Tips & Tools for Engagement Amongst Tile Industry Disruption
The tile industry is no stranger to disruption. COVID is just another layer of the onion. Post pandemic, there was already a subset of industry-disrupting shifts happening, some that organically prepared us for the removal of human touch. Vertical market integration, e-commerce, online rapid-fire sampling, and who could forget the tariff war that many are still dealing with today. Travel restrictions, virtual events, and endless Teams/Zoom meetings can create a disconnect, and in my case, a yearning for those 16-hour Coverings days that we all complain about, yet secretly love. Although it’s hard, there are business rhythms and casual and formal things you can do to stay au courant. Here are just a few:
· Google Keyword Searches
You can easily set up keyword searches to email you related content to your criteria. The commitment is so low at 2-3 minutes a week, or 45 seconds a day scouring the aggregated articles. It can take a while to sharpen your criteria to exclude some of the unrelated market studies, but I find 2-5 interesting pieces a month. Make it fun and assign your staff to bring a news article to every staff meeting on various topics.
· Google Trends
Trends are neat to look at every quarter or so and might help you with planning and strategy.
· Phone a new friend
Calling an old friend is easy – but what about a stranger? It may sound stressful and a bit creepy – but I bet you will get something out of it. You can connect with industry allies in many ways. You don’t have to be a part of an official organization to engage in social media groups. You can join Tile GEEKS or Tile Chix on Facebook or find other focused tile groups to your liking. Ask a vendor or sales rep if they can connect you with different companies like yours around the country. I have relied on my network countless times and try to stay in touch with these contacts today. I recently had a call with the owner of a distribution company in NJ. To each other we were strangers, but we had a lot to talk about, tile and otherwise. That reminds me – I need to reach back out to him again to check-in.
· Books Books Books
Once upon a time I thought I knew a lot about tile. As a tile aficionada, I read a lot, am passionate and dedicated, and have two decades of experience. Then I went to the library and checked out 25 books on tile and boy was that enlightening. If you can get access to a College or University library – make it a point to do this or ask your local branch about their Inter-Library-Loan Program. Thumb through these resources on your lunch break if time is short, and you may find your afternoon more creatively energized than usual.
· Content Sharing
Sure, we all do this already – but how often do you create something original and share it with your peers? I recently shared a short timeline I created on Tile in US History on LinkedIn. Of course – I was only able to create it after my library visit. It can certainly be time-consuming, so I try to stick to timeless content that you can reuse in things like training programs and CEUs.
There are many free resources out there to which you can subscribe to. Drop-in “Tile Blog” through any search engine to find endless amounts of content to follow. My favorite is Diary of a Tile Addict.
· Join up!
I recently joined the Tile Heritage Foundation. I have always been passionate about historic and handmade tile but never engaged until last year. Joining a group can put you in touch with many allies, near and far, but you have to put some effort beyond just signing up.
Thanks for making time to read this. If you have any more tips and tools please share them in the comments. Don’t forget to connect with me on Linkedin and don’t be a stranger!
Julie Taury @padeauagency