February 1/8; Volume 30/Number 16
By Nadia Ramlakhan
Las Vegas—Google’s Ben Tyson, head of sales enablement for SEM and directory partners, spoke to flooring dealers about the importance of keeping up with today’s educated consumer in “Lunch with Google,” co-hosted by Mohawk Flooring and FloorForce, held Jan. 20 at The International Surface Event in Las Vegas. Tyson was joined by John Weller, vice president of marketing for Floor Force, and Tom Lape, president of Mohawk residential, who said helping retailers gain an advantage on the digital forefront was part of the reason for the company’s return to the show.
“It’s about so much more than just product,” he explained. “It’s a different side of business, and we are all trying to confront it. It’s about training; everybody here is trying to think outside the box and grow their businesses and expand in the marketplace. At the end of the day we can’t just make product—we have to be partners with the independent retailer and understand what is happening in digital marketing and make sure we specifically understand your world.”
Mike Zoellner, vice president of marketing services for Mohawk, added that Mohawk aims to work with digital leaders to provide the best opportunities for its retailers. “Mohawk is honored for the opportunity to partner with the very best companies that are leading experts in the digital space. We understand the responsibility we have to capture quality leads in the digital space and deliver them directly to our retailers. Mohawk’s digital transformation is enhanced by our collaboration with FloorForce to develop a game-changing ratings and reviews program, and now we are continuing that momentum as we make advances in SEM marketing.”
Tyson, known as “Mr. T,” said Google is “honored to partner with Mohawk and FloorForce, both leaders in the flooring industry, to help retailers capture more customers online.” He said his goal for “Lunch with Google” is for flooring dealers “to walk away with a greater understanding of digital marketing and its power in generating sales.”
Tyson noted the digital divide that has impacted shoppers in the flooring industry and encouraged dealers to “shift your mental model to think like a consumer.” In recent years, there has been a change in the way consumers find retail businesses and, according to Tyson, dealers have yet to make the corresponding adjustment. The proof is in the numbers: 44.6% of our media consumption time is spent on digital yet it is only 25% of dealers’ overall advertising budget.
Whereas consumers in the past have looked to the Yellow Pages or advice from their friends for information on a local flooring store, the Internet has made this information easily and readily available through online searches, ratings, reviews, etc. To capture today’s buyer, Tyson urges dealers to have a digital presence across all platforms including desktop, tablet and mobile devices and feature content that speaks to the individual.
Mohawk launches ratings and reviews system
Given how consumers today take to the Internet for feedback, Mohawk has launched BuzzLocal powered by FloorForce to provide a new and improved ratings and reviews system. Mohawk’s research states 88% of consumers are influenced by online reviews and comments, and believes the ability to search on Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube will connect potential customers to these comments quickly and seamlessly. BuzzLocal includes the three most important aspects of managing a dealer’s online reputation: review, respond and reach.
Review: Ability to collect and display reviews on the store’s own website, the Mohawk Flooring website and the most important and relevant social media platforms.
Respond: A single, consolidated, simple dashboard giving dealers the ability to respond to reviews real-time on their websites, as well as on the most popular review websites such as Yelp, Google+ and Facebook.
Reach: Greater SEO for the retailer’s website driven by positive reviews and access to an automated, outbound email campaign that allows dealers to directly reach their customers who have left a review with floor care tips, decorating ideas and special offers that generate new leads for the business.
“My takeaway from this is all the naysayers out there who think social media is nothing but a waste of time and just a place to socialize, if they don’t get busy and get their businesses onto all those social networks they are going to be left in the dust,” said Deby Winter, Carpet & Tile Warehouse, Vero Beach, Fla.
Aaron Hirshberg, Green Building Supply, Fairfield, Iowa, added, “For years they’ve been harping on marketing online; this is a continuation of that and [Google] has narrowed it down. It’s hard to find people you trust who are experts, so it’s great to see Google aligned with the industry.”