ACHRNEWS

ICP Victory Tour Hits Furniture City

May 26, 2008
International Comfort Products spokesperson Karla Smith talks postcard marketing in the Comfortmaker Advantage online program.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - International Comfort Products (ICP) brought its Victory Tour road show to Grand Rapids in early April. A good turnout of Comfortmaker® dealers from the area known as furniture city listened to ICP spokespeople talk about its new AdvantageSM system, a Web-based tool that enables contractors to create customized marketing pieces.

The goal of the Advantage system is to create and keep Comfortmaker customers for life. “Independent consumer research underscores the importance of customer contact in helping a contractor build a customer base and grow profitably,” said Phil Kelly, ICP marketing support manager. “By sending postcards with special offers to customers and prospects, dealers and contractors can build customer trust, improve customer satisfaction, and generate increased sales and referrals.”

ICP spokesperson Karla Smith talked for most of the morning with local dealers about the program. “In the past couple of years, the Victory Tour has been very much about product,” she said. “But make no mistake, this year it is not about product, it is about marketing and advertising.”

She said that the attractive part of the Advantage program is that dealers will “master their own advertising efforts.” The program allows them to create marketing pieces and create a Website, too.

Smith cited a couple of different statistics that support the need for a strong marketing program. She noted that 50 percent of purchasers select a dealer based on a prior experience with the dealer, but added that 33 percent of purchasers report that the dealer has not contacted them since the installation. “That represents a missed opportunity,” Smith said.

The Advantage program enables dealers to connect with customers and keep the lines of communication open. If the customers are happy, they will refer the dealer to a friend or neighbor. In fact, Smith noted that 71 percent of dealers’ business comes from referrals.

THE NUTS AND BOLTS

The Advantage online program specializes in creating customized postcards for direct mailing. Dealers log onto a special “GoComfortmaker” Website, click on the Advantage button and begin the process. The list of customizable postcards include:

• Thank-you cards

• Scheduled maintenance reminders

• Prospecting cards.

Kelly said the Advantage system requires only minimal computer experience to create, print, and mail customized postcards.

“In five minutes, dealers can create and schedule the postcard mailings,” he said. “The Advantage system does most of the work. It prints the cards, addresses them [from a protected address list], adds postage, and mails them - all at a surprisingly low cost. A dealer can send a postcard to thank a recent customer and a prospecting card to 25 of his neighbors for less than $30 total.”

One of the postcards, the Neighborhood Network card, can be sent out to prospects within a certain distance from an existing customer. It is intended to be a lead generator. Another is a reminder card, used to notify existing customers about upcoming scheduled maintenance or about extended warranty programs.

As part of the Advantage program, dealers can create their own Websites using a template design created by ICP. The beauty of this simple-to-navigate four-page site is that it can automatically be turned into a four-page customized brochure with the click of a mouse, giving dealers a marketing piece they can hand to prospects that looks exactly like their Website.

“The actual Web page can be made into a vertical PDF file, ready to be printed,” said Smith. “The system is that easy.”

For more information, visit www.icpusa.com.

Publication date: 05/26/2008