[My Biggest Mistake] Wrap It Up! But Do It Right...

Departments - My Biggest Mistake

February 20, 2014
Mark Hunter

When you have a limited marketing budget, you need to be creative. Rather than shelling out big bucks for TV, radio and Yellow Pages ads, I have built my marketing program primarily around my website and social media efforts. About a year ago, I decided to add one more dimension: a truck wrap. I found out quickly that there’s a right way and a wrong way to wrap. Of course you’re reading this story because I started with the wrong way. Here’s what happened:

I had the wrap designed to include my Georgia-based company’s logo — my company name, LandMark Pest and Wildlife Solutions, and the lighthouse image I’ve used as a symbol since I started my business (I love the coast, and a lighthouse seemed a great way to illuminate my business name) — along with our phone number. I thought it looked great. Other people thought so, too. They would come up to me and tell me how pretty my lighthouse was. Then they would ask me what kind of lighthouse services I offered. Not the response I was looking for!

Shortly after wrapping my truck, I drove it to a meeting with my trusted business adviser, Hal Coleman, and couldn’t wait to ask him what he thought. “Well, Mark, you’re paying me to tell you the truth. Do you really want my honest opinion?” he asked. I said yes. He replied, “It’s a pretty lighthouse, but what in the world does a lighthouse have to do with what you do for a living?”

Hal was right. The people who approached me were right. In being so tied to my lighthouse, which was an image that held personal meaning for me but apparently served only to confuse others, I had lost sight of the purpose of my wrap: to let people know in an instant the type of services I offer and get them to call.

Even though business was solid, in the back of my mind I was haunted by the question of how much better business might be if I were to change the wrap to a more appropriate design. I went back to the truck-wrapping company and asked them what they thought. “Honestly,” they said, “we wondered what a lighthouse had to do with pest management, but you’re the customer, and we give our customers what they want.”

Take Two.

Well, this customer wanted a new design. And guess what? My new wrap, which features large images of wildlife and puts the focus on “Pest & Wildlife Solutions” rather than “LandMark” (although my company name is still featured prominently), is pulling in amazing results:

  • My “walk-up traffic” has increased substantially, as people come up to me at the gas station, post office and anywhere else I happen to stop. In fact, my local post office has become one of my strongest business pick-up locations as people stop me to discuss their wildlife issues and ask if I can help. Recently while I was pumping gas, I noticed another customer looking at my truck as he walked back to his vehicle from the service station. He was so fixated on my wrap that he walked right into a parked car! He was a little embarrassed, but that didn’t stop him from grabbing a second eyeful of my truck.
  • My call volume and website hits are growing fast. People are telling me that they saw my truck and got my number or URL from the wrap. (I made sure the second time around that both were large enough for someone to see while driving by.)
  • Children have become my secret marketing tool. Fascinated by the animal images, they point my truck out to their parents, who then look closely to find out more about the services we offer.

My experience has taught me that wraps, provided they are well designed, can become a vital component of marketing success. How can you make sure your wrap will work? Remember that a picture paints a thousand words: Use images of the pests you treat. If it’s not in your name, include a line that tells people you offer pest or wildlife management services. Then make sure that your company name, phone number and URL are all prominent.

Above all, keep the message clean, concise and to the point — just like a billboard. People who are driving by don’t have time to read a long-winded message. They want to know what you do and how you can help them. Your wrap can get that conversation started and lead to a virtually limitless number of new business opportunities.


As told to Donna DeFranco.