2012: a New Marketing Reality

October 11, 2011

Just when you thought you had a handle on marketing your kitchen and bath business the rules are changing again.

There are a number of recent statistics that may shock you and should (at the very least) put your current marketing plan on trial.

  • We now spend more minutes each day with apps than we do with web sites.  On average 81 minutes are spent with apps compared to 74 with web browsing.  The increased usage of smartphones and digital tablets (such as the iPad) is credited for the new reality.

But as the many kitchen and bath professionals I speak with tell me – “that doesn’t affect me, my clients are older and smartphones and digital tablets are in the hands of kids.”   – if you subscribe to that concept, the reality doesn’t support your theory. According to an August 2011 Nielsen study, demographics break down evenly.

  • Smartphone Owners as of Q2 2011:
    • Ages 35-44          19%
    • Ages 45-54          20%
    • Ages 55+              18%
    • 50% are Women
  • Tablet Owners as of Q2 2011:
    • Ages 35-44          17%
    • Ages 45-54          18%
    • Ages 55+              19%
    • 43% are Women

As you begin thinking about your marketing plans for 2012, these numbers should represent a guide.  Yes, you still need to consider traditional marketing to stimulate the customer – TV is a good bet (as an aside).  But beyond that, are you supporting your digital and social efforts with allocated and dedicated resources.

  • Is your entire website visible on mobile devices?
  • Do you have a mobile version of your site?
  • Do you have a presence on a smartphone/mobile device app?
  • Have you allocated resources to maintain your social sites?

The 4th quarter is when most of us pull together our budget and marketing plans for the following year – your leads in 2012 will be coming from a new reality (in addition to a new economy) – be prepared!


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!


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!


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!


How to Attract Kitchen & Bath Customers in Today’s Economy

June 4, 2011

We all know that selling a kitchen or bath design project is not like selling a widget – it’s a process that is based on a potential customer finding you, learning about you, meeting you, trusting you, and accepting you.   In this unstable economy it’s a long, and time consuming process.

Before the “great recession” it was different… remember?  Money flowed more freely, opulence was in vogue, and customers were willing to wait until YOU were ready to begin their project.  The tables have turned.  Money is tight, cost is driving design decisions and you are now one of a dozen “remodelers” in the mix.

It seems many kitchen and bath professionals are not willing to accept the new reality.  They are not willing to spend money to make money, as the old adage goes.  There is a feeling among many professionals that a single marketing avenue will bring in new business.  Are you among them?

  • If you think your Facebook page alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.
  • If you think your Blog alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.
  • If you think Search Engine Optimization (SEO) alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.
  • If you think Search Engine Marketing (SEM) alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.
  • If you think your Website alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.
  • If you think your TV Commercial alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.
  • If you think your Magazine Ad alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.
  • If you think your Direct Mail Piece alone will bring new clients, you are incorrect.

See the pattern?  The answer you are looking for is known as Integrated Marketing.   It is just what it sounds like – it is integrating all your potential marketing and advertising avenues together under a single message based on your competitive advantage.  Think of it as the place where traditional media, the Internet and newer marketing technologies come together to engulf your market with your message.   If it sounds scary, it’s not really – you may just need a guide.


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