Thursday, April 9, 2020

Does Your Target Market Really Know You Exist? Thoughts from Fellow Jeff Valles

Working at a store that had opened when Henry Ford was 19 years old, I assumed that everyone in town knew that we sold fine plumbing and hardware. Boy was I wrong. Even those driving fine automobiles, at gallery walks, and on historic home tours would consistently asked me, “What do you sell there?” This brings three points front and center; the products we sell are mostly purchased by building and trade professionals, are only purchased a few times in a homeowner’s lifetime, and the DPH industry does not market outside its core customer base very well. 

For centuries, good word of mouth has built many strong brands and it is still the finest marketing tool known to capitalism. It is simple: do your job well, sell the finest products and support your clients. If all is done to luxury standards, these happy clients will talk to their friends and show off your company's good work. But in 2020, the year of the pandemic, is that enough? 

No matter how well we were doing before COVID-19 hit, and how proud we are to have withstood 2008’s nasty recession, there are still plenty of well-to-do customers who have never experienced a beautiful entryway with the solid feeling of a mortise lock. Nor have they enjoyed a well-choreographed DPH designed bathroom. Even if they notice one while visiting a friend or enjoy one at a fine hotel, they do not truly understand the beauty and spa-like amenities until they become part of their own lifestyle. 

From a tactical point of view, if there are potential customers that you are not reaching, eventually another competitor will find them and enter your market. Once established, that new DPH competitor will also offer your good customers an alternate go-to for DPH products. It all goes back to the old story; when you are number 1, you have to constantly work hard and be smart to remain there.

Now, with COVID-19 affecting your business, you are focused on getting all the business you can remotely while trying to grasp what’s coming next. Everyday tasks and issues, along with these new concerns, pack your endless days. There is just not enough time to plan and market your story to potential clients. Especially today, with all the print, television, digital and social media options, who knows where to start? 

In my world this is a loud call to find help. No one can do it all, and for your business to continue to grow it is time to reach out to marketing professionals. In this digital age, it is not difficult for a DPH company to reach outside of their market to try to capture a few new clients within your market. Instagram, Facebook and Google have no boundaries, they reach out to whom they are paid to find.

Even if you have been in business since the horse and buggy days, you still need to get the word out. No one really needs what we offer, but their homes are so much better when we have finished. Do you want to leave the door open, allowing other showrooms to reach into the market you built? That is not a risk I would like to take. You have built a successful brand, why not share your story with your entire target market to educate them on how good you really are?

I know it is difficult to admit you cannot do it all and that you really do not completely understand our quickly changing algorithm-run world. Nor do you want to continually work and study to remain digitally up to date. But there is no excuse for letting the wonderful opportunities those algorithms create slip to a competitor. Showroom owners must find time to meet and work with people that are deeply knowledgeable about these fantabulous marketing tools and are committed to remaining up to date with the rapid changes and new avenues being created. 

There are many individuals and agencies that offer the talent to help you reach your targeted audience with your compelling story, including some DPHA professional members. This is not something to ignore or leave to a team member simply because they are Gen-Z and use social media a lot. Cash is tight and we have zero idea of what the future will be but, intelligently investing in your brand is a good opportunity. I suggest finding a professional, paying a professional and reaping the benefits from a professional. Then you will be ready to roar when people are looking for the best partners to make their home luxurious. 

Related Reading: From Business of Home, Decorators Best dragged fabric makers online. Now the site is their biggest customer

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