GO GET ‘EM
Although consumer electronics continues to be one of the brightest stars in today’s sluggish economy, there’s no question that the housing slowdown and the tightening credit markets are starting to decelerate sales in our channel.
For some time, it seemed as if custom retailers could get by with minimum promotion and still have their businesses grow. Customers who were pleased with their installations would refer their friends faster than installers could be trained. Word-of-mouth was cheap and effective.
But times have changed. Now, dealers need to go out and find business. Professional marketing programs will continue to drive in traffic and build sales.
The first step in creating a sound marketing program is developing a plan and a budget. Look at what you spent during the previous 12 months and use that as a guideline to get started. Don’t forget to include the cost of any yellow page advertising, truck graphics and in-store point-of-purchase materials.
If your sales cycle is seasonal, plan to spend a larger portion of your budget just prior to your peak times, but allocate some funds every month. Next, you can decide where to put your advertising money.
The cornerstone of your marketing program should be a high-quality, full-color lifestyle brochure. Your catalogue should include testimonials from your customers and pictures of some of your most unique installations.
Design a presentation folder for your bids, spec sheets, contracts and other documentation. Make sure your logo and your contact information are included on everything you distribute.
Keep a portfolio in your showroom with pictures of all of your installations. Be sure to include some photos of your smiling customers in their new electronics environments.
If customers aren’t coming to you, you need to go and find them. Your local Street of Dreams can serve as a mobile showroom. Hundreds of people visit show homes each year.