Is Your Team Happy? (And why you should care)

If you read this blog much you probably know that I have two kids, both very involved in sports. My daughter plays on a traveling softball team and they do a great job. Except that lately they have not been doing their best and the coaches and parents are frustrated that the effort isn’t there and the results are suffering. So what happens next? Parents andhappy business team 300x199 Is Your Team Happy? (And why you should care) coaches get stressed and as a result the girls are scared going to the plate in fear of not doing well or missing a ball in the field. So what ends up happening? You continue to lose. How important is it for your kids to have a great time on the field? How about your employees in the work place?

About six years ago, our creative services group started reporting to me. There are about 40 people that serve as graphic designers, photographers, copywriters, and web developers, as well as our own tradeshow services and print shop. Whenever I take on something like that, I do nothing at first and simply learn my way in to figure out how to best serve them so each person thrives and the company benefits. I discovered several reasons they weren’t happy. NOT GOOD. I brought in John Walsh to run things and he created a culture that focused on results but also on the people we counted on to deliver those outcomes. John made things fun and helped people understand and feel appreciated for the value they created for the company. As a result, we increased productivity and job satisfaction all at the same time.  Continue reading

Serta/Simmons Announces Warranty Changes

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? Screen Shot 2014 06 17 at 4.20.14 PM 205x300 Serta/Simmons Announces Warranty Changes

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

THE Mattress Industry Podcast

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.

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Give Them What They Want

“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 and120c895d1479d87632e85be5cc879fb8 200x300 Give Them What They Want 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

Serta Getting Comfortable with New Ad Campaign

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 icomfort commercial aplaca Serta Getting Comfortable with New Ad Campaignmeans 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