CMO Q&A: Mark Snyder, Kmart

Kmart's Mark Snyder speaks to Aarti Shah about its parting ways with Martha Stewart and being creative with social media efforts

Kmart ended its relationship with Martha Stewart at the end of last year. How will this impact marketing?

Snyder: The strategy we have employed to replace that brand allows us to trade more broadly as a mass merchant. We have moved to a strategy that allows us to have a stack of brands, rather than just one.

From a customer perspective, that's a more satisfactory way to go about it. Before we just had Martha Stewart. Now we have four new brands - Cannon, Country Living, Jaclyn Smith Home, and Kenmore.

At PRWeek's NEXT Conference you said communicators should be bold and brave with the C-suite. What did you mean by that?

Snyder: Being bold and brave is critical to gaining the C-suite's attention and trust. Increased activity is one of the most underutilized business goals during a poor economy like now. People hold back and march in place. Businesses that have done well and increased market share are the ones that have been creative.

What creative things is Kmart doing with social media?

Snyder: We have a program with Yahoo called "Cafe Mom," where we actually have gone out and given flip phones to moms so they can video the different experiences they're having in their lives, like their impressions when holiday shopping and the values and traditions they are trying to start in their homes.

Another Web site that is getting ready to launch broadly is called Smart Shoppers Unite. We've hired Natalie MacNeil, one of the original "frugalistas" and a blogger. She will be the voice of that community for us. For, we hired a documentary filmmaker to chronicle our apparel design center in New York.

Kmart is a brand for the budget-conscious shopper. How have you leveraged that during this economy?

Snyder: When this chapter of Kmart's history is written, the title will be "Recession was our friend." This economy has given us the opportunity to go out to consumers with low-priced messages, but also the [opportunity] to change their behavior.

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