A Study of the Integrated Marketing Communication Strategy of Kohls Corporation

Kohl’s Corporation has become one of the largest discounted department stores in the United States. Located in nearly 41 states, they have over 730 stores. Kohl’s generally targets middle-income families of every age. This chain is able to sell high quality products at low prices through a strict and detailed budget.

Kohl’s has limited staff and progressive management information systems. The economical application of specific purchasing is also applied in distribution and advertising. (Kohl’s Corporation – Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background information, 2015). Kohl’s also runs a very successful online market at Kohl’s.com.

Kohl’s competition currently is JC Penney’s and Macys. Kohl’s net profit margin was larger than both of these retailers. Coming in at 6.10% for Kohl’s, 3.8% for Macy’s and JC Penny’s at 2.20%. Kohl’s uses Avril Levine and Lauren Conrad to wear and market their clothing. Previously Hilary Duff was also displaying their products as well. Using actresses and singers can greatly increase profit for stores. Especially when the fan margin is huge. Kohl’s has all kinds of merchandise to every style of genre (Potter, n.d.)

From my observations Kohl’s used an IMC (integrated marketing communication) approach. IMC is an approach to a desired marketing campaign by the use of reinforcing several different promotional methods. There are generally four concepts that mark an IMC. These include: coherence, consistency, continuity, and complementary (Heaton, 2014).

While observing the Kohl’s.com website I was able to locate several of these promotional methods. An example of this would be in the engagement ring section. It’s labeled “yes leads to happily ever after.” Many women in the world become engaged by a ring. This is an example of coherence. This message can be applied worldwide and understood in the same sense.

Another example of integrated marketing communication can be found within Kohl’s commercials online and television alike. Just recently they had a sale for Labor Day. The commercial indicated that those who shop online save more. They directed the viewer to their website for printable coupons for in store purchases as well. The commercials and online advertisements were consistent. Several messages were given off but none contradicted. The coupons were found online and great savings were made if a customer spent either $30 or $50 during Labor Day weekend.

Another key aspect of ICM is continuity. This basically means that communications are consistent and connected throughout a duration of time. Although Kohl’s tends to change their advertisements, the reality consists of the same information. In my opinion Kohl’s is a very value -oriented stored, convenient, and friendly. I feel these characteristics continue on throughout their entire operations.

The next quality of an IMC is complimentary. This means that the sums of the parts is greater than the whole. If these other three qualities above are displayed, the business is doing a good job with reaching out to a variety of different people. Since Kohl’s aims to provide many different products for all age groups, several advertisements must be made to reach them.

While browsing through their convenient site I noticed that Kohl’s reaches out to a wide variety of people. They had college gear, baby items, and furniture. All of their products are greatly discounted as well. People are able to get high end quality items for about half the cost. Since advertisements are very prevalent within this company, I can imagine that many people view them on a day to day basis.

I noticed this store has a very successful marketing strategy. This is basically why Kohl’s rank over other leading department stores. Over the last year the store has increased marketing by nearly 25%. The online store has been able to expand rapidly due to online marketing. Kohl’s also strives to quickly have the latest technology available in their stores. This way customers have access to the newest technological devices.

It costs quite an amount of money to market these things, but the business has learned they must spend money to make money (Potter, n.d.).
Kohl’s has been in business since 1962, so they know a thing or two about marketing. The store’s objective is to increase spending on marketing to increase profit (Potter, n.d.) . They are aware that the more they familiarize others with their products, the more likely those people are to shop there.

For example if a commercial comes on that states customers will save $10 on a certain bag they want , the customers are more inclined to go and purchase the bag. Business know this information and use it to their advantage to sell products.

Currently several sales and promotions are located on the online store. On the home page as the top it claims by getting a credit card through them the consumer can save money. Many people will choose this option if it will save them about 30% of the total purchase. This option also claims that everyone can save $10 on a $50 plus purchase. It was found within the website on the home page. Credit cards are important to several stores. It gives shoppers the advantage of making payments. The idea of receiving now and paying later is very beneficial to many people who cannot afford the full payment all at once.

Kohl’s also has a section online for deals of the day. This area has several items that are marked down each day. Usually $10 off or 20%. The promotional mix element of this is sales promotion. Within sale promotions, one of the main goals is to clear out inventory. This could help explain the reduced prices. One can easily access less expensive products from various categories of items. Clothing makes up a majority of the saving though.

I found the site to be well organized and very accessible. Things were neatly labeled, photographed, and priced. It’s easy to locate the items one is looking for and there are few interruptions created by ads. Being able to see photos of each item really helped me create the image shoppers needed to finalize a purchase.

Kohl’s has all the basic elements of success within their stores and online alike. The company strives to enhance shopper experiences while buying some of their favorite items. Customer interest seems to be a very important characteristic to Kohl’s stores. They want to make sure the customers are always satisfied with their items, that’s why they offer reliable and speedy customer support. You have the option to call, email, or mail the company about any problems you experience. This store also gives back to children. They donate money towards positive activities such as sports and educational programs.

I feel the best advertising is done in the women’s section. I feel this is strictly because women tend to shop more. Throughout the site, most of the advertisements were for women’s clothing mainly. The latest fashions are generally a priority of females.

After thorough analysis I have concluded that Kohl’s is considered an IMC and also have a large profit margin. They have not always been successful in the past but with new marketing strategies, the company has regained sales. A great business will have ups and downs, but only the strong can come back. After facing hardships in the market, this store is finally on its way to becoming even larger than before. Currently only nine states in the United States are free of Kohl’s chain stores. They will work towards expanding into each state over the next few years (Potter, n.d.).


  • Heaton, A. (2014, June 25). Three examples of Integrated campaigns. Retrieved September 10, 2015, from http://www.smartinsights.com/traffic-building-strategy/integrated-marketing-communications/three-examples-integrated-campaigns/
  • Kohl’s Corporation – Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background information. (2015). Retrieved September 9, 2915, from http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/15/Kohl-s-Corporation.html
  • Potter, A. (n.d.). Kohl’s Portfolio. Retrieved September 9, 2015, from https://sites.google.com/a/email.vccs.edu/bus100ampotter/home/marketing-plan


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