Dec272011

“The consumer TOTALLY gets that eating better and exercising are keys to living better and longer. What they don’t understand is how important sleep is to that equation”

Mark Quinn
Mark Quinn
Leggett and Platt
VP of Marketing for the Residential Segment

Mark Quinn is the Vice President of Marketing for the Residential Segment at Leggett and Platt. This section of the company accounts for just over $1.3 billion in sales. Because Leggett and Platt has been in business for over a century, Mark works to evolve it within the very dynamic space occupied by their customers. Mark has an extensive background in the field of marketing. He spent 18 years providing both marketing and sales work for Sealy and Serta mattress companies all over the U.S., in Brazil, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

In addition to the traditional marketing experiences, Mark has also written, performed, directed and produced commercials, infomercials, web series and live television shopping channel shows setting sales records along the way. Mark also blogs about his experiences on his blog Q’s Views.

MO:
Can you tell us about your background and how it led you to your current position with Leggett & Platt?

Mark:
I started out doing public speaking and sales training for a personal development company. I then got into the industry working for Sealy Mattress and five years later with Serta Inc., located in Chicago. After 14 years on the manufacturing side, Leggett and Platt, a large components manufacturer, asked me to join them so they could gain some perspective they just didn’t have. I was able to give Leggett & Platt some insights about their customers, retailers and consumers that have helped them develop products, while telling stories that are more relevant to the market.

MO:
Many of our interviewees are in the small business world. Can you offer some insight into what small business owners can learn from large corporations such as Leggett & Platt?

Mark:
Take your time to plan and develop good strategy. I have seen us execute that incredibly well, and I have seen us screw that up at great cost. No matter what you are doing, take the time to make sure your decisions are based on sound strategy that supports the overall business objectives. Don’t get caught up in a tactic. In addition, your speed and agility in the market can make all of the difference. Where a big company can crush a small company with resources, a small company can be just as effective at winning by reacting to the market better and faster than larger companies.

MO:
The bedding industry is definitely not a new industry. How have you managed to develop new marketing campaigns for such a classic product?

Mark:
The first thing we had to do was convince everyone at Leggett & Platt that they are not just “wire benders.” We redefined what we did for a living and settled on the fact that we make components that go into products that literally improve the quality of people’s lives. If you minimize what you do, others will see it the same way. We did some things right away when I first joined the company to show the industry that we were not the same old Leggett & Platt. From there, we just kept innovating with product and marketing programs to establish thought leadership. We have now established ourselves as thought leaders and people look at us differently, which is a big deal when you launch a new product. Even though it might just be a bedspring, because of the source, people are paying attention in a different way. Our ability to reposition our platform and ourselves has allowed Leggett & Platt to make a bigger impact.

MO:
We read your blog, Q’s Views, and love it. Why do you believe it’s important to share your expertise through this blog?

Mark:
Thank you, we love hearing that! I really love this industry and think we can be so much more than we are. We started the blog simply to have a voice, create some conversation, and maybe even inspire people to think differently. Let’s face it, we have an incredible story to tell and people are missing it. A good quality mattress is something that is crucial in getting a great night of sleep. If you are getting good sleep, you are going to live a better quality of life. Who wouldn’t be proud to sell something that can enhance people’s lives? We want Q’s views to give people ideas on how to tell the story better.

MO:
Congrats on starting and running the largest LinkedIn group in the furniture industry. Can you tell us more about the LinkedIn group, why you decided to start it, and what benefits you have gained from it?

Mark:
Thank you. Our industry is a little slow when it comes to the digital space and I realized one day that we didn’t have a LinkedIn group. When I give speeches at industry conferences I ask the audience to look around and find their biggest competitor. I then point out that, in reality, everybody in the room is actually on the same team. Meaning, we have to fight for the consumer dollar against electronics, vacations, or anything else on that shopping list. Together, we can be much more effective at thinking of new ways to go after the greater good. Community is obviously important, and we wanted to make sure we connected leaders in our industry to help us move towards our goals.

MO:
What can you tell us about the future of the sleep industry? Is there anything Leggett & Platt is running out that we should be aware of?

Mark:
The consumer TOTALLY gets that eating better and exercising are keys to living better and longer. What they don’t understand is how important sleep is to that equation. Based on that realization and recent research into the sleep space, the industry is not even close to maturity. There are doctors saying that sleep health is maybe even more important  than diet and exercise. A lot is going to happen around sleep and the creative thinkers are going to be the ones getting the benefit. Leggett & Platt continues to look for ways to bring new solutions to market that will allow our customers to build real value with the consumer.

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