Extensive Marketing Strategy of Circle K – Detailed Explanation

Updated on: Sep 26, 2022
Marketing Strategy Of Circle K - Featured Image

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In this blog, we are going to understand the marketing strategy of Circle K. The goal of this is to understand Circle K’s journey to becoming one of the largest convenience store chains in the United States.

Marketing strategy allows you to successfully convey your value to the audience. Marketing is the heart and soul of a business as it enables you to reach your customers. Thus it is very necessary to understand the marketing strategies of different companies to learn from their successes as well as failures.

Today’s era is going digital, so companies must incorporate digital aspects in their marketing strategy as well. If you want to learn more about digital marketing check out our free digital marketing masterclass by the founder of IIDE Karan Shah.

We are going to cover the marketing strategy of Circle K in depth in this article but first, let’s understand a little about the origins and history of Circle K.

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About Circle K: Overview

Marketing Strategy Of Circle K - Circle K Fuel Station

Circle K was a group of three food stores of Kay’s that were purchased by Fred Harvey in 1951, in El Paso, Texas, United States. Now Circle K is a convenience retailing industry which is a successful brand under Alimentation Couche-Tard inc.

Circle K spans back to 65+years. In 1975 there were 1000 Circle K stores across the US. After it entered the international market in 1979 it continued to grow and by 1984 its sales reached $1 billion. In 2003 Alimentation Couche-Tard acquired Circle K and added them to their collection of brands.

More than 7,676 stores are operated beneath the Circle K banner in 20 countries and territories other than the US. The stores dispense a wide array of food and non-food products. It offers automotive products, motor fuel and car wash service, apart from operating in-store coffee corners and ATMs.

Circle K is leading towards the future and preparing for it. They expanded their fresh food offer, frictionless payment options, localized pricing capabilities, and also fuel procurement and delivery capacity. Recently, they also reinvented their brands, making them increasingly modern and recognizable in every part of the customer journey.

Quick Stats on Circle K
CEO Brian Hannasch
CMO Kevin Lewis
Area Served Worldwide
Industry Retail – convenience store
Market Share/ Revenue $14.7 Billion est.(2021)
Vision To become the world’s preferred destination for convenience and fuel.
Tagline A better way


Marketing Strategy Of Circle K

Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning

Circle K provides service to a range of customers through its convenience stores. It targets a large audience with the following demographic:

  • Motorists: Who uses circle K’s fuel sale services, Vehicle cleaning
  • Urban consumers: Who enjoy the convenience 
  • Busy Professionals: Who enjoy Circle K’s snack options, coffee, etc
  • Students & Low-Income Workers: Who enjoy Circle K’s cheaper products
  • Families: who enjoy cheap deals and branded promotion

Circle K used technology to segment and personalize offers to its users of fuel cards. They used engage hubs synapse technology to target their customers. Their approach is to build customer relations to gain a competitive edge by building a unique customer service that cannot be copied.

Circle K has positioned itself as a store that is convenient, efficient, and capable of catering for all types of needs of a range of customers. By forming a loyal customer base it is one of the largest convenience store chains in the US with 7103 stores and 7084 stores worldwide.

Marketing Campaigns

Whenever, Wherever, Whatever

Marketing Strategy Of Circle K - Campaign 1
Be BBQ prepared

The brand began its “whenever, wherever, whatever” campaign in 2019. Through this campaign, the brand was trying to emotionally connect to its audience by saying that Circle K is always available even in unpredictable times.

With this campaign, they are trying to convey that they are more than a retailer, that they are there whenever they are needed.

Naughty or Nice

Marketing Strategy Of Circle K - Campaign 2

This Campaign ran through December. The goal of this campaign was to provide a feeling of positivity and optimism even when they’ve been naughty as they put it. Their goal was to target audiences that were stressed and busy during the holidays and relay to them that they deserve a treat.

One of their ads was that the waitress while packing a box of cupcakes dropped it on the floor and yet packed that cupcake. The message was Naughty or Nice: everyone deserves a treat. 

Make Your Mix:

Marketing Strategy Of Circle K - Campaign 3

Circle K introduced a ‘Make your Mix’ campaign by announcing 100 lucky winners on social media who share their mix of Circle K beverages during summer. To win this one had to upload a picture of themselves with the beverage and follow @CircleKStores and #MakeYourMix. Along with this, it partnered with influencers that highlighted Circle K as a one-stop shop for all your summertime essentials. This campaign was designed to advertise the chain’s Froster and Polar Pop beverages.

Social Media Marketing

Circle K is active on social media like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tiktok. It has maximum followers on Tiktok followed by Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Circle K has 170K + followers on Tiktok followed by 1,023,792 followers on Facebook and 59.1K followers on Instagram.  Circle K uses social media for promotional activities. It carries out its contests through social media. 

It recently launched its this or that campaign which promotes the brand as well as increases customer engagement on its social media. Every time a member fills up their tank, Circle K’s Easy Pay rewards program offers them savings and incentives. To increase the number of people who join the Easy Pay program, various social media ad campaigns were carried out.

SEO Strategies

Marketing Strategy Of Circle K - SEO

It can be seen that the number of organic keywords is 166,040 which is amazing. The scale is: Below 500 is bad, Above 1000 is good and 10000+ is amazing. Organic traffic is 3,253,294 which is also amazing. The scale for organic monthly traffic is: Above 20000 visits a month is good.

This shows that the SEO strategy of Circle K is very effective.

Influencer Marketing

Marketing Strategy Of Circle K - Influencer

Circle K uses influencer marketing to promote its products and brand. In the recent MakeYourMix campaign Circle, K partnered with influencers to increase traffic and popularity.

In 2017, Circle K launched a new product called MyKup their target audience at the time were Moms and Millennials on social media. They created an influencer and social media campaign and focused on the #myKupLove. This campaign engaged the audience to submit pictures enjoying MyKup with #myKupLove attached.

E-commerce Strategy

Marketing Strategy Of Circle K - Ecom

Circle K is expanding its e-commerce by online orders and delivery. It is partnering with online grocery brands and instant needs delivery service. It has partnered with Farmstead which serves locally sourced fresh produce and charges no delivery fee.

Mobile Apps

Marketing Strategy Of Circle K - Mobile App

Circle K has also launched its new mobile app for android and ios. Circle K has some exciting deals for Circle K app users only. With the help of the Circle K app, one can find fuel prices and directions to the nearest Circle K. One also gets access to members-only programs like Inner circle, pay by plate, etc.

Content Marketing

Circle K decided to harness the power of user-generated content. Circle K and EnTribe collaborated to create a community that would recognize creator content and advertise the Circle K name and products. Customers could post their images to a portal set up by Circle K in order to be published on the company’s website and social media pages and to be entered to win special Circle K gear and prizes. 

Additionally, the company offers advice on how to acquire the best pictures from its community and encourages users to use the hashtag #MyCircleK when sharing content on social media.

By developing more one-on-one relationships with its creators and being clear about the content it is looking for through this initiative, Circle K may obtain higher quality content from them without sacrificing authenticity. These strategies aid Circle K in gaining more social media traction, affecting sales and fostering good brand associations.

This ends with an elaborative marketing strategy of Circle K. Let us conclude our learning below from the marketing strategy of Circle K.

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Conclusion – What’s unique about Circle K marketing?

To conclude, Circle K is a well-known retail store brand with a large international presence. It provides a plethora of product options like food, fuel, hot and cold beverages, charge stations for EVs, convenience stores, car washing service, etc. to the customers and serves a large audience. 

It is located in many locations and is a one-stop shop for all needs of the customers. Numerous acquisitions and partnerships have enabled Circle K to grow and expand into this global giant. Having good customer service as their goal they have built up great customer loyalty for their brand.

Even with the recent development of the mobile app, the e-commerce presence is limited. Emerging countries have a huge market for convenience stores which Circle K hasn’t taken an advantage of. Digital marketing is one of the emerging mediums of marketing Circle K has to strengthen its digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing is crucial since it links a company with its clients when they are online and is effective across all sectors. It links businesses with ideal consumers through SEO and PPC on Google, social media marketing, and email marketing. If you would like to learn more and develop skills, check out IIDE’s 4-Month Digital Marketing Course to learn more.

Alternatively, you can enrol in one of our free online masterclasses led by IIDE’s CEO, Karan Shah, to gain insight into the field of digital marketing. 

We hope this blog on the marketing strategy of Circle K has given you a good insight into the company’s marketing strategies.

If you like such in-depth analysis of companies just like the marketing strategy of Circle K check out our IIDE Knowledge portal for more fascinating case studies.

Thank you for taking the time to read the marketing strategy of Circle K, and do share your thoughts on this case study marketing strategy of Circle K in the comments section below.

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]


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