Two Ears, One Mouth

Posted 1 CommentPosted in creativity, marketing

One of my goals in life is to be a world class listener. I don’t know if I will make it, but I am working very hard to improve every day. Why? Because I know that real learning can only take place if you are the one that isn’t talking. How do you do when it comes to paying attention?

Who are you talking to? Are you listening?

I realize that many of the big retailers, bedding producers and even some of us suppliers spend money on consumer research. I think those of us who are doing that deserve a good grade. How about the rest of you? During the product development phase, are you reaching out to your target audience? When you are creating new services at retail, do you ask your customers what they think before you spend a bunch of money on a new program? I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people in this industry copy an idea, product or service that someone else is also doing when neither of them bothered to ask the target audience what would best fulfill their needs. As a result, it all failed. (more…)

Culture Matters

Posted 4 CommentsPosted in furniture, marketing, mattresses

We truly have a global marketplace of consumers.

Multicultural markets will account for over $3 trillion in sales in 2011 and that number continues to grow. As an industry, how well do we understand the various cultures that are around us? In addition, how do we make an effort to reach out to them in a unique way?  I am not talking about having several ethnicities appear in your advertising. I’m talking about really digging in and trying to understand the lifestyles of the various ethnicities that we serve. (more…)

What’s the problem?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in furniture, marketing, mattresses

Have you heard this before?: “The experience of buying a new mattress is worse than buying a new car.”

Not only have I heard it, but I have seen it show up more than once in market research. It is true that there are some pushy sales people out there who aren’t interested in helping consumers solve a problem, but are more concerned about making the sale. I have seen retail sales associates (also known as RSAs) ignore customers when they walk in, give bad information as it relates to the products they are selling, talk badly about their competition, wear crappy looking clothes and just flat out add no value to the process. (more…)

The Power of Community

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in creativity, marketing

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.

This year, around 200 people attended the ISPA conference.

Where in the hell was everybody? (more…)