As an association of futon manufacturers and retailers, all desiring to see their cumulative and individual sales rise, the focus of the Futon Association marketing plan had to be able to meet the needs of every member. Most of the money in the PR budget comes directly or indirectly from futon manufacturers. Most of the manufacturers are looking to do business with more and more retailers. Most of the futon manufacturers' money comes from retailers (not all of whom are members). Member futon retailers, on the other hand, are less than excited about any plan that focuses spending on recruiting more retailers. If the plan could reach consumers and drive them into member futon stores then the retailers would be able to justify supporting the plan. The program would obviously also work for member manufacturers.

The Event Futon Media

New York is a unique place. The media, including print and broadcast, are here like no other place on earth. When I arrive the day before the futon shoot event the photographer is already at work, shooting rooms that appear for a day and then vanish into boxes. Stylists add those touches that make the rooms look as if they are actually lived in. Twenty or more editors are scheduled to arrive the following morning for breakfast and a look at the world of futons, a futon world that looks like it could fit very well into any home, on any street, in anytown USA. They arrive mid-morning, they eat, they talk, they sit, they look, they write. Their questions tell us volumes about how they perceive this futon product. They are surprised at what they see. We would like more of them to understand how multi-faceted this futon category really is. They want press kits and futon pictures. Three hours pass and it's over, the event that is.

The Follow-up Futon Shoot

Follow-up is the biggest job of all. Kind of like cleaning up after Thanksgiving dinner. Contact with editors, both those who came and those who didn't, will continue for several weeks. Story angles may develop around several key futon product features. The PR people will get the editors the info they need. There are no guarantees, but with any luck, the editors will tell their readers to contact the Futon Association for more information. Futon Association will respond to these consumers with information and a list of  futon member retailers in their state. Measuring the results of all this activity is not an exact science. One well placed story can start a flurry of inquiries and more press. The consumer is the key. If consumers see stories and pictures of futon furniture they can live with then they will buy. Controlling the message is our best bet for success at all levels. This was the goal of the event, and in that respect we have succeeded already.

It has always been the goal of this publication to show you, the home furnishings retailer, the multi-faceted versatility of futon furniture. We are also visible and active supporters of the long term goals of the Futon Association consumer PR initiative. Working on many levels with the Association has always been a part of what we are and what we do. As this futon product category becomes a main stream staple more of you will see the benefits of selling this comfortable, dual-purpose, bedding alternative. Membership in the Futon Association is your logical next step.

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