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!

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Technological Advances in Design and Marketing

September 20, 2011

I recently went to an NKBA Chapter meeting where one of the most technologically advanced ovens was featured.  Although I have been dubbed by many a “technology guru”, I was agog – it never dawned on me that I would ever be required to download software updates in order to cook a casserole.  But, apparently the future is now – calling Jane Jetson! (chuckle now if you’re old enough to get the reference)

The designers surrounding me (young and old alike) were not surprised.  Perhaps they had read about it, gotten the head’s up from their rep, seen it before or even anticipated this advancement.

And that’s what surprised me!  because many of these same designers seem to fear technology in their marketing efforts.  Effective marketing means anticipating and keeping up with the latest technological trends and turning them into sales opportunities.  It was true of radio in the 1920s and 30s; TV in the 1940s and 50s; Internet advertising in the 1990s and 2000s; and the emerging mobile opportunities of today.

Your website is no longer enough of an edge.  SEO is confusing, difficult and expensive to corral and everyday new technology gives birth to new marketing opportunities… and all you want to do is design and build kitchens, bathroom and other living spaces.  The Kitchen & Bath Channel is your conduit to bridge the “marketing with technology” gap.  Our mission is to provide you, the kitchen and bath professional, with easy, cost effective marketing tools, utilizing the latest technology, marketing trends and industry knowledge to drive today’s customers to you.

If you will keep up with design technologies and trends, we will keep up with marketing technologies and trends!


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…


How to Attract Kitchen & Bath Customers in Today’s Economy

June 4, 2011

We all know that selling a kitchen or bath design project is not like selling a widget – it’s a process that is based on a potential customer finding you, learning about you, meeting you, trusting you, and accepting you.   In this unstable economy it’s a long, and time consuming process.

Before the “great recession” it was different… remember?  Money flowed more freely, opulence was in vogue, and customers were willing to wait until YOU were ready to begin their project.  The tables have turned.  Money is tight, cost is driving design decisions and you are now one of a dozen “remodelers” in the mix.

It seems many kitchen and bath professionals are not willing to accept the new reality.  They are not willing to spend money to make money, as the old adage goes.  There is a feeling among many professionals that a single marketing avenue will bring in new business.  Are you among them?

  • If you think your Facebook page alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.
  • If you think your Blog alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.
  • If you think Search Engine Optimization (SEO) alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.
  • If you think Search Engine Marketing (SEM) alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.
  • If you think your Website alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.
  • If you think your TV Commercial alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.
  • If you think your Magazine Ad alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.
  • If you think your Direct Mail Piece alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.

See the pattern?  The answer you are looking for is known as Integrated Marketing.   It is just what it sounds like – it is integrating all your potential marketing and advertising avenues together under a single message based on your competitive advantage.  Think of it as the place where traditional media, the Internet and newer marketing technologies come together to engulf your market with your message.   If it sounds scary, it’s not really – you may just need a guide.


Google Does it Again

February 26, 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to optimize your website for Google they changed the algorithm again.  This time it is aimed at “content farms” – those websites designed to contain a tremendous amount of content; typically low quality original articles or information plagiarized from other sites.  However, based on existing/older algorithms, this content draws high SERP (search engine results page) listings.  The content farms typically sell ad space due to their high traffic (often from Google itself) but are of little use to the visitor because the content in unacceptable.

So what does this mean for you, the Kitchen and Bath Professional?  It is a reminder that “content is king” and quality supersedes mediocrity.  Taking the time to create valuable, original content will win the SERP battles over pages and pages of keyword-crammed copy.  You are experts in design, cabinetry, appliances, the intricacies that make up a functional kitchen, color, work space; the list goes on forever… Write about what you know with thoughtful, in-depth articles for your website or blog and you’ll be fine. 

Here is a link to a more detailed article from Mashable.com that includes links to other helpful information.


SEO: Seemingly Endless Opinions?

November 27, 2010

SEO… Search Engine Optimization or Seemingly Endless Opinions.  I am looking for feedback, so please post liberally – not spam, but legitimate posts, with real insight!

This past week I was fortunate to have a conversation with a “best-selling author”, as he described himself, in the field of Search Engine Optimization. One of my clients retained his company to optimize the code within the website, as well as provide consulting services regarding the use of third party sites, inbound links, social networking, etc. to improve his SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking.

I fully understand there are different search engines, each utilizing proprietary algorithms to determine SERP rankings. I further understand that they are businesses – dependent upon ad sales for revenue, therefore “adjustments and changes” in the algorithms [almost] guarantee a company needs to pay per click to make it “to the top” of the SERP. And while I am in an understanding mood, we cannot ALL be listed first – regardless of how well optimize. Someone needs to be second, third or pushed to page two.

Based on my conversation this past week, along with past conversations with other “experts”, and a library of books, articles and websites… as a consumer (website owner), who do you believe? Many SEO experts contradict one another.

Two elements on which the experts are clearly in agreement:

  1. A website owner needs to determine by what keywords they want to be found, and prepare web pages that reflect those keywords, through optimized keyword density.
  2.  Inbound links from quality sites are very important to legitimize your own site.

But that’s where agreement tends to end. I have heard a number of theories about page length, number of words, landing pages, coding specifications, meta tags, alt tags, title tags, url expiration dates, geo tagging and the list goes on and on and on…

Who knows the “real” steps to high rankings? And, how long will those steps remain applicable in an ever-changing landscape of Search Engine Optimization?

I would love to hear from you!


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