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Friday, August 29, 2014

Cindy Mannes

Cindy Mannes is chief marketing and strategy offices for Atlanta-based Arrow Exterminators.

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[Mannes on Marketing] Celebrate your Milestones

Mannes on Marketing

August 26, 2014

In our industry, we are all aware of the value of public perception. However, there are many people, even today, who don’t understand the value pest control professionals provide — protecting the public’s health and property while caring for our environment. There are many tactics available to help communicate your value and improve your image in the community, but one very often overlooked is “milestone marketing.”

Celebrating milestones such as anniversaries, new locations, longevity in a community and more is an ideal way to attract consumer attention, garner media support and increase employee engagement. It also provides the opportunity to thank customers for their role in helping you reach the milestone and can distinguish you from your competition.

Promoting an anniversary adds a great deal of credibility to your business as it demonstrates longevity, staying power and success. According to The New York Times, “anniversary campaigns are part of a trend inspired by the economy that could be called comfort marketing, as advertisers invoke misty, water-colored memories of the past to woo consumers into buying products in the present.”

Comfort marketing builds an emotional connection with existing and potential customers, reminding them that you have been there when they needed you in the past and will be there in the future as well. It is a proven way to remind customers of the value you provide protecting their home, family and property and why you should be their pest control company.

So, how do you effectively celebrate your milestones in a way that will generate positive results? As with any endeavor, you need a solid plan. The first step is identifying the audiences you want to reach, including existing customers, potential customers, employees, local media and community leaders.

Secondly, what is your message? Are you celebrating a significant anniversary, a grand opening or length of time in one community? Will it be a year-long celebration or a simpler one-time event? No matter the milestone, you now have the opportunity to showcase your history, core values and plans for the future to multiple audiences. One note of caution — when crafting your message, be sure to include plans for the future so that potential customers know that while you may be celebrating the past, you are more than capable of meeting the needs of today and tomorrow.

Once you have identified your audience and your message, you can begin identifying the tactics you want to use to communicate your message. There are many to choose from, such as traditional media options like billboards, radio and TV; public relations, social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), community relations; and your network of partners.

Additionally, you don’t want to forget a valuable resource — your team of employees. Engaging your employees in the celebration of company milestones will not only impact overall employee engagement, but will provide a very effective tool in communicating your message to existing customers and the potential customers they encounter daily.
 

Case Study: Arrow Exterminators.

At Arrow, we are putting many of these tactics into action celebrating our 50th anniversary. It was important to the entire Arrow organization that we honor our past and focus on our future, which is why we say “50 Years Young.” We know we are just getting started! We have built a very comprehensive plan, and some of the tactics include a year-long celebration where we will thank our employees and customers in many ways throughout the year for their ongoing support. We also will feature a broad PR initiative focused on our longevity and Arrow’s positive impact in the communities we serve.

Additionally, we will have traditional and social media dedicated to communicating our 50 Years Young message and also recognize the milestone in all our standard marketing efforts. It will be hard for anyone who encounters Arrow or an Arrow employee over the next year not to realize we are 50 Years Young!
 

Final Thoughts.

As you think about your plans for the next few years, consider adding milestone marketing to the mix. You can invest a lot of time and money searching for a creative hook or new campaign to promote your business, when the perfect solution to helping you reach your goals may be right in front of you.

 


The author is chief marketing and strategy officer for Arrow Exterminators, Atlanta, and can be contacted at cmannes@giemedia.com.