Kitchen and Bath Marketing 2012

October 22, 2011

I am truly amazed by the speed at which we are not only exposed to new technologies and platforms, but are required to leverage and embrace them.   And with each new love affair, there is a savvy marketer discovering how we should make it a part of our integrated marketing plan.

There was a time when we had the time to warm up to a new technology before we “needed” to employ it.  According to Advertising Age’s History of Advertising 1704-1999, 1704 saw the first newspaper ad; it took 218 years, until 1922, when the first radio broadcast was sold to an advertiser.   19 years later, in 1941, the first TV commercial, featuring a Bulova watch hit the air.  Ahhh… a simpler time.  We could take our time to get comfortable with the new-fangled fads.

But today, we are required to move at warp speed – consider that the first web browser was born in 1990, by 1995 the web had an estimated 16 million users, three years later there were 147 million users that went to 500 million by 2001.  Facebook launched in 2004; YouTube in 2005; Twitter in 2006; the iPhone in 2007; the first Android smartphone in 2008; and the iPad in 2010.  Each one of these technologies/platforms/innovations has become an integral and required aspect of our integrated marketing programs.

As you begin your 2012 marketing plans, keep these truths in mind:

You need a presence on mobile devices:

  • 40% of Tablet & Smartphone owners use them while watching TV (Nielsen)
  • 17% of women / 21% of men looked up product information because of a TV commercial (Nielsen)
  • 79% of consumers use a smartphone to help with shopping (Google: ZMOT)

You need to put video to work for you – on TV… online …on handheld devices.

  • 37% of shoppers were stimulated to make a purchase decision by a TV ad (Google: ZMOT)
  • 83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them (Google: ZMOT)
  • 74% of consumers remember an ad when viewed across media platforms (TV+PC+Phone+Tablet) (Nielsen)
  • In August of 2011 YouTube was the 5th most popular web brand with 127.9 million visitors, spending 1 hour and 42 minutes EACH on the site (Nielsen)
  • Q2 2011 – 36.2% more Mobile subscribers are watching video on a mobile phone than a year earlier (Nielsen)

These are just two critical areas, but there are more… and as the technology advances, you need to be ready to make it work for you in bringing leads to your kitchen & bath showroom.

Consider developing a fully Integrated Marketing Program for 2012 where you can leverage your resources to best fit your market, your customer and your budget.  And, of course I am always available to help you get started.  Email to get started


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!

“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.

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.


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.”

Have you met xobni?

January 28, 2011

Every now and then I run across something that excites me… Xobni is one of those things.  A client turned me on to it a day or so ago, but apparently it’s been around for a while – just under my radar. 

Xobni, which is inbox spelled backwards, is a free add-on to Outlook (also a paid version, but I haven’t discovered the value of a purchase… yet).

It has been loaded on my computer for about 48 hours, so I don’t yet know the full extent of its capabilities, but Xobni already does enough to warrant some excitement.

  • Search for an email – type a topic and it will locate all emails with your query – faster than outlook
  • Search for an individual – it will find them in your contacts, and your messages
  • Schedule a meeting with the click of a mouse… Xobni reads your schedule and prepares an email with potential meeting times
  • Incoming email – when an email arrives from anyone you automatically see the following:
  1. All emails with that individual, all files/attachments exchanged and people in his/her network
  2. You also get a profile of the sender including all email addresses, phone numbers, Skype information, statistics about your interactions such as how many incoming and outgoing messages, where they rank in frequency of all interactions with all contact, etc.
  3. Plus …and this is where it becomes a great marketing tool… 
  • LinkedIn – you can see if the contact is part of LinkedIn and if not you can link directly from the application
  • Facebook – the same
  • Twitter,  Hoovers, YouTube, Flickr and more social networking connects are part of the application.

If you use it… let’s talk about the benefits and drawbacks.  If you have the $30 upgrade… was it worth the additional expense – after all every penny counts these days.  Let’s  use this blog to communicate and talk about this product.  In the meantime, as I learn more I’ll post the info here.

Kitchen & Bath Industry Facebook: A Primer

January 22, 2011

Just when I thought everyone in the kitchen and bath industry had a Facebook page, it was THE topic of conversation this past week. So I decide this week I will give you a few more of my thoughts about Facebook for the kitchen and bath professional.

Create a page. This is not an option, it is a command. Be sure it is a page for a Local Business, not a personal page – your link is

“Why?” you ask.

  1. It is a great way to keep your name in front of your potential customers. Everytime you post something on your wall, those who are following you will see your post and your name.
  2. It is unobtrusive. We all HATE getting tons of emails from people trying to sell us something. Your Facebook page is a soft sell. It’s like tapping them on the shoulder and saying “don’t forget me when you are ready to remodel your kitchen or bathroom.”
  3. It’s their choice. Remember, your Facebook followers are willing participants in your marketing plan… they can stop following you at anytime – give them a reason to stay… and to invite their friends.
  4. Real-time Updates. How many times do you have to wait for your webmaster to get new images or an announcement uploaded to your website? Facebook is simple to use, provides immediate gratification and is a great way to direct traffic to your website.
  5. Referrals. A staple of marketing in the kitchen and bath industry since the first caveperson decided put fire inside the cave. Facebook is referral marketing, using the internet as your link between past and future clients.

“OK, I get the why… what do I put on Facebook?”

Think of Facebook as a way to engage your followers; provide offers, information, a glimpse into your professional talents and capabilities. They should be short, sweet and to the point – blogs are for longer diatribes.

Some thoughts…

  1. Talk about your manufacturers’ new products and link to them
  2. Link to pertinent YouTube videos – even other kitchen and bath professionals (in other markets)
  3. Showcase your just finished projects
  4. Show photos of work in progress
  5. Create invitations to showroom events
  6. Develop specials and contests for followers only

Facebook is a marketing tool; it’s a free tool (except for your time to maintain your page), and it should be an extension of you and your business, allowing potential customers to get comfortable with your business. This is not a project to sub out to a third party. No one knows your kitchen and bath business better than you… take the time to develop this marketing tool.

Visit and “Like” (if you haven’t already) – see the “Favorite Pages” on the lower end of the left-hand column. Click on some of those pages to get a feel for how your peers are using their Facebook pages as marketing tools.

SEN Design Group members! Wednesday, March 9 at the SEN Conference in New Orleans, I will be conducting a hands-on, in-depth seminar on setting up your Facebook page and Blog.  Not a SEN Member, but want to attend?  Information is available at

The Secret Tools to Creativity

January 15, 2011

Are you sitting at your computer mouse in hand, staring at the keyboard, glancing at the screen, searching your brain for a nugget of creativity?   Perhaps you’re designing a new kitchen, looking for the right words to describe your showroom, considering a new positioning line or logo – but nothing is flowing from your brain to your computer.  The problem is likely that you are using the incorrect tools to creativity.

You only need two items to get the creative juices flowing: a legal pad and a sharpie.  The legal pad can be yellow or white, although I have always found yellow produces better results.  The sharpie… not the fat fine points – those bleed through too many pages, and not the new Sharpie Pens – they lack the personality required for this type of operation.  The Sharpie MUST be an “ultra fine point” – only this type of pen can release the creative imagination required to be successful.  Color?  Not important, but having a variety at your disposal can help capture your mood.

The most creative guy I ever met gave me this tip… and oddly enough it has been reinforced by novel writers, designers and others who make their living with “on-demand creativity”.  I am not a neurologist, but I believe it has to do with the process of hand to page – that direct flow from the brain thorough the arm to the hand to the Sharpie to the legal pad.

Don’t believe me?  Try it and report back!


Getting ready to lauch the Kitchen & Bath Channel Mobile Apps within the next few weeks.  Be sure your showroom is included.  Visit The Kitchen & Bath Channel for additional information – or email or call (919-932-4600).

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