Stick to Your Guns

July 31, 2006
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
There is more advertising clutter in the world today than ever before. According to the book Data Smog, in 1971 people were subjected to 571 advertisements per day. In 1997 that number was up to over 3,000 advertisements per day. Just imagine the competition today, especially with the Internet being even more of a factor in everyday life. Product placements are in everything from sitcoms to sporting events. How can a contractor ever hope to cut through the clutter in today's world?

CUTTING IN

As contractors try and cut through that clutter, they are not only competing with hundreds of heating and air conditioning companies, but they're also competing with every ad that a consumer sees. The battle is for mental real estate, which is a scarce resource.

To make things worse, HVAC is an industry that homeowners usually have little interest in. Average consumers don't pay attention to heating and air conditioning advertisements until they need help. By then it may be too late to make an impression.

What's the best hope of coming out on top? One of the best ways to cut through the clutter is to develop a unique message and positioning strategy that positions the company in a favorable light, has a positive connotation, and is instantly memorable.

UNIQUENESS COUNTS

Some people refer to this as a unique selling proposition. The best ones are often at the front of everyone's minds. Which beer is cold as a mountain stream? Who do you send a package with when it absolutely, positively has to be there by 10 a.m.?

I'm confident that the products associated with those messages instantly came to mind while reading them. That's the mark of a strong positioning strategy.

Step one is to choose a unique selling proposition for the company. This is a process not to be taken lightly. Be sure to invest time in developing an effective company position.

Step two, and this may be the most important step, is to stick to your guns. Once a position for the company has been chosen, the most important thing to do is stick with it. By doing so, it'll drive that message and that position home for every consumer in your market. The message should serve the company for its lifetime.

It's so crucial to stick to your guns because the strategy and message will help determine how successful the company is. Thousands of companies turn up bankrupt each year. How many wind up bankrupt because they aren't technically competent? I'm going to suggest that there are very few.

Most of them go bankrupt because they don't have enough calls. And they don't have enough calls because they don't have a winning positioning strategy that attracts consumer interest.

Step three is to track the results. Once a positioning strategy has been established, track the advertising. This will inform contractors where people have heard their message and whether it is having the desired impact. If a message is having no effect over time or is actually hurting the company, only in that case should a contractor change the company message.

DIAMONDS AREN'T FOREVER

Here's a quick example of the importance of sticking to your guns and knowing when it's time to change your position.

Retailer Tom Shane operates The Shane Co., a string of 23 successful jewelry stores across the country. For years his message was, "Now you have a friend in the diamond business." That is until a few months ago when he changed that message to "He's dull, but he's brilliant," most likely in response to criticism against his monotone voiceover on the radio ads. But where is the focus of that new message?

Do consumers really care about a boring individual who might be brilliant? With that tag, he's broken the bond that he fostered with the average consumer and shifted the focus to himself rather than the customer. After all, most everyone would like a friend in the diamond business. That position spoke to consumers, where the new slogan didn't seem to have the same appeal.

From shopping at The Shane Co., I know how diligently they track their advertising, and I'm guessing that Tom's results showed that the new position wasn't working. He didn't stick to his guns and his results suffered. That's why I wasn't surprised to recently hear a commercial where he stated that some people were concerned that they had lost their friend in the diamond business. He reassured them that he was still their friend in the diamond business and at the end, that familiar message came back.

What is the moral of this story? Build a powerful position for your company and when you find one that works, stick to your guns. That's how you make money every day. n

Terry Nicholson is president of AirTime 500. For more information on AirTime 500, call 800-505-8885. Nicholson can be reached by e-mail at tnicholson@yoursgi.com.

Publication date: 07/31/2006

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

2014 MCAA Annual Convention

Scenes from the 2014 MCAA Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Podcasts

NEWSmakers: Julian Scadden

Training is an ongoing process. Julian will discuss how you can generate maximum return on time and energy invested training by following a three part process. Listen to this podcast to get expert tips on training, tracking and follow up. 

More Podcasts

THE MAGAZINE

ACHRNEWS

NEWS 04-21-14 cover

2014 April 21

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

SERVICE CALLS POLL

Which statement on service calls best applies to your business?
View Results Poll Archive

HVACR INDUSTRY STORE

plumbing-hvac.gif
2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research

 

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

DON'T MISS A THING

Magazine image
 
Register today for complete access to ACHRNews.com. Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con