Friday, February 19, 2010

New Homeowners Buy Furniture

By Jennifer Spitzer

Earlier this week I found an online thread between several business owners who were discussing marketing strategy. I had to jump in because the topic was new homeowner marketing and its relevance to the furniture industry. The conversation was initiated by Randy*, who has been thinking about developing a campaign to target the audience but wanted to know how often the move event triggers spending in the furniture category.

David* jumped in to say “There is probably some connection between the move event and the decision to buy furniture”.

Probably? I’ll get to that in a moment.

Clint* joined in to say people may want furniture when they move into a new home but their budget has been blown on the house, so you may be better off targeting homeowners who have lived in their primary residence longer.

Joe’s* opinion is that new homeowners are broke and you would be better off targeting college students immediately upon graduation because they have more disposable income. (I'm going to save that one for another day).

I get excited when I read these types of comments because I know these are business people who need help. The fact of the matter is, if you are in the furniture business and you’re not targeting new movers – you are missing out on an incredible opportunity. New homeowners are THE single most predictable audience for purchasing furniture. Over the last ten years, research has proven time and time again that over 75% of new homeowners will make a furniture purchase as a result of the move event. Many of those consumers will make their purchase within the first three months. We also know for a fact that this audience will spend more than a non-moving consumer and they’re likely to make multiple purchases for the next 12-18 months. All of this is backed up by a combination of survey data, industry research and analysis of long-term direct mail marketing campaigns.

If you operate a furniture business, no matter how big or small, talk to someone who knows how to put you in front of this audience at the right time with the right message and offer. Even if you find that there isn’t a significant amount of new mover activity in your trade area, it’s better to reach 1,000 highly targeted consumers who you KNOW are in the market for your product, than to reach 100,000 people who aren’t ready to buy.

*Names have been changed to protect those who may have given marketing advice to others without having quantifiable results of said marketing strategy.
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Push or Pull... What's Your Marketing Plan?

By Jennifer Spitzer

I had a discussion with a client earlier today about his lead generation strategy for the coming year. After finalizing plans for the targeted direct mail campaigns, I told him the programs would bring in a steady stream of good prospects during the year but the small mailings alone won’t be enough to sustain the business. “How are you going to kick-off your selling season to the larger audience of prospects in your market?” I asked. We went on to discuss co-op mailings, B2B efforts, magazine and email – all of which are great traditional “push” strategies.

If you’re a push marketer, you’re not sitting around waiting for prospects to come to you. Push marketing is about being aggressive in your pursuit of new business and more often than not, you’re going to attract more prospects this way. Pull marketing, like social media and pay-per-click advertising, means you’re going to attract prospects that are already looking for what you have to offer. This is important too because if someone wants or needs what you sell, you want them to either think of you first or find you before they find your competition.

Push or pull… what should you do? A fellow marketing pro talking to a group of executives was encouraging the group to move toward the pull model and then went on to say it’s up to you as the business owner to decide which is better and adjust your strategy accordingly. The point I’m about to make brings me back to the original discussion I had with my client.

After finalizing the budget for the Push Tools, he asked, “Since I’m doing all this, do I really need to invest in the internet and my original pay-per-click plan?” If we had been in the same room together, rather than on the phone, I would have been shaking him by the shoulders as I yelled “Yes! Yes! Yes!”.

The thought of deciding between a push or pull strategy and then adjusting your plan accordingly is absurd to me. You must do both, especially in this current market. When potential new customers look for your product or service, you need to pull them in. At the same time, you need to aggressively push your business out to good prospects with unrelenting perseverance.

Rather than try to decide if you should push or pull, take a look at your strategy for the coming year and ask yourself if there’s a healthy mix of both in your plan. If there isn’t, you still have some work to do.