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.

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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!


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


Launch Day Grows Nearer

March 5, 2011

It has been too long in the making and even longer in the planning, but we have been told that the Kitchen & Bath Channel Smart Phone Apps and accompanying web site (KitchenBathChannel.com) are nearing completion.

In my opinion, the app is the most innovative marketing tool to hit the Kitchen & Bath Industry since the Pony Express delivered the first direct mail offer – “Free wood for your oven with the purchase of a new kitchen!”  But, I may be biased, so view the PowerPoint by clicking the image below and judge for yourself.



The Kitchen & Bath Channel Smart Phone App

View the Kitchen & Bath Channel Smart Phone App PowerPoint

 

If you are a Kitchen and Bath Professional, a subscription offer of 25% OFF is in effect until the apps are securely in the three app stores – I urge you to take advantage of the savings!  Subscribe to the Kitchen & Bath Channel.

If you are interested in downloading the free app for your smart phone, check back shortly as I will announce the launch here!

Questions or comments are always welcome phil@kitchenmarketing.com


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


Online on Your TV

October 16, 2010

When I first heard about Goggle TV, I was “psyched” – maybe it’s the dozen or so years I spent in broadcast TV, maybe because I am the consummate sitcom watcher, or maybe it’s the marketer in me.  Regardless, I have been saying that Google TV has the potential to change the way we market ourselves, because it has the potential to change the way we watch TV.  > See my May 22, 2010 entry.

With remotes or keyboards in hand, consumers will search for “Kitchen Design”, “Kitchen Remodel “or “Kitchen Design Ideas” and those in the industry taking advantage of online video can be discovered, viewed and reviewed from the comfort of their customers’ living rooms!  You no longer need to hope and pray for a shot on HGTV – today, you only need to create your own program!

In preparation for the rollout of Google TV, I established The Kitchen & Bath Channel on YouTube.  We currently have 19 videos, and would love to add more.  The more we can include, the more popular a destination this will be.  Our viewership grows by about 200 people a week… are you missing out on potential customers.

If you need additional information or a video created email me.

Some articles of interest about Google TV and related concepts:


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