Lambert van Asselt, Marketing Director of Prominent, the best known chair brand in the Netherlands, is one of the most sophisticated marketing strategist I have ever met. He shared with me how optimizing marketing channels resulted in gaining the leading market position that Prominent now has.
The story began when 9 years ago the founder and CEO of Prominent, Geertjan van Olst, asked him to join the company to set up a marketing department for the then small company that had just 3 showrooms and employed 15 people.
Van Asselt who was working for an advertising agency, asked Ben Schot, creative director, to join the team and the journey of building this amazing brand began.
They designed a sales funnel that utilizes both print and digital media, and with time the funnel became highly optimized for conversion. People who come across our ads are skillfully directed to a specific conversion point. Each piece of content or image is created with specific targets in mind. We provide clear direction and add personal touch that makes the conversion simple, says Lambert van Asselt.
Prominent makes use of an in-house marketing/advertising department with a professional creative studio in combination with their call center. All parts work smoothly thanks to smart CRM that supports marketing automation.
It’s all about optimizing ROI (return on investment) says Lambert van Asselt, who is also responsible for strategic negotiations and media purchases, an important job if you take into account that Prominent is in the top-50 of Dutch companies according to gross media spend.
Lambert who is the architect of the marketing strategy says that Prominents success wouldn’t be possible without the close cooperation of management (Geertjan van Olst – CEO, and Michiel van Olst – sales), marketing and the rest of the Prominent team.
Open communication, fast reaction to market needs and optimization of marketing channels led to the enormous growth from 3 showrooms and 15 FTE in 1999 to 45 shops and 320 FTE today.
Excellent customer service is another reason why Prominent is such a popular brand. Our strategy is straightforward says Lambert van Asselt: help customers find the most comfortable chair. During home or showroom demonstrations we will take time to hear our customers’ story and we want to match their expectations. Yes, it takes a lot of time to do so but it’s worth it. Our customers are our ambassadors, continues Lambert.
We have also developed a customization program, clients can optimize the functionality of their chairs deciding on size, materials, and other features of the product, says Lambert.
Aside from this, Prominents success can also be attributed to their ability to change their brand positioning fast as a result of recognizing customer needs.
When the company started out, their main target was to make the life of elderly people more comfortable. But they noticed that younger people who were looking for comfortable chairs, became more and more interested in their collection. So they adapted their brand positioning and now Prominent promotes its products differently. They target all people who want to have well designed and comfortable chairs.
Everybody would like to sit down comfortably in a well designed and affordable chair, and ultimately, the way we judge a chair is how we feel when we’re sitting in it. Prominent chairs give you true comfort, says Lambert.
Teaming up with physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and other specialists, Prominent boasts the largest collection of ergonomically designed, high-quality, and affordable chairs in the Netherlands. Prominent offers different styles of chairs from the traditional club chair to modern and stylish design chairs.
To ensure customer satisfaction Prominent continually improves not only their products but also customer experience based on the feedback that they get during home demonstrations, client consultations and surveys. This is another important puzzle piece in successful marketing.
Proof that this strategy is working really well is easy to spot. Since opening their first store 1999, the company expanded to 45 branches all over the Netherlands.