Hello everybody. I am in Las Vegas attending market, so when I come back next week, I will have plenty to report. In the meantime, please check out this article that I wrote for ClickZ about augmented reality.
We saw some great new initiatives here from the Simmons Bedding Company using this technology to educate consumers about what is inside of their products.
I hope you are somewhere cooler than I am, as we hover at 104 degrees today. Can someone please contact the Vegas market officials and ask them to change the summer dress code to shorts and a T-shirt instead of suite and tie?
Tempur-Pedic recently announced they are the official mattress of the PGA Tour, which makes this its first national sports sponsorship. I think this is a brilliant move by the company and here are a few reasons why:
- According to Nielsen ratings, 55% of golf audiences are 35 years or older with over 85% of them earning more than $40,000 a year. It’s true that 70% of them are men, but have you heard my argument on that before? This is a great target audience for Tempur-Pedic products. Continue reading
A softball field full of little girls taught me another life lesson last weekend. If you regularly read this blog, you have probably heard me talk about my daughter’s 11-and-under softball team. There are nine scrappy kids from three states that make up the Battitudes team, and when they put on the uniform they come to play. For a few different reasons, we decided to play in a state tournament last weekend that didn’t have an 11-year-old division, which forced us to play with older girls. 14-year-olds! Before each game, the coaches told the girls, “Nobody thinks you should be playing in this tournament except for you, your coaches, and your parents. You have nothing to lose, so just do what you know you can do.”
A few things happened I think are relevant to the business world: Continue reading
When I first started out in this business working for Stearns & Foster, I didn’t have a strong brand like my brothers and sisters selling the Sealy brand. (I use that hyperbole because we were related, but at the time the Stearns guys were the distant stepchildren of the family.) We had to work a lot harder to sell our line using other features to create value and leverage.
One of the things we used to say during RSA training was that Stearns & Foster was a great line to sell because our products were more exclusive in the marketplace. Translated, we didn’t have the distribution other big “S” brands did. I would ask the RSAs, “If I told you that I was going to give you a product as an exclusive in the marketplace with incredible features and benefits like 8-way hand-tied foundations and real foam-encased borders, would you be able to sell that line successfully?” They almost always applauded those comments because they were tired of being shopped to death on their other lines. Here is the reality, though…when people aren’t coming in to cross-shop you on popular products that are being heavily promoted in the newspaper, it is in itself a problem. Continue reading
I think most people in our industry accept that consumers shop for a new mattress roughly every 10 years. So much conversation surrounds that statistic and how we can drive consumers into the market more frequently. And where does that conversation almost always go? Warranties.
Do you think the teams at LG or Callaway Golf sit in their boardrooms and talk about how the industry has to lower warranties on televisions or golf clubs so they can sell more products? I really doubt it. They are hard at work driving innovation into the pipeline to create compelling products people want to actually buy. (See Scott Smalling’s article on innovation featured on Sleep Geek today, it is a great read.) This is, in my opinion, the key to getting consumers in the market more frequently! Think about how much time we talk about this reality versus warranties. I know what some of you are thinking: Electronics and sports equipment are “want” items and much easier to innovate around and convince people to buy. I call bullshit! Our products can help people look better, feel better, lose weight, improve memory, and reduce illness. There is NO WAY that doesn’t inspire the consumer, so the question is what do we do with it?
To shorten the cycle, we need to stop all of this conversation around warranties. Here are a few things that can really drive consumers into the market and grow our top line and share of consumer dollars:
1. Innovate new products with REAL technology that actually improves people’s sleep.
2. Drive the biometric conversation around sleep and how we can learn about and improve sleep when using our products. Consumers love to measure almost everything and there are only a few brands connecting to this growing trend. If you want to create the need for better sleep, show people how bad THEIR sleep really is. Remember that technology is sexy and people want more of it in every aspect of their life.
3. Change the way we talk about our products. I realize I am a broken record on this, but everybody in the industry has to invest in telling our story and by that I mean the tangible and intangible benefits of products that help you sleep better. All of this product-for-a-price nonsense is never going to get us the love we are looking for.
If we just do these three things, we will make huge improvements in the purchase cycle and make ourselves more profitable at the same time. Remember, we are in this together and if we work at it we can make the sleep products we sell more of a priority, therefore placing ourselves at the top of consumer’s MUST-HAVE list.
What do you think? Did I over simplify things? Tell me in the comments section!