It was only natural for the six Stine brothers to turn to what they knew best when tossing around ideas for a Father's Day advertising campaign. They looked to Daddy.
But rather than going the usual route of promoting dad-oriented gift ideas, the Stine men decided to celebrate their own father, lumberyard founder J.W. Stine, as well as the fathers and father figures of their customers. Their ad campaign, which fused the power of social media with traditional advertising, also reminded customers of the dealer's longtime Louisiana roots and its family-centric business structure.
J.W. Stine started his lumber business in Sulphur, La., in 1952. Today, there are 12 Stine locations, and five of J.W.'s grandchildren–in addition to his six sons–work in the business.
Grandson Jeremy Stine, who joined the company in May as marketing and community manager, took the reins for this latest advertising venture and used his expertise in social media to promote the Father's Day campaign.
"The two key objectives were to get more involved with social media and get an e-commerce site working," he says. "Within those two core objectives, we needed to grow our e-mail list. It's a more efficient way to communicate."
Using a website purpose-built for the campaign, www.StineStory.com, Jeremy Stine featured the account of his grandfather's founding of the company as well as tales about J.W. from his sons and daughter, Janie.
That site also included a share feature, where customers could add stories about their fathers. Many of them did, including Daniel Ford, who wrote simply but poignantly of his father, E.E. (Zeke) Ford of Catahoula Parish:
My Daddy was born in 1899 & was 1 of 7 children. He never gained worldly fame but he was a great Daddy. He was a farmer in the summer & trapped for Mink & raccoon & cut and hauled fire wood in the winter to make a living for 7 children. He also had time for his children & was a loving Father. He died in 1974 at the age of 74. He is greatly missed by all. ... He has gone on to be with the lord.
The campaign let Stine Lumber relate to its customers in a personal way, but also gave it the opportunity to collect e-mail addresses. Those addresses, advertising gold, provide the dealer with a new way to connect with its customers. The carrot it dangled to gather those addresses was a grand prize giveaway package that included a six-burner gas grill, outdoor lounge chair, 75-quart cooler, and DeWalt cordless 18 volt drill driver kit. The only way a customer could enter to win was by registering on a microsite, StineGrandPrize.com, with an e-mail address.
The Stine brothers didn't know how many addresses they might be able to garner with their targeted campaign. "We had nothing to base it on, but threw out the number 20,000," Jeremy says. The dealer reached that goal on its first try, and has increased its roll of addresses substantially since then.
The Stines turned to Dukky, a New Orleans marketing company that helps companies integrate social media with traditional marketing platforms, to help them build the sites. Stine employed artwork provided by the dealer's graphic artist and then linked the work to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Surprising to the dealer was the fact that the largest demographic of entrants was males aged 51 to 60. That demographic, as well as the 60+ year-olds, found their way to the site via traditional media, says Stine, while the majority of the 30-40 year-old group found their way in through Facebook. The company will use that information to help shape future advertising campaigns.
Says Stine: "You can't overstate how important social media is in targeting customers. The Internet is still relatively young, a teenager if you will, but if [dealers] don't adapt now and put in some plans, it's really going to hurt them in the long run."