Retailers: Focus on what you stand for, says marketing guru

Retailers need to get the right message across to the right people, says a KBB marketing expert.

David Barker, managing director of marketing consultants Inspire KBB, had some top advice for retailers when he appeared on the latest episode of the award-winning kbbreview Podcast.

Barker acknowledged that the boom in home improvements that followed the first lockdown, which has shown no signs of abating, does mean KBB retailers are busy fulfilling existing orders.

But Barker pointed out that, in this current busy period, there is an opportunity for forward-thinking retailers to get ahead of the competition.

Barker said: “Most of your competitors are probably not thinking long-term right now and are focused on delivering what they need to this week or this month. There is an opportunity to get ahead of the game.”

He added that now retailers have the chance to “do the best and the most efficient marketing you can for the long term, without having to worry about getting leads in this week”.

He outlined how he thinks KBB retailers can best get the right message to the right people in the longer term.

Barker advised knowing the difference between ‘today customers’ and ‘tomorrow customers’. He added that only 3% of the market is about to buy now, and so retailers must focus on that future 97%.

He added: “If you can build a bond with those future customers, so that they have noticed you and feel good about you, and warm towards you before they come to need you, that is ultimately what you want to be developing.”

Speaking to kbbreview for a marketing feature in the upcoming July issue, Paul Crow, MD of Ripples, agreed with Barker’s sentiments.

“A good marketing strategy communicates the values of your brand – who you are and what you offer to a relevant audience.,” he said. “One that encourages that audience to take action as a result, either when they are ready or immediately.”

Barker added that there are several ways to do that: “Definitely social media is great. Lifestyle magazines are still relevant, whether advertising or articles. Radio potentially has a role to play for many retailers depending on the size of their market. And even billboards and signage around your location. You are looking to get out a message to people, so they notice you, recognise your brand and retain that message.”

Local advertising, he explained, can help put the retailer’s name in front of potential customers. That will help encourage direct Google searches of their name, but could help when people search for a ‘kitchen showroom near me’ and then recognise their name on the first page of results.

Barker pointed out that once a retailer has a potential customer’s attention and they go to their website, “user experience is critical”. He added: “The look and feel need to represent what your business is about. What messaging you have is really key. And you need to make it really easy for people to take the next step with you. That could be as simple as downloading a guide or brochure, or going straight through to a contact form.”

Julia Steadman, commercial director at Brandt Designs agreed, saying: “Remember that despite all the theories and buzzwords, marketing is about speaking to people about what you do in such a way which encourages them to get to know you better and buy from you.”

Barker summed it all up by saying: “Understand who your target market really is and reach out to them with a message that is not so broad that you’re attracting all the interest in your products rather than the products you can deliver on.”

And above all: “Focus on who you are, what you stand for and who your ideal customers are.”

You can listen to the full podcast by clicking on the box below.

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