With the benefit of proverbial hindsight the changes that have hit the Interior Design sector in 2009 were ‘obvious’. I’ll take a quick look at how some of the aspects of sales & marketing in interior design will affect ‘you’ in 2010. As always I’ll be practical and sensible and not carried away by the hype of technologies or media evangelists.
So prediction number one. I started my introduction by saying how it will affect ‘you’ with the you in parentheses. That means all of ‘you’, plural, not just you my dear reader. Well, very, very many of ‘you’ will do little different this year to what you did last year or the year before. So not much change there. But just because you refuse to change does not mean that change will not be forced upon you by the market. For example, many large design practices are now much smaller, the people who left are now starting innovative new businesses and stealing your customers. Action Point: Innovate and survive. Make a point to change something in your business this year, something important not trivial.
Prediction number 2. 2009 was an historically pivotal year. The time we are now living in will be looked back on by scholars as the period when the East truly began it’s economic ascendancy over the West. Not a nice prediction I know and I am not happy about it. Unfortunately, in 2010, the western economies will experience further serious difficulties. The American economy will trundle along and the UK economy will either stay in recession or double dip back into recession as massive, impending public spending cutbacks put government employees out of work. (The UK government has over the last year borrowed more money than all UK governments EVER ADDED TOGETHER that is a LOT of money and yes I have written it correctly and yes it really is true. The country and 6th ish biggest economy risks bankruptcy). This will impact you designers indirectly and directly. I doubt many of your clients work in government; however their businesses rely, in part, on the direct and indirect custom and spending power of government employees and government agencies. Action Point: Look at the type of customers you have and assess the risks to your future levels of business from that area. Survey the economic landscape in your target markets.
Prediction number 3. Many of you will start writing blogs because either it’s a good idea or because you competitors do it. About half of you will stop doing that because it takes up too much time. Action Point: Either write a weekly business blog or, if you have not got enough time to grow your business (hmm?), use Twitter/Facebook to micro-blog.
Prediction number 4. Some of you will take a strategic view on where new customers will come from and prosper accordingly. Look where the money is. Bankers STILL get huge bonuses and many spend it on houses. There is less funding available for large capital intensive projects like hotels but, once started, hotels are usually finished. Multi-billionaires are still billionaires; they will still buy ski chalets, yachts and villas because they are still rich. Footballers and MDs of PLCs still get paid too much. Fewer people will buy second homes and overseas homes. The property market (sales not letting) might grow from last year but it will still be at low levels. B&Q recently reported good sales in 2009…indicative that people are spending money on where they live now and not that they plan to move. HOWEVER remember that all economic bubbles EVER in history ALWAYS burst. (South Sea Bubble, Dot come bubble, house price bubble, footballers’ salaries!, etc.) also remember that just because an industry is in recession it does not necessarily mean it EVER will pick up at some point in the future. Action Point: Review and understand your customer segments.
Prediction number 5. No new marketing wonder solution. 2009 saw Facebook dramatically take over from MySpace. Facebook will continue to prosper. You should use it as a marketing channel if your clients ‘hang out there’. A mini-risk with Facebook is that adoption by the young and trendy is slowing as it is no longer as cool as it used to be, mainly because their parents’ updates keep appearing on their wall. Even I remember that sort of thing is not cool (just like using the word cool probably). Action Point: Use Facebook for your customer networking remembering that you are trying to network with potential business partners or customers NOT the competition, it’s not the size of your network that counts.
Prediction number 6. Traditional advertising’s terminal disease will not improve. Online advertising will continue to be adopted by designers. Traditional print circulations are falling, technologies exist to let us skip TV ads, etc. How many times do you get called with the latest greatest deal for a full page ad in some magazine you’ve never heard of? How many times does a new online web site try to sell you advertising space?. Why, for the first time in 23 (TWENTY THREE) years has Pepsi stopped spending on advertising on the Superbowl and switched to an alternative online media campaign? Advertising is intrusive, usually annoying, often irrelevant and we can now avoid it as well as ignore it. If I owned a small design business I would not entrust my money with an employee marketing manager to spend blindly on advertising. If I controlled my own media spend I would review closely every penny I spent on traditional print advertising and I would want proof that it worked. And that proof would not be forthcoming. Unlike Google AdWords, for example, which tells me exactly what happened and only charges me for success. Unlike this blog post that I know will get at least 500 hits. Action Point: If you do not advertise do so online with a limited budget. If you do advertise in print consider switching a significant chunk of your spend to online.
Prediction number 7. Although Twitter is rubbish. People will use it more and more in 2010 because, for the time being, it fills a need. The need is broadly defined by the ease of connecting with people, simple quick messaging, and convenience of use with technologies like mobile/cell phones. Action Point: You should really use Twitter for your business.
Prediction number 8. Search engines have changed and continue to so do. They now look more at the instant chats and posts that your customers are making. Maybe they evangelise about your business or are less than kind about it. Either way that sort of up-to-date pertinent information will find it’s way up Google’s ranking and you really, really (yes REALLY) should know what is being said about your business. Action Point: Review weekly what is being said online about your business.
Is that all so far fetched?
You can read more of my sales & marketing for interior designer post here.
- The Business Bible For Interior Designers (kothea.com)
- How do you explain INTERIOR DESIGN to a 6 year old boy? (kothea.com)
- Interior Designers – What Should I write About On My Blog (kothea.com)
- Who is the best interior designer in the world? in Europe? (kothea.com)