Marketing & Design in the Social Media Age

A friend and I were having lunch when she mentioned her disappointment at losing out on a beautiful new bedding set that she’d planned to buy but had been discontinued before she got the chance. Even as she described it, I was whipping out my phone to see if I could find it online. Like just about everything else these days, there’s an app for finding discontinued products, and within minutes, we’d located the item at a store less than 10 minutes away.

Like so many smart phone users, I’ve come to rely on my phone for myriad functions that have nothing to do with actually making calls. And it’s not just the phone. I use Facebook to keep track of friends’ birthdays, LinkedIn to get recommendations for business resources and a host of blogs to keep track of everything from hot color trends and new recipes to what supplements I should feed my senior dog.

As a consumer, I’ve come to rely on technology unthinkingly. But as a professional in the kitchen and bath industry, I am always thinking about and exploring the different technologies that impact everything from product design and marketing to the way information is delivered. Indeed, one need only look at this month’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show to see how thoroughly technology is being integrated into our industry – not only in the products on display and the content of the educational sessions, but in the way the show is presented (see relate KBIS coverage, Pages 83-100).

There’s no doubt that the growing interest in design, marketing and social media-related technology is having a major impact on the kitchen and bath industry. For that reason, KBDN is very pleased to introduce a new column this month, Design Technology (see Page 30). Written by renowned technology expert Eric Schimelpfenig, this column will address forward-thinking technology and how it is revolutionizing the kitchen and bath industry. In his first column, Eric looks at the two very different concepts behind social media, and how integrating your media skills with your social prowess can help you become a more effective marketer.

Marketing through technology is also the topic of a story by Phil Zaleon (see Page 65), which looks at the “Zero Moment of Truth” concept, and how consumers’ ability to find instant information online has completely changed the shopping paradigm – as well as how kitchen and bath dealers must adapt to take advantage of this.

The need for speed is often the impetus for technology, and this can also have a significant impact on design and technological innovations. For instance, the speed cooking trend dovetailed the trend toward two-career families. And today, with many Gen X and Y consumers having grown up with two working parents, there’s a new trend toward homeowners who never really learned how to cook from their own parents, and who are looking for smart appliances that will help them evolve as “emerging chefs” (see Designer’s Notebook, Page 58).

But it’s not just the products that are getting smarter. Savvy design professionals have started to look more closely at changing consumer demographics, resulting in smarter Universal Design solutions that maximize fashion as well as function (see Planning & Design, Page 22).

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s often said that change is the only constant. And nowhere does that seem to be more true than in the kitchen and bath industry.

And speaking of change, you’ll also notice some exciting new changes in the look of Kitchen & Bath Design News this month. But while we’ve updated our appearance, we remain committed to providing you with the same industry-leading design, product and technology resources that you’ve come to rely on.

Because, while change is inevitable, we believe that good information, like good design, remains timeless.