Marketing should drive the company’s innovations
By keeping a finger on the customers' pulse and acting as the eyes and the ears of the company, marketers drive the most effective innovations. Daniel Cotlar, Chief Marketing Officer at Blinds.com, shares the innovations that have made them the largest retailer of their kind in the world.
Robin: Hello, and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I am Robin Tooms, Vice President of Strategy at Savage, and my guest today is Daniel Cotlar, Chief Marketing Officer at Blinds.com. Daniel, welcome to Brandonomics.
Daniel: Thank you, Robin. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Robin: I’m so glad you’re here because I have heard you speak before, and the topic was actually about how marketers can be more strategic within the company. So, what advice do you have for us around that?
Daniel: You have to create your own influence, and the goal of marketing isn’t to be someone producing collateral. You’re supposed to be the eyes and ears of the company, to listen to what the customer is saying. That means surveys. It means listening to phone calls. No one is going to be able to plan a strategy as well as somebody who is in direct contact with the customer. Also, as you’re planning things, involve the other groups. Make sure you’re in their meetings and they’re in your meetings so that new innovations that you’re talking about are much better because they have other people’s input.
Robin: Right. So that customer understanding is really important because that’s what brings about innovations.
Robin: So, how specifically are you doing that then?
Daniel: We look at the biggest problems customers might have. In our category, it’s really hard to imagine what something on the Internet is gonna look like. It’s a custom product. So we offer free samples so you can touch and feel it and see the color. Some other innovations that we’ve been working on are like Zappos did, where they recognize the biggest problem is fit, so they offered free shipping both ways. We started that about a year and a half ago with our sure-fit guarantee. If you mess up the measurement, and that’s what everyone’s afraid of, we’ll remake it for free. That was huge for us. It helped our brand and raised conversion rate a lot. Other things we’ve been doing, we also recognize people are afraid of installation. So we created a new product that doesn’t have to be installed. You click it into place like a ball point pen. Some of our newest things that we’re working on are about helping for product choice. Make it easier to chose with the Wizard and now our new innovation is face-to-face. Other people have someone come into your house and guide you. We can come into your home virtually and do a video conference guiding you on product choice, showing you what it will look like with your window dressed and without even messing up your floor and having sales pressure in your home.
Robin: Okay, that’s my favorite idea ever. Thank you so much for sharing all that, Daniel.
Daniel: Thank you.
Robin: This has been another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.
Blinds.com is the largest online window covering store in the world. At its heart, it is a passionate customer service and marketing company that connects the community to home décor trends and high quality window coverings. It’s been featured in numerous magazine, newspaper and radio publications.