How To: Market Your Business Like Neptune Home
In Monday’s article, I explored how the hugely successfully British lifestyle brand, Neptune Home, went from selling hammocks to becoming a global interiors retailer. In this second article in the series, I’d like to explore Neptune’s marketing strategy, seen through the lens of the 4 P’s of marketing.
If you’re not familiar with the 4 Ps of marketing, they were developed by the marketer and academic E. Jerome McCarthy, to provide a framework for marketing decision-making. The 4 Ps is one of the most enduring and widely accepted frameworks in marketing, and refers to Product, Price, Place and Promotion.
1. NEPTUNE’S PRODUCTS
The first of the Four Ps of marketing is product. This can be either a tangible good or an intangible service that fulfils a customer’s need or want. ‘Product’ in the context of the 4 Ps typically refers to design features and quality, product lines, branding, packaging and labelling, standards of service (complimentary service, after-sales service, service level), guarantees and warranties, returns and product life-cycle.
Neptune organises its product lines into collections. The company looks at collections in two principle ways. A collection can be a new or existing product range to which they add new pieces to blend with earlier pieces e.g. a desk and bookcase to complement an existing dining table and chairs. But a collection can also be a selection of products, from across all Neptune product lines e.g. a mixture of furniture, soft furnishings, paints and flowers to create a cosy snug or a beautiful living room.
In this article, written for their online journal, Neptune explains how libraries were the inspiration for their AW17 collection. This theme is developed in an article about some of their favourite libraries, and built on it in their social media campaigns.
2. NEPTUNE’S PRICING
The second of the 4 Ps of marketing is pricing, which covers price setting, strategy and tactics, allowances such as rebates for distributors, discounts for customers and payment terms and methods. Your pricing strategy has a direct impact on your profit margins, brand positioning and marketing strategy.
A Neptune kitchen typically costs between £10,000 to £30,000, depending on the size and cabinetry selected. Made from solid timber and using traditional joinery methods, Neptune’s price point is firmly at the higher end of mid-point. It’s aspirational, but within the bounds of affordability for its target customer. That said, there’s often an opportunity to snap up pieces at a good discount, especially when stores are selling off ex-display furniture.
3. NEPTUNE'S PLACE STRATEGY
The third of the 4 Ps of marketing is place. Often you’ll hear marketers saying that marketing is about putting the right product, at the right price, at the right place, at the right time. It’s critical then, to evaluate which are the ideal locations for your target market. Place can cover physical locations where you can buy the product e.g. stores, markets and fairs, as well as brochures, a website and other online channels that allow customers to make purchases.
Place also includes distribution strategies. In addition to its stores, Neptune has a number of franchised stores, and distributes its product lines through carefully selected retail outlets that align with its brand.
Let’s focus for a moment on Neptune’s own retail stores because the company has a very specific strategy. Every Neptune store has its own story, with no two buildings the same in terms of their history. Some stores may have been former public houses, like Neptune Chester. Some were historic buildings. Neptune Reading used to be a 17th century gate lodge called Monksmead House, Neptune Hailsham served as a terminal for the long-gone Cuckoo Line railway, and Neptune Belfast was once the home of the largest independent bakery in Ireland. Other stores have been former warehouses, barns or retail spaces that have been renovated and brought back to life, like Neptune Canterbury.
This strategy of placing Neptune stores in buildings of historical significance is perfectly aligned with its brand ethos of tradition, heritage and giving a home soul.
4. NEPTUNE’S PROMOTIONAL STRATEGY
The fourth of the 4 Ps of marketing is promotion. We’ve got a product and a price, and we know where we’re going to sell it. Now it’s time to promote it. Promotion covers all the different ways a company differentiates its products and services from its competitors and gets its product information to consumers.
Promotion includes offline and online marketing channels from advertising and public relations to content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, search engine marketing, video marketing and more. Every touch point with a potential customer must be supported by a well-positioned brand to truly maximise return on investment.
Let’s explore Neptune’s content marketing strategy which is focused around storytelling. On its website, Neptune keeps a journal where articles, sometimes written by the founders, are posted on a regular basis. These articles are used to tell stories about:
The materials they use to create their products, like the ecologically friendly Paulownia tree from China for example.
How to bring the garden indoors.
A seasonal campaign like the AW17 library theme.
These stories inject magic into Neptune’s marketing, tapping into the emotions and aspirations of their target customers, and bringing the company’s values to life in a way the customer can believe in.
Neptune is one of my favourite brands, and I’m never happier than when I’m browsing in my local store, planning my next purchase or thinking about the kitchen I’d love to have in my beach house. (The quietly elegant Suffolk in case you’re wondering). I hope you enjoy this case study as much as I’ve enjoyed researching and writing it. In the final installment of this series, I’m going to explore what makes Neptune such an exceptional brand.
Thank you as always for reading my articles.
OVER TO YOU
Are you familiar with the Neptune brand? If so, what do you love about it? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to tell me in the comments box below.
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