DRMA Marketer of the Year Spotlight: HAAN Steams Into the Spotlight4 Mar, 2010 By: Thomas Haire Response
In its October 2009 issue, Response announced and spotlighted the three finalists and winner of the inaugural Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) Marketer of the Year Award. In the November 2009 issue, we began spotlighting the other seven top nominees in a monthly section. This month, we caught up with Romi Haan, inventor and CEO of Lancaster, Pa.-based HAAN USA.
HAAN’s Steam Mop was introduced via DRTV in November 2008, leading to multimillion-dollar sales at retail. The company also introduced the HAAN Steam Station in April 2009, and believes much of its recent success is due to its infomercial execution and media placement, popularity on QVC and consumer satisfaction. The company became a household name in 2009, and its products are available via DRTV, home shopping, retail and online.
Q: What does it mean to you and your company to be one of the top 10 nominees for the DRMA Marketer of the Year Award?
A: It is a great honor to be selected as a nominee for Marketer of the Year. HAAN has achieved a 73-percent market share in my home country (South Korea) by strongly backing our marketing efforts with superior products and outstanding customer service. This nomination speaks to the fact that the same strategies I have implemented in my home market are directly applicable for success in the United States.
Q: What was the most significant accomplishment in the past year for your company?
A: The overwhelming acceptance of HAAN products into the U.S. marketplace. I can’t describe the joy I feel when I read consumer reviews of HAAN products on QVC and Amazon.com. It is wonderful to see that product quality and customer service remain priorities with the American consumer.
Q: How did the successful products you had over the past year fit within the overall concept behind your company? Were any of those products so successful that they changed the way you do business? If so, how?
A: HAAN is built around a philosophy, not an individual product. Our mantra is to develop and market products that improve the end user’s quality of life. In order for a HAAN product to come to market, it must provide a solution to a real problem. That solution must be better than any other solution available on the market. The HAAN Floor Sanitizer and the HAAN Steam Station are examples of a perfect fit with the HAAN philosophy.
Q: Why do you think your business responded well during the recent economic downturn?
A: It all goes back to the products. Being a working mother of two children, I know how exhausting it is to come home to make dinner, clean and do laundry. I have built HAAN around products that solve real household problems. There will always be a demand for products that provide true solutions to real problems and that are built to last regardless of the economic climate.
Q: What is your outlook for the next 12 months? What are the top items in your pipeline?
A: Continued but measured growth — we will not sacrifice quality or customer service for short-term sales. HAAN is focused on its long-term goals. Top items continue to be in the floor care and garment care sectors. We are also looking forward to new product introductions, which we are very excited about, particularly due to recent consumer testing.
Q: What vertical markets do you believe are best equipped to survive current economic issues — and even thrive — in 2010? Why?
A: When media rates are soft, it makes it easier to have success with TV, print, radio and online. HAAN is a product-focused marketer and manufacturer. Our researchers and engineers develop products that fill a void and solve real problems. Direct marketing channels can only be as healthy as the products that are being supplied.
Q: Does today’s consumer respond better to short-form or long-form DRTV? Which of these two formats are best supported by other media, including online, mobile, print and radio?
A: Today’s consumer responds well to both long-form and short-form DRTV. Our products are better suited towards long form because of their complexity and price points. Online is a must for any type of TV campaign and, in some cases, can make as much as 80 percent of direct sales. Depending upon the type of product and overall campaign objectives, print, radio and mobile are also great additions. n