Last week, I got the chance to attend the Chief Housewares Executive SupersSession (CHESS) conference hosted by the International Housewares Association! As expected, it was an incredible couple of days, full of great educational sessions + important networking time. The Hyatt Lodge at McDonald’s Campus was a stunning location for the conference + overall the trip was a success! This year’s theme: Building for the Future…New Leaders, New Markets was an especially important one for the team at epower at home! While digital marketing is not a “new” concept (our digital agency has been in business for over 21 years!) it does still feel new to many of the housewares execs we met with at CHESS + many of the housewares professionals we’ve talked to over the years, to be honest. Whether housewares brands have been intentionally holding back on making the shift to digital marketing, or they just don’t have the resources, time or team to execute a successful program, there’s a lot of catching up to do in the industry when it comes to digital marketing. We know that building a successful digital marketing strategy is vital to housewares brands building for the future, but here are a few of my other key takeaways from CHESS 2019:
Recruiting and retaining the next generation of leaders for the housewares industry was the hot topic of the opening panel discussion at CHESS, and it was a great way to kick things off! Hiring new employees has never been easy, but as the industry gets more complex + more competitive, attracting and retaining top talent will continue to be a challenge. We’ve worked hard to attract and retain our own amazing team of digital marketing professionals over the last two decades + happily brag about the fact that our senior team has been with us for the long haul. Two of us (👋 hi, Andrea! 👋) started as interns in college and were hired full-time upon graduation, our next two hires, Adrian + Ellie, were also fresh college grads when they started, but that was so long ago they’re industry veterans by now. Our newer team members all came with really interesting professional backgrounds that have translated well for our clients. We’ve learned how valuable it can be to hire not just for industry experience, but to also look at drive, attention to detail + overall passion for helping our clients succeed. Over the years, we’ve worked with some really great in-house teams, and some pretty awful ones, too, so we understand what you’re up against in the housewares industry. So much so, that we put together a resource for helping housewares brands hire great digital marketing candidates. Check it out!
Focus on your Audience:
Telling a great story + finding a connection with your audience was a topic in a number of the sessions at CHESS 2019 + it’s one that resonated with me quite a bit! We’ve been talking for years about the importance of not only finding your story + communicating it in an impactful way, but making sure it’s purposeful + one that your target audience truly connects with. Mark Jeffries, in his session on The Art of Business Influence, talked about making sure you’re consistent, clear + confident in your work. The NPD Group talked about the evolution of the mass market + urged attendees to think about all the micro markets today, which ties directly into telling the right story to the right audiences + the team from Embello talked about using influencers to reach more of the right prospective consumers. We won’t be successful marketing to housewares consumers unless we truly focus on them, know them, understand their buyer’s journey, what motivates them + how they want to shop. The right digital marketing strategy can help you better understand your audiences, then strategically get the right messages in front of the right shoppers at the right time.
Adapt or Die:
IHA set the bar high with an event theme of Building for the Future + the importance of evolving wasn’t lost on the senior-level housewares professionals at CHESS. As industry leaders, learning, growing + adapting is something we’re striving for daily. There are going to be winners + there are going to be losers as the industry continues to evolve. According to Forbes, 52% of Fortune 500 companies went bankrupt, were acquired, ceased to exist, or dropped off the list due to digital disruption since 2000. Consumers’ needs are getting more complex, there’s more information (+ products) available than ever before + digital natives are becoming purchasing decision-makers. Guiding your brand through the digital disruption is no easy feat, but keeping the focus on your audience, knowing what you do well + telling that story in the right moments is key. Hiring the right people to help your brand evolve will also remain a top priority. It’s not enough just to react to the changes, it’s time to catch up + keep up as the industry evolves.
We were proud to be a sponsor at CHESS 2019 + had some great conversations with housewares professionals while we were there! As part of our CHESS sponsorship, we’re offering a FREE digital marketing snapshot analysis to help housewares brands build for a stronger digital future. Claim yours today + we’ll be in touch!