[Please forgive the formatting. This is what happens when you write your post in Word and paste it into Typepad. Yeesh, I wish they would fix that.]
The most common question I get regarding PyroMarketing is, “How do I find the driest tinder?” In case you’re just tuning in, the driest tinder is PyroMarketing-speak for those people most likely to buy your product, benefit from it, and become enthusiastic customer evangelists. They are the point of origin for all marketing fires and the place where you should concentrate your marketing resources.
Since I get the question so often I like to return to it now and again with examples from various businesses that illustrate what I’m talking about and, hopefully, provide you with insight into how best to gather the driest tinder for your business. I thought I’d share a good example I encountered the other day.
The airport restaurant was crowded and I walked up to the last open table at the same time as another gentleman. We each grabbed a chair, introduced ourselves, and sat down to share a meal; two hungry strangers waiting for our planes. His name was Tom Capizzi, Jr. and he was headed to Wisconsin to race at Road America.
Racing was his hobby, but his day job was serving as president of the business his father had started 30 years ago, Capizzi Home Improvement, the largest home improvement and remodeling contractor on Cape Cod.
We swapped stories about our families and our jobs. And after I gave him a copy of my book, our conversation turned to marketing. “I’ve got to find ways to generate more sales leads,” Tom said. “Okay, let’s talk about that” I said. “Describe for me the people who hire your firm. What circumstances or behaviors call them out as prospects?” Tom thought for a moment and said, “Well, we get a lot of roofing calls after a good rain, and we also get calls from new home owners when they discover problems with their house.”
“Great,” I said, “Let’s talk about those new home owners. If people who buy new homes often hire contractors to fix problems once they move in, then your job is to identify new home owners and be there when they discover problems. That’s not so easy for a radio or newspaper ad.”
“What if you started a home inspection company,” I asked? “Most home buyers pay $500 or more for this service. You could empower local realtors to offer your services for free to their clients and soon they’d be recommending you over existing inspection services. Your inspectors could identify all of a home’s problems before the buyers moved in Then your home improvement sales people could provide quotes on repairs. Knowing the cost might even allow the buyer to negotiate the expense out of the home’s purchase price or make the repairs a contingency of sale.”
“Or, how about charging a competitive price for the inspection, but giving that same amount back as a credit toward repairs made by your remodeling company? Instead of trying to generate leads by spending money on traditional advertising, you would generate leads by way of a profitable business expansion. You would create leads while making money!”
When asked to write a marketing plan most business people make a list of traditional advertising tactics and decide which ones to employ. But I think there is a better way. Start with a blank sheet of paper and ask, “Who are the people that buy my product and what circumstances or behaviors call them out of the crowd? How can we identify people in those circumstances and be there as they experience them?” Forget demographics. A person’s age, race, sex, or income did not make them a prospect for home repairs or remodeling, but a behavior like buying a new house often did. And forget traditional tactics. The solution in this case wasn’t an advertisement, but a complimentary business.
Who are the “new home buyers” for your business and what is your “home inspection” opportunity? Discuss this question with your staff and see if it leads to new, innovative, and more cost-effective marketing plans. I’d love to hear about the ideas you generate. Leave a comment or send me an email if you have the time.
I’d like to send a shout out to Tom with thanks for buying dinner. To the rest of you I say…Spread the fire. GS