Is Mattress Marketing Finally Making Progress?

I am reading through my pile of trade publications that is now 12 inches thick (I am way behind), and I come across this article on Sleep City in the May/June issue of Sleep Savvy. This five-store chain is located in Montana and owned by Jed and Jennifer Heggen.Sleep-City-logo1 My in-laws live in Superior, which is close to Sleep City’s home base in Missoula, so I have actually been to these stores, and they do a great job. Side note: did you know that Montana is the fourth-largest state but the third-least populated? Only one city in the entire state has a population of over 100,000 people! If you want to go off the grid and avoid the NSA probing, head west, my friend. Anyway…I was very pleased to hear about all of the charity work Sleep City does, and I was also impressed by their focus on selling the benefit of better sleep vs. the fluffy rectangle itself.

I know that I can be very critical of our industry, but after reading this about Sleep City, I was left with the impression that we are getting better about what we focus on. If this small chain of stores in Montana is getting it right, could it be that the movement to emphasize the benefits, rather than the products themselves, is finally taking hold? Are the efforts made by the Better Sleep Council and so many others over the past several years beginning to pay off? 

I then picked up the May 20th issue of Furniture Today and read David Perry’s article on “selling sleep.” They conducted a survey with Apartment Therapy that found that the number one reason consumers buy a new mattress is because they want a better night of sleep. WOW.  If this is the case, then why are retailers so focused on price, product, and promotion in their advertising?

Believe me, I understand that retailers have to get people excited to come into their stores and I recognize that giving customers a compelling reason to do so is important. But according to this survey, the top two reasons consumers buy are better sleep at 81% and comfort at 80%, with PRICE being a distant third at 62%. So are retailers not listening to what drives the purchase? Isn’t there room in that ad to promote the top reason consumers buy?

I am sure there is a lot I don’t understand here from the retail side of things, so maybe I should just call one of my friends in the consumer space and interview them for this blog, but what fun would that be? They do call it SOCIAL media for a reason.

My question to this community is, do retailers talk about the benefit of the mattress enough? If not, why not? Are they educating the consumer on the impact a mattress can make to their quality of life or are they just doing the same old product, price, and promotion advertising? Are the bedding producers the true heroes here when it comes to advancing the new number one reason consumers buy…BETTER SLEEP? Tell me in the comments section!

4 thoughts on “Is Mattress Marketing Finally Making Progress?

  1. Awesome article Mark! The biggest mistake that I see in Mattress Advertsing is copying competitor’s ads that don’t work either. How many retailers are really students of marketing? I have been blessed to know a few and I love to learn from them. Thanks Mark for all you do! Your love of our industry is inspiring!


    1. Thanks for the comment Pete and I laughed when I read your post because I know exactly what you are talking about. People follow the leader without sometimes realizing that the leader doesn’t know what in the hell they are doing. OR, the leader has had some success in one area and because of that people will follow them in other areas when they are clearly not the authority. I just hope people do their own homework take some of their own risk instead of blindly following someone else. It is tough however because then you have only yourself to blame! Thanks for reading Pete and the kind words.

  2. Great article. I think that advertising sales is great but the focus shouldn’t be on price. As you said, the number one reason people buy is to get a better night sleep. Focusing more on the benefits of each mattress type to help different types of sleepers get a better night sleep may work much better than focusing on price all the time.

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