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!

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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.


Shopping from the Palm of your Hand

July 30, 2011

When we first conceived of the Kitchen & Bath Channel Smartphone App it was based on a simple scenario that all kitchen and bath professionals have experienced.

kitchen and bath channel subscriber

Platinum Subscriber Profile Page

A customer arrives at your showroom having just left your competition (or a big box) because it wasn’t the “right fit”.  They are in the mood to buy and you got lucky because they “somehow” arrived at your front door!

What if you could direct customers to your front door WHILE they are out shopping?  Through the Kitchen & Bath Channel Smartphone App, all kitchen and bath professionals within a 50 mile radius of the customer’s exact location appear on the map.  With the touch of an icon (for the featured listings) the customer has access to your website, to auto-dial your phone number, step-by-step Google map directions to your front door, samples of your projects and more!

The apps have been available since late April.  Downloads and session times grow daily.  Current and prospective subscribers love the concept, but often times ask questions that send us researching stats (see “Getting Your Share of $150 Million” and “Using Today’s Technology to Reach Today’s Customer“) – such was the case again this past week when a prospective Platinum subscriber asked the question, “Are people really using smartphones while they are out shopping?”

Here is what I found:

The website Digby, in an overview of Mobile Commerce Stats validated our assumptions.

  • 46% of consumers have used their phone to get product information while in a store
  • 56% of people believed mobile can make the shopping experience more enjoyable
  • 34% of mobile shoppers make $100,000 or more a year
  • 58% of mobile shoppers are ages 18-34; according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University this demographic (under 35 year olds) accounted for almost $12.5 billion in total expenditures with remodeling professionals during 2009.
  • 31% of consumers research a product on their mobile device before buying it in-store
  • Within the 49% of mobile users who have made a mobile purchase in the last six months
    • 84% look for local retailer information
    • 73% find a specific manufacturer or product website
    • 63% search before purchasing in a store or from a catalog
    • Among smartphone owners 38% prefer using a mobile application
    • Mobile commerce showed 86% year-over-year growth from 2010 to 2011

While kitchen and bath professionals understand that buying a new kitchen is not something you can click and purchase from a mobile phone, the conditioning of the consumer to turn to their smartphone for shopping is clearly on the rise.

The Kitchen & Bath Channel provides the kitchen and bath professional an easy and cost effective entrée to the world of mobile research, shopping and Generation Y – those born after 1975. 

For as little as $200 a year, the Kitchen & Bath Channel keeps up with the expanding technology and its implementation in marketing your business, so you can concentrate on designing kitchens and bathrooms!


Getting Your Share of $150 Million!

July 23, 2011

I was speaking with a Platinum subscriber to The Kitchen & Bath Channel the other day about the potential market for the app. I immediately sent him to my previous blog (Using Today’s Technology to Reach Today’s Customer). He stopped me and said he understands the potential to reach the younger generation(s) that’s why he was an early subscriber, but he wants to know what does it mean to him – in his community – in dollars and cents… so we did some math.

The iPhone and Android apps were released in time for KBIS (BlackBerry a week or so later), so they have been in use for roughly 90 days. Through today, there have been a total (on all three apps) of 6,117 sessions. A session is defined as one use by the end user – typically from launch to termination of the program.

Let’s assume that 5000 of the sessions are legitimate (an individual using the app for its intended purpose – to locate a kitchen and bath or remodeling professional), and let’s further assume that the average cost of a kitchen remodel is $30,000 (his figure for his business).

5,000 searches x $30,000 = $150,000,000 of potential kitchen remodel business is using the app nationwide.

If we agree that there are roughly 30 major metro areas and divide $150 million by 30 we find that in each metro area there is $5,000,000 of potential business using the app over the past 90 days.

Divide that $5 million by the 90 days the apps have been live and there is about $55,000 – a kitchen AND a bath remodel floating around you EVERY DAY!

Our subscriber was thrilled. And was surprised and pleased that he was the only Platinum subscriber in his market – to quote him “Spending $300 to stand out from my competition in this economic environment in a fight for 5 million dollars – this marketing concept is a no-brainer! Nothing personal Phil, but for my sake I hope you don’t get any more subscribers in my market!”

I don’t typically use this blog as a sales tool, but the excitement and buzz around The Kitchen & Bath Channel is growing exponentially daily – our Twitter followers hit 500 in less than a week… and mostly from people I didn’t connect to first!

Click for some articles –

Click for additional information –

The Kitchen & Bath Channel Website – with links to the apps


Using Today’s Technology to Reach Today’s Customer

July 16, 2011

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently released their latest study of the home remodeling industry entitled “A New Decade of Growth for Remodeling – Improving America’s Housing”

I look forward to this report because it gives our industry a great snapshot of the recent past and a glimpse into the next few years.

A couple of stats from the latest report that stand out:

In 2009: Heads of household, under 45 years old accounted for 31.28% of homeowners reporting remodeling projects and accounting for over $59 billion dollars spent!  …during the recession.   These figures account for those who hired professionals and not the Do-it-Yourselfers.

The Projection for 2015 for this same age demographic, including all homeowners (minority and non-minority) indicates an average growth of 3.9% in compound annual growth rate on average per owner spending.

Overlay those remodeling statistics with some about smart phone usage from Nielsen (April 2011)

  • Thirty-six percent of U.S. mobile consumers now have smartphones.  Add to that the latest stats from Online Marketing Trends (June 2011) that in the US 48.7% of smartphone owners are between the ages of 25 and 44.  While another 27.5% are 45+.
  • Consumers with Apple iOS (iPhone) and Google Android OS mobile phones represent the majority of the smartphone market in the U.S. and 74 percent of mobile app downloaders
  • App downloaders with Apple iOS and Android OS smartphones have more applications on their mobile phones than those with other kinds of smartphones, with an average of 48 apps on iPhones and 35 apps on Android phones. (By comparison, app downloaders with Blackberry RIM smartphones only had an average of 15 apps on their phones.)
  • They also use their apps more often: 68 percent of app downloaders with iPhones and 60 percent of those with Android phones reported using their mobile apps multiple times a day compared to 45 percent of app downloaders with Blackberry/RIM phones.

Savvy Kitchen & Bath Professionals need to begin to use the latest technologies to reach their current and upcoming generation(s) of customers.  The Kitchen & Bath Channel was created to do just that.

Your primary benefit from your association with The Kitchen & Bath Channel is to make your marketing program technologically current and to keep you on the cutting edge!   Your job is to design beautiful kitchens and baths, ours is to watch emerging technologies for your marketing benefits.

Become an early adopter and jump on board for as little as $200 a year!


Lights… Camera… Action!

June 26, 2011

Are you ready for the re-discovery of TV… or more accurately the re-emergence of Video?  There was time the kitchen and bath industry shied away from video, because TV was the only platform for displaying your images – and it was an expensive proposition.  As video technology improved, costs came down and potential delivery systems increased, more kitchen and bath professionals turned to video loops in showrooms, home shows, DVDs for potential clients and for some – the Internet.  Today there is no excuse to ignore marketing with video.  Online video is growing at astonishing rates…

Here are some stats to get your heart pumping (according to Media Recruiting Group)

During the month of May 2011 –
YouTube:  8,860,520,000 total video streams were logged during the month of May for an increase of 1.3% over the previous month.  And if that is not mind boggling enough, the average American spent 2 hours and 31 minutes on YouTube during the month.  Add to that another 135,168,000 video streams on Facebook and you’re looking at a lot of potential exposure for your kitchen and bath business.

And allow me the latitude to make a prediction from my crystal ball… Christmas 2011 will see the opening salvos of the Google TV vs Apple TV battle for your eyeballs.  And those “TVs” will be pulling videos from the likes of YouTube and Facebook to your [traditional] TV set.

So, how can you capitalize on this explosion?   Simple – Get in the Game!

  1. Professional Photography – all those high-quality, professionally shot photographs you published in magazines make excellent high-definition videos.  See The Royal Cabinet Company video on The Kitchen & Bath Channel.
  2. Professional Videographer – as with photography, don’t try to save a few bucks shooting your showroom, your project or yourself by yourself.  Take a look at this video on The Kitchen & Bath Channel from Roomscapes in Laguna Niguel, CA to see what a professional videographer can do.
  3. Pre-Production – before you begin any shoot have scripts and shot sheets ready for a variety of video projects, it will save you time and money.
  4. TV Commercials – marketing on TV or Cable has been very effective for kitchen and bath professionals in this economy.  When you shoot the commercial, be sure to shoot a lot of extra “B-roll” that you can edit later for additional commercials or other projects (see #3 above).
  5. Online Video Portals  – take advantage of existing video destinations online for displaying your videos such as:

When you consider the number of places you can showcase your video, your marketing investment becomes very affordable.

If you have a video you want to display on The Kitchen & Bath Channel (YouTube), contact me and we’ll post it on the channel.  If you need video, would like some clarification about using video in your marketing plan, we are available to assist – just contact us.


“Help Me Market My Kitchen & Bath Business”

June 10, 2011

It’s the cry I hear almost every day from every kitchen and bath professional calling my office, emailing, texting or otherwise messaging me via social networking.

My previous post touched on the subject through its discussion of Integrated Marketing – leveraging traditional and new technology with social networking to drive traffic… this posting is going to give you concrete, real-life solutions that will help drive traffic.  But remember, the essence of the last post is that no single effort is the magic bullet.  But rather, it is how you integrate your media and marketing options together to most effectively drive your message to the consumer.

  • Competitive Advantage – there is no need to go any further until you understand and establish your competitive advantage in your marketplace for your business and your target market.
  • Messaging – once you know your competitive advantage, what is your message exploiting that advantage?  Does it resonate with your target market?

With your competitive advantage and your messaging secure – how will you get the message out?

  • Television / Cable – this is probably the most cost effective and efficient way to reach your customer and it is more affordable than you’re thinking.
  • Video Production – doing TV? You’re going to need a commercial.  Again not as expensive as you are imagining plus consider the other uses – YouTube, your website, Facebook, in your Showroom, on your iPad for client visits, you are only limited by your imagination… and technology.
  • Social Media – it works… but you better have a plan, know what sites you will use and understand both the positives and negatives.
  • Local Banner Ads – local newspapers, magazines, cable companies, TV stations all offer some sort of advertising on their websites – take advantage to drive traffic to your website…but first, make sure your website is ready for the traffic and ready to be your best salesperson!
  • The Kitchen & Bath Channel Smart Phone App it’s a little over a month old, but is quickly gaining traction and has been proven to work for a San Francisco dealer.  It’s priced right too.

These are some of the solutions I have seen work throughout the country.  They are certainly worth your serious consideration.  And, now is the time to get your plan together.  You need to be ready to blanket your market with your message for the fall!  Whether you choose to retain Z promotion & design, or just want to talk about options – I am usually easy to catch at the office 919-932-4600 – 8a-6p EDT.


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