Monday, June 28, 2010

'Touchy feely' becomes new marketing mantra for entrepreneur

Showcasing experienced entrepreneurs offers an added marketing communications or social media element to help promote their businesses. In addition, it provides a forum through which they can share solutions to unique business challenges that might be the answer to a similar challenge with which yet another entrepreneur is struggling. This openness of information flows with the following story offered by

Marianne Guinee, group leader
Private Quarters

Private Quarters provides luxury bed and bath linens and gifts at affordable prices. We service consumers and businesses, do wedding registries and bridal party gifts, work with health & wellness professionals to ensure individuals get the best night's sleep possible. We offer 'green' materials such as bamboo and seacell fabrics in addition to those more traditional including fiber and feather & down.

We're unique in the sense that we provide high quality, individualized customer service and attention via one-to-one appointments and reviews, along with small group interactions. We really aren't faced with strong, same-level competition. Retail stores could be labelled competition, in a sense, but they don't provide the same quality, variety, unique exchange/return policy or shopping and satisfaction quotient that Private Quarters does.

Whether a business or a consumer, our ideal client is someone who recognizes quality and customer service while still looking for a good value for the money spent. We are not your big box discount retailer, nor are we the highest end provider. We look to service the mid to upper-class market with exceptional value and customer service.

Our challenge is simply getting in front of people in person so that they get that 'touchy feely' experience with our products that can't be described adequately any other way. As soon as a potential customer touches our bamboo linens, for example, they instantly 'get it.' Just seeing a picture of the same product in a catalog invariably raises the question, "So how are you different than any other supplier?" Just hearing how great a product is often times is not enough. Our clients need to feel it first before they will make that next leap to our other product offerings.

Our experience has shown us that marketing in the normal sense doesn't bring in sales. So we have gone to the word-of-mouth/network marketing approach. This includes friends telling friends, home parties, vendor shows, fund raisers, etc. All of which are methods in which we can get in front of people. A number of interior designers have 'seen the light' now as well and are either representing our products or providing us with referrals to their customers. Even some of the higher end bed and breakfasts have started coming to us to use our linens. All these new avenues support the crux of our business which, ultimately, is relying on the human element to make the sale.

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