Earlier this year, U.S. retail chain J.C. Penney began completely revamping its business strategy. Under the leadership of new CEO Ron Johnson, the former head of retail at Apple, there were a lot of high hopes. The company began rolling out several changes including modifying its logo, creating a simpler approach to pricing, and also developing a new promotional strategy.
At this point, however, the new strategy does not seem to be working. Instead of increasing sales, the company has experienced declines.
According Martha Guidry, a principal partner of The Rite Concept and also the author of the book Marketing Concepts That Win!, the J.C. Penney’s new strategy wasn’t bad, but it was poorly executed. Guidry is known as “The Concept Queen” and told us that J.C. Penney hit a “sweet spot” with the whole idea of no couponing and constant savings. However, she said the company failed in communicating that message to consumers.
She pushes a CLeAR way of thinking that focuses on the critical areas of content, language, and relevance. As she explained to us, the idea was there for J.C. Penney, but the relevance and language were not.
J.C. Penney did recently come out and say that it plans to adjust its marketing message but doesn’t plan on changing its strategy. Although there are still some naysayers against the company, Guidry believes this is a good move. She said that if the company is able to communicate their “fair and square pricing” to consumers, it may be able to make its revamp work. But, she did tell us that she doesn’t believe this message resonates with the company’s target audience.