A marketing plan for any company is a detailed set of ideas internally, externally, and even operationally, which are aligned, to develop a brand for the company. Media is easy, we all know and love that. Yet internal marketing is a form of communication we often overlook, and the processes clients interface with, such as call center, are key in how we answer phones and book calls. They all are different areas of marketing but need to be aligned and work together or else we can generate leads but mess up the conversion.
Some of these areas include a market potential/share analysis, a company SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, a brand strategy, a theme, an external advertising and media plan, and internal communications plan and tying together how business processes such as booking calls, or website contact forms, all affect a client experience. Add to this sales process, pricing, strategy and even product choices and positioning, and it gets detailed quickly. So we need to slow down and ask, what are we trying to accomplish? And the answer is – build a brand, and deliver on our brand promise.
In fact, there are so many varying aspects to a marketing plan which touch any company, but in this brief article we will focus on one key aspect of contractor marketing that is often difficult or confusing to many.
We are going to focus on the brand promise.
Why? Well, the brand promise is the deliverable we want any client to experience, so in many ways, it is both simple and complicated, since many areas of contracting will interface with the concept.
A brand promise is exactly as it states: It is our promise to any customer of what they should expect to receive from our company. Which means it is not a slogan or theme, but truly a stated promise.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to creating a brand promise. However, there are certain elements of a brand promise that should be present, such as the capability to be measured for successful delivery.
Examples of Brand Promises:
- Same day service or it’s free
- Service on time, or its free
- In 15 minutes we will save you 15% (GEICO)
- 100% satisfaction guarantee or your stay is free (Hilton Garden Inn)
- Delivered in 30 minutes or less (Domino’s Pizza)
- Lifetime guarantee on ALL service repairs (my contracting firms)
The key to making an effective brand promise is making it stand out in the crowd noise of thousands of contractors, yet still being able to deliver it for the client. So, you should consider that as part of your external media and advertising approach. You will likely have a theme or slogan; the brand promise can be this part of your messaging if you want it to be, or you can have both.
The brand promise has to be measurable. Themes or slogans do not – they are designed to be memorable.
Many contractors have a theme/slogan and it is not strong enough in the sales message to get a client to react to an advertisement. Part of what we want to do as a marketing platform is realize, I have to get people to call; this is the primary measure. Then convert, which is also a marketing issue but more internally focused.
Evaluate your marketing, and ask yourself, do you have a great brand promise like these?
Examples of powerful brand promises:
- Nike - The Nike brand promise goes way beyond its famous tagline, “Just do it.” Nike’s brand promise is: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.” The asterisk in the brand promise says that if you have a body, you’re an athlete.
- Starbucks - Starbucks positions itself as a company that brings more to the world than a great cup of coffee. It sees itself as a lifestyle brand and the promise it makes to consumers backs that up: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
- Coca-Cola - “To refresh the world. … To inspire moments of optimism and uplift. … To create value and make a difference.” While the Nike and Starbucks brand promises imply the product they create, Coca-Cola’s doesn’t mention a product or service at all. It aims for a mindset.
Create a strong, effective, measurable brand promise and, as you can see above, they enhance the tagline. Taglines are memorable, brand promises are deliverable.
In my digital agency, our tagline is:
Dedicated to Contractor Success
Our brand promise is:
Delivering Innovative Digital Solutions
Consider what your main theme is and how a strong, effective brand promise can help you create leads but, most importantly, measure and convert them to sales and profits.
Marketing is a crucial driver of success for any services company, but one that’s often not used to its full potential by contractors without a marketing background. Download a free marketing training package full of online courses, tools for creating a marketing plan from scratch, industry research on the subject and much more at EGIA.org/CBS-Marketing.
Gary Elekes is the president of EPC Training, co-founder of iMarket Solutions, an HVAC and plumbing contractor, and a recognized expert in lead generation and contracting with more than 30 years of experience in the trades. He is also a founding faculty member of EGIA Contractor University, which provides contractors with the training, tools and resources to build the businesses and lives of their dreams. For additional information, visit egia.org/university.