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!

Advertisements

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!


“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.


An App with a Marketing ROI

May 28, 2011

The Kitchen & Bath Channel Smart Phone App is a FREE app providing homeowners and consumers instant access to over 15,000 Kitchen & Bath industry professionals from their smart phone.  It is also a unique and effective marketing tool for members of the Kitchen & Bath industry.

The Kitchen & Bath Channel Smart Phone App has been available for a little over a month on Android and iPhone, less on the BlackBerry platform.  It has been exceeding expectations… some stats…

  • The iPhone version has quickly received a “5 Star” rating in the iTunes Store
  • There are already 650 users who have used it almost 5,000 times.
  • iPhone users spend an average of  1.5 minutes using the app; 1.9 sessions per day
  • Droid users spend an average of 1 minute using the app; 1.7 sessions per day

…and received the following testimonial:

“I purchased the Platinum subscription for the new Kitchen & Bath Channel Smart Phone App for my San Francisco showroom.  It’s a new marketing concept using cutting edge technology and within the first month, it brought in a lead we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.  I think the Kitchen & Bath Channel is the right idea at the right price.  This appears to be where marketing is heading and I want Gilmans Kitchens + Baths to be in the forefront!”

Larry Lowenthal
President
Gilmans Kitchens + Baths

If you are a kitchen and bath professional and want to see real results from your marketing investment, like Larry visit The Kitchen & Bath Channel website.

If you are a homeowner considering a kitchen or bath remodel, and want to being your search from the geo-locator services of the app or just learn more, visit the website too.


Social Snooping worthy of 007

May 28, 2011

I was surprised this past week when a business I am following posted a question I considered to be confidential, somewhat proprietary information.  The question the owner posted to his followers was innocuous enough, or so it seemed on the surface.  But it was seeking a response regarding a possible business alliance – would the follower consider this an opportunity worth pursuing?  What the business owner likely didn’t realize was that among his followers were competitors, members of the press and dozens of others he probably didn’t even know.  Add to that his, and all his followers privacy settings, their ability to tweet and repost and you are set for a world-wide announcement, you may not be ready to make.

If you are going to use social media, use it responsibly.  I hate to sound like a PSA for alcohol, but if you’re going to participate, understand the risks.

Facebook has taken off among Kitchen & Bath industry professionals.  Spend time on any of the LinkedIn kitchen and bath industry discussion groups and you’ll see that “liking” one another’s Facebook pages are among the most “discussed” discussions.  Be sure you know who “likes” you.  Your customers and their friends – that’s who you are looking for; or your competition (local or regional).

As a marketing professional, I encourage my clients to first and foremost determine their competitive advantage in their marketplace.

How?

Among my suggestions – snoop on your competition to determine what they do, how they do it, how successful they are at it, etc.

Snooping is getting easier with new technology.  In the “olden days” you needed to watch for TV commercials, find brochures, search for ads and maybe wait for a home show.  Today just “like” them on Facebook, visit their website(s), Blog(s), follow them on Twitter… what’s next?

Are you making it easier for your competition to size you up?  There is a fine line between enticing your customers to come visit to learn more and putting it all out there for the world (your competitors) to see.

As Stg. Phil Esterhuas of Hill Street Blues always said – “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”


Facing Facebook

May 14, 2011

The interaction between social networking sites is nothing short of amazing.  In at least three of the kitchen & bath industry LinkedIn groups to which I belong, there are ongoing discussions regarding link exchanges among kitchen and bath professionals’ Facebook pages… and it works like a charm.  Business owners are “meeting” and “liking” one another’s pages.  But to what end?   That is what I want to delve into a bit today.

We all know that we need at least 25 “likes” to get a username for our Facebook page – if this is news to you, and you have 25 or more likes go to facebook.com/username to select one for your page.  The username will serve you well in your marketing efforts.  The LinkedIn group discussions are a wonderful tool for reaching your username threshold.  Beyond that – from 26 to your first thousand… these LinkedIn discussion groups hold very little value if you are a showroom owner whose marketing efforts are business to consumer.

Once your username is in place, it’s not about how many followers can I collect… it’s all about how many “qualified” followers can I collect.  Qualified followers should fit the target market you have outlined in your marketing plan.  Those people living within a certain geographic area, at a specific income level, of a certain age-range, etc.  This is where more “traditional” advertising techniques play a role.  Driving your target market to your Facebook page may be a better tactic than sending them to your website.

Studies indicate that your Facebook (and Twitter) followers are following you in order to get something from you… a discount, the inside scoop on new products, etc.  You also have the ability to immediately update, add photos, coupons, links and more without waiting for your webmaster to update your site – which can sometimes takes days or weeks.  But the absolute BEST part of driving traffic to your Facebook page – your visitors have agreed to receive your postings… getting your name, your face, your products into their collective psyches as often as you post and they login.  – AND remember, they have requested that you do this!  With a strong enough following, you can be less concerned with fighting the Google SEO battles – let your Facebook page drive traffic to your website.

[An aside:  SEO is still vital to those doing their initial research, so don’t ignore it, but reevaluate your marketing tactics and budget expenses].

So visit and like my Facebook pages:

Facebook.com/Zpromotion

Facebook.com/KitchenAndBathChannel


%d bloggers like this: