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Home News Snow Expo Attendees Learn Inexpensive, Effective Marketing Techniques

Snow Expo Attendees Learn Inexpensive, Effective Marketing Techniques

Business Management, Industry News, Snow Expo

Consultant Judy Guido explains how companies can set themselves apart from the competition.

Heather Wood | May 9, 2007

Only 6 percent of the companies the industry are taking a step that can lead to a higher success rate in their businesses, according to an industry expert. 

Judy Guido, principal of Guido & Associates, a green-industry business management consulting firm, told attendees at the inaugural Snow Industry Exposition & Conference May 9 that having a marketing strategy helps businesses to thrive, yet not many companies employ the practice. Guido works with many snow companies in her dealings with landscaping companies because 93 percent of businesses who offer snow services also offer landscaping, she says.

Fla 
Consultant Judy Guido explains to Snow Expo attendees how to create an effective marketing strategy.

“You need a blueprint to say how you’re spending your three most valuable resources: people, time and money,” she says. “Strategy is going to drive everything in your organization.”

Guido, who previously worked for what is now ValleyCrest, wasn't just speaking of small companies.

“It is amazing, even some of those big companies don’t have strategic plans,” she says, not singling out any particular company.

Guido says companies with a plan have:
47 percent higher profits
92 percent higher customer satisfaction and retention ratings
64 percent employee retention
88 percent owner employee balance
No. 1 or 2 in their respective markets

Crafting a plan and putting it into action doesn’t have to be complicated, she says, adding she created a plan for ValleyCrest. The first step is asking yourself, “what makes our company different, and how can I prove it?”

This might involve some thinking outside the box to truly stand out, she says.

“Does anybody ever go on a sales pitch and say quality is a C, sometimes a D? You all do quality work, you’re all efficient, you’re all going to be low-risk when you’re removing snow.”

It helps to think about customers’ expectations. With that in mind, Guido interviewed 3,500 different customers who use green industry services to get a better grip on their expectations. She found that they value easy interaction cost. Questions they ask companies they look to hire include: how quickly can I get to you? How quickly can you get your contract or proposal to me? How quickly can your people get here? How convenient is it?

Having answers to these questions is the first step. Getting through to potential customers and convincing them to use the services is the second, more critical step.

In a day’s time, the average American is bombarded with 22,000 marketing messages a day, Guido says, adding, “What are you doing as one of 21,999 competing messages; how is your company sticking out to sell snow services?”

One hint: don’t choose white as the color for your truck fleet; most snow industry companies already have. Instead, take an approach similar to ServiceMaster’s: the company’s truck colors may be tacky to some, but the fleet is easily recognizable, Guido says.

In addition, know your target audience. Increasingly, women are becoming a powerful purchasing force, Guido says. Not only does the female population talk and make referrals more than men, but American women are the wealthiest consumer segment in the world, worth more than $9.8 trillion.

Behind the Japanese, Americans in the Baby Boomer generation are the third highest spenders, Guido says.

“The Sweetest spot of all is the woman Boomer,” she says.

On the residential side, 81 percent of women take charge of the household’s checkbook, while more than half of the financial decision-makers in the corporate world are women.

“The more you understand women and selling to women, the better off you are,” Guido says.

To best market to this group on the residential side, find a way into their social networks. Also, with both male and female residential customers, get a profile with the following information about the customer:

  • Profession
  • Sports/hobbies
  • Cultural background
  • Charities are they’re attached to

Each of these factors can lead to referrals or leads for additional business, Guido says, citing her clients’ successes with this method.

On the professional side, market to organizations like the National Society of Women in Construction, she says, citing that 83 percent of property managers on residential sites are women.

For either type of account, find ways to get your existing client base to market for you. Companies usually are hesitant to ask clients to make referrals, despite the fact that clients usually are willing to offer the referrals. Those clients will tell others what you’ve been trying to say: that your service is a step above.

“If you’re really as good as you think you are, these people will help sell for you.”

The Snow Expo, with educational sessions and a trade show featuring snow industry exhibitors, runs through May 11 in Indianapolis. For more information, visit www.snowexpo.com.

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