As we work our way through each Autumn, we begin to plan our marketing for the coming year. We begin with as much analysis as we can conjure on our marketing of the past year: who responded to what? what seemed to work and what didn’t? how well did we stick to our budget and our plan?
We divide our marketing into two camps: residential and non-residential. In other words, we need to speak to people who will buy furniture for their home, and those that will purchase for a school, university, library or office.
In the past 6-8 years, almost 2/3 of our marketing budget has been allocated to “non-residential” marketing. Prior to that, it was the other way around. Reason? About 8 years ago we began to pursue academic and library, or institutional work more feverishly. This market brings larger projects and, honestly, more profitability for us. And that marketing push worked for us. It was successful.
But, and it’s a big “but”, we love to build residential furniture: we love the customer relationships, the creative furniture designs, building one-of-a-kind pieces. So, we don’t want to steer our ship too far in either direction, we want a good balance of both worlds.
This is a major consideration when planning the marketing for the coming year. This year, we plan to move some of our marketing budget back to the residential side. We’ll try new outlets: maybe a new print publication, maybe new approaches to online marketing, maybe spruce up our website, consider a catalog revision. These are the ideas we are gathering for consideration now.
In the coming weeks, we’ll review demographics, ad prices, distribution rates. We’ll meet with ad reps and have phone conversations with Advertising Directors, Media Specialists, etc. We’ll plan, scratch, re-plan and scratch again. Eventually, we’ll eke out a plan that suits us, fits our budget, gets our brand in front of the people we’ll court and then meet and then form a great, long relationship with; people who will enjoy Huston & Company furniture in their home, office, library or school.
For now, we wonder who those people will be. What will they be looking for? How will they find us in 2013?