With more than 100 different vendors offering thousands of products and services to the professional pest management industry, how does a company stand out from the crowd?
If you’re Allergy Technologies you follow the lead of Marvel Comics and create an industry superhero — “The ActiveGuardian” — utilizing the latest digital advertising techniques to make him come alive.
“We wanted to create a character that would reflect the unique nature of our product, ActiveGuard Mattress Liners, a paradigm-shifting technology for bed bug control,” observed Joseph Latino, chief operating officer, Allergy Technologies.
“We’re not a company the size of a Syngenta or Bayer, so we don’t have the budget to market our products everywhere. That’s why in addition to our print advertising, we decided to invest in non-traditional digital advertising,” reinforcing the fact ActiveGuard Mattress Liners “aren’t a traditional product,” Latino said.
Towards that end, Latino instructed his marketing department to come up with an out-of-the-box way to market the company’s mattress liners, which feature permethrin-impregnated fabric that has been shown to be effective against both susceptible and field-resistant strains of bed bugs.
Used as a complement to any existing bed bug control program or as the centerpiece of a proactive, preventive program, the ActiveGuard label features no cautionary signal words or use restrictions.
Saving the Day.
“Traditional print media is an important part of every company’s advertising mix, but I wanted my team — as well as our media partners — to come up with something unique that embodied the spirit of our ActiveGuard Mattress Liner messaging,” Latino added. “It’s a novel product, so I wanted us to come up with a novel way to market it.”
Following extensive discussions, Latino and his marketing team came up with the idea of creating an industry superhero who would assist PMPs in solving their most challenging bed bug problems, delivered to the marketplace in an animated fashion. “We took the traditional belly-band everyone has seen in industry trade magazines for decades and digitized it, creating a 90-second video featuring the ActiveGuardian,” he said.
True to the spirit of other legendary superheroes, Allergy Technologies went to great lengths to make sure “The ActiveGuardian” was honest and forthright, particularly when describing the benefits of the company’s product. “We took great pains to make sure everything in the video was technically accurate,” Latino said. “For instance, when the ActiveGuardian arrives on the scene to solve his customer’s bed bug problem, the pests don’t die immediately, reinforcing the fact ActiveGuard Mattress Liners don’t simply trap the bed bugs between the mattress and the liner, but actually kills them within 72 hours of contact.
Other key features and benefits of ActiveGuard Mattress Liners include:
- Continuously prevents and controls bed bugs and dust mites for up to two years
- Kills bed bugs and dust mites in mattresses and box springs
- Easy to install
- Four sizes fit all mattresses and box springs
- User-friendly label with no signal words or precautionary warnings
- Maintenance free — “just set it and forget it”
- Active ingredient is used globally for a variety of public health uses
- Extensively lab and field tested
The animated superhero not only educates PMPs about several of the aforementioned customer benefits, but invites those who haven’t yet incorporated ActiveGuard into their treatment protocols to give the product a try through the company’s Free Liner Trial Program.
“Our mattress liners typically go through a three-step sales process before being purchased by PMPs…awareness, trial and adoption,” Latino observed. “First, we have to make PMPs aware of the unique features and benefits of our product. Second, PMPs have to try it in a number of their accounts. And third, once they see how effective ActiveGuard Mattress Liners can be in the field, they must adopt it for use as part of their treatment protocol.”
That’s a long sales cycle, requiring both a high-profile marketing effort and patience on the part of the Allergy Technologies management team. “Even though I’m not the most patient person in the world, patience is a virtue,” Latino said. “Our Free Liner Trial Program allows PMPs to test our product in real-world situations to determine if it will enhance their bed bug treatment strategy. And once they try it, we’re confident they’ll be impressed enough with the product to purchase more.” (Visit www.allergytechnologies.com/freetrial to learn more.)
Since being introduced several months ago, the ActiveGuardian video has been viewed thousands of times by PMPs, raising the profile of the pest management industry’s first superhero. “We wanted the video to be both fun and informative,” Latino said, “and I think we accomplished that goal. The pest control industry is a rather stoic industry and bed bugs are a dour subject, so we wanted to have some fun with the topic.”
If that was the goal, mission accomplished. Latino said when the video aired at Truly Nolen’s international franchise conference earlier this year, the response from attendees was very positive. “They loved it,” he said.
“Our industry is in desperate need of creative ways to deliver our message. Our feeling is the same old ads get the same old results. We wanted to enhance industry awareness of our product in a creative way and we think we’ve accomplished that goal with the ActiveGuardian,” Latino said.
“We want pest management professionals to view ActiveGuard Mattress Liners as an integral part of a solution to their problems,” he said, with the ActiveGuardian perhaps not leaping tall buildings in a single bound, but helping to resolve bed bug problems in those buildings in a timely and cost-effective fashion.