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A Marketing Dream?


When my beautiful wife Michele and I bought our first home together, one of the first things we knew we had to do was to buy furniture.

We were both fairly new to the Chicago area, and we were definitely new to the idea of buying furniture to fill an entire beautiful home, so how did we decide which store to buy from?

There were, of course, many Chicago-area stores that sold furniture, but there was only one that made us believe they could make our dreams come true.

Yes, we were bombarded – along with millions of other Chicagoans – with the promise of “You Dream It, We Build It” in a never-ending variety of media, including: TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and postcards – just to name a few I can remember.

The three Smithe brothers seemed to be everywhere – with entertaining, personality-filled marketing messages and most important of all: compelling offers, including attractive pricing, terms and discounts.

So off we went to the nearest Walter E. Smithe store with visions of our dream custom-built furniture at a great price dancing in our heads. We were all ready to meet with a custom designer who would help us make our home a one-of-a-kind heaven on earth.

Now I don’t know what anyone else’s experience is, but I do recall that almost as soon as we met our “design consultant,” she convinced us that we would probably be much better off going with non-custom-built furniture, because of the price, delivery delay and the fact that they represented so many different manufacturers that we were almost sure to find something we liked either right on their sales floor or in one of their many warehouses or catalogs.

And just that quickly, we forgot all about the reason we had chosen that store in the first place: because we wanted something “custom-built.” After all, we were in a beautiful showroom, surrounded by great-looking furniture (not to mention a store full of shoppers as “social proof” that we were in the right place). Why go anywhere else?

Sure enough, about a week later our checking account had taken a sizeable hit and our living room, dining room and bedroom were filled with high-quality, high-priced (but definitely NOT custom-built) pieces of furniture. Our home was beautifully-furnished (our rooms were “custom-designed” and our furniture was “custom-ordered”), we were satisfied customers, and the Smithe brothers were a little bit wealthier.

So what’s the lesson for all small business owners?

The implementation of effective marketing and advertising strategies is the key to producing wealth for the small business owner.

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