Fun Is Profitable

Okay, get out your pen and make a list for me. I want you to write down all of the things your company has done this year so far to make things a little more fun. It could be an internal thing, or it could be something that you did for your customer base, I don’t care just tally it up. How long did your list get?

I thought about my blog post today after reading about THIS press release from Sean Fry in the Linked In group Mattress Industry Executives. Sean announced today that he was building the largest mattress store in the world that would measure 1 mile in length, feature a roller coaster on the roof without seat belts so if the passengers fly out they will land on one of those mattress below, and it would have a liquor license to properly serve the drunken foot traffic that is common in Vegas. No he is not serious about the reality of this store, but he is serious about making things a little more fun for us all on this 2015 April Fools day.

There are some old fashion corporate types that don’t understand why they should worry about doing anything fun for their own people or for their customer which is fine but sad. Those are the leaders that absolutely don’t get what inspires people to do MORE than what is expected. If you want your own people or your customers to react to you in the best way possible, then give them a reason to have that positive feeling when they are around you or when they walk through the door.

 Fun Is Profitable

Case in point: When Clive Golden was with Protect-A-Bed, he, Kelly Gordon, (now Kelly Stagner), Alan Eisenberg, Lawrence Hirshon and others were the people to hang out with at market or to buy from because they were FUN to be around. I wasn’t buying anything from them but they always included me as we shared mutual friends, and it never felt like work when you were with them. They had a good product don’t get me wrong, but they built their business on relationships and just having a good time with friends and customers. They knew what they were doing and it worked. Well.

I wrote about this subject in June of last year in my blog titled, “Is Your Team Happy and Why Should You Care?” In that post I ask you to take this idea to your team and I also site examples of other companies that are great at this. Have you taken me up on my suggestion?

My hat is off to Sean Fry and all that he is doing on his website Sleepinglikealog.com where he reviews mattresses, sleep aids, pillows and more. He has great content and is a FUN person to have in this industry, so check him out or follow him on twitter @seanthomasfry.

Now stop reading this blog and figure out a way to make your work day, company, presentations, or office environment more fun and I guarantee you will like the results. Don’t you do better when your task is more enjoyable?!?

 

It’s Time to Journey Better

Remember the days you went to the store and bought razors that cost so much you had to almost line item list them in the family budget? Not anymore thanks to Dollar Shave Club!

Kippo .019 Its Time to Journey Better

Guys, remember when your underwear used to ride up your butt and your t-shirts always came untucked? Not anymore thanks to Tommy Johns.

Can you recall a time when you were working out and your phone fell out of your pocket during a run or in the middle of bench press? NOT ANYMORE thanks to the all new amazing KIPPO workout shorts! (Read to the end for my wrap up and connection to our industry!)

One of my best buddies, the VP of Marketing for Leggett & Platt’s Bedding Group, has invented a new patent-pending design on a special pair of shorts he calls Kippo.  They have a built-in pocket that keeps your device from falling and flopping during your workout, yet it’s easy to access when you want to change music, answer a text, or take a quick selfie. They are very cool looking and meet an unmet need. Yes you can get an armband, but they are clunky and uncomfortable. Or you can buy a smaller device and clip it on your shirt but why do that? I know when I run I still want to be available should my wife or kids call, so for me this is the perfect solution. 

BACK THIS PROJECT ON KICKSTARTER

I love it when someone sees an opportunity and charges after it, which is exactly what Mark Kinsley has done here. He had a problem that he decided to fix. Then he saw others having similar issues, which got him excited about the idea and he just decided to go for it. I give Leggett a lot of credit in supporting him because not all companies truly encourage the pursuit of innovation. Not all companies let you experiment with ideas and apply those lessons in a way that adds value back to the organization.

When Kinsley and I worked together we often talked about the need to let other industries inspire ideas and he has certainly done that here. In addition he has learned a lot more about crowdfunding and how startups bring products to market, which brings me to my next point.

Please take a minute to visit Mr. Kinsley’s Kickstarter Page. You can support him with as little as $5, or pledge $49 and get a pair of Kippo shorts and FREE shipping in the U.S.—that’s a 30% discount from the soon to be retail price of $69.

Final Wrap Up:

  • Let’s support one of our own in pursuit of a dream. We can help Kinsley do something great here.
  • What does your company do to look outside for inspiration? Are you set in your ways and believe that a mattress is a mattress is a mattress? Casper and Tuft & Needle were industry outsiders and came in with an innovative approach to the consumer and they are getting paid for it. Will you be the next innovator?
  • Since you are going to be on the Kickstarter website, spend some time surfing around. There are some really great projects that could lead you to your own idea!
  • Luggage worked just fine until they put wheels on it and made it better. Not sure how we missed that one for so long but I believe that kind of “obvious” faces us in our own industry, so be on the lookout.

Mark Kinsley worked for me when I was at Leggett & Platt but I promise you I ended up learning more from him than he did me. He is a great guy, with a serious passion for life, this industry, and now this project. Help me help him realize that dream and BACK HIM NOW. Your smartphone will thank you later!

Top 10 Ways To Practice Being Happy

I am going to make this short because I am preparing for a trip to take my kids skiing this week. My wife is ditching us because she is not a big skier and has always wanted to have the house all to herself for a few days so she is going to realize that dream. She is the glue for our family and serves us every day all day so I am glad she is doing something for herself. Mom’s rock!

Anyway, I was reading an article on Inc.com about happiness and I thought I would share the highlights with you, but I encourage you to read it in full HERE. Top 10 ways to practice being happy and how a ski vacation fits perfectly:

  1. Exercise: Hitting the slopes when they open and riding until the close. Check
  2. Sleep more: After you ski all day, sleep is not hard to find. Check
  3. Spend more time with family: Getting my kids away from their friends AND DEVICES will be incredible. Check
  4. Get outside more. You can’t get more outside than being in the mountains. Check
  5. Help others more. There is no doubt we will have an opportunity to help someone up after a hard crash or we might even let some people cut in line. Check (Okay this might be a stretch but we will see what we can do.)
  6. Smile. We will be smiling so much it will hurt. Check
  7. Plan a trip. Or take one in this case. Check
  8. Meditate. There is nothing like riding that lift and looking around at the mountains and the incredible gifts God gave us. There is something spiritual about that. Check
  9. Move close to work. I just quit my job and work out of my house so I can’t get much closer than that. Check
  10. Practice gratitude. I start every day of my life being grateful and we have been looking forward to this trip for months and talking about how lucky we are to get to go. Check
IMG 4280 300x225 Top 10 Ways To Practice Being Happy

2014 Park City, Utah

Spring break is here and I hope that you are taking advantage of it in some way. Vacations, even if just for a few days can create incredible memories that will last you a lifetime. From our family to yours, I hope you get to do something fun with your start to spring.

PS Happy St. Patric’s Day!!! I am drinking a green beer and thinking about you all.

 

 

 

What Is Your Credibility Worth?

If you are a marketing person, you often get accused of being full of “IT” and by “IT” I mean the organic substance that is going to help your flowers grow this spring. I don’t blame the critics really because there are many marketing people out there that think they need to embellish everything. You don’t have to look far, our industry is full of stories like that and we all know that the mattress segment can’t afford for the consumer to be turned off by deceptive practices.

 What Is Your Credibility Worth?

Do you believe?

Here are a few thoughts on why companies do this:

  1. They are lazy. There is no good story around a sub par aspect of their product and instead of doing the work to find something that is legitimately compelling, they simply stretch the truth.
  2. There might actually be a story but they have not pushed their supplier to do the proper testing to make sure that what they are saying puts them on solid ground.
  3. They see others in the industry doing this so in some way think it is okay, or think that they have to in order to stay competitive.
  4. They are flat deceptive and don’t care that what they say is total BS. Sales rule, truth be damned.

Does it really matter? Am I over reacting to the downside of marketing spin? Consider what happens when people’s BS detector goes off:

  1. Start with the people in your own company; they lose confidence in what you are doing. Snake oil salesman are asking their own people to support the junk they are putting out there which makes them an accomplice and puts them in a position to undermine their own credibility. My parents always told me that your word and your name is all you have, so how big a deal is that to some?
  2. Your competition can sniff that out in a second and if you are not supported by data and truth, then your marketing claims will be the target of everyone you are trying to beat. Why in the world would anyone give their competition a good reason to prove that they are not credible?
  3. The end consumer is without a doubt not going to tolerate these shenanigans. Now that social media and word of mouth marketing are so incredibly powerful, people will not only recognize that for what it is, they will smoke you out in the digital space to others. Do the bad actors really think people are stupid? What do you think when a sales person tries to dish you something that is clearly exaggerated just so they can make the sale?
  4. You kill the trust with everyone that you need to believe.

I found this article from Business Insider on what some companies out there have done to mislead their customers. If you are not careful it could cost you millions in legal fees or worse, the respect of your peers and customers.

What Business Are You In?

One of my favorite people to read in the marketing space is Seth Godin. This guy is brilliant and is able to say what he wants to say in a very concise way so I am going to do my best to make my post more brief! So here it goes. icon smile What Business Are You In?

What do you do for a living? Does your company make or sell mattresses or something else related to the master bedroom and sleep? If that is the case and all you do on your website or in your advertising is deliver that message then you are missing it completely.

I just read this article about sleep and the incredible movement around sleep, tracking sleep, improving sleep, understanding sleep etc. The impact it had on me was that this whole industry we are in is blowing up. In a great way. Google, Apple and others are well aware of how important sleep is and how much opportunity there is to capitalize on something that so many value so dearly.

 What Business Are You In?

This could be YOU.

If you are in the mattress, pillow, coil, protector, or adjustable bed business, the rocket ship is going to leave without you. If however, you are in the business to improve sleep and quality of life then you might get a seat. Don’t tell me you are, show me on your website, podcast, video series, business cards, or in store point of sale/selling presentation. If people are willing to buy a device to measure sleep then it stands to reason they are going to want to see improvement. If your products don’t add to the sleep experience in some way, where does that leave you?

Some people that understand this in a big way are Pete Primeau and Doug Stewart. They are both launching new podcast this month and are definitely worth checking out so click HERE for more info on that. These guys want great things for you and for this industry so take a look at what they are doing.