By Alex Stewart, Associate Creative Director
In 2016, leading kitchen and bathroom plumbing brand Kohler approached us to help them sell its new walk-in tub in a crowded and competitive market.
A leader in plumbing, but new to the “aging-in-place” space, Kohler needed a partner that could develop a marketing strategy to launch not only their new tub but also the brand’s first direct-to-consumer business program.
TriMark devised a plan to bring the special tub to market and capture a brand-new audience for the historic brand.
Step 1: Meet the audience where they are with the message they need.
To help us construct a positioning and messaging strategy, we researched the needs and behaviors of our target audience (seniors and homeowners with mobility challenges). Then we investigated how Kohler’s competitors communicated with that audience.
One trend we noticed immediately was the use of scare tactics in several competitors’ marketing language. Many walk-in tub brands used a threatening tone, warning the homeowner that they were likely to fall or become injured if they did not purchase their product.
With Kohler, we wanted to replace the fear-mongering with messages of graciousness, empowerment and support.
Step 2: Target viewers with intentional messaging along the purchase journey.
With our audience’s need for a safe and comfortable bathing solution driving our strategy, we launched targeted ads across display, search, video and social platforms. Each ad told a story of the product—a tub that offers independence, peace of mind and quality hydrotherapy with every soak. The ads directed viewers to an optimized landing page that prompted them to request a free quote.
We monitored each ad’s performance, ran A/B tests and adjusted ad spend as needed to optimize our investment on each channel. Through testing and tweaks, we maximized lead volume while driving down cost-per-lead.
Step 3: Become a trusted expert in the category.
To give the KOHLER Walk-In Bath a competitive edge, we launched the Gracious Living Blog as a supplement to the main product website. This new platform offers design advice, lifestyle content and brand news for homeowners who are looking for ways to safely and comfortably remain in their homes and avoid assisted living care.
We also created a video gallery featuring bite-sized educational content and customer testimonials. The useful visuals and first-person product perspectives were used across the website, blogs, emails and in social ads, which generated more engagement and helped nurture our leads through the customer journey.
Step 4: Test, iterate, improve, repeat.
By using data and reporting as our north star, we are constantly learning about the platforms, messages and timing that resonate best with our audience. We regularly run A/B tests to gather data and measure the effectiveness of our marketing efforts. This agile, data-driven approach allowed us to quickly shift resources and make website updates to improve performance.
From one test, we learned customers are more interested in requesting a “free quote” than a “free consultation,” so we implemented that language across all platforms. In another, we found that adding a form and phone number to the top of all blog posts generated more form fills and calls from blog readers. Other tests have measured how a particular image, call-to-action, form design or other element affects lead and sales volume.
Step 5: Deliver a brand experience based on trust.
With optimized campaigns in place and a seamless brand story told across mediums, we helped qualified leads make a confident decision about their aging-in-place plan:
- Nurture emails told the homeowner what to expect throughout the quote and installation process and announced special offers
- Direct-response print ads served as an extension of our digital presence and delivered seasonal messages and promotions
- TV and podcast ads increased brand awareness with relevant audiences
- Third-party partnerships expanded our reach and brand recognition
By creating an engaging, authentic extension of the Kohler brand that showed empathy and respect to our audience, we cultivated a loyal customer base and over $64MM in bath sales.
We listened to what our customers needed and delivered a brand experience that met those needs, signaling that Kohler is here to offer support, empowerment and dignity to all, no matter their age or physical ability.