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!

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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!


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!


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.


Kitchen & Bath Channel – Shameless Self-Promotion

February 6, 2011

One of things I truly love about blogs is that fact that one can shamelessly self-promote and blather on about anything and everything.  Well this sunny, warm(ish) Sunday February morning in North Carolina is going to be just that – shameless self promotion.

Within the next week or two, my partner Max Isley, CMKD and I are scheduled to officially launch the Kitchen & Bath Channel Smart Phone Mobile Apps.   These are [unabashedly] the greatest marketing tools to hit the kitchen and bath industry since the advent of direct mail, if not ever! 

These apps are free to the consumer.  They include a database of over 15,000 kitchen & bath and remodeling professionals.  When your customer launches the app (on the iPhone, Android or Blackberry), the phones’ geo positioning locates the closest kitchen and bath professionals on a map.   From that map they are able to access each professional’s profile.  In addition, the consumer can search for a kitchen and bath professional through a number of queries including, city, state, room they want to renovate, profession of the remodeler, accreditation, products and more!

So, as a professional, how do you stand out from the crowd?  You take top priority among your 15,000 peers through “Gold” or “Platinum” annual subscriptions.  

  • With a free, standard listing you are placed in alphabetical order, with a contact name, phone number and address. 
  • An upgrade to Gold moves you to the top of the list, gives you a link to auto dial, an interactive map for directions, your website on the phone’s browser, a link to send an email and the ability to be linked to the user’s contact file. 
  • If you upgrade to Platinum, you receive everything a Gold subscriber does PLUS the ability to include up to 5 photos and 5 videos of your choosing and you appear above the Gold Subscribers in the list of results.  Click here for more information.

In addition to the apps for the customers “on the go” – the website KitchenBathChannel.com is a database of professionals where your customers begin their research!

I’ll post again when the apps are ready for download – but in the meantime, if you are a kitchen and bath professional become a subscriber BEFORE the apps are launched and SAVE 25%!


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