By Vicki Matranga, Design Programs + Services
Learn how to develop and launch the right products for the right customer—with the right methods! The four days of the 2014 International Home + Housewares Show will be packed with events as well as educational sessions. In these final weeks before the Show, we preview presentations that will take place in the Innovation Theater in the Lakeside Center.
Today we are speaking with Robin Albing and Marsha Everton who will describe how to identify opportunities and capture the business of Millennials and Boomers, two demographic groups that drive huge consumer spending and a new cultural dynamic in the U.S. Be sure to mark this program on your Show schedule.
Two Fat Pigs in the Python
Monday, March 17, 10:30 – 11:30 am
Innovation Theater, Lakeside Center, E350
Robin Albing and Marsha Everton joined forces in late 2013 to create The AIMsights Group, a collaboration between Albing International Marketing and MarshaEverton LLC. AIMsights is a marketing consulting company dedicated to helping companies market and sell to Millennials and Baby Boomers, the two largest and most influential consumer demographic groups that drive sales in the housewares industry. Through a comprehensive range of research, analysis, strategic planning services and business tools, AIMsights helps companies identify and profitably market to these two target groups. An underlying goal is to leverage data related to purchasing decisions and shopping behaviors to increase brand awareness and competitive advantage of companies who are targeting the Millennial and Baby Boomer markets.
Robin is the leading housewares industry expert on Millennials, their homes and how they live. She has authored numerous groundbreaking reports on this topic, including Millennials at Home and Millennials at Home—In the Kitchen. As the founder of Albing International Marketing, she has spearheaded the company’s efforts in technology-based research, serving an international client base. She maintains affiliate offices in Copenhagen, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Shanghai and Stockholm.
Marsha is an industry veteran with deep experience in marketing to the Baby Boom generation. Prior to establishing her consulting practice, Marsha worked for more than 20 years for The Pfaltzgraff Co., rising to the position of president and CEO. In a series of leadership roles, she developed Pfaltzgraff as the leading casual dinnerware brand and company in the United States, increasing sales three-fold. Her vision established Pfaltzgraff as an early leader in multi-channel retailing with one of the top 500 retail websites in the nation. She has been widely recognized as a housewares industry leader, serving as president of the National Tabletop and Giftware Association as well as on the boards of the International Housewares Association, National Retail Federation and The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc.
Robin and Marsha will be joined by Whitney Ryan, AIMsights’ Millennial Associate. This is Whitney’s third year of co-presenting in the International Home + Housewares Show Innovation Theater. Her unique perspective as a Millennial consumer and observer adds depth to the research findings and presentation.
Marsha and Robin: What excites you in your work?
We get excited about discovering new consumer insights that lead to the creation of new products, new marketing strategies, differentiation and competitive advantage. So much of what marketers think they know is based on what could be called “common knowledge.” This knowledge is often heavily influenced by decades-old perceptions and general media coverage. We enjoy listening, observing and asking nuanced questions to dig below the surface and discover what is really driving a consumer’s decision-making process. It’s an interesting process because we often discover something that is generally “known,” but we see it in an entirely new way. This fresh perspective leads to invention and re-invention of businesses.
In the past few years, what has changed most in your business? How has your company met these challenges in the way you do your work?
Mobile, data, sensors and location-based technology, combined with social media, is radically changing every aspect of business. The Millennials, born during this period of technological disruption, grew up as “digital natives”—with an intuitive understanding of the possibilities. The Baby Boomers are scrambling to adapt and are described as “digital immigrants” — constantly challenged, and sometimes frustrated, with integrating these technologies into their professional and personal lives. AIMsights studies these generations to determine how they learn and make decisions. What has changed is how the generations influence each other’s decisions. For the first time in history, the younger generation has a stronger set of specific skills and knowledge than the older generation. It is no longer just an “old-and-experienced teaches the young” learning model. Our learning now flows in both generational directions with “young teaching old” as well as “old teaching young.” This has a huge impact on marketing strategies.
Why did you choose to speak at the International Home + Housewares Show?
This Show is the place where every dimension of the industry gathers and connects. We listen and learn and enjoy sharing our knowledge.
Tell us what you will be speaking about and how and this topic is important for Show audiences.
At the Show, we will build on the information shared by Albing International Marketing in the Innovation Theater in prior years. Through AIMsights, we are bringing together Millennials and Boomer research and exploring how these two groups are influencing each other’s purchases for the home. We will present our new tool, The M@B Factor™ and share our new findings about how Millennials and Boomers are influencing each other’s purchases. It is a fascinating dynamic, especially as Boomers redefine what it means to turn 50, 60 and 70. They are rewiring, not retiring.
You’ve presented in the Innovation Theater before. What are you looking forward to most from speaking at the Innovation Theater?
The interactive environment of the Innovation Theater always provides new ideas for us to explore. We share findings. New questions are asked. We discover new avenues for exploration – and innovation!
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products?
Consumers are currently caught in an “either/or” economy. They are choosing big ticket items or more disposable small ticket items. They do not have enough confidence in the economy to spend on both. After many years of deferring purchases on bigger ticket items, consumers have started investing in them again, often due to the need for replacement or as part of a renovation. The consumer’s biggest concern for many housewares products is the need to choose between the big and small ticket options.
What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals and/or retailers face in the housewares market?
The biggest challenge that the product development professionals and retailers face today is that much of what the industry has to offer is boring to them. The question “what’s new” becomes even more important in our uber-connected world where “new” quickly becomes “old.”
Thank you, Robin and Marsha. Your research and insights will really take AIM at the two key groups in our economy that are so important in the housewares business. We look forward to your presentation on Monday, March 17 at 10:30 am in the Innovation Theater.
Contact The AIMsights Group for further information. Marsha Everton can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-308-2385 or through the recently launched AIMsights website www.aimsights.com. Follow Marsha and Robin on Twitter @AIMsights and on the AIMsights pages on Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest.