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!


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…


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.


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!


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


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.


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