Houzz Survey…Or Is It a Marketing Guide?TomChilders
If you did not see the 2015 Houzz Landscaping and Garden Trends Survey, you owe it to yourself to study it. Never mind the huge Houzz buzz that is storming the market, we’ll touch on that later, but this survey alone is a great marketing resource. Not only does it tell you about the trends in landscaping but it helps you identify markets and products/services to promote. It is a literal guide to what you should market and to whom.
While it is no surprise that the California drought weighs heavily on the results, it is amazing to see the key areas, systems and features that are being impacted with upgrades. Lighting takes the number one spot which may explain the categories amazing growth. If you are upgrading your backyard, which is the number one space upgraded, you want to be able to enjoy at night. Also, since furniture, fixtures and hardscapes are big parts of the upgrade, people need to be able to see at night. And as these yards are upgraded, grass areas areas are being reduced in many cases and overall yard dimensions are changing. Time for an irrigation revamp and might as well go with new and improved smart irrigation products.
As you look it over, think about how the draught media coverage has influenced public mindsets and has everyone thinking conservation. Add to that the fact water rates are increasing in many markets and the time to sell irrigation upgrades and retrofits has never been better. Never!
Notice that in 59% of the cases these homeowners are hiring a contractor. The DIFM , do it for me, market is alive and well. So is the DIY, do it yourself, market at 41%. Do a good enough job at promoting yourself and you grab some of that DIY share!
As you ponder this, you might say but this is the existing residential market, retail, yuck! Remember, there are just under 74 million owner occupied U.S. households. While we all wait for housing starts to get back to 1.5 million, we need to pay the bills and that 74 million is nice base to work on. Additionally, the business model needed to pursue this market is more than a sharp pencil. You can really create value, distinction, brand, and a unique selling proposition.
At the end of the day, what Houzz has done here is create a fabulous marketing piece. It is showing the landscape world all the jobs and customers it has. It is also saying these are the kinds of contractors we need on our site. These contractors in turn might run a premium listing, a revenue source for Houzz. If you are asking the question is it worth it, you might want to research it. There is a ton of material on the web on that topic but here is a nice summary statement I took from an artcile in Decribeit, “If you provide general services, the visual and sharing aspects of Houzz are probably not going to be the right fit for your company. Angie’s List is a free, referral tool that you can use to secure clients if you don’t need to invest a lot of time and energy into an online portfolio.”
“And if you offer design, hardscape or specialty build projects, then Angie’s List might be too limiting for your purposes. Houzz is the best option for you if you want to create a portfolio site that builds your reputation with image-based proof of your level of service and expertise.”
The reality is if you really want to go after the existing residential market, you should probably do all ofthese things for yourself . This meansa strong digital presence including a website with a good photo gallery and more, and a strong social presence (think inspiration, Pinterest). You can still do listing service(s) but you will need core capabilities that retail buyers expect. And yes, this is one of the barriers to entry in this market and why not everyone wants to go after this business.
While the existing residential market is a large market, it is no secret not every contractor is interested. Again, some say “yuck, retail” while others desire recurring builder revenue but the point is it is a good and healthy market. It is large and provides good cash flow in general so give the survey a read. More important, think it through and see if you can come up with some marketing opportunities of your own.