from http://www.fastcompany.com/46714/how-pottery-barn-wins-style

Khan, M. (August 2, 2000). Pottery Barn Builds Its Online Home. Retrieved on June 6, 2014 from http://www.dmnews.com/pottery-barn-builds-its-online-home/article/67635/

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (May 21, 2014). Williams-Sonoma, Inc. announces first quarter 2014 results. Retrieved on June 6, 2014 from http://www.williams-sonomainc.com/files/press-releases/WSM-Q1FY14ER.pdf

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