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

By Robert Foltz
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.

http://www.KitchenSalesCoach.com is a website designed to provide the small to midsize Kitchen & Bath Retailer with tips, strategies and ideas to be a invaluable resource to your clients.