Can You Compete with the Big Boxes?

December 31, 2011

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?”

“Huh?”

“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.

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Kitchen and Bath Marketing 2012

October 22, 2011

I am truly amazed by the speed at which we are not only exposed to new technologies and platforms, but are required to leverage and embrace them.   And with each new love affair, there is a savvy marketer discovering how we should make it a part of our integrated marketing plan.

There was a time when we had the time to warm up to a new technology before we “needed” to employ it.  According to Advertising Age’s History of Advertising 1704-1999, 1704 saw the first newspaper ad; it took 218 years, until 1922, when the first radio broadcast was sold to an advertiser.   19 years later, in 1941, the first TV commercial, featuring a Bulova watch hit the air.  Ahhh… a simpler time.  We could take our time to get comfortable with the new-fangled fads.

But today, we are required to move at warp speed – consider that the first web browser was born in 1990, by 1995 the web had an estimated 16 million users, three years later there were 147 million users that went to 500 million by 2001.  Facebook launched in 2004; YouTube in 2005; Twitter in 2006; the iPhone in 2007; the first Android smartphone in 2008; and the iPad in 2010.  Each one of these technologies/platforms/innovations has become an integral and required aspect of our integrated marketing programs.

As you begin your 2012 marketing plans, keep these truths in mind:

You need a presence on mobile devices:

  • 40% of Tablet & Smartphone owners use them while watching TV (Nielsen)
  • 17% of women / 21% of men looked up product information because of a TV commercial (Nielsen)
  • 79% of consumers use a smartphone to help with shopping (Google: ZMOT)

You need to put video to work for you – on TV… online …on handheld devices.

  • 37% of shoppers were stimulated to make a purchase decision by a TV ad (Google: ZMOT)
  • 83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them (Google: ZMOT)
  • 74% of consumers remember an ad when viewed across media platforms (TV+PC+Phone+Tablet) (Nielsen)
  • In August of 2011 YouTube was the 5th most popular web brand with 127.9 million visitors, spending 1 hour and 42 minutes EACH on the site (Nielsen)
  • Q2 2011 – 36.2% more Mobile subscribers are watching video on a mobile phone than a year earlier (Nielsen)

These are just two critical areas, but there are more… and as the technology advances, you need to be ready to make it work for you in bringing leads to your kitchen & bath showroom.

Consider developing a fully Integrated Marketing Program for 2012 where you can leverage your resources to best fit your market, your customer and your budget.  And, of course I am always available to help you get started.  Email info@kitchenmarketing.com to get started


2012: a New Marketing Reality

October 11, 2011

Just when you thought you had a handle on marketing your kitchen and bath business the rules are changing again.

There are a number of recent statistics that may shock you and should (at the very least) put your current marketing plan on trial.

  • We now spend more minutes each day with apps than we do with web sites.  On average 81 minutes are spent with apps compared to 74 with web browsing.  The increased usage of smartphones and digital tablets (such as the iPad) is credited for the new reality.

But as the many kitchen and bath professionals I speak with tell me – “that doesn’t affect me, my clients are older and smartphones and digital tablets are in the hands of kids.”   – if you subscribe to that concept, the reality doesn’t support your theory. According to an August 2011 Nielsen study, demographics break down evenly.

  • Smartphone Owners as of Q2 2011:
    • Ages 35-44          19%
    • Ages 45-54          20%
    • Ages 55+              18%
    • 50% are Women
  • Tablet Owners as of Q2 2011:
    • Ages 35-44          17%
    • Ages 45-54          18%
    • Ages 55+              19%
    • 43% are Women

As you begin thinking about your marketing plans for 2012, these numbers should represent a guide.  Yes, you still need to consider traditional marketing to stimulate the customer – TV is a good bet (as an aside).  But beyond that, are you supporting your digital and social efforts with allocated and dedicated resources.

  • Is your entire website visible on mobile devices?
  • Do you have a mobile version of your site?
  • Do you have a presence on a smartphone/mobile device app?
  • Have you allocated resources to maintain your social sites?

The 4th quarter is when most of us pull together our budget and marketing plans for the following year – your leads in 2012 will be coming from a new reality (in addition to a new economy) – be prepared!


Google and the Kitchen & Bath Channel

September 13, 2011

I will begin this blog posting with a suggestion… download and read the FREE book “Winning the Zero Moment of Truth” – It will change the way you look at your customers and therefore your marketing efforts.  If you need a preview, read some of my past postings.

To quote the book – “ZMOT is that moment when you grab your laptop, mobile phone or some other wired device and start learning about a product or service (or potential boyfriend) you’re thinking about trying or buying. I’m sure you know what I mean — you probably do web searches like this every day.”

It goes on to say that “…it’s even more critical that you be available at ZMOT. It’s where people are going to find you today. You might be surprised to hear that 20% of searches across all Google properties are local. That’s not all: that number doubles to an amazing 40% for mobile searches.”

One of the most often asked questions of The Kitchen & Bath Channel is “why should I be on the app, shouldn’t I be more concerned about being found on Google?”  The short answer is both is better, but examine the facts.

To be found on Google:

  • You need to keep up with Google’s Algorithm changes; reportedly over 500 in 2010 – each affecting your SEO strategy
  • Outside SEO  firms understand the changes, but can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars per month
  • Finding a legitimate SEO company can be challenging
  • If you can be found on among the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), you are among the big boxes and large retailers
  • If you opt to take the Google AdWords approach, you are continually tweaking your ads, adjusting your keywords and watching your budget

With your subscription, the Kitchen & Bath Channel offers

  • an industry-specific mobile and online search tool
  • additional links and content to support your SEO efforts
  • ability to categorize your business by specific search criteria, helping to eliminate wasting time with customers that are not a good fit
  • zip code searches and instant geo-location from your mobile device
  • ability to showcase your work with video and images without leaving the app or website
  • affordable rates
  • industry-specific marketing knowledge, employing the latest technologies and trends, as they emerge
  • direct contact with consumers on the upcoming new consumer-oriented website (scheduled by 10/1/10)
  • marketing support via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Blogs
  • multi-level, multi-platform connections to today’s consumers
  • …and more advances in the works including couponing, instant interface with your social media accounts, enhanced profile listings, enhanced photo and video upload capabilities!  Do you have an idea?  The Kitchen & Bath Channel is ever-evolving, and as a tool to the kitchen & bath professional, you input is vital our collective successes!
If you are ready to join the mobile revolution and secure your place at the Zero Moment of Truth, follow the link. http://www.kitchenbathchannel.com/join/

ZMOT? OMG!

August 20, 2011

Last week a friend of mine directed me to a new book that has dramatically focused the way I look at marketing.  When I first began reading ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth I took it with a grain of salt (to say the least); as it is written by Jim Lecinski, Google’s Managing Director, US Sales & Service and I envisioned a commercial in book form.  But reading quickly dismissed that notion.  Google is in the business of collecting data and using it to help businesses (including their own) sell product in a more efficient way.  ZMOT is simply naming the way we shop today (and should market), whether it is Business to Business or Business to Consumer; whether it is widgets or kitchens the process has evolved with the technology around us.  And individual kitchen and bath professionals better adapt.

For years I have been discussing the concept of integrated marketing for your kitchen and bath business.  In this blog I have talked about how there is no magic bullet that will singularly drive traffic to your showroom – not TV commercials, not your website, not magazines, not social media sites, not seminars, not anything by itself,  but rather a combination, an integrated approach that will move a consumer to close.   Let me explain.

The way it was:

We marketed based on three critical moments in the shopping/buying experience

  1. Stimulus:  the consumer is spurred to a product or service by an outside stimulus such as a TV commercial, print ad, seeing his/her neighbor’s new kitchen – something that stimulates the consumer to consider a purchase.
  2. Shelf (AKA – First Moment of Truth (FMOT)): the consumer goes to the store, sees a great display, speaks with the right sales person, something in the buying experience (at the shelf – the point of decision; the moment of truth) draws the consumer to purchase.
  3. Experience (AKA – Second Moment of Truth (SMOT)): the consumer has a great experience with his/her purchase and is a customer for life.  Contrary, a bad experience sends him/her down a different path the next time.

The way it is:

We have added a fourth critical moment in the shopping/buying experience.

  1. It begins as the three step did, with a stimulus.  But between the stimulus and the FMOT – enter:
  2. ZERO MOMENT OF TRUTH (ZMOT): Before today’s consumer looks to the shelf, they look to the internet for websites, for blogs, for reviews, for examples, for any information that will help them in their decision making process.
  3. THEN they move onto the First Moment of Truth,
  4. followed by the Second Moment of Truth.

84% of Americans Engage in ZMOT Activities Prior to Purchase

The book proves the following stats (among others):

Question: When you were considering purchasing [product] what sources of information did you seek out to help with your decision?  (red is ZMOT; green is FMOT)

  • 50% – Searched online, used search engine (net)
  • 49% – Talked with friends/family about the product
  • 41% – Looked at the product package in the store
  • 38% – Comparison shopped products online
  • 37% – Read brochure/pamphlet about the product in the store
  • 36% – Sought information from a product brand/manufacturer website
  • 33% – Talked with a salesperson or associate in the store
  • 31% – Read product reviews or endorsements online
  • 30% – Looked at signage/display about the product in the store
  • 22% – Sought information from a retailer/store website
  • 22% – Read comments following an article/opinion piece online
  • 20% – Talked with a customer service representative on the phone
  • 19% – Tried a sample/experienced the product in a store
  • 18% – Became a friend/follower/”liked” a brand

The consumer is not only heading to the computer in the den, but to the computer in their pockets, as well.

As the author states “Mobile is an Accelerant – Don’t let anyone tell you mobile is the future.  It’s already here. Lorraine Twohill (Google’s Global CMO) gave me a great statistic on this: Two-thirds of us sleep with our mobile phones right beside us.  So that’s around 3.3 billion people who have cellphones with them day and night.”

“The way we use those mobile phones will keep changing. With GPS technology, location-based services for local businesses will be off the charts. And who knows what the next killer app will be?”

For the Kitchen and Bath industry, the killer app is The Kitchen & Bath Channel.  It was created by kitchen and bath professionals for kitchen and bath professional explicitly to give our subscribers the ZMOT edge!  Our vision is that The Kitchen & Bath Channel will become the one stop (online and mobile) for the consumer in every ZMOT (red) statistic above.

I invite you to join us today to take advantage of this marketing revolution BEFORE your competitor does… imagine stealing a customer away from your competitor with the touch of a finger for $300 or less a year!go ahead and click to learn more…


The Changing Face of Marketing Your Kitchen & Bath Business

August 13, 2011

As regular followers are aware, each week I endeavor to find a marketing gem that you can put into practice immediately in your kitchen and bath showroom; something that will help drive traffic in a “less than stellar economy”.

This week, in an effort to answer the question “where should I place my marketing dollars for the greatest return on my investment?” I landed on a new study: “2011 Social Media Matters Study” by BlogHer and sponsored by Ketchum.

I want to share some of the findings and place them in context for the kitchen and bath industry.

First you should know that the respondents of the BlogHer audience consist of 2,763 women and 98 men who are blog users. The data was secured from a network sample: survey fielded across 2,500 blogs & 25MM+ audience – ages 18-76.

The report stated that “everyone is an early adopter [to technology] – thanks to mobile devices. Adoption rates of new services and tools are high, but volatile”.

The BlogHer audience is labeled “early adopters” and the percentages below supports that assertion.  All figures are 2011 percentages as compared to 2010.

  • Facebook – 2011: 84%; up 1% from 2010
  • YouTube – 63%; up 6%
  • Smart Phone Mobile & Apps – 57%; up 32%
  • Social Media Games – 21%; up 4%
  • Read Blogs – 94%; down 2%
  • Message Boards – 41%; down 4%
  • Watch TV/Media Online 42%; down 14% (while YouTube is up 6%)
  • Twitter – 39%; down 13%

The study continues by telling us that “Women have an ever increasing appetite for media. Despite few declines in usage, we have made time for new choices. Mobile is driving early adoption & rapid abandonment.”

In the Kitchen and Bath industry, we know we need to reach women to be successful.  This study shows us that women are using new technologies, social media and blogs – it follows that as kitchen and bath professionals, we need to incorporate theses technologies and tools into our overall integrated marketing plans.

Z promotion & design, through our new program, The Kitchen & Bath Channel provides kitchen and bath professionals with a cost-effective, simple way to employ new technologies.  Immediately, we can place you in the mobile marketplace, on YouTube and Tweet you hundreds of Twitter followers.  And as we prepare to launch our upcoming versions, you will have new opportunities to reach your target market utilizing the latest marketing tools as they appear and without the hassles of having to keep up yourself!


Marketing Kitchens in THIS Economy?! You’re Kidding, Right?

August 6, 2011

Whew!  What a scary week on Wall Street, in Washington and for the economy in general.  Makes us all want to crawl into a cave (or our new kitchens) and hide until it’s over.

BUT WE CAN’T!  We have businesses to run.  Kitchens to sell and money to be made.  If you haven’t read the article from the New York Times (via msnbc.com) entitled “The Rich are (almost) Spending like it’s 2006” – click the title to read it.

The excerpt I found intriguing:

  • “The luxury category has posted 10 consecutive months of sales increases compared with the year earlier, even as overall consumer spending on categories like furniture and electronics has been tepid, according to the research service MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. In July, the luxury segment had an 11.6 percent increase, the biggest monthly gain in more than a year.”

My point… [some] people are still spending money in this economy.

  • Where are they spending it?  With the companies whose names are in the forefront of their minds.
  • How do you put yourself in the forefront of their minds?  Through Marketing and Advertising Channels!

If you have heard of these brands – Kellogg’s, Chevrolet and Lucky Strike Cigarettes you can thank the Great Depression of the 1930’s.  Post Cereals, Ford Motor Company and Camel Cigarettes, all industry leaders in 1929, shut down their marketing and advertising “to save money”.  They opened the floodgates for their lesser known competitors.  The competition filled the advertising and marketing void becoming the new industry leaders.  You can do the same… who in your market seems to be MIA in the public’s psyche?  Is there room for you to take over?  Do you need help exploring the possibilities?

I began Z promotion & design in 1996, and we have been working with the Kitchen & Bath industry exclusively since 2001.  Our expertise is in how to get your name in front of those consumers still spending.  Unlike other agencies, we understand the industry, how the consumer shops, how you [the professional] sell, what works and what doesn’t.  In addition, we understand how to leverage the latest technology for marketing.  We can help you create an integrated marketing program to help you weather the current economic climate and become the next Kellogg’s, Chevrolet or Lucky Strike of kitchen & bath professionals in your market.

For additional information contact me – visit www.KitchenMarketing.com or to sign up for the latest marketing innovation – The Kitchen & Bath Channel, visit www.KitchenBathChannel.com.


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