Dear readers, we are embarking upon a rigorous schedule for the next two weeks. Jane has been gathering research for over a year, and is ready -- at long last -- to begin book #2 in the Dick*less Marketing series of Smart Marketing to Women Online books. While we don't envision completing the book in the next two weeks (our fingers can only type so fast!), we are determined to flesh out a rough draft. The final manuscript, complete with updated information on what women do online, should be ready by the end of October, or November.
While we would like to predict a Christmas release date, Jane is hesitant to make promises. Instead, we will write like crazy (in between our many other duties) with an eye on producing a for-sale product by January 1st, 2006. Mind you, in the back of our mind, a November deadline looms, but...we hope you will cut us some slack. Life has a way of throwing curve balls, which Jane is used to catching, but which she often drops and has to chase under the bed or down the stairs or through the kitchen. On hands and knees. Not a pretty sight, we assure you.
In the interim, we will faithfully write here -- sharing our insight into the world of marketing to women online. Today, we would like to talk about Bed, Bath and Beyond. A store that caters to the decorator in every woman's heart.
It's been some time since Jane set foot in a Bed, Bath and Beyond physical location -- since we do more than 90% of our shopping online -- yes, even for groceries. But, this store was a favorite when our children were in college. And, it's that time of year again, when school beckons the kids away from pools and parks. Colleges are gearing up for freshman orientation, and Moms and Dads are, no doubt perusing the weekend sales flyers for the best deal on dorm furnishings.
You can't go wrong at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Just last week we received a sales invitation in the mail, and Jane is happy to say, B-B-and-B still have it! Have what? Everything! Mostly, they have the attention of the women's market. And they deserve it. From the flyer to the website to the store, this company knows how to market, and they do it with flair.
Let's look at what's working. The ad is oversized at approximately 10" X 6", it's bright, eye-catching BLUE, with huge white lettering, offset by today's popular lime green. One side shouts, "20% off [coupon on bac] ANY ONE OF OUR HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF ITEMS.* In a large circle are the instructions: Look Inside, with an arrow showing where 'inside' is.
This may seem like overkill, but it's just good marketing. Tell the people what they need to know, then tell them again, and instruct them on where to go next.
The opposite side of the flyer has the relevant information. It lets the reader know B-B and-B offers gift cards and a bridal registry. The website URL is spelled out. There is a clearly written guarantee: "We will not be understold. Guaranteed!" And, of course, the coupon promised on the reverse side is quite apparent.
It gets better. Opening the flyer up, the reader is immediately treated to a colorful array of products. The 20% off ad is center stage, surrounded by 10 other items -- from a woman showing a cordless sweeper to a Dad using a lap desk, to quilt sets, cotton sheets, water bottles, and a Grip'n Flip(tm) with its "As seen on TV" reminder.
There is something for everyone, right there on one page.
Jane wondered if the website was as well-done as this ad, so, we clicked over to it and...to our delight, it performs to the best female-friendly standards we could come up with. The prime real estate displays the products thoughtfully and with a flair for color. Navigation is simple -- major pages are linked across the top, then with drilled-down explanations along the left-hand side. This is a standard page layout. One shoppers are familiar with. B-B and-B is smart to stick to the tried and true.
The site has several other offers. In addition to the Bridal and Gift registry at the top of the homepage, there is a link to The National Women's Health Resource Center on the bottom left. Very visible, very eye-catching. Bed, Bath and Beyond partners with the NWHC because, "Nothing is more important to Bed, Bath and Beyond than you," so their introduction to NWHC says. The image of a young woman hugging her man (we suppose he's her man...) is testament to the underlying message. A link to a College Health Toolkit is also a nice touch. (and the only place actual college students are depicted.)
The site sports the prerequisite 800 number, for those who have need to call in with a question or to make an order.
Jane could find nothing missing in this website -- except, perhaps, people and...diversity.
We would have liked to see college students on the actual website, not just in the link for health articles-- after all, at this time of year, we are certain the majority of the traffic to the stores and the website comes from Moms and Dads shopping for college students. While the students are represented via the product offerings, as a Mom, I want to see a few kids using the products. Acting excited about the products. And, since many college kids today do their own shopping (often on Mom's or Dad's quarter), they need to see themselves in the ad...the product alone may just not cut it.
Truth is, we'd like to see teens, hispanics, gays, blacks, city folk, country folk, even children. Show us the people!
Other than that -- Jane thinks Bed, Bath and Beyond knows its market (which is primarily women) and is working hard to cater to that market using sales, relevant gift offerings, color, guarantees, and print ads that direct readers both to their physical locations and to their website. Are you doing the same, dear reader?
If not, you have time to start NOW! I hear Jingle Bells.
What's not to like about that?