In the latest turn of events, Furniture Today announced that Serta and Simmons are moving to 5-year/10-year warranties in 2015. This comes after an announcement last month that they were going to a three-tiered program that included a 15-year, 10-year and one-10 year warranty. So what happened?
I have to credit Dave Perry for some of this – he’s been a DOG ON A BONE. (I think I have lived in Southwest Missouri too long.) At the Furniture Today Bedding Conference over the last few years, Dave has made it a point to get some of the top companies on a panel for the conference and then grill them with questions about the industry and, of course, Dave’s favorite topic of warranties. This year was no different. A very healthy and lively debate ensued and Serta/Simmons were paying attention. My assumption would be that after leaving there, some tough conversations were had with key retailers and Serta/Simmons decided that following Tempur Sealy’s lead with a 5/10-year warranty was the best thing for everybody. I happen to agree. Continue reading
Mark Kinsley, the VP of Marketing for the Bedding Group here at Leggett & Platt, came to me and suggested we launch a podcast focused on the mattress industry. Huh? “Who would listen to such a thing and how do you even do that?” was my response. After some discussion, Mark had me sold. If we write a blog about the mattress industry, why couldn’t we do a podcast? Kinsley has a background in radio and I am totally willing to embarrass myself in public, so hey, this thing could work.
“You can have any color you like, as long as it’s black.”
- Henry Ford
That quote always cracks me up. I suppose it is because I could never imagine anyone actually thinking that way or speaking that way to his customers.
Have you ever been shopping and had an RSA push something you didn’t necessarily want? I have and when that happens I immediately think there is a spiff on that item, they simply make more commission, or somebody has done an incredible job training them and made them brand advocates. All of these tactics are very common in the mattress industry. I am not saying that they are all bad, but consider the following.
When an RSA pushes a consumer in a direction that serves him or the store, he risks the relationship with that person. Do we really think they aren’t smart enough to figure out what we are doing? I am not saying an RSA should not make suggestions or share personal experience with the consumers. I am, however, saying that if you spiff a certain product hard or even run a contest on an item, you are going to have RSAs giving more than a subtle suggestion. Even if the salesperson is totally loyal to a brand because the manufacturing rep has earned their trust, this can be a problem. If we let our sales force push a shopper in the direction WE want them to go versus making sure the consumer ends up with something THEY want, that person may leave with buyer’s remorse, which will decrease satisfaction and possibly result in a return. Continue reading
Marketing ain’t easy, I’m just sayin’.
Seriously give this some thought: To oversimplify it, you have to take the product you are trying to sell, determine what makes it better than what everyone else has, find the right audience, and find the right communications tool to speak to that audience (which now means selecting one of 1,000 different television/radio stations, direct mail, a million different web portals, SEO, SMO, PPC, should I go on?). On top of that you have to find a snazzy creative approach to tell your story in a way that delivers on the business objective, so you had better be a hybrid of creative genius and salesperson all in one. All of that to say, I think Serta has it figured out with their new campaign (videos below).
Andrew Gross, the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Serta, has been hard at work with the new spots for iComfort and I really think they nailed it.
Here are five reasons I think the Serta approach is going to find the sweet spot with the consumer: Continue reading
Well, another Furniture Today Bedding Conference is behind us and the Seena Magowitz Golf Classic rakes in big money for the TGen Foundation. In a word, last week was incredible (see the pictures below).
At the conference, David Perry did his usual good job of putting together sessions that not only delivered some good content but were entertaining to boot. We started out with Don Peppers, who among other things drove home the point that the trust between our customer and us is the key to our future. Transparency is more important than ever and doing what is right when nobody is looking will get you ahead of those that don’t get that.
Jeff Giagnocavo from Gardner’s Mattress and More talked about his business and how he drives interest in his stores without the typical product, price, and promotion approach. He outlined how he delivers real value to his customers through their books on how to buy a bed and why it matters. He also explained how his Customer Relationship Management system is growing his business and how automating certain processes not only simplifies things but delivers significant ROI. If that wasn’t enough, he told this audience they could all text him and get the materials for FREE – information he has spent the last few years developing. At a time when nobody wants to share their secret formula for success, I think the audience was taken aback by that generous offer. Continue reading