Unveiling New Lines

Marketing techniques to announce products you’ve added in your store

When adding grills, furniture or another spa manufacturer to your product offerings, the inclination is to run print or broadcast ads, get on social media and await the massive crowds. To be fair, that process might get bodies through the door — and some might buy from you. If you’d like to have the odds of success on your side, however, you’ll go far to heed the advice of marketing expert Carolyn Goodman: “Know the why,” she says, “behind the buy.”

Whether you sell spas, grills, patio furniture or rustle cattle, you must first have a relationship with your customers. Know why they’re purchasing from your store over another. This is the reason leads become sales and customers stick with you for the long haul instead of making price-sensitive comparisons at big-box stores or online.

Adrianne Tritt, co-owner of Patio Pleasures, with two stores serving the Madison, Wisconsin, area, understands this concept. She, husband Tom and their partners Brett and Rene Huston bought Patio Pleasures about 10 years ago and have taken it from a business that billed $200,000 annually to a multimillion dollar-a-year operation. As a retail store owner, she knows you must be a marketer first. “While our business has grown primarily by adding new products and capturing more of our available customers, our marketing strategy is to let folks know why Patio Pleasures is the place they should be dealing with and why,” Tritt says. “We tell the story about who we are; how we can help current and potential customers; about our expertise; and how we can solve a problem in their life.”

Tritt reveals new product offerings to her customer list via online and offline media, and in-store events; she also measures and tracks sales response to her advertising message. If you’re not communicating with customers via long-term strategy or hypertargeting your media buys, your cost per lead is probably a hole in your profit bucket. This might sound counterintuitive, but Tritt says there’s a method at play. “If you buy a billboard or radio time, you’ll likely hit some of your target demo; you’ll also be speaking to [nonbuyers] who are not in your target audience,” Tritt says. “That means your cost of customer acquisition is higher. Here in Wisconsin, we have some die-hard sports fans. With sports radio, we’ll target specific hot tub users for warm-water therapy to relieve body aches and pains. Targeting means we can speak directly to their unique needs. We’re great believers in having a targeted message; that’s what brings people through the doors; it works.” In other words, it’s the why behind the buy.

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As far back as its previous owner, Patio Pleasures carried Marquis Spas. Tritt says when they decided to add Sundance Spas, there were no brass bands or five-star announcements. “We continued to connect with the market with our story and explain why they can trust in the brands we’ve chosen to bring into the store, including Sundance,” Tritt says.

The intended strategy worked, along with a happy consequence of first establishing trust in the market. “A competing Sundance dealer went out of business; that created a bunch of loyal yet orphaned Sundance Spa owners,” Tritt says. “Because of our reputation, they came to us for spa service. When it came time to replace the old Sundance Spa with a new one, that person already had Patio Pleasures in mind as their destination to make that next spa purchase. It’s easy to forget why people buy from you — especially on a big-ticket item — they buy if they feel they can first place their trust in you.”

In this hard-nosed arena of competition big purchases are often transacted with people we’ve come to know, like and trust. Author Og Mandino once advised that a key factor to success is to “use widely your power of choice.” Why not create the kind of customer relationship you’d like to have? Your message, especially about new products, will cut through the marketplace clutter. It simply takes knowing the why behind the buy.