First place: Covenant Kitchens & Baths, Westbrook,
Multifaceted Marketing Strategy Pays Major
Covenant Kitchens & Baths, Inc. has witnessed major changes in
the kitchen and bath marketplace in its 20 years in business, and
has built its success on keeping pace with those changes. The
firm’s willingness to reposition itself in the market as necessary
in order to target a more profitable clientele, in conjunction with
its powerful efforts to stay connected with previous clients and
its widespread community involvement, have created a marketing
effort so effective, it won the company first place honors in
K&BDN’s second annual Industry Leadership Awards.
Two years ago, president Gerard Ciccarello, CKD, CBD, decided he
needed to reposition his company in the marketplace. His goal was
to target the Baby Boom generation professionals with disposable
income who might be looking to do major remodeling work and could
well afford to do so. To help him with his repositioning,
Ciccarello hired a full-time marketing manager, Nancy Ottino, to
create and implement a marketing plan.
Following the company’s new mission statement, “High end is not
a product, it is a behavior It is a mind set,” Ottino developed a
marketing plan that simultaneously targeted several key
The first and primary goal is to stay connected with previous
clients through mailings, lifestyle seminars in the showroom, a
quarterly newsletter and a kitchen tune-up card sent one year after
completion of the project. A magazine subscription, gift
certificate for a vineyard tour and a bottle of wine is also sent
to the client upon completion of a project, along with a
questionnaire for feedback. This not only creates good will and
positive word of mouth for referrals, it also encourages return
visits from customers looking to do future projects.
Third-party endorsements are also a key part of the marketing
plan. Ottino follows through on getting published in national
magazines and books, winning industry awards, placing press
releases about the company, and submitting stories and photos to
local newspapers and Home & Garden Television.
For example, Covenant Kitchens & Baths won first place
honors in NKBA’s national design competition, a victory that
resulted in the firm being featured in American Homestyle and
Gardening Magazine this fall. After several tries, the company was
also chosen as one of the top 50 remodelers in the country, and was
featured on the cover of Remodeling Magazine. The firm has also
been featured in several shelter magazines and hard cover
Covenant Kitchens & Baths also has become more aggressive
with architects, designers, high-end builders and realtors in
seeking to be their main supplier, an effort that has resulted in
more partnerships and, as a result, more jobs.
Ottino also understands the importance of being active in the
community, so the company is now represented at Chamber of Commerce
meetings and local service organization meetings. In addition, an
Annual Kitchen Tour was developed as a fund-raising event,
supporting Habitat for Humanity and the Junior League.
The overall marketing plan includes touching on each of these
categories on a monthly basis. Through these efforts, the primary
goal was to reach the targeted clientele without spending
advertising dollars something that had proven less than successful
in the past.
But with a snowball effect, the combination of these efforts has
had a huge impact on impressing potential clientele, and the
overall effort has begun to pay major dividends.
Once customers are in the showroom, they can view the company’s
“Brag Book,” which features all of the firm’s accolades. Magazine
articles are framed and hung on the walls, and testimonials from
satisfied customers are also on display. Each prospective client is
given a packet containing copies of press releases, copies of
articles written about the firm, as well as letters of praise from
To prove out the success of the marketing plan, Ottino created
lead sheets for the company’s sales people to fill out when
speaking with a prospective client in the showroom. When asked how
they heard about the firm, 90 percent responded that they are there
as a result of referral, as compared to 60 percent before the
program was started.
Customers also now enter the showroom with magazine articles, or
mention design books where they read about the company.
The bottom line is that business has increased in sales in the
last two years, bringing annual numbers to $1.5 million. While it’s
quite a change from the small mom & pop company it was many
years ago, Covenant Kitchens & Baths
is convinced that its strong and forward-thinking marketing efforts
continue to be key to its success.
Second place: Teknika Design Group, Philadelphia, PA
Partnerships Provide Win-Win Solutions for All Players
When companies work together as a team, good things happen. Just
ask Teknika Design Group and Hafele America Co., whose successful
partnership helped the design group to win second place honors in
K&BDN’s second annual Industry Leadership Awards.
Hafele America was having trouble securing a spot for its Mobile
Design Center at the National American Institute of Architects Show
in Philadelphia. The Mercedes bus, which is outfitted as a mobile
showroom, couldn’t be parked near the show site, which made showing
it to customers nearly impossible.
That’s when an agreement was struck with Steve Allen and Rose
Fierro of Teknika Design Group, allowing Teknika to enhance its own
retail marketing efforts through a unique partnership agreement.
Teknika’s showroom, which was located just a short distance from
the location of the show, became the home base for Hafele. The
attention-getting Mobile Design Center was parked at the showroom
location, and Teknika agreed to focus on Hafele’s kitchen
accessories within the showroom itself, providing a win-win
situation for the company, the design group and its customers.
Teknika went one step further, serving breakfast and lunch to
Hafele’s customers using one of its display kitchens. And, in
keeping with the tradition of First Friday, where art and design
communities in Philadelphia stay open late, Teknika served
appetizers and a light dinner for visitors to the showroom.
The idea of teaming a well-known, innovative kitchen dealer and
an international kitchen accessory and hardware manufacturer
created quite a buzz in the Philadelphia design community. It was a
strong fit that turned out to be beneficial for both parties.
Third place: BathStyle, Huntersville, NC
Association Ties, Home Event Boost Showroom’s
Expanding a business can be a tricky move, yet design firm
BathStyle knew expansion was key to ensuring the company’s future
Building on the success of its showroom in Charlotte, BathStyle
decided to open a showroom in Huntersville to cater to the needs of
contractors in the Lake Norman area of Charlotte.
Betsy Sikes, Matt Booth and BathStyle’s employees understood how
important it was that the new showroom, which opened in January of
this year, develop a following of its own. Its solution which
encompassed making use of association ties, participating in a
major home show and sponsoring design community events garnered the
firm third place honors Category 3 of K&BDN’s Industry
To generate traffic, the design firm stays active in the
Homebuilders Association of Charlotte. The organization, in turn,
hosts “Homearama” each June, an event that showcases upscale homes.
This year, nine homes ranging from $650,000 to $2.5 million in a
new Lake Norman area golf community called “The Point” were
featured, and BathStyle provided the fixtures for seven of the nine
homes. Making use of this opportunity, BathStyle also provided
literature about the firm and its products in each of the homes
which had the opportunity to reach thousands of area visitors,
resulting in a tremendous response in sales and traffic, according
to the firm.
In addition, BathStyle also sponsored “Preview Night,” the first
night of Homearama, exclusively set aside for builders and
designers and members of the Homebuilders Association. Through the
event, the firm has shown its commitment to the members of the
The showroom itself was designed to be adaptable, and features
plumbing throughout to allow for future displays to be fully
operational. In addition, the design allows for easy installation
and updating of products, BathStyle comments.
Since working displays sell products, full functionality is
important to the design of the showroom. Among its features is a
showerhead display of 14 showerheads, a luxurious his and her bath
suite, and a display of kitchen faucets, all fully functional.