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Execs extol the virtues of IKEA and its marketing

November 8, 2013

ama crowdA rapt audience of about 320 marketers from the Kansas City area gathered Nov. 6 at Avila University and received a glimpse into the future … at least, when it comes to their shopping options in home furnishings.

Two executives from IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings company, which plans on opening a store in Merriam, Kan. next fall, were the featured speakers at the American Marketing Association-Kansas City’s Annual Seminar, held inside Avila’s Goppert Theatre. Derrick Liburd, regional marketing manager, IKEA U.S., began the program by giving the audience a primer on the company’s history – started in 1943 by a 17-year-old boy in Sweden _ its corporate culture and values. He detailed many of IKEA’s successes, beliefs and processes. Mary Lunghi, strategic insights manager, then spoke about the company’s marketing strategies and planning.

IKEA execs and John HoltLiburd said IKEA did $30 billion worldwide in business last fiscal year and credited much of that to the company’s culture, which includes five core values: honesty, affordability, solutions, inspiration and surprises.

“Low prices mean nothing without value,” he said. “Price, quality and style must go together.

“A key part of the brand concept is never being satisfied.”

That, Liburd said, feeds into IKEA’s brand vision, “Improve the everyday,” and fits IKEA’s tagline, “The Life Improvement Store.”

He added that Merriam was selected as a location for the company’s 40th store because of its two million population base and demographic that’s heavy on college graduates. Once the store opens next fall, it will house three large showrooms set up as complete homes and 50 room settings.

Lunghi spoke of the consumer path to purchase – the thought process, behavior and steps consumers take leading up to actually purchasing a product.

“If we know what steps the consumer takes along the way … we can communicate better,” she said.

She talked about McKinsey’s Consumer Decision Journey, a theory which documents and measures insights, strategies and tactics all the way from a consumer’s initial consideration to post purchase. Finally, there is the measuring of success, using metrics designed around the Consumer Decision Journey.

Lunghi said the average demographic of an IKEA customer was an average age of 36, female, educated, with a household income of $80,000.

“What we’re trying to do is leverage brand love,” she said.

By the applause in Goppert Theatre at the end of the presentation, there seemed to be no shortage of that.


About Avila University
Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.