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.

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!

Google Endorses the Need for Speed

September 11, 2010

How do I make it to the top of Google?  For years I have been saying that there are no guarantees… If there were, wouldn’t millions of websites be listed first?  There are so many variations and permutations that have an impact on your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) listing that guarantees are impossible.  And let’s not forget that Google is a business.  Google sells search placement ads – AdWords.  If we were all at the top of the listings with every keyword/phrase in the kitchen and bath industry, would we still buy AdWords?  Probably not. 

A week or so ago Google made it clear that speed is now a major factor in how your site places in the search results.  Users prefer sites that load quickly – a) because we’ve become very impatient and b) the proliferation of mobile devices where speed is essential.   Speed still doesn’t outweigh content or the quality of your incoming links, but slower sites will be penalized by Google.  And, by the way, according to for the week ending 9/4/10 – Google still accounted for 71.33% of the internet’s search volume.

So, check you speed here. And for additional information on the topic, read this article by Aaron Steinheinkel.


On another note…

Become a part of The Kitchen and Bath Channel on YouTube –

Join Z promotion & design on Facebook – we are hoping to top 200 fans this weekend!

Ready to Market your kitchen and bath showroom? – visit!

Google Maps – The Local Business Center

January 9, 2010

Attention Kitchen and Bath Professionals – especially those with showrooms and manufacturers with dealers.  Last week I received an email from Google regarding their Local Business Center service.  This is something I was aware of, and actually thought I had implemented.  I was mistaken. 

The Local Business Center is a free service.  Visit and create an account.  This listing, in conjunction with a strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) program, will help you show up during searches from Google Maps.  You have the opportunity to create a listing for your showroom (or multiple locations), a description of your services, contact info (phone numbers, email addresses, web links), hours of operation, payment options and up to 10 photos and/or 5 videos of your showroom or projects.  You can also offer coupons from the listing. 

I implemented the local business center for Z promotion & design on January 4 and within 2 days had 83 impressions, 1 click for additional info and 3 clicks to  The search terms by which I was found were varied, but are in direct correlation with my “more traditional” SEO program.  The #4 term – “kitchen design”.  If your customers are looking for you on Google Maps – be sure you are there for them. 

This is something you have to do yourself, as Google automates a phone call to your business number to verify the listing (helping to ensure your listing won’t be hacked).  It will take you no time to complete and the call from Google to verify is instantaneous (although I had some problems, it took about 5 tries until the system worked correctly – be persistent).

Questions or comments… email me (, post, call (919-932-4600) or find me on Google Maps in Chapel Hill!

The Curse of the Yellow Pages

November 21, 2009

Back in the olden days, just before the turn of the century, I began working with kitchen and bath professionals.  Marketing was a difficult sell; all I ever heard was “I don’t need to market or advertise; all my business comes from referrals and yellow page ads.”  I actually spoke to one person who said he wished he had the money to advertise, but he spends about $50k a year on yellow pages ads!!!!

Times have changed, yet each year kitchen and bath professionals [for the most part] are easy targets for yellow pages ad reps… because every year, without thinking, they are sucked into overspending their budgets in an antiquated “technology”.  Perhaps it’s ingrained in our psyche.

Now, I won’t tell you yellow pages are a waste of money… but think about this subject logically.

  1. Ask your employees, clients, friends, and strangers on the street – “do you use the yellow pages?”   “What do you typically look up in it?”
  2. Have you ever used the yellow pages for a high ticket item… sure, I can see using the book when looking for new tires, a plumber, electrician or HVAC guy – in an emergency (but I am over 50, and grew up using the book) … but for a new dining room suite, a new car or a new kitchen?  Not likely.  Consider this scenario – ‘morning honey.  Ya know we could use a new kitchen.  Think I’ll look in the yellow pages and we can go get one this afternoon.  Knowing what you know about your clients and their buying habits, is there any validity to this?

The yellow pages are confusing as “heck” to buy… does this conversation sound familiar?

  • You tell the rep you want to cut back on your yellow pages this year.  “What’s the cost if I down-size the ad?”  The response is that you’ll actually be paying more because last year “you got a great promotional deal” – the yellow pages will not publish rates.  Everything is a “deal”.  And perhaps (but I don’t know for sure) at the discretion of the sales manager, based on his/her bottom line sales goal.
  • So then you say that maybe you’ll just cut the yellow pages out altogether, since most people are using the internet now.  The rep agrees; the yellow pages are antiquated which is why they are offing a “deal” with the book and their online together.  Hmmm, they agree they are selling a useless [almost – makes a great door stop, along with your 386 computer] marketing vehicle, in conjunction with their internet option.
  • Your response… I don’t know anyone who uses the yellow pages online, everyone I know uses Google, Bing or another search engine.  Again, the rep agrees with you… and tells you “that’s why we make sure we come up with a high listing on all the search engines”.  Your response back, “so to get to me, they need to search twice – once with the search engine, and then again on your site?!?  If that’s the case, wouldn’t my money be better spent with a SEM (pay per click) program?”
  • And by the way, they may also “guarantee” x number of click throughs each month.  Not that I am making accusations, but anyone can sit at a computer and click to your website.  Generally I have found that their claims don’t agree with Google Analytics’ stats.
  • And just for the back of your mind… how many different yellow page publishers are in your market?  How many different books do each publish based on geographical boundaries?  In how many different categories do you feel obligated to be listed or have an ad… kitchens, bathrooms, contractors, countertops, etc.?  It adds up; suddenly spending $50,000 seems quite possible.

My take-aways…

  1. STOP spending on the yellow pages and put your money into other marketing venues.  Taking my $50k a year example from above.  If he had spent $50,000 in TV, Radio, Magazines and Pay per Click on the internet – people would KNOW him, his name, his business and IF his potential clients needed to find a phone number, the white pages or free listing in the yellow pages would certainly suffice.
  2. If the internet is the new yellow pages, take your current yellow page budget and be sure your website is second to none, optimized for search engines and you are spending on a pay per click campaign.
  3. If you MUST run yellow page ads, try the following – tell the rep you have x number of dollars to spend each month, which categories are vital, and in this specific order of importance.  Rep – “you come back with the best deal you can offer.  Then I’ll decide what to do”.

Agree?  Disagree?  Have your own horror stories, or perhaps success stories – this is the place to share.  Feel free to link back to your website – it helps with your SEO.  Call (919-932-4600) or email if you’d like to continue the conversation “in person”.

And – Z promotion & design is offering a GREAT incentive to update your website – follow the link…

The Glass is Half Empty

September 15, 2009

There is a time and a place where negativity rule – it’s with Google AdWords.  Specifically keywords.  We all know that choosing the appropriate keywords by which we want to be found is paramount to our online survival.  And they create the foundation for Google AdWords campaigns.

For those in the Kitchen and Bath industry, “cabinets” is a likely keyword, as is “bathroom” – so we employ them in our AdWords campaigns and sit back waiting for the hits, willing to pay for each click-through – because we anticipate the order…

But, did you know that using cabinet as a keyword will show your ad for these queries: gun cabinet, medicine cabinet, cabinet refacing, Obama’s Cabinet and others.  Bathroom will get your ad impressions for search terms such as bathroom mat, bathroom shower curtain, and assorted “adult” fetishes I never thought about before.

Google has a way to avoid useless impressions and therefore paying for click-throughs.  It’s called Negative Keywords.  The best way to find the keywords you want to negate is by running a Google Report entitled: Search Query Report – and it can be found in the reports section.   Run and view the report and look for the undesirable keywords that people entered causing your ad to appear.  As you gather these negative keywords, head back to the keywords tab.  Toward the bottom of that page (below the keywords you have chosen) is a place for negative keywords.  Add the keywords by which you don’t want to be found.  This is a great exercise in seeing what clients are really searching for, and saves you money too!

As always, your personal experiences with negative keywords, as well as your thoughts are always welcome.

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