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March 14, 2008

I have been writing for months about the importance of marketing especially during these worrisome economic times. It is more important than ever to stay in front of your customer. If you have not noticed, all of the big box, chain stores and catalogs have increased their marketing model. Currently, I receive on the average of once every other day at least 7 different marketing campaigns from such stores as Pottery Barn, Grandin Road, Restoration Hardware, Horchow, Smith & Hawken, Plow & Hearth, Target, Calico Corners, Frontgate, Williams-Sonoma & Lowes. I am certain that if my name were on more lists, the marketing materials that I receive would be more numerous. Never the less, they do work, I usually spend time reading at least the e-mail marketing campaigns and I certainly spend time looking through the catalogs that I receive in the mail. Does this increased marketing translate into sales, and ROI? That is the million-dollar question, which I believe that the answer is a definitive YES it does. The reason for my conclusion is that when I do decide to purchase a product these are the first stores that I will go to because they are top of mind.

    The other interesting marketing tool that I have noticed is the increased use of discount cards, promotional codes, and coupons. Never before has my own purse been so filled with these exclusive offers in the form of a cardboard credit card. Just today, in fact I received a catalog in the mail from Target and on the back cover is a detachable credit card promotion for $10 off the purchase of $100 or more. Not only is this card valid at Target stores it is also accepted at Some other promotions that come to mind are Free Shipping, Special Values and Easter Sales.

    Now is the time to think out of the box, challenge yourself to come up with a promotion that will grab your customer’s attention and turn into a sale. Don’t sit back and say that business is slow; therefore I have no dollars to commit to advertising. Now is the time to reach out and connect.

    Everyday new stores are joining the casual furniture market with new outdoor products being introduced. The idea of living outdoors and outdoor lifestyle is catching on like wildfire, so don’t sit on the side lines. Be proactive not reactive and market to your target audience.
    These are my Outside Views, write a comment below and tell me what yours are?

Marcia Blake