The Kitchen & Bath Business Marketing Plan Should Be Flexible, Cost Effective & Brand The Dealership

Like most Kitchen & Bath Dealers, when I opened my dealership, I had a rough business plan and an idea of how I was going to market.

It was generalized and not very detailed. Sound familiar? I think the biggest mistake made was I really did not do a Market Study of who was doing what level of Kitchen & Baths in my market area. How can you get specific if you don’t understand the details of your market, market area, and market prospects?

A comprehensive Marketing Analysis should first look at the overall industry as a whole, then you would define your market geographically, demographically and sociographically. In English,that means, what area of the map, who lives their and what is their income, home value, etc, etc. I cannot stress this enough. Know Who, What & Where your going to target your marketing so that you don’t waste money on advertising outside those parameters.

Which is your business going to focus on,The consumer, home builder, allied professionals etc. Of course you will do projects for all of them, but your pricing and marketing strategy has to focus on one or two of them. Don’t be a “Jack of all trades, Master of none”. You should come out of your marketing analysis phase with a clear understanding of who you are, who your primary client base is and how you are going to compare with the competition in your market area.

Your Marketing Strategy should define your goal. What do you expect to accomplish and what is your budget. Remember, it doesn’t matter how big or small of a firm you are, you should always have a clear, defined budget and stick to it.

The percentages I spoke about in the last newsletter are very accurate and every Kitchen & Bath business should try and stick to them. For your review:

New business 7-8%

2-3 Year old business is 5-7%

An established business is 3- 5 %.

Remember to ad 2- 4% for brand development if your a new business.

When you do your plan in advance and stick to it, a side benefit is with truthfulness you can tell the advertising sales people that constantly call on your business- ” My budget & plan is already spoken for this year, Thank you.”

Timing is important, you should set your budget on the current years sales /overhead expenditure percentages for the following fiscal year. The 3rd Quarter is when you start to do the spending comparisons from previous year and in the middle of the 4th quarter your budget for the following year should be set.

Next step is to figure out how your going to communicate your strategy that you have defined, then you have to test the results. Some examples of Target Markets and some specific strategies that you might consider. Each market is different and you have different dealer profiles, so bear with me as I offer some examples.

The best marketing is one on one, direct contact with the prospect. Go out and get the prospects, don’t just sit in the showroom and wait for them to come in. As a rep, I just love sales people that say ” Oh man, business is slow this quarter, and yet their butts haven’t moved off the chair in front of the computer with solitaire on the screen..I digress….sorry. 🙂 If you know who your target prospect is from your analysis, there is no excuse why not to go after them.

A Newsletter, keeps in touch with your existing client base, while a Four Color Brochure, introducing your firm and its services-with Testimonials will help turn new prospects into clients. You can do this economically and along with one on one dialog be effective. These provide both flexible and cost effective marketing tools.

I find that Direct Mail Advertising only attracts the price shopper, looking for a “deal”, and I am not convinced at a 2 % response rate that it is cost effective. The big 4 Color Slicks Magazines are great for Branding, but you need to do it correctly commit to two years at every other month, It is certainly costly and most effective for branding your business with affluent prospect. It is a mistake to spend all of your marketing dollars on the 4 color slick magazines. I find that putting ads in the local Theatre and Opera Programs will do the same branding with the same affluent prospect and are less costly.

I had done some TV on the Cable Channels such as HGTV, I found that to be as effective as the 4 color slick with some side benefits. It reaches the mighty middle prospect and affluent prospect (depending on which show it airs.) A pleasant side effect is that if you do a tasteful ad and the principle is on then your existing client base is reminded of you and talks about you. (More of a reason to earn those A referrals) It is more cost effective than the 4 Color Slicks and I believe does more in the short run. I think TV, radio done right really works, but it is a big budget item. I know how to get the production done, what to look for in the statistics of who is watching what and how well it can Brand your business. I am not talking about one of those cheesy cable commercials either.

These examples are just a few of many, many. Each firm is different, that’s why you need to Analysis, Strategize & Plan specifically for your business. Stick to a budget and timetable and be flexible. Follow the yellow brick road to your business pot of gold.

Successful Business – Top Reasons

1) Direction.
Every startup needs a leader with a vision. During the difficult times, the CEO needs a clear idea of the end mission and how the company needs to get there. A good business leader keeps the long-term in mind, while dealing with the immediate needs of a new company.

2) Speed to market.
You can’t be second when it comes to startups. Especially with the rate of technology development, the faster a startup can produce its service or product, the better chance it has in delivering to customers. Young businesses have to compete with established industries. One of the reasons businesses succeed is that they reach consumers first.

3) Financial savvy.
Successful startups know how to work within a budget. Managing finances and keeping a young company out of debt it can’t repay is key to becoming successful. Companies just starting out need to do more with less.

4) Well-Connected.
Just like early career builders, young startup companies can gain a leg up by knowing a few well-connected individuals. These companies use their social network for their first clients, investors, and mentors. As the old adage goes, it’s not what you know – it’s who you know.

5) Dedication.
Startups need leaders who are willing to work hard and stick to their goals. This leadership inspires others to commit to a strict work-ethic, aligned with the company’s mission. All employees must be committed and dedicated to the goal.

6) Perseverance.
Even when times get tough and the road to success offers bumps and blockages, startups need to persevere to achieve success. The majority of startups bail when money is tight or disagreements arise between founders. Successful businesses stick it out in turbulent waters and remember their end goal during difficult times.

7) Quick to Adapt.
Successful startups are comfortable with change. Leaders who know how to make smart decisions without a clear roadmap can take advantage of opportunities that more cautious companies can miss.

8) Knowing How to Attract Investors.
Money talks in the business world. Without the startup funds, companies can never get up off their feet. Smart business leaders know how to generate capital to give their million-dollar ideas a shot.

9) Confidence.
Startups need unwavering commitment to their mission and goals. Without the confidence that the company will succeed, the startup will dissolve when facing initial obstacles.

10) Efficient Time Managers.
There’s no down time when it comes to startups. If the leaders of a company are not putting in time around the clock, success is unlikely.

11) Execution.
Everyone can have a million-dollar idea. It takes moxie and strategy to put an idea into action. Knowing how to execute sets apart successful businesses from the failures.

Be Your Business’s Best Marketing Tool!

She personified everything that is displayed in the glossy magazines. Lifestyle, beauty, serenity and calmness! She is impeccably dressed, welcomes me with a huge smile, escorts me to my relaxation zone, ensures I am comfortable and happy, provides an outstanding facial using quality products (which she knows ALL about), loads me up with samples and sends me on my way.

Yep, this is much more then just your standard run of the mill facial, this is delux, creme de la creme, or as Eve puts it “The Rolls Royce” of facials! But for me this moment of “me” time is more then just a facial, it’s an entire client experience that keeps me coming back…

So, the point to my little story here (yes, there’s a point!) is that Eve is the very essence of being her business’s best marketing tool.

Often overlooked and in my opinion seriously underrated, what YOU say about your business sticks with people! And I am not just talking about when you rattle off what you do for work, in the hope that people will take it on board and remember you when they need your particular service or product.

I am talking about EVERYTHING you “say” in all forms to your clients. Starting with your physical presence, your product/service knowledge, all the way through to your memory. So if you want a holistic approach to your “being-your-business’s-best-marketing-tool” plan here’s my tips!

1. Look the part.

First impressions stick, so your appearance has a lot to do with the opinion your current and potential clients will form of you. It may seem like a simple element to remember, but personal grooming, business etiquette, positive energy and a smile will go a LONG way in reflecting the image of your business. Imagine signing up to a gym with an unfit/overweight trainer, or buying cosmetics from a sales rep who doesn’t use any herself!

2. Know your stuff.

KNOW your product or service, even if you have to practice what you preach, meaning, if you get nervous when someone asks “so what do you do?” have an answer prepared, think of those key words you need to mention within the first few sentences you speak…remember you want to come off memorably…but for all the RIGHT reasons!

If you are passionate about what you do and are confident in your own abilities, this will be reflected in your work.

3. Be a head of your game.

Don’t be afraid to offer your services. Ask “why do you ask, are you in need of a super-designer?” (followed by a SMILE). But seriously, give out business cards, don’t be afraid to talk about yourself and your achievements and experience, and make your “pitch” person-specific!

4. Follow through.

A business basic, but SO often forgotten! Follow up and follow through. Make phone calls. Follow leads. AND fulfill everything that you said you would. Give your clients or customers an overall experience, rather then just providing your service or product….this way, they’ll keep coming back!

5. Lock it in the memory bank.

With all the technology available to us these days, it’s easier then EVER to remember important, significant and individual things about a client… remembering birthdays, kids and significant others names, important business events and special occasions are a simple way to keep a client happy, feeling important and special….and I’m not talking about befriending every client you have, but these small gestures, make a BIG impact!

So remember, every person is a potential client! Whether you’re in the lift, ordering your morning coffee, chatting to an old friend…you are showcasing your business and opening it to a world of opportunity.

Even when you have a limited budget for traditional marketing routes, (or even if you spend big on advertising your business, for that matter!) remember to focus on these seemingly obvious, often forgotten areas that can speak thousands about you and your business. Work on you, so you work on being your business’s best marketing tool!