The Wall Street Journal has done it again with an over-the-top housing feature, a million dollar garage. Most building product manufacturers don’t see what these millionaire housing features have to do with them.
Instead of thinking big, building product manufacturers are thinking small. And that’s the problem.
Building product manufacturers are product-centric and focused on high volume customers. Their product teams are working to develop practical and affordable solutions because that’s the product their customers are likely to buy – in volume.
When the media runs a story on an over the top kitchen, deck, closet or garage, I call it the Viper factor.
Here’s how the Viper factor works.
Several years ago Chrysler was viewed as a boring company with boring cars. The result was less traffic in dealerships and fewer sales. They came up with a very creative way to turn this around.
They developed the Viper, which was a very exciting sports car. They introduced it at car shows where it received a lot of attention and media coverage. The surprising part was they really didn’t care how many Vipers they sold. They assumed they would lose money on the Viper and viewed it as a marketing investment rather than a sales expense.
Their goal was to have a Viper in every one of their dealer’s showrooms. One of the Viper’s jobs was to change the image of Chrysler from a boring company to an exciting company.
The bigger job was to draw more people into the showroom, who then ended up buying a mini-van. Over the top, impractical products stop people in their tracks. The result is they think about the category. They ask themselves, “What could I do with my garage?”
A $100,000 closet or a $1,000,000 garage both lead to more sales of $100 closet accessories or a $500 garage improvement. They also serve to make the average consumers purchase seem small in comparison, making it easier for them to spend more.
Building product manufacturers, builders and remodelers should all embrace the Viper factor of when the media covers the outlandish. And you should challenge your marketing teams to think big and find ways to create Vipers in your category.