IHA got acquainted with marketing strategist Brian Gracon to learn how to understand consumer trends that motivate shoppers which he will discuss at the 2019 International Home + Housewares Show. At the Show, the Innovation Theater will feature 21 presentations over four days. Topics discussed will include design innovation, smart home, digital commerce, and global market trends.
Brian E. Gracon, President, Brian Gracon & Associates, Inc., has more than twenty years of experience developing award-winning marketing and training strategies along with designing and presenting performance improvement programs. Clients have included Coca-Cola, Walmart, Citibank, Starbucks and NAPA Auto Parts. He has presented keynotes and education sessions at trade shows, conferences and client sales meetings, and is a frequent podcast guest. Author of Meconomics® 101: 16 Ways to Improve Your Marketing, Selling and Business Management for Today’s Consumers (Black Rose Writing, 2016), Brian also writes frequent blogs on marketing and training topics.
Brian, what is the most exciting or rewarding part of your work? What fuels your inspiration?
My goal is to help people accomplish more than they think they can. Because I have both marketing strategy development and training design and delivery expertise, clients not only learn what to do but how to do it. Whether it’s increases in customer satisfaction, traffic, gross margins, employee retention, closing rate, onboarding speed or personal satisfaction, seeing clients gain confidence and turn new strategies and skills into success is an awesome reward.
Can you name a pivotal event or project that impacted your career or company?
I immediately think of two events that have given me all the motivation I will ever need. In one case, a company increased profits by $3 million based on the results of a sales and compensation strategy session. In another case, a workshop participant told me he would finally be able to hold a job and reliably feed his family because of what he had learned in the workshop.
In the past few years, what has changed most in your business? How has your company met these challenges in the way you work?
Clients will always have business challenges. A few years ago, it was the recession. There’s social media, where content is king – but what should the content be? Add fighting the retail apocalypse to the list. That’s why I added marketing research, analysis and strategies (based on consumer trends) to my instructional design expertise. Now I’m able to turn the analysis into actionable marketing, selling and staffing strategies and tactics for success. I want my clients to look and act like they have multi-million-dollar market research budgets even if they don’t!
This is your first time presenting at our Theater. What are you looking forward to most from speaking at the Innovation Theater?
Product developers and retailers must continually improve their offerings to compete and prosper. I look forward to helping them do so by sharing a set of integrated strategies and tactics, based on consumer buying habits, that the audience has probably not considered before and therefore can use to improve their businesses and personal lives by achieving competitive advantage.
Leverage Trends to Trigger Transactions: Motivate Shoppers to Buy Your Products
Saturday, March 2, 2019 • 2:30pm
Innovation Theater • Lakeside Center • E350
Brian, tell us what you will be speaking about and how this topic is important for Show audiences.
The audience knows the trends: personalization, smart devices, urbanization, ambiance, smaller living spaces, simplification, great shopper experiences, etc. An understanding of the buying habits behind the trends will help them define and execute strategies that leverage consumer behavior and turn it into transactions – sales – for their businesses. That is, they’ll be able to answer the question “Why would consumers want to buy from me?”.
They’ll learn how to apply the same strategies being used by many apocalypse-proof companies and will be able to use these strategies and tactics to compete more effectively for the disposable income that’s otherwise going to companies like Starbucks, Petco, Ulta® Beauty or Dick’s Sporting Goods. And, one participant will receive a complimentary consultation on the application of these strategies to her/his business.
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products or how to shop for them?
I see two concerns: benefits and awareness. It’s always about WIIFM – “What’s In It For Me” – from a consumer perspective. But, if they don’t see that personal benefit, or aren’t even aware of a product or service, then there’s no reason to buy.
What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals and/or retailers face in the housewares market?
My research shows that consumers frequently buy for one or more of the following three reasons: to create or reinforce a self-image, to be entertained or to be pampered. If they don’t see these connections, they are much less likely to buy goods or services. So, retailers and manufacturers should leverage these three buying habits as they design, market and sell goods and services.
Thank you, Brian, for your insights in how to motivate shoppers to generate sales that fuel the housewares marketplace. We look forward to learning from your tips on marketing strategies and tactics for success.
To learn more about Brian Gracon and his work, visit www.meconomics101.com
Learn from experts about how to invigorate your new products and services by enhancing your innovation efforts. Be sure to attend the free executive-level educational sessions at the Innovation Theater to hear about the latest research and analysis of consumer lifestyle trends and omni-channel marketing challenges. These programs will give you a fresh perspective as you walk the Show and will inspire, inform and improve your business. All programs will be audio-recorded and will be available at www.housewares.org after the Show.