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Have you ever compared your kitchen and bath business to the adventures of Gilligan, the Skipper and the rest of the gang on the classic 60s sitcom “Gilligan’s’ Island”? Didn’t think so, but it is an interesting analogy, if you bear with me. And for those of you too young to appreciate the comparison… read on anyway!
Think of your kitchen and bath showroom as an island in a sea of potential customers. There were times you felt stranded on that island, and like “the Professor”, used all your creative [and marketing] resources to grab a passer-by’s attention. You employed every form of outgoing marketing and advertising you could – TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, home shows, direct mail, even yellow pages – just to cajole a customer to your island.
Eventually, although it took a made for TV movie sequel, the gang from Gilligan’s Island was rescued, employing science and technology (details on Wikipedia). To make a long story longer and add another made for TV movie sequel (or two) – the castaways end up back on the island, only this time it becomes a resort where visitors find them.
…and now, back to our analogy…
Technology came to your rescue at the height of the economic downturn … in the form of smart phones, mobile devices, social media and the convergence of it all! The Professor would be lovin’ it!
Your showroom is still an island in a sea of potential customers, but now they are searching you out. They are “Googling” you, searching for you on apps, looking for your social media links, unearthing your blogs and researching as much as they can, just to find you.
Can you be found?
Shopping has changed. By the time a customer shows up in your showroom, they are yours to lose. They have done their research, they know you, and they are ready to work with you – just as long as you measure up to what they found during their due diligence.
Your marketing needs to change to keep up. You still need to employ outgoing marketing efforts, but you also need to create an incoming marketing strategy. For the kitchen and bath professional, that means reallocating your resources (personnel and cash) and developing an integrated marketing program.
Are you ready for the challenge today? …or do you need a few made for TV movie sequels to benefit from your rescue?
During the holiday season a friend of mine went a big box to purchase Christmas lights. Suddenly, to her surprise an apron approached her and asked not if she needed help choosing lights, but rather – “Are you happy with your kitchen?”
“Are you happy with your kitchen?” repeated the apron. “Is there anything you would change about your kitchen, if you could?”
“Sure” my friend responded suddenly realizing that she had become the victim of a sales call.
The apron continued with “did you know that we will come to your home, take a look at your kitchen, measure and give you design ideas – all at no cost to you?”
The big boxes have a pipeline to thousands, make that millions of shoppers who are in the store for nothing remotely related to a new kitchen. Yet their sales team is planting the seed… shoppers like my friend are likely to go home and every flaw in their kitchen becomes magnified. It becomes exacerbated by crowds of holiday revelers and family. Come January the seed germinates the customer comes back to the store to take them up their offer!
…in the meantime, you’re reviewing your year with disdain and wondering how to generate additional showroom traffic.
The short answer is Marketing.
For your consideration –
- What if your apron was a commercial on HGTV, The Food Network or DIY? Your audience is “in the store” and you are stimulating them to buy with a great offer.
- What if the customer visited a big box, became frustrated and stormed out of the store? Would they know to come to you next? Have you considered the mobile app of the Kitchen & Bath Channel?
- What if the big box germinated the seed, but the customer went directly to the computer or mobile device, rather than back to the store… are you be there to be found?
Believe me, after working with the Kitchen & Bath industry exclusively for over ten years, I have seen the highs and lows. You cannot pull the plug on marketing and hope to survive, but you can be more effective in how you spend your marketing dollars. Yes, you can compete against the big boxes and win!
If you want additional information or have questions – don’t hesitate to contact me.