Serta’s Huet: “We are putting the customer at the heart of everything we do.”

By Alan Wolf, YSN

In the one year since Melanie Huet joined Serta Simmons Bedding as Chief Marketing Officer, she has led the business through a complete brand strategy makeover.

A key component of that transformation is a customer-first focus that, she claims, is unique to the bedding trade. “We are putting the consumer at the heart of everything we do,” the former Kraft Heinz marketing chief said on a recent episode of The Modern Customer podcast. “And for this particular industry that is a new thing versus where I came from, where everything was very consumer focused. So we’re focused on consumer-led innovation using consumer insights to create our products, and then really taking our marketing to the next level.”

In her conversation with moderator and consumer authority Blake Morgan, Huet breaks out the main elements of Serta’s customer-centric strategy and how they have helped the mattress maker stay ahead of a rapidly evolving marketplace.

Digital Transformation: Rather than rely on retailer feedback to learn what shoppers want in a mattress, Serta has begun using data analysis and direct consumer research to better understand its customers. The company has also created an “innovation team” to develop new concepts that incorporate technological advances.

Marketing Transformation: As Huet explains, Serta started with a change in mindset — shifting from the goal of merely satisfying end users to that of delighting them. To achieve that, it expanded its marketing team to better embrace its customers and, in the process, discovered that an entire demographic had been overlooked by the bedding business: The Gen Z consumer. Serta addressed this oversite by relaunching its 150-year-old Simmons badge as a lifestyle youth brand that evokes a post-college, first-apartment “crash pad” where the mattress is a place to hang out as well as snooze.

Product Transformation: Serta’s consumer research showed that most people think most mattresses are pretty much the same. To address that misperception, Serta focused on the consumer’s quest for quality sleep and began developing products that addressed key factors that could affect a good night’s rest, like comfort and temperature. In addition to providing “amazing sleep experiences,” Serta also tackled the issue of sustainability, another area overlooked by the industry, Huet said, and recently introduced its first sustainable Beautyrest product, designed to reduce the amount of plastic in oceans.

Listen to the full interview with Serta’s Melanie Huet here.