Use Creative Marketing To Beat Confusion

September 26, 2003
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Now that we’re firmly into fall, customers in this “off-peak” season often seem dazed and confused. They see and hear conflicting messages, and this shuts their minds — and their checkbooks. Consumers hear “end of season close-out” and “preseason special,” sometimes in the same ad. So they look for the lowest price and seek multiple bids — which only leads to more confusion.

Creative direct response marketing makes the benefits clear and pulls in leads from customers who like what you have to offer. They know these ads detail significant benefits they won’t get elsewhere.

“Institutional” advertising actually spurs competitive bidding because of the sameness of the ads. Most institutional ads are like what you see in the Yellow Pages — condensing units, penguins, frosty letters, and a big starburst with a discount in it. It’s the same old stuff, and you cannot stand out by sameness.

With institutional advertising dominating the industry, creativity can help you dominate your market. Let there be no confusion — a good blend of creative direct response, image, and customer retention marketing in a nice balanced plan can make a contractor’s marketing wildly outperform the norm.

October is big for IAQ and a good time to continue tuneup, preventive maintenance, and maintenance agreement sales. If your newsletter has gone out, you should capitalize on more maintenance agreement leads. This is also the time to snatch leads and sales from competitors who are waiting on the weather. If you miss sales now, you miss them for the year. Be very aggressive. Use your hardest-hitting direct response ads.

Media Watch

Newspapers: Continue direct response service ad or insert. Warmer areas have ended direct response air conditioner re-placement offers. Cooler climates are gearing up for preseason furnace offers in newspapers. TOMA (top-of-mind awareness) ads continue.

Newsletters: The warmer climates can send fall issues in October. If you didn’t do it in September, you’re almost too late. You may have already lost customers.

Direct mail letters: Tuneup letters should still pull well. Plumbing inspection/winterization letters should go out. Target replacement letters for either deferred payments or monthly payments due to approaching holiday expenses. (Use the same response triggers as in newspapers.)

Postcards: Direct response service postcards for preventive maintenance, tuneups, or winterization should be in full swing. If using a discount, let your postcard be the coupon. Get your service department trained to upsell maintenance agreements. Focus on highest value (and margins) at a competitive price. Don’t bait with lowball prices.

Radio: Only use radio now to support your mail or newspaper offers. Make the same ad and offer in radio as in print. Track the leads to see which one callers remember.

On-hold messages: Should still be pushing preventive maintenance now.

Yellow Pages: At least 77 percent of contractors spend over half their entire budgets here. Pitiful results from an expensive, yearlong ad are not what you’re after. Fax me your ad for a free critique.

Next Month

Gather all the names and sales you possibly can during October to use in all mailings through the end of the year (for newsletters, upsells, holiday card list, etc.) That’s why service promotions are very valuable now. Also, buy any radio airtime now. Secure Nov. 15 through Dec. 15 or you won’t be able to get it. (Holiday shoppers spend lots of time in their cars.) Replacement and IAQ business should stay strong.

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink. He can be reached at 800-489-9099, 334-262-1115 (fax), or www.hudsonink.com.

Publication date: 09/29/2003

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

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