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Missing the Media Mark? Your Best Inside Ad Campaign Ever!

Furniture World Magazine
Volume 149 NO.3 May/June


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Even the best retail marketers often miss the mark on the #1 target group that can affect an up or down swing in a home furnishings store business.

 

Retailers are continually engaged in the search for media choices that will get the highest returns at the lowest cost. Choices include television, print, radio, social media, billboards, truck graphics, email and direct mail... targeting baby boomers, Gen X, millennials, HENRYs, DINKs, soccer moms and more. The choices seem to be increasing exponentially. However, even the savviest retail marketers often miss the mark on the #1 target group that can affect an up or down swing in business. And, finding and reaching them is less complicated than you might think.

A Vitally Important Group

This vitally important group of people you should never forget to target are the folks who show up every day to work at your stores and warehouses. You may refer to them as associates, employees, team-members, or family members. So while you are investing thousands or tensof- thousands of dollars in advertising each month, ask yourself what you are doing to communicate with the people who face off with shoppers coming into your store every day. Shoppers need to be sold on your products, and your employees need to be sold on your organization.

The Morning Huddle

If you want to get buy-in from your staff,you need to promote not only WHAT you are changing, but WHY you are changing it!

Your message to employees can be delivered in many ways. A simple regularly scheduled all-player meeting is an inexpensive start. Some store teams meet once a week, others meet monthly, and some hardly ever. For retail and operations, nothing beats a 10 to 15 minute morning huddle to address the issues of the day. Morning huddles can communicate simple stuff, like fi nance terms, open delivery days, and new merchandise. It’s a great start, but sometimes you need to drive a deeper message.

You probably advertise to let potential customers know that your store is a great place to shop. Well, you also need to spread this message internally. Everyone who works for you needs to be reminded why your business is a great place to SHOP and WORK. If you think this messages is too obvious to talk about, you are wrong. Advertise that message and you’ll build loyalty, teamwork, legendary customer service, and SALES.

Get to "Unique"

Every Walmart associate knows that they won’t be undersold.Every Jeep salesperson can tell you that they invented the SUV, and every Red Robin server will offer you free refi lls on french fries.

Why not ask your team “Why should people buy from us?” to create an open dialogue. You’ll probably hear answers like “Friendly Knowledgeable Salespeople”. “Great Selection”, “Low Prices”, and “Great Customer Service”. Good answers! They are so good in fact, that every retail store staff in every store in the country gives the same ones. Follow up with “What makes us unique? What do we offer that no other store or outlet can match?” That answer is harder to fi nd, but once you discover and defi ne how it makes your shoppers’ lives better, continue to remind (advertise) it to your team until they make it part of every shopper/customer conversation. Every Walmart associate knows that they won’t be undersold. Every Jeep salesperson can tell you that they invented the SUV, and every Red Robin server will offer you free refi lls on french fries. It’s advertised every day both INSIDE and OUTSIDE of the store. What do your salespeople know?

Harsh Reality

There is another message you need to advertise to your team. It is the harsh reality of business. The world is not friendly to business. There are taxes, rents, insurance, regulations, and an ever demanding buying public. If that isn't bad enough, businesses also have to turn a profit!

Think about opening part or all of your balance sheet to your employees to help them understand the costs of running a business. Or do the following simple exercise. Start with $1000 in play money. Use small bills. Let someone be the store owner and you can be “the rest of the world”. Give them $1000 for an imaginary merchandise purchase. Then have them pay you (the world) for the cost of goods, commission costs, advertising costs, rent/occupancy cost with utilities, vehicle cost, and taxes. Whatever is left is profit. Lastly, take 50 percent of the profit for corporate income tax. If they’re lucky they’ll have $5 left!

Advertise The Golden Rule of Operations. It takes $10 of sales to cover $1 of operational costs. While salespeople love to offer $50 or $100 to solve a customer issue, they may not realize that it will take $500-$1000 in retail sales to make up the difference. When you advertise ways that they can reduce errors and/or come up with non-monetary solutions, your business will reduce costs and ultimately increase customer satisfaction.

Create your own internal advertising campaign and you’ll get buy-inwhich leads to employee and customer retention, legendary service and profit.

Value of Continuity

You’ll never increase sales by running one radio or TV spot. Facebook and other social media sites demand almost daily messaging. It’s no different when it comes to advertising to your store and operations teams. You and your leadership need to promote early and often! Say and live the message. The big boys like Pepsi, Chrysler, and Carnival Cruises use celebrities to convey their message. Your organization has some celebs too! They are the top salesperson, the helpful office manager and the caring bookkeeper. Use those company stars to help reinforce your ideas. Don’t forget print ads. Invest in posters and, if you have more than 25 employees, think about a company newsletter.

It's Hard to Change

It’s hard to change behavior. People will stay with a bank, cable TV company, or razor blade brand that they hate, just because it is easier not to change. The pace of retail changes has accelerated exponentially, however, some employees will still hang on to their old ways of working. If you want to get buy-in from your staff, you need to promote not only WHAT you are changing, but WHY you are changing it! Reasons include appealing to a new group of shoppers, being competitive in the marketplace, and simple SURVIVAL.

Repetitive reinforcing advertising has gotten people to buy everything from the “Clapper” to Pet Rock, and our last 10 presidents. Create your own internal advertising campaign and you’ll get buy-in which leads to employee and customer retention, legendary service and profit.


While salespeople love
to offer $50 or $100 to solve a customer issue they may not realize that it will take $500-$1000 in retail sales to make up the difference.

Gordon Hecht is Senior Manager-In Store Concepts for Serta Simmons Bedding Company, introducing and expanding bedding business in conventional and non-traditional venues. He started his 30+ years experience in the Home Furnishings industry in Las Vegas, NV as a delivery helper and driver and later served in sales, retail management and consulting roles.
Read other articles by Gordon Hecht