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The Best Marketer in Mattress History?

As marketing experts in the bedding category, born & raised in Houston, Astros fans and former competitors of Mattress Mack, the Bedhead Founders have a unique perspective of the industry legend.

For those that aren't following along with the World Series, Jim McIngvale (Mattress Mack), the owner of Gallery Furniture in Houston, TX and acclaimed Houston Astros fan has placed a historic bet which could net an estimated $75MM payout if the Astros win the World Series.

Jim recently made headlines for an altercation when a Philadelphia fan made disparaging remarks about one of the Astros beloved players. When asked if he regretted the way he handled it, Jim replied, "I will always take up the Houston Astros."

Gallery Furniture's mattress promotion regarding the Astros success is a great example of being creative in a "me too" marketing world, but it's inarguable that Jim's love for his team is much bigger than that!

So what makes Mattress Mack arguably the best Marketer in the Mattress Category?

For those that don't know Mack's backstory, we encourage that you learn more. Check out his history here or watch his documentary here. But the truncated version is that after making some poor life choices as a young man, he turned it around and built a furniture empire, in the process ingratiating himself to the community and becoming one of the most respected entrepreneurs in the category.

There are several reasons to believe that Jim is the best marketer in the history of the category, here are 3:

1) Successfully executes cause marketing: Getting the good will of the people is a massive lever, and over the years Jim has reached his hand out to help many struggling community members whether it's housing refugees, standing up against crime, massive donations, helping those displaced by natural disasters...the list goes on and on with the amount of community service. The most important piece of a sales process is trust, and he has developed creditworthiness of the people around him and built a lot of inherent reciprocity. We talk about the power of giving in a previous blog here.

2) High Risk/High Return Innovation: If you haven't seen a Gallery Furniture promotion, it may be one of the most impressive campaigns in the history of the category. The most current promotion is, "If the Astros win, Gallery Furniture will refund your $3000 or more mattress purchase." No haggling allowed. No other discounts allowed. Applies to no other furniture. Mack hedges against these promos with bets and insurance, however the promotion creates irrational exuberance to increase consumer budgets from an average of $1,500 to $3,000 where margin is higher and discounts are sacrificed in lieu of the opportunity to get a 100% reimbursement!

The game-changing factor may be that Gallery Furniture is able to indirectly offer promotions on price-protected products (Tempurpedic, Sterns & Foster & Sealy) where other organizations cannot without violating their agreements and risk losing the line. This gives the company a strategic advantage over competitors who have to bolt-on products and services to compete. To date, the promotion has generated $70 million in sales and is his #1 promotion ever.

3) Brand Consistency: Mattress Mack has been "Saving you money" since he walked into hundreds of grade schools back in the early 90's urging children to stay away from drugs as part of a community service requirement. Today, you can see Jim on local TV spots with the same tagline, still doing his own commercials. Jim has built a personal brand that has been consistently deployed for decades.

An anecdote from a Mercedes-Benz executive was told that they believed they did not need to sell you a car when you were 40, they needed to sell you a car when you're 8.

Tempurpedic deployed a similar strategy when they leaned into heavy ad spends on The Cartoon Network, knowing moms make the bedding decisions, AND kids will grow up hearing about the Tempur brand.

If not Mack, then who?

The industry has a ton of contenders, however in the '80's Jim competed against another very successful bedding company Superior Waterbeds owned by Barry Ross (aka Ole Bear). Check out their tv spots here. Barry Ross's Waterbeds ultimately did not withstand the test of time as a product and in 2005, the stores were closed.

Who do you think belongs on the Mattress Marketing Mount Rushmore? Comment below!

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