Mar 29, 2007

What would you do with $780 Million?

Every time I see a marketing budget of a large American company, I have to pause and dream. Sears has $780M to spend on media this year. That boggles my mind. I wish I knew how much their total marketing budget is.

Anyway, here's what I'd announce if I were King of Sears and had $780M to spend...

1. New Name. Sears Holdings is now going to be a single brand known as "Smarts." It's an homage to both names Sears and KMart. And it symbolizes the smart new way to shop in our retail revolution.

2. New Stores. All Sears and KMart retail stores will be redeveloped into "Smarts." These stores will serve mainly as warehouses for our Smarts affiliate distribution, but will have front of the house retail space for browsing, choosing, buying and product pickup. Think IKEA on a smaller scale, and you don't roam through the warehouse to pick your own stuff.

3. New Convenience and Value. Smarts customers will be able to order online and have home delivery within 4 hours or an at-store Smarts pickup within 1 hour.

4. New Delivery Mechanism. 20,000 new Smarts affiliates will drive Smarts vans and deliver Smarts products to customers in their territory. From groceries to household goods, Craftsman tools to DieHard batteries, Land's End clothing to Martha Stewart dishware, a Smarts affiliate is going to be able to deliver within a couple hours to most homes. Think WebVan with assets in place.

5. New Vans. The Smarts vans are an important part of our program. They serve as billboards as well as delivery and service mechanisms. Current sales and product profiles will be updated on a weekly basis on the vans via large color print interchangeable panels.
By the way, we're buying 20,000 new vans from Ford, GM and Chrysler, keeping the investment in the U.S.

6. New (Great) Jobs. A Smarts affiliate will have a much better opportunity for income, security and autonomy than any Wal-Mart store assistant or manager ever will. The unique program will allow for ownership and performance-based growth and income. Smarts customers will come to know and trust their local Smarts affiliates. Think the milkman meets the UPS man meets the Avon Lady.

7. More on New Delivery Mechanism. If you're sending legal documents overnight to another city, UPS, FedEx and the USPS will still be the way to do it. But if you have a gift to send Aunt Erma, our Smarts distribution network will enable us to ship anything we sell cheaper than you could buy at your local Wal-Mart and ship yourself.

For most markets, especially those with a population of over 50,000, we will also cost less than ordering through Amazon or other online retailers who use a third-party shipping service.

8. New Advertising Strategy. We are discontinuing Sunday color inserts. Our newspaper advertising space will be much smaller, but we will advertise daily in every market, guiding local customers to contact an affiliate via web or telephone.

We will buy smaller spots in all print to promote the new Smarts brand and your local Smarts affiliate. We will not advertise individual products in our traditional media. We're moving all that online and on-street via the Smarts vans and affiliates.

We will use TV and Radio to promote the new brand and concept, but not with the frequency nor production costs of the past.

9. New PR Strategy. Our affiliates will be required to spend one hour of each working day providing a service or doing a promotion for the community. More than likely, it will be walking in crowded public areas, handing out samples, passing out coupons, and/or tidying up the area by picking up trash. Or they might help deliver donated goods in their van, participate as a volunteer at Special Olympics, or build a house with Habitat for Humanity. The choice is theirs; they just have to get in 6 hours a week of real Public Relations. Their goal is to create trustworthy relationships with our customers, and plan on delivering goods to the same customers for years to come.

10. We're going to crush Wal-Mart.


There... not bad for a quick plan. Don't think I could get it done for $780 M? Bet I could. I'm shifting the majority of the budget from traditional media to online and onstreet and onfoot. The future of online marketing includes humans too.


Anonymous said...

I think Sears should hold a contest to find the best new business ideas vs. spending $780m on more marketing BS.

They have a great brand, a great history and simply need to educate and build long term relationships with younger consumers...

I have the idea for them...but I am sure they have hired McKinsey or will hire some AD Agency... they need to be innovative...think outside the box..change the rules..

Anonymous said...

I like the idea! Keep them coming...Where is your "book"?