Can You Compete with the Big Boxes?

December 31, 2011

During the holiday season a friend of mine went a big box to purchase Christmas lights.  Suddenly, to her surprise an apron approached her and asked not if she needed help choosing lights, but rather – “Are you happy with your kitchen?”

“Huh?”

“Are you happy with your kitchen?” repeated the apron.  “Is there anything you would change about your kitchen, if you could?”

“Sure” my friend responded suddenly realizing that she had become the victim of a sales call.

The apron continued with “did you know that we will come to your home, take a look at your kitchen, measure and give you design ideas – all at no cost to you?”

The big boxes have a pipeline to thousands, make that millions of shoppers who are in the store for nothing remotely related to a new kitchen.  Yet their sales team is planting the seed… shoppers like my friend are likely to go home and every flaw in their kitchen becomes magnified.  It becomes exacerbated by crowds of holiday revelers and family.  Come January the seed germinates the customer comes back to the store to take them up their offer!

…in the meantime, you’re reviewing your year with disdain and wondering how to generate additional showroom traffic.

The short answer is Marketing.

For your consideration –

  • What if your apron was a commercial on HGTV, The Food Network or DIY?  Your audience is “in the store” and you are stimulating them to buy with a great offer.
  • What if the customer visited a big box, became frustrated and stormed out of the store?  Would they know to come to you next?  Have you considered the mobile app of the Kitchen & Bath Channel?
  • What if the big box germinated the seed, but the customer went directly to the computer or mobile device, rather than back to the store… are you be there to be found?

Believe me, after working with the Kitchen & Bath industry exclusively for over ten years, I have seen the highs and lows.  You cannot pull the plug on marketing and hope to survive, but you can be more effective in how you spend your marketing dollars.  Yes, you can compete against the big boxes and win!

If you want additional information or have questions – don’t hesitate to contact me.


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…


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


“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.


It’s an Emotional Holiday Season

December 18, 2010

Did you plan for the Holidays this year? I am not talking about your Hanukkah or Christmas shopping, but rather your Hanukkah and Christmas selling. As Thanksgiving rolls around each year, the kitchen and bath industry typically goes on hiatus until the first of year, although I have heard reports of busy showrooms.  Regardless, when business slows, your marketing should increase.

You know that a new kitchen or bathroom is as much (if not more of) an emotional sell, as a logical or price-based sale. So, plan to use the time around the holidays to take that to your customers. When putting together your 2011 marketing plan, remember that dropping off the grid in December may influence how effectively you hit the ground running in January.

This is a great time to utilize email or your Facebook and Twitter accounts, as those connections/customers expect to hear from you and your message will not get as lost in the shuffle of holiday greetings and sales.

Some emotion-based ideas for consideration as you develop your message.

  • Frustration – “I am tired of trying to cook for guests in this antiquated kitchen”
  • Embarrassment – “I hate that my family and guests have to use that old, barely functional bathroom”
  • Pride – “next year my guests will love my new kitchen”
  • Confidence – “the perfect pie from my perfect kitchen”
  • Shame – “maybe I’ll be able to invite guests to my house for a change”
  • Intimidated – “I know my in-laws think less of me because of the condition of my kitchen”

Get the idea? Look to the internet for a wide range of emotions and put them to work for your business around the holidays! Need some guidance? We are available to assist. (info@kitchenmarketing.com)

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The Kitchen & Bath Channel Mobile Apps are almost ready for launch!  http://www.kitchenbathchannel.com/join.html – sign up today. Give your business a leg up in 2011!


iMarketing

December 4, 2010

During the course of the past week, two of my clients made similar “out of the blue” comments – “let’s look at how we can better assimilate the iPad into our marketing program.”  

Now, as an early iPhone adopter, I look at the iPad as an overgrown iPhone and didn’t run out to purchase the first generation – in fact I was under the misguided impression I could go through life without an iPad – I am mistaken.

Both clients intend to create photo galleries of their kitchens, baths and other design and remodeling projects, displaying  them proudly during sales calls – utilizing the iPad as many of us use a photo album or PowerPoint  today. 

In addition, one client is concerned that the Flash elements and Flash video on his site are not visible on the iPad – Apple and Adobe may never come to terms over this travesty of egos that hurts us all.  We are changing all the Flash to “less compelling” animations.  However, his complete site is now visible to all – on all platforms… he can easily go from showing his slideshow of kitchen and bath projects to his website, without embarrassment.   

As you look into your 2011 integrated marketing plans and budgets, consider the iPad, as well as mobile marketing as real opportunities.  As always, Z promotion & design is just a phone call (9119-932-4600) or email away if you are looking for marketing assistance.

Join us on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/Zpromotion

Join us on YouTube @ http://www.youtube.com/user/KitchenBathChannel


Looking Good!

October 3, 2010

I just returned from the SEN Design Group’s Fall Conference in Minneapolis.  There is an upbeat feeling among most of the design professionals I spoke with… and everyone is talking about marketing.  But it seems very few are doing anything about it!

Let me stress that marketing your kitchen and bath showroom requires action on your part.  Whether you work with a local marketing firm, or chose to contact Z promotion & design for our industry expertise – get your marketing plan in order!  Your peers who have been marketing and advertising throughout the “great recession” are doing OK.

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The YouTube Kitchen & Bath Channel is gaining traction… visits are increasing by 5% or more daily! Have you been yet?  Have you subscribed?  If you want to learn more about it or become a part of the channel… email me.


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