Floor care vendors are looking for higher numbers in 1997 and have geared aggressive advertising, planned new product rollouts, devised new promotional concepts and restructured their sales representation with the goal of achieving greater sales for themselves and their retail customers.
The following is a collection of comments from vacuum cleaner suppliers on their “Success Strategies for 1997.”
Jim Krzeminski, vice president of sales for the Homecare Division, Bissell Inc.
“The recent acquisition of Singer has added to the strategic importance of the vacuum cleaner category for Bissell. Our plans are to provide a full range of products in all segments of the floor care business to our retail customers. In 1997, we are introducing a number of new vacuum models under the Bissell brand name. These units will be supported by significant television advertising and promotional activity.
“Winning in 1997 requires us to give consumers the correct combination of features, performance, reliability, and of course, the right price. At the same time we must provide retailers with impactful packaging, promotional support and flawless service. We are focused on meeting all of these objectives in the coming year.”
Sharon Day, product manager at Black & Decker Household Products
“We’re expanding the uses for the ScumBuster with the Auto ScumBuster and accessory kits to do other tasks.
“After the first of the year, we will be doing advertising that reinforces that ‘Buster’ means cordless convenience cleaning. We’ll also be bringing more awareness of the VersaPak system and looking for new opportunities with Buster products.”
Jim McCusker, president at DeLonghi America Inc.
“In 1997, we plan to broaden our distribution by giving exclusive regional distributorships. We plan to use distributors much more in 1997. In addition, we plan to attend all of the floor care exhibitions, like the VDTA in Las Vegas this winter and some regional shows. We should be doing a little bit of co-op advertising as well in regions we have distribution strength. And we will come up with special trade show promotional packages.”
John Hoppe, vice president of marketing at the Eureka Co.
“The answer is twofold: number one is product innovation; number two is national advertising. We’ll have something new, which is innovative and at all key price points. We’ll also be doing extensive national advertising. It doesn’t do any good to have a great innovation if nobody knows about it. The advertising will tie into our packaging and point-of-sale purchase material.
“As far as new trade channels, we already sell to just about everybody in the United States. We aren’t going after any particular class of trade. About the only new class of trade for floor care is the do-it-yourself retailer. Some accounts didn’t handle floor care in 1995.”
Dave Gault, vice president of marketing at the Hoover Co.
“We’ll work towards improving retailers’ sales through an improvement in mix and the merchandising support that makes that happen. Merchandising support includes a very strong national advertising campaign, which will be added to as the year progresses through possible new products and working with retailers to identify, understand and fulfill their financial needs.
“We plan to improve selling performance by concentrating on selling the benefits more to consumers and on the value the products provide — not just the price.”
“It’s clear that you have to have a continuous stream of new products to maintain your freshness with retailers and sales momentum, as well as a competitive pressure. As we have done in the past, we will continue in this direction in the future.”
Bob Loeffler, marketing manager at Miele
“After 12 years of brand building in America, Miele has achieved critical mass. The high-end customer is asking for Miele; the consumer press has dubbed it ‘Miele Madness.’ Miele is hot.
“In 1997, Miele will vigorously protect the brand from anyone that would attempt erosion of profitability for the dealer.”
Mike Merriman, president and chief executive at Royal Appliance
“Innovation has bee the key to our success in 1996, and in 1997 we will continue to bring to market innovative products that thrill consumers.
“At Royal, innovation is not limited to new product launches; in January, the company will kick off the year with a new advertising campaign and partnership that is unprecedented in the floor care industry. Foremost will be three spots on the 1997 Super Bowl to launch the new campaign. This will also be supported by a $1 million consumer sweepstakes offer sent to 56,000,000 households.
“Royal will support its present core product mix and new product launches with continuous marketing support in the form of national network and cable television advertising, direct response television advertising, print advertising and year-round sales promotions.”
Debra Block Labruna, product marketing manager at the appliance division of Sharp Electronics
“Sharp continues to seek out profit-oriented dealers that will deliver the Twin Energy story with salespeople on the selling floor. While Sharp vacuum cleaners do not have the same brand awareness level as some other Sharp products, we continue to have dealers who will tell consumers about our product at retail. Sharp continues to offer products with more features which offer convenience and ease of use to the consumer. We continue to broaden the number of models and offer many feature packages for varying retail prices.