17 Mar Marketing Landscape Q&A with Jason Duong of Appliance Factory Outlet
Jason is a Colorado native and studied at Colorado State University for business. He has been at Appliance Factory and Mattress Kingdom for 10 years and has been the Marketing Manager for the past seven years. Appliance Factory does all of their marketing internally through North Media, an internal marketing firm.
Comparing marketing challenges from then to now – what’s the single biggest change or challenge?
I think the biggest change is how fragmented it is today compared to a few years ago. We used to be able to reach the majority of consumers advertising in a few traditional mediums such as print or TV.
The evolution of how people today consume information gives us marketers a huge challenge. At this point, to reach consumers in a meaningful way we’ve had to spread our message across multiple channels in hopes to reach them in one form or another.
How have the consumers changed over those 30 years?
Consumers have absolutely changed; today they have an expectation that appliances are going to make their life easier. Features are geared towards ease of use and integration into a customer’s life. Ten years ago, people just wanted a stove that was dependable or a washing machine that cleaned well. Now they want a range that can be turned on from a smartphone or a washer that can do a load in 22 minutes.
What role does branding vs. advertising play into your strategy?
It’s a balancing act we struggle with constantly. Advertising can be pretty simple,– you spend money to advertise a specific sale like the 4th of July and generally we’ll see a lift in business.
Branding is an investment towards the future in hopes of when a customer is ready to buy we will be a company they consider. It takes a lot of self- control and patience to brand a company well, especially since a lift in business isn’t seen immediately. Consumers buy appliances every 7 to 10 years so being in the forefront of their mind when the time comes to replace an appliance is the key for our long term success.
What was the competitive landscape like, and how has AFO managed to outlast those competitors?
The landscape has changed quite a bit, Sears used to be a huge influence but at this point with most of the Sears closing, their share has diminished. Home Depot and Lowes have become bigger players and new companies like JC Penney are trying to throw their hat in the ring. That’s just the local brick and mortar stores; a whole host of online companies have impacted the industry as well.
I believe we’ve been able to thrive because of our unique ability to offer really great values to consumers across Colorado. We’ve leveraged our buying power and relationships with manufacturers while controlling our cost structure to ensure competitive prices.
We have been aggressively marketing our services against our competition. We may not have the same brand recognition as the big box store but we strive to be in the conversation when a consumer is ready to make a purchase. We really feel if a consumer gives us a chance, our experienced sales staff will give them a compelling reason to make a purchase.