Kitchen & Bath Design News

JAN 2018

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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ANOTHER JANUARY ROLLS around, with a new digit to record on your checks, thank-you notes to write and another set of goals to achieve. Happy New Year, every- one! What you do this month, and the trends you track, can set the stage for your success in 2018. Three industry pros – one in recruiting, one in design management, and one in market- ing and communications – share their expert tips for what to do and what to watch this year. FOR MANUFACTURERS AND RETAILERS You have products to develop, market and sell, as well as employees to manage and recruit. What should you be doing in 2018? "Clearly, the world is shifting more and more toward the digital landscape, and all manufacturers have to continue to evolve their digital platforms and initiatives," advises Chris Abbate, president of Novità, a marketing and communications agency specializing in the de- sign community. Incorporating video into those platforms, websites and events is trending strongly, she notes. Reaching influencers is another major trend. "Influencers command big numbers and can be strong drivers to websites and social plat- forms," she says. Which platforms you choose depends on your target audience and resources. "Instagram is number one for many," Abbate adds. "Pinterest seems to be a strong driver for sales. Facebook is still relevant, particularly with older targets. The jury seems to be out on Snapchat – but the more relevant tool of its kind would be Instagram Stories. LinkedIn has gained importance beyond the job search arena, as many are leveraging its connections to professional organizations and individuals," she observes. Houzz is another popular design site. "It is a great way to showcase projects and products, and engage with the community," Abbate says. Offline matters, too, the marketing pro shares. "Trade shows are stronger than ever, with many of the key shows selling out their exhibitor spaces." She also cautions marketers to not ignore magazines. "Print remains an import- ant counterbalance that is still appreciated by design professionals. This is especially import- ant for targets in the baby boomer generation." Studies are showing large differences in media consumption across generational lines, she reveals. "Generation Y (ages 17 to 34) is highly affected by social media research, while Gen Xers (ages 35 to 54) place a high value on in-store experience and service." Societal trends also impact product develop- ment, sales and marketing, she says. These are some to track: "More adults than ever are living alone and multi-generational households are on the rise. Technology, the desire for creative use of space and environmental sustainability, as well as demands for healthy living, all require 21st-century solutions. Phenomena like tiny houses and co-housing communities are also on the rise," Abbate shares. "Manufacturers have to stay informed and bear these shifts in mind as they plan for new products in the years ahead." FOR DEALERS, CONTRACTORS AND DESIGNERS Dealers, contractors and designers – as well as those looking for employment in the industry – should also be keeping up with societal shifts, trade shows, publications, blogs and sites. "With the increased use of social media, where, when and how customers engage and research must be at the forefront of our members' busi- nesses," declares Tom Cohn, executive v.p. of the Bath & Kitchen Buying Group. "It is critical to generate more leads for members' business- es, and implement systems to capitalize on as many of those leads as possible." BKBG works with its independent showroom members to move them onto first page search re- sults. "Every new kitchen and bath project starts on Google. That's why BKBG produces a weekly blog for members," he offers. Using fresh, strate- gic content frequently – personalized or not – can potentially upgrade a firm's site rankings. Cohn also suggests that each of a member firm's designers have an individual Houzz page, and that the firm be posting its work to Best Practices for the New Year BY JAMIE GOLD, CKD, CAPS To grow your business, focus on incorporating video into your digital offerings, upgrading your website regularly with fresh content, valuing talented employees and capitalizing on net- working opportunities. Posting great photos and projects to social media can drive leads and sales. Design events are still trending strongly with exhibitors and attendees. Fresh, regular blog content can boost your Google search results. Photo: BKBG Photo: BKBG Photo: Novità 54 Kitchen & Bath Design News • January 2018 TREND SPOTTING

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