I know that I am a broken record on this but given the approach many people are taking when it comes to their advertising, it’s clear that we still have some opportunities out there.
Purple has been running a new ad lately, or at least it’s new to me. They start with some bedroom talk to get your attention. Then they immediately begin building value in the science of Purple as it relates to delivering comfort and pressure relief. They are fun, easy to listen to, and even incorporate a call to action asking you to text them for more information. Yes, they hit you with a promotion at the end but it’s a small part of their message.
Contrast that to what we see out there with most retailers today. How much of the marketing message these days is product/price/promotion vs. building value with in-store experience or products? Who do you think is getting the best results and growing the fastest? Sleep Number just posted an 11% growth in revenue and their marketing message is all about building value in their products and the connection they have to living a better life. How many retailers do you know of running ahead 11%?
If you don’t believe that the products you sell can deliver better sleep, therefore a better quality of life, then start reading up on the subject. If you don’t believe that building value in what you do is better than de-valuing what you do by a focus on cutting the price, then do a deep dive on the companies enjoying the most growth in the category. And if you don’t have products worth talking about, then come see me in Vegas this next week at space C1595. I have something special for you to see. 🙂 People have money right now. Are YOU fishing with the right bait?
Have you ever heard the saying, “Be kind, always, because you have no idea what others are going through.” Empathy for others is important.
As you may have heard in a Dos Marcos podcast, Roger Magowitz has asked me to be the Honorary Chairman of the Seena Magowitz Charity Golf Classic this year in Boston. I wasn’t sure that Roger was making the best choice, however, because I didn’t have the big company resources behind me like previous Chairman Karl Glassman- CEO of Leggett and Platt, Gary Fazio-CEO Serta/Simmons Bedding, and Steve Stagner-CEO of Mattress Firm. Roger didn’t care about that because he knew I had a passion for his organization given my past involvement, and he thought I could bring something different to the event. That much I thought I could do, so here we are.
The challenge became how do we raise awareness about pancreatic cancer, bring in some money, and welcome new attendees to the Magowitz event if you don’t have a big company supporting you? You reach out to others in the industry and ask them for help. I created a small Advisory Board of friends that are leaders in their companies, and they helped me brainstorm and devise a way to accomplish these goals and I think we have landed on something that can be pretty incredible with your help.
Imagine for a minute that you went to the doctor’s office and got the news that you had pancreatic cancer. The doc proceeds to tell you that this is a pretty nasty disease and chances are you don’t have a lot of time left. It’s this exact scenario that thousands must face every year when they are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I spoke of empathy before…when you put yourself in their shoes, what impact will it have on you? That’s the catalyst behind the movement we’ve created called #whywait. Go to your favorite social media platform and use some of the marketing assets we have produced, download them from THIS LINK, and post an image along with this question, “What 4 things would you do if you only had 6 months left to live?” Tag your friends and make sure to use the hashtag #whywait and the following link so your audience can learn more. http://www.seenamagowitzfoundation.org/whywait/
I recently posted this to my personal Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and it’s pretty awesome to see the impact that question is having on people. When you pause and take a minute to consider this question, it will really get you to thinking and when I answered it myself, it was actually a little tough. I came to the realization that I wasn’t spending enough time with my 16-year-old daughter Gabby, and if I didn’t correct it, I was going to regret it later. Good news is, she and I agreed to fix that. Here’s my list, what’s yours?
Plan a trip with the family to Europe. (On calendar for 2020.)
Spend more time on dates with my daughter.
Make Friday night date night with my wife.
Write a book. (I’ve already started.)
It will be very easy for you to read this post and quickly move on to e-mail or making calls. Please don’t do that. Take a minute to make your list, even if you don’t share it. When you finish your list, start crossing things off like I have. I plan to post pictures of date night and other things as I LIVE MY LIFE and post them with the hashtag #whywait.
Can you give any of this to your company to get them involved by posting things to your social media accounts? Customers LOVE TO SEE companies that have compassion for things other than selling their own stuff! If you’re interested and want some more information, learn how to donate to the Seena Magowtiz Foundation, or see a list of the companies involved on the Advisory Board, click on THIS LINK.
A big thanks to Dr. Dan Von Hoff and the people at TGen, because they are looking after these pancreatic cancer patients and working hard towards a cure and early detection. I know the TGen group personally and I’m telling you that they are compassionate, caring people that really want to help those suffering. Please help me help them and get involved in the #whywait movement.
I am also very grateful to my friend Karl Glassman at Leggett and Platt. When he found out that Roger was asking me to be this year’s Honorary Chairman he told me that I had full access to Leggett’s resources which has been a HUGE help to me. The video and the graphics were created by them not to mention a host of other things. A special shout-out to my good friend and Dos Marcos co-host Mark Kinsley. Mark oversees the Creative Services group at Leggett and has been a very big part of everything we’re doing. Also to my friends on the Advisory Board…your involvement is HUGE so THANK YOU in advance for what we are about to do.
Before I get started I wanted to let you know that we just released a really great podcast featuring Alex McArthur, the Chief Marketing Officer at Purple. Drop in and hear the behind the scenes story about their business and their rapid rise to the top of the e-commerce segment. This guy is awesome, and you don’t want to miss his story so check that out HERE.
Things are really tough right now for some in the industry. There are legitimate competitive pressures out there making growth difficult so I feel for them when they say they are struggling.
My problem is I have a hard time being compassionate towards people that want to complain about business when they aren’t doing anything different to drive better results. If your partners aren’t supporting you or if they are not lined up with your best interest, get new ones. Not getting the traffic you used to? Then stop advertising the same way you always have. Closing rates dropping? Then move your people around for a better result. Not capturing any of the online business because your digital strategy isn’t what it should be? Start learning your way into that world because it’s not going away.
I realize that this is me hitting the easy button, but it’s time to get inspired and find your path. Do NOT follow the rest of the industry, carry the same products everyone else has, give away adjustable bases just because everyone else is. There is a big idea waiting for you if you just start opening more doors.
Not sure why it happens but sometimes we just get stuck. We are trapped in this place and just can’t seem to get any traction to improve on where we are. If you look back on your own life think about what happened in the past to get you…un-stuck. Was it an event that took place that rattled your cage? Was it a person that pushed on you to get you to see the light? Was it inspiration from an unlikely source?
There are people having record years in the same economy, with the same competitive pressures so there is no reason that can’t be you. Keep pushing, the answer is there waiting.
Before I get started today I want to remind you to save the dates, August 25th-27th, for the Seena Magowitz Golf Classic that will raise money to fight pancreatic cancer. This is without a doubt one of the best events of the year but don’t take my word for it, check out a few of THESE PICS and you can see for yourself. I was asked to be the Honorary Chairman this year and I really want to help make 2018 big for them, so please join me and help us fight this really horrible disease!
If you haven’t been around mattresses too long, you probably don’t know, that without waterbeds we wouldn’t be where we are today as an industry. It’s true. There’s a lot of great retailers out there that started out selling waterbeds and City Furniture is one of them, so when I was invited to go see their new waterbed product launch, I didn’t hesitate to make the trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
I started out visiting their Rest and Renew concept where they’re selling Spink and Edgar and was able to say hello to Luci and Carlton the managers there. They are in the middle of a great neighborhood and have a beautiful boutique mattress shop. My thanks to Luci and Carlton for all that they do and for rolling out the red carpet for me; you guys are awesome.
After that I was able to get together with Kevin Split, the head merchant of the mattress category for City Furniture and he gave me a full-blown tour of their operation. I have never been through a business so dialed in to operational efficiency. Their understanding of continuous improvement concepts and living that culture in every department blew me away. If you haven’t visited one of their stores recently you need to check it out and see for yourself where retail should be going. We talk a lot about the e-commerce platform being disruptive to the brick and mortar channel. Fact is, if you want to insulate yourself from that you create experiences that give consumers a reason to visit your store. City Furniture is doing that.
The best part of the trip, however, was getting to sit down with Keith Koenig the owner and CEO of City. Keith is a great guy that got into the business with his brother Kevin back in 1972, making and selling waterbeds out of a 900 square foot store in Ft. Lauderdale. Their business, Waterbed City later turned into City Furniture and the rest is history.
The new waterbed brand is called Afloat and Keith’s team is ready to get these in the bedrooms of his customers. His partners include Charlie Hall the original patent holder on the waterbed which dates back to 1968, Garry Ikola who is the Senior VP of Sales for City, and Steve Wilder who is their current CFO. Together these guys are going old school and launching a line of waterbeds that they hope will bring back all that was good about that business. The waterbed experience isn’t going to be for everybody, but there are a lot of raving fans for the waterbed feel and they perform well according to Keith. “They have better pressure relief for less tossing and turning, less capillary restriction for better blood flow, and you can control the temperature for a great sleep experience.”
All I know is that if you have one of these beds and you’ve had too much to drink, it’s best if you keep one foot on the floor or at least that’s what my brother tells me.
Speaking of brothers, that’s one of the great things about Keith, he does an incredible job of keeping his brother’s memory alive at the company. There is a great private label program named after Kevin called Kevin Charles, and I am sure that this passion project was done with his brother in mind given the fact that it was he who started this whole waterbed thing over 47 years ago. I love when companies stay true to their culture and roots.
My thanks to Keith and his entire team for inviting me to be a part of their event and a special shout out to Gurtegh Singh the project manager who made it all come together. Well done!
Last week I talked about the advantages that the brick and mortar, (B&M) guys have over e-commerce companies selling sleep products primarily online. Today, I want to flip that over and share some thoughts on why the digital approach to this category is capturing most of the growth in the market. As a reminder to everyone, this is just one guy’s opinion so be sure to share thoughts wherever you might be reading this.
Giving consumers a choice on what to buy is a good thing, HOWEVER, you know what they say about too much of a good thing. E-commerce companies have really done a great job of simplifying the purchase of a bed. I am not of the mind that there is one bed for everyone, but to not have to decide against 50 different products feels a little less intimidating to the consumer; especially if there is no one there to facilitate the sale. Bed in a box company’s (BIB) are starting to expand their offering so we will see how far they take it.
Not only have BIB companies made the decision-making process easy, they have taken the pushy retail sales associate out of the picture. This isn’t a fair thing to point out for all of the retailers that have created good buying experiences for the consumer, but there are plenty of stores out there with the “used car” mentality. That and many people today prefer to buy things online because they are just used to it now and when you consider the 10’s of thousands of positive reviews from consumers buying a bed from a website, they make a pretty good case for purchasing this way. If your in-store experience isn’t good enough for her to tell a friend about when she leaves, why should she even come in?
When you consider which bedding brands are spending the marketing money at the national level, the advantage definitely goes to the BIB guys. If they own the share of voice the way that they do, they are going to get the attention, click, view, share, and eventually the sale.
It’s not just that they are advertising more, take a look at the message the BIB guys are delivering. I visited some of the top retail B&M websites against the top BIB websites and you know what one of the biggest differences was aside from design? Message. If all you do in your marketing is pimp the sale, then you are building no value with the consumer. Don’t stop at retail, it’s the same for many of the manufacturer’s websites. If you have products that deliver a wonderful night of sleep, fix her problems, and help her achieve a better quality of life, don’t you think this is something we should share? Of course you need to tell them that you have products cheaper than anyone else, and make sure they know about your financing options, but if you don’t BUILD VALUE in the products that you sell, you are missing out in a big way. (That financing plug is a shout out to my good buddy and loyal Q’s View’s reader Dan White at West Creek Financial . 🙂 Don’t take my word for it, visit some of these sites for yourself and see who builds value and who doesn’t. If you’re buying a new pair of dress shoes and the guy selling you spends 98% of his time on how cheap his stuff is instead of how great his products are, what kind of impression does it give you?
Since we’re on the marketing message, what group does a better job actually connecting to the consumer these days and by connecting I mean making the consumer actually FEEL SOMETHING? (Consumers make buying decisions based on emotion right?) Who has the more creative approach to telling their story? Who makes it more fun to shop for a bed? If you insist on looking at this category through the same old lens, then you are going to suffer the fate of the buggy whip. Many of the BIB guys were never mattress people to begin with so their comfort zone is much larger than many of the long-time industry people and it shows in what is being said to the consumer.
Here’s the good news for both sides, there’s plenty of business out there for the people that are willing to grow with the market, build solid strategy based on what’s going on around them, and form strong relationships with other companies that can help them achieve the end goal of profitability. I don’t care if you’re ringing people up with a brick or a click, my question to you is simple; are you skating to where the puck is or to where the puck is going?