read part one & two published in my furniture today magazine blog
Part 3 - The Final Rant
- Congress has an approval rating of less than 19%
- Consumers trust in the main stream media is at 6%
- BUT, brand recognition in the furniture industry is greater than our trust in the main stream media. We’re at 8%, so let’s party.
In my opinion, you could take the brand logo of the website(s) of most furniture brand websites and interchange them, and I wager that the consumer would never know the difference or have even a minuscule brand engagement because most of the brand websites are pedestrian at best.
The websites are all templated, showing categories, some pictures, usually REALLY bad pictures taken in Asia, and some boring product specifications and information that maybe had 45 seconds of thought put into each product.
We go to market, we spend a ton of money promoting our brands to get placements which is a good and necessary process, and many of the brands do an incredible job of doing that. Then after the markets we all go home and we abandon all the marketing of those brands until the next market.
And then what? We are busy working on the next market introductions, messaging, education and more with our unproven strategy of “hope” that the retailer(s) may market and merchandise it correctly, and if they don’t, it’s floor inventory and off you go.
I’ve never understood how any brand in this industry would invest so heavily in its product development, design and marketing for furniture markets, only to leave the final selling strategy and brand messaging to 20,000+ retailers to define “what they think” your brand is.
By allowing this, you are not a brand, you are a product manufacturer.
Today, according to Google Compete, now known as Think with Google, yes I use Google a lot in my research simply because they own the search/knowledge environment, and they simplify their research so anyone can understand and disseminate their information.
Google breaks down the consumer’s path to purchase into 4 simple processes:
I want to know moments -
- According to Retailing Today - 81% of consumers start their search process on line
- 66% of smartphone users turn to their phone after seeing something on a TV commercial
- Find it “near me” searches have doubled in the past year
- 82% of smartphone users use a search engine when looking for a local business
- 91% of smartphone users turn to their phones for ideas while doing a task
- 100MM+ hours of “how to” content have been watched on YouTube so far this year. (Hmmmmm, didn’t I just write a column on YouTube and video? I would suggest you go back and re-read it).
- 82% of smartphone users consult their phones while “IN-STORE” deciding what to buy. (I bet they’re looking at your Brand’s website to get more information, which probably has just the minimum amount of information, if any at all).
- 29% increase in mobile purchase conversion rates this past year. (Is your brand’s website full “mobile responsive”? If not, your Brand IQ will drop well below that 8% awareness level I mentioned in the first part of this article.
So I bet you’re asking, what does all this have to do with “My Brand”? Everything, or nothing, depending on if you want to do the hard work to embrace how consumers travel on their path to purchase to "buy your stuff".
Ignore this information about how on-line and digital works on the path to purchase your stuff, and consumers will ignore you too! AND THEN WHAT HAPPENS, you use al the search and digital tools available to do what..... find their next career! Kinda ironic, huh?
You must create a branded environment that embraces the Millennial/Gen X /Boomer buyer. They all use technology, to search for, learn more and hopefully want more from your brand.
Assuming you’ve done a brand audit, which I doubt you have … and if you haven’t, you are purely “guessing and hoping” what you believe your brand is and assuming that consumers believe your brand is what you say it is. Good luck with that, maybe at the furniture markets, but then it’s game on when it comes to the consumer. (Remember brands on average have a 8% brand awareness, so it isn’t working).
Now you must put a digital face and soul to your brand and that all begins with your website, and from what I’ve seen you’ve probably invested the least amount of time and passion into doing that right.
So before I suggest a few ideas for you to consider, you must address the elephant in the room: Your Marketing Department, it’s roles, responsibilities and overall contribution to “all your stakeholders”.
The problem today in many companies is that the marketing person rose up through the ranks of the company and has very little, if any knowledge, what marketing a brand or product is all about outside of confines of what they know .... internally, or as an insider with no outsider experience. Sure they may have great sales ability and have great retailer relations, but do they have a clue as to how consumer behaviors affect engagement with brands or products on the final path to purchase? They tend to leave that to their retailers, “hoping” they can create the velocity necessary to keep their factories operating.
When I see titles in this industry, V.P Sales & Marketing, I immediately wonder how a person who has dedicated themselves to a successful career in sales, all of a sudden is a marketing guru, too? I’m not buying it.
I can tell you from experience, most of the brand marketing people I have met with in this industry are not marketers, not even close. I can say this because when I do engage the senior level marketing people, and ask questions about what they’re doing for their retailers, in-store, out of store, digital, the web and more, the results are less than disappointing and they have no clue on how simple marketing tools can affect the path to purchase for their retailers.
OK, I probably offended a lot of people with this statement, yet my intent is to help, not denigrate.
I've worked with several V.P. of Sales and I can attest, they really know their products, their reps and their retailers and how to motivate and engage them all. Many are/were rock stars in that position, but I have NO clue how they can be both a rock star at sales and at marketing....and be relevant and really good at both functions.
The role of a sales leader is a full time job, Managing the product, the sales force, retailer relations and so much more. The role of a marketer, in today’s economy, especially with the marketing platforms changing weekly as to how to engage consumers, is a full time and very difficult job too. I suspect the reason the titles of Sales & Marketing are merged revolves around one of two reasons.
That’s a whole lot of responsibility and knowledge required to be “successful at both”....almost super-human .... I wouldn’t want that job! To me, it would be like having a bad case of
Furniture Attention Deficit Syndrome – (FADD)
OK, enough lecturing, let’s discuss the main subject, Your Brand;
This is the first and most important idea for you to consider:
- Instead of you making your brand about YOU, make it about ME/The consumer”
- Research and embrace how consumers interact with “search” with “social” and “in-Store”. You’ll quickly realize they are very visual first, content/conversation inspired second, idea focused third, functionality fourth and all that is wrapped up into the “complete value equation”.
Consumers want to make their statement first, that’s why there are so many DIY home shows, cooking channels and more. They are immersed in I want to know and I want to do moments. Embrace that.
Your marketing person should know this and be totally focused on this aspect of your brand to accommodate these “I want to” moments.
My guess is probably not, and with what I witness daily, it may never matter unless you decide to change from being irrelevant to relevant so you’ll always be an 8%er for now, but possibly extinct tomorrow. Then you can join all the other manufacturers, retailers and jobs we’ve lost, you know:
The Furniture Wars, How America Lost a $50BN Industry?
Like my Grandfather always said, “You’ll never learn younger”, and we're a very old industry!
want help with your brand & CONSUMER engagement?
that's what we do