Flooring it! Stand out Merchandising Tips for Your Brand

Within the retail setting, companies are challenged on how to stand out among the competition. Marketers need to differentiate their brand from dozens of other products that line retailers’ shelves.

Companies only have a few seconds to grab the customer’s attention. In addition to aesthetically appealing, functional and informative packaging (please click here for our “It’s All in the Packaging” blog), what entices a customer to pick up and purchase a product? In-store merchandising is an effective vehicle to engage the customer to help make the purchase decision. As an accompaniment to packaging, merchandising works hand-in-hand at the point-of-sale (POS) to elevate a company’s brand presence and sales.

Zircon Merchandiser

Vibrant graphics and consistent messaging on this Zircon merchandiser entice customers while reinforcing the brand.

Retail merchandising activities encompass in-store displays, shelf talkers, and product demonstrations just to name a few. A focused and engaging point-of-sale display that delivers on the key benefits of the product can increase the number of packages sold. Ever notice how the home center floors are covered with displays during the back-to-school or holiday seasons? Manufacturers and retailers alike understand that a stand-out display practically beckons you to take a closer look, pick up the product, and ultimately, make the purchase.

At Zircon, a point-of-sale display is often part of promoting their brand new stud finders and scanners into the marketplace and to distinguish their unique product advantages. Informational display graphics are integrated with colorful packaging visuals to compel the customer during the pivotal buying process. Merchandising is an effective marketing tool for Zircon and other companies. As products technologically advance, increased education from the manufacturer to the customer will be pertinent, further emphasizing merchandising’s focal role as part of the marketer’s plans.

And even after the sale is made, customers continue their quests for information, advice, and instructions on how best to use their new products. Companies have an opportunity to deepen their customer relationships by providing thorough how-to’s and stellar customer service. Excellent tips on how to meet after market service needs can be found in the blog, “Buy Today, Gone Tomorrow“.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics.

Sharon imageFor more info, follow us on Facebook or tweet us @zircontools.

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What is a Blog?

Is the written word still viable?  In the social media age, how important are articles? Twitter’s 140 character platform, YouTube’s visual channel, and the creative and instantaneous nature of Instagram make marketers contemplate if traditional marketing materials still compel customers to act, buy or engage with a brand.

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Businesses still need written content – and lots of it – to continue to embrace the company’s brand followers and attract new customers.

At Zircon Corporation, you may know them as the maker of the original electronic stud finder, the company has an extensive library of content that it continuously produces for its domestic, as well as international, audience. Content includes videos, news releases, white papers, emails, ads, web copy, packaging, merchandising, instructions, and more. Each online and offline piece has a vital goal – to educate and promote the company’s vision and products. A favorite among communications specialists is the blog.

“What is a blog?” you may be asking. Well, you may not already realize it, but you’re actually reading one now! A blog is defined as a journal or website of posts that are arranged in chronological order. The author of the posts is called a blogger. A blogger may want to capture his or her thoughts in a casual basis and be able to refer to this information at a later date. Other blogs enable the blogger to capture real-time comments from customers which gives the company valuable marketing data.

Bloggers typically use an informal style of writing, as compared to when writing a news release, yet still are engaging and informative. Blogs can be light and airy or be more detailed and focused. Usually, the blog will have a distinct topic or theme that the blogger writes about. The blogger’s audience expands from other bloggers to customers, colleagues, friends or family.

Zircon bloggers tackle everyday business challenges via the Zircon Pro Expert, Zircon in the Real World, and Zircon’s Marketing ToolBox blog sites.  Check out these blogs to get an idea of what a blog is.  What topics would you like to blog or read about?  Comment on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter and share your blog with us. We’d love to hear from you!

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics.  Sharon image

Green is the New Black

Heard of the saying that good space is at a premium? Whether you’re looking for a tiny loft in NYC or squeezing into a tight airline seat, everyone is economizing on space to properly “fit” in. Due to escalating fuel costs, environmental considerations, and an increased population, the shift toward doing more with less continues in almost every economic sector. For new home builders, they’re designing multi-functional living spaces while airlines tighten seats in economy class. Consumer goods manufacturers, too, battle the package sizing war. With less packaging real estate, companies have less space to tell the product message.

Packaging houses, protects and promotes the product.

Packaging houses, protects and promotes the product.

Retail shelving space is at a premium, and manufacturers, such as Zircon, look for ways to effectively promote the product’s features and benefits, yet economize on packaging. By reducing the size of clamshell and blister carded materials used for its products, Zircon reduces the amount of discarded packaging that ends up in landfills and optimizes retail space for other Zircon tools.

As products become more compact, yet feature-rich, less materials and resources are endured to produce the product. Zircon tools are designed to be nimble enough for everyday use, yet rugged for the toughest industrial applications. Through consumer feedback and robust environmental testing, each new tool is ergonomically designed and enhanced for superior functionally while also reducing unneeded materials.

Packaging evolution!  Zircon's original StudSensor, circa 1980 vs. the new StudSensor Edge, 2014.

Packaging evolution! Zircon’s original StudSensor, circa 1980 vs. the new StudSensor Edge, 2014.

The packaging reduction aids the environment. Less plastic materials produced mean a decrease in carbon emissions. Companies and individuals alike benefit from reducing emissions and producing a more eco-friendly world. We all can, and should, make a difference.

Marketing Innovation

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Each time Apple makes a new product introduction, it makes me think of innovation and how new product development promotes sales growth, enhanced productivity and a corporate sense of well-being.  Product innovation sets the stage for manufacturers, retailers and service providers, enabling sales growth and foray into new markets.

Innovation breeds passion for the product and for the brand.  From concept to tooling to final production runs, the new product creates bold energy that existing products cannot compete with.

As a marketer, each time the newly minted product packaging ships from the factory to its final retail destination, I feel a wave of anticipation.  It is one thing to see 3-D renderings and quite another sensation to actually feel the tooled product in your hands.  And even before the package sits on the store shelf, I do a spot check.  How well will this new product be received?  Does the point-of-sale display highlight the products’ differentiating features and benefits enough?  Have we effectively leveraged online and offline marketing medium to successfully tell the product’s useful applications?  Is our message enticing and does it compel someone to pick up the package and buy it on the spot?

When new products roll out from Zircon Corporation, customers can try the tools for the first time, retailers increase their assortment mix, and developing markets can jump into a new product line.  Zircon recently unveiled the new HD series and L series products.

MultiScanner® HD900 OneStep® is a 4-mode wall scanner that  locates AC, Metal, studs, and deep studs up to 1 ½ inches deep.

MultiScanner® HD900 OneStep® is a 4-mode wall scanner that locates AC, Metal, studs, and deep studs up to 1 ½ inches deep.

With the new product launches, the excitement was heightened with each step forward in the new product development cycle.  Engineering and product design created a one-of-a-kind tools that are remarkable in functionality, simplicity, and design.  It is the innovative spirit of the product, brand and company that reinvigorates marketing to continue to scan for new opportunities.

Making a lasting brand impression is vital within customer service and other areas of the organization. For a personal viewpoint of this idea, visit Zircon in the Real World’s blog, “Brand Recognition in the Everyday World“.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Sharon image

Creating Lasting Marketing Value

Marketing imageMarketers strive for ways to attract and retain loyal customers and one way is to create lasting marketing value.  Companies want passionate brand advocates — you know the type?  They are the dream customers who write engaging reviews, generate exciting word-of-mouth endorsements, and purchase the very latest company brands.  Because a brand impression can last for days, if not months or years, marketing must trod out of the starting gate, bold and efficient, armed with marketing muscle and data.

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I strive to make a strong tie with the customer from the inception.  How best can we expeditiously and effectively communicate with our product users?  Short term, why does the customer pick up the package?  What graphics, tone, and text conveys the brand message?  Long term, how do we cultivate this relationship through email, social media, advertising, promotions, and other tactical elements?  At Zircon, we want to create “stickiness”.  What is the glue that will hold us together with our customers?  We want to captivate their attention for not just mere seconds, but for hours while the tool is in the customer’s hands and have our admirers tells their friends about their positive Zircon experience.

Marketers are constantly testing the results of a campaign.  Leads are quantified from the latest industry tradeshow, media hits are counted, email open rates are examined, sales are tallied, return on investment is calculated and more.  These marketing statistics point to success or areas for improvement.  What sticks out to the customer, retailer, and consumer’s mind about the campaign and will the brand effect have legs to continue onward well past the campaign’s expiration date?  Through the years, the Zircon brand has taken different twists and turns, but all in response to customer needs.  For example, when asked for smaller, more nimble tools, Zircon responded with ergonomically designed stud finders that work well at any angle.

Creating lasting value begins with the customer.  From a strategic and from a tactical viewpoint, when the customer is front and center in the decision making processes, then, we’re heading in the right direction.  Beginning with the key marketing concepts, the customer is the star of the show.  Other companies may go astray and put only the product front and center; unfortunately, disconnected companies blindly float out of focus from the customer’s eye.  My goal is to lead the value discussion, put it on each marketing deliverable, and make it last for years to follow.

As a real life example of how Zircon is passionate about our customers, please take a look at our blog, “The Dog Ate My StudSensor“.

It’s invigorating to think of the customer – we anticipate his needs, we act upon them, we measure our results and we start over again.  With anticipation, each new campaign brings an opportunity to further solidify the customer bond.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Sharon image

It’s All in the Packaging

Marketing imageThe next time you’re in your home center or local hardware store, go to the nearest aisle and pick up a product that catches your eye. Ask yourself, “Why did I select this particular product? Is it because of the graphics or maybe the shape or type of the packaging?” Then take a closer look at the package as a whole. What message does the packaging convey? Does the packaging complement the product?SS HD25 frnt

Retail packaging is an art and, when skillfully done, serves multiple purposes. In its most practical sense, packaging houses and protects a product. However, with adequate thought and design, it can also be functional.

Packaging materials can range anything from plastic, cardboard, aluminum, or glass and are often combined for improved functionality, reduced costs, theft prevention, durability, and increased store shelf appeal. In the home improvement market, you may notice more rugged, durable materials, such as hard steel cases or clamshell embodied packaging that completely encase the product, are used.

A marketer’s goal is to design an aesthetically appealing, yet informational, package that can entice the shopper to pick out, learn about, then buy, their product at the point of sale. Differentiation is key! In the couple seconds a consumer decides if the product is viable, the packaging must quickly and clearly convey what the product is, how their tool is better, and why the shopper needs it. As packaging real estate is often very limited, style design and determining what product information is most pertinent can be a challenging, if not daunting, task.

At Zircon, we continuously look for ways to effectively and concisely communicate our product’s story via our packaging. Incorporating technological advances such as QR codes, that when scanned with your smartphone, can link to additional product information and videos, take minimal space, and yet allows us to supplement our product’s message so our customers can still make an informed buying decision.

While our packaging has evolved over the years, changing size, shape, color, and words, our overall commitment remains the same – design a package that not only engages the consumer, but provides an unwritten bond between Zircon and our end user as he/she purchased a tool they understood, valued and needed.

To optimize the usefulness of your Zircon tool, make sure to view our blog, “How is Your Battery?” for key insights.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Sharon image