The Gift of Cenex

Cooperative cultivating holiday program to help build retailer business

Published in CSP Daily News

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. -- CHS Inc.'s Cenex convenience store chain is ending the year with a holiday marketing push. "To help Cenex retailers capitalize on the 2011 gift card season, CHS has launched a comprehensive holiday campaign including corporate media placement, merchandising kits for retailers and sales training for front-line employees," said Kayte Haaland, brand and marketing manager for CHS Refined Fuels.

"Our marketing strategy is always twofold--make it appealing to consumers and easy for our retail partners," she added. "Research shows occasion-based gift cards help drive purchase decisions; as a result, a new campaign is introduced seasonally. To make it easy for busy retailers to implement the latest campaign, they receive complete merchandising kits with campaign guides in advance of a corporate media campaign launch."

The media plan for the holiday season includes print ads, radio spots, direct mail, online advertising, email marketing, and consumer sales promotions. Additionally, there are bonus advertising incentives for Cenex retailers who deploy local marketing.

"Our goal is to provide retail partners with everything they need to leverage and benefit from the campaign. For example, based on customer feedback, this year we developed online training to teach c-store employees how to maximize sales of Cenex gift cards through suggestive selling, merchandising techniques and more," said Haaland. "Best of all, everything is completely free. The Cenex brand is all about energetic, personal attention--and the gift card program is just one example of that commitment."

As a result of aggressive marketing and retailer engagement, gift card numbers have increased every year since Cenex gift cards were introduced nearly a decade ago, the company said, both in sales and transaction counts. "We're on track for another record year. Our challenge now is to keep up the momentum," Haaland said..

There are currently 1,400 Cenex locations in 19 states.

In other company  news, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.-based-based CHS Inc., the nation's leading cooperative, is strategically and financially prepared to invest in helping its farmer, rancher and local co-op owners grow and succeed in a dynamic global agricultural marketplace, CHS president and CEO Carl Casale told the cooperative's 2,000 owners and others gathered for its annual meeting December 7-8 in Minneapolis. He said during the past year that the company has made or announced plans to make investments in its businesses totaling more than $1.3 billion.

Among highlights reported at the annual meeting were announcements of nearly $50 million in investments to enhance refined fuels distribution infrastructure in the northern tier region including Montana and North Dakota, as well as plans for acquiring minority owners' interests in the National Cooperative Refinery Association, making CHS the sole owner by September 1, 2015, and enhancing supplies of diesel and other refined fuels to its customers.

CHS, owned by farmers, ranchers and co-ops across the United States. A diversified energy, grains and foods business it is committed to providing the essential resources that enrich lives around the world. CHS supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain, livestock feed, food and food ingredients, along with business solutions including insurance, financial and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries/pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products.