We just finished up what was, in my opinion, a great industry conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) hosts this event every year for manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers in the bedding business. The goal is to get everyone together to discuss what is going on in the mattress industry and to take back information that will drive our businesses. There are a lot of things I could talk about to recap last week, such as the great speakers or the power of connecting with other industry professionals and how much you can learn from one another. Instead, I am going to talk about something a little more constructive.
Where in the hell was everybody? What a shame that we have an organization that is here to serve the entire industry, yet only 200 people were in attendance at last week’s conference. From what I understand, this year’s attendance was actually at a respectable level. This is strange considering how many people are a part of the organization.
I understand ISPA has had leadership challenges in the past which caused some division within the organization. But now, Ryan Trainer and his team are doing a great job running the group and addressing issues that are important to us all, especially in terms of holding on to and growing opportunities for consumer outreach.
Even if you don’t agree with what ISPA is doing, how can you expect the industry to focus on what you think is relevant when you are not involved yourself?
One example of how you can easily get involved is with the Better Sleep Council’s (BSC) “Stop Zombieitis” campaign. I think this is one of the most creative campaigns in the group’s history and will help consumers understand the need for a quality mattress during Better Sleep Month. But if all we do is let the BSC spend the small budget they are given, without the combined support of our own social networks, the campaign will be VERY limited in the number of people reached. If, however, this industry works together to spread the word and share the campaign through their own social networks, it will make a MUCH bigger impact.
It isn’t difficult to incorporate some of the BSC’s campaign messaging on your website, place a poster in your store, post about it on Facebook, use Twitter to broadcast to your audience or simply promote it to your own organization in company meetings. If we make this a collective effort as it should be, could we make an impact and drive some sales? The answer is yes.
There are thousands of companies in our industry that spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to drive their own business through various forms of marketing and advertising. The one thing we all have in common is that we want people to buy more mattresses and in doing so, get better sleep. If we had more participation in the ISPA community and support for initiatives like the BSC’s Better Sleep Month, TOGETHER we could be much more effective.
What are you thinking?
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the thinking of the company I work for, or anyone else with whom I am affiliated. Except my wife of course, who is good at telling me what not to say.
I am currently serving as Chairman of the Better Sleep Council.