Flooring America hits the road

Home Inside FCNews Flooring America hits the road

Seeks to better understand consumers

By Matthew Spieler

Volume 26/Number 26; May 13/20, 2013

Hicksville, N.Y.—Understanding the consumer is something the industry constantly tackles. This summer, Flooring America will take the effort directly to its members’ stores as part of its Where Friends Send Friends Mobile Marketing Tour.

Phase one kicked off May 18 and will run through July 13. Frank Chiera, Flooring America’s vice president of marketing and advertising, told FCNews the company will visit 10 cities across nine states as part of the first leg of what will eventually cover the entire U.S.

Logging over 10,000 miles, the mobile tour will make stops in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Florida, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and Texas. He said the goal is to speak with 10 to 15 consumers at each stop who have recently made or are in the process of making a flooring purchase. And, it won’t be just a cameraman and someone with a microphone doing the interviews. There will be at least one high-level Flooring America executive at each stop to hear first-hand what consumers are saying.

Chiera himself will be at six of the stops to “support and assist the stores. For the first leg, we focused primarily east of the Mississippi. We’ll make our way to the West Coast and the rest of the country as the year goes on.”

The idea is to get consumers’ thoughts on their buying processes and, more importantly, their experiences of making purchases at Flooring America stores.

“We felt testimonials and referrals are great tools,” he said, “but what if we can interview people instead and capture it all on video? We can then use real-life customers instead of actors in our marketing campaigns—both nationally and at the local level. This is an opportunity to learn what real customers are saying about us.”

He noted each store on the tour was responsible for finding customers to interview, and those who are participating are doing so of their own accord. “They are not getting compensation; there is no quid pro quo. These are consumers who want to share their experiences about why they bought from a locally owned store and why they bought from us over the competition or the big boxes.”

The goal for this phase is to gather about 150 interviews of which sound bites will be used for Flooring America’s Voice of the Customer campaign.

Flooring America will actually start producing marketing spots while on tour but will unveil the whole campaign at its summer convention. “This will essentially be the next step in what we presented at the last convention,” Chiera explained. Besides posting the videos on YouTube and the Flooring America website, members will be able to link them to their own sites, and spots will be made in which businesses can add their local tags. “We’ll also be able to break up the sound bites by subject—installation, community, service, etc.—so we and our members can really focus in on specific areas if desired.”

What is going to make the tour more interesting than originally expected, he noted, is what members are doing in anticipation of the tour. “Many are turning the stops into full-fledged events. For instance, some are holding private sales and some are tying into local charities; they are making this an even bigger event and rallying around it to generate sales.”

To learn more about the Where Friends Send Friends Mobile Marketing Tour, call Flooring America at 888.5646.706.

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