By Vicki Matranga, Design Programs Coordinator
Learn how to develop and launch the right products for the right customer—with the right methods! Be sure to attend some of the free executive-level educational sessions at the Innovation Theater. These programs will give you a fresh perspective as you walk the Show and will inspire, inform and improve your business.
The four days of the 2015 International Home + Housewares Show will be packed with events and educational sessions. To help you plan your valuable time at the Show, we preview the 21 presentations that will take place in the Innovation Theater in the Lakeside Center. Don’t miss the chance to meet the speakers in person and the opportunity to ask questions relevant to your work. All programs are audio-recorded and will be available on www.housewares.org after the Show.
The New American Household — Marriage and Children Optional
Monday, March 9 10:30—11:20 a.m.
Innovation Theater, Lakeside Center, Room E350
Two leading housewares industry experts, Marsha Everton and Robin Albing, joined their companies, Marsha Everton LLC and Albing International Marketing in 2013, to create The AIMsights Group. AIMsights focuses on analysis, insights and targeted marketing strategies to help companies “get smart” about Millennials and Boomers – and how they influence each other. AIMsights products and services include custom research and analysis for single or multiple clients, AIMsights panel surveys, AIMsights tools and blueprints, consumer-centric strategic planning, AIMsights reports and Thought Partner advisory services.
Prior to establishing her consulting practice, Marsha worked for more than 20 years for The Pfaltzgraff Co., rising to the position of president & CEO. In a series of leadership roles, she developed Pfaltzgraff as the leading casual dinnerware brand and company in the U. S. and established Pfaltzgraff as an early leader in multi-channel retailing. She has served 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.
An expert on young consumers, Robin 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, with affiliate offices in Copenhagen, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Shanghai and Stockholm.
Robin and Marsha will be joined by Whitney Ryan, AIMsights’ millennial associate. This is Whitney’s fourth 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 is the exciting part of your job? What inspires your passion in your work?
We are passionate about observing and analyzing the ways that consumers live their lives and make purchase decisions. Technology has transformed every aspect of our lives and decision-making processes. Every day is a learning experience as we explore how consumers use products, respond to vendors and retailers, and how they interact with and influence each other. The old marketing and learning models are forever changed.
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 new perspective offers opportunities for differentiation and competitive advantage.
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?
The internet and mobile access to that information trove have changed every aspect of our business and the housewares industry. Consumers shop across multiple channels and then choose when and where to make their purchase. They trust reviews from total strangers more than a company’s description of the product or service. Trends are rapidly globalized.
The connectivity changes the relationship between generations and demographic segments. The old rules of segmentation no longer apply.
At AIMsights, we analyze and provide insights into this post-demographic, consumer-powered world and help our clients reach consumers when and where the consumer wants.
Why did you choose to speak at the International Home + Housewares Show?
The Housewares Show is the place where every dimension of the industry gathers and connects. We listen, share and learn.
Tell us what you will be speaking about and how and this topic is important for Show audiences.
As Millennials form independent households, they are challenging the old models of what defines a family. The old marketing models no longer work. In particular, marriage and children are increasingly just options and are separate decisions. We will share our research and insights into how to move beyond traditional demographic models of consumer behavior. Marketing strategy must now be defined in the context of the consumer’s individual household and the new multi-generational ecosystem.
Much of the marketing in the housewares industry (as well as many other industries) is still anchored in the Baby Boomer’s childhood experience, with 65% of them growing up in married couple/father-as-breadwinner families. Today, approximately 22% of children are raised in this type of family. The married couple family arrangement peaked at about 2/3 of U.S. households between 1950 and 1960. By 2010, this model dropped to 45%, less than 1/2 of U.S. households.
Many marketers, having grown up in the old model, still favor strategies to target that arrangement. The definitions of “home” and “family” have changed. Marketing to the new “family” for the new “home” must also change.
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 gives us energy. We share findings. New questions are asked. We discover new avenues for exploration.
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products?
Consumers are increasingly demanding that products work in their individual lives. The days of targeting a marketing program to the post-World War II family of Mom, Dad and two kids are long gone. Today’s housewares marketers have the opportunity to develop products that work with a wide variety of household structures.
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 and has been cost-reduced to a level that compromises quality and performance. The retail floor becomes a boring sea of sameness at key price points. The internet invites the consumer to instead search for something new with consumer-reviewed performance and a fair price for the quality. It’s a challenge!! – And an opportunity!
Thank you, Robin and Marsha. Many of our audience members fall into either the Boomer or Millennial category, so I’m sure your program will draw a great deal of attention. We’ll be eager to learn from your presentation Monday, March 9 at 10:30 a.m. about the new structures and dynamics in society as Millennials form independent households and the impact on purchases for the home.
Contact The AIMsights Group for further information. Marsha Everton can be reached directly at