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Stearns and Foster’s Strategy For A Three Year Product Transition

Stearns and Foster recently announced that from now on they are going to a three year replacement cycle. I watched their Chief Marketing Officer, Jay Spenchian, in an interview with Dave Perry at Furniture Today, and Jay did a great job communicating their intentions.

  1. Consumers are coming into the market all of the time so the innovation from Stearns and Foster will always be new to them.
  2. To keep things fresh they are going to advertise the brand nationally.
  3. The recent innovation in the Stearns and Foster line is so good that it is going to keep it relevant for that three year period.

Here are a few challenges as I see them: (Give me a break you knew this part was coming.)

  1. The consumer isn’t the only audience you have to deal with; how about the rsa? I can remember other bedding executives not paying close enough attention to that audience and they paid a big price for it. The question is, will you be able to keep the sales force out there representing your products excited? What happens if other bedding producers are not following the three year cadence and have products coming in and out more often. The rsa LOVES that shiney new product to sell.
  2. Being the Chief Marketing Officer, Jay knows if he is going to say that their advertising program is going to help keep people excited about Stearns and Foster, that will take a SIGNIFICANT budget with a message that totally hits the sweet spot with the consumer. This is great to hear, I just hope that Tempur-Sealy supports him and delivers the truckload of money it is going to take.
  3. I have to admit that I can’t speak to this one directly because somebody misplaced my invite to view the new line at market. (Just a joke, I wouldn’t have invited me either.) I can say that I have not heard a lot about the innovation on the line so that tells me something. In order for innovation to drive interest, you really have to have something compelling. Mostly if it is going to last three years.
Jay Spenchian and Dave Perry
Jay Spenchian and Dave Perry

I have to give the Stearns and Foster team credit here. It isn’t easy to lead, and they deserve respect for doing what they are doing. Retailers don’t like spending all of that money on floor samples every other year, and producers don’t like giving floor sample discounts. If the company executes the plan they put forth I really think they have a shot; but that is a big IF.

No matter what happens, I like the fact that they are giving this a try and if it works, it will equate to millions of dollars in additional profits. Worst case you pivot and bring out V2 earlier than anticipated. Right?

What do you think? Is Stearns and Foster on to something here?


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