Northeast HVAC News Guest Column
Marketing in the PHCE
industry: The Circles.
MARKETING…. A word that can bring even the strongest of business
owners to their
knees… or at least that used to be the case.
With the onset of more flexible forms of advertising, such as
pre-rolls, and Google ads, even the business with little to no
experience in marketing
is able to “dip their toe in” the marketing pool without a huge
commitment of time
The first thing I need to stress is that there is no silver
bullet. As much as we wish
that were the case, it’s impossible to run a unilateral
marketing campaign and see
successful results… unless you have an unlimited budget and can
spend millions on
a broadcast TV campaign…. but…let's bring it back to reality,
because that probably
is not going to happen any time soon.
start with how I like to categorize the different marketing
platforms. If you
envision four circles, the first ‘circle’, which, not
surprisingly is the most costly
‘circle’, contains broadcast media. This is where you find your
NBC, ABC, CBS and
FOX affiliates. Advertising in the world of broadcast TV will
typically get you the
best reach to the people you actually want to reach, but of
course there is a price tag associated with that.
The next ‘circle’ contains cable TV and radio. The cost for
these two forms of
advertising are surprisingly close. I love cable TV for
advertising because you can be super selective as to where the
commercial spot is shown, but you have to be very “hands on”
when it comes to placing your media buy because there is a vast
waste land of programming that will yield you no results. I am a
big fan of Monday
through Thursday ‘early evening’ and ‘evening’ programming on
cable and I feel it is
a great use of your marketing dollars. In some markets, I
believe that radio
advertising can be very effective. But you have to be careful.
If you are in a rural
town that has one major radio station, then it may be worth your
money. Does your
community have strong ties to local sports teams? High School?
College? Perhaps a
radio sponsorship during those sporting events would be a good
place to put some
marketing dollars. If you are in an area where many people
commute to work each
day, you may want to look at a “drive time” schedule on the most
There are many times when I feel that radio is not the place to
marketing dollars… but it varies from city to city.
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The third ‘circle’
contains social media and digital forms of advertising. This is
typically the most affordable area of advertising, but it needs to
be monitored closely in order to see success. Facebook Ads, Google
Ads, digital trade specific directories and YouTube pre rolls are a
few forms of advertising in this ‘circle’. The spots you run here
will typically be 10 or 15 second ads. You can be extremely specific
as to your audience reach and the analytics you receive at the
completion of any given campaign will give you a very accurate
picture of who put eyeballs on your ad.
The forth and final
‘circle’ contains everything else. Direct mail, outdoor
signage/billboards, websites, van wraps, athletic team sponsorship,
theater advertising, door hangers…. the list is endless. I think I
have utilized most every one of these forms of advertising at one
time or another… they all have a place and a purpose, but like any
marketing campaign, it has to be done right in order to see success.
Now for the million
dollar question! How much to spend??? As a general rule of thumb,
companies should spend around 5 percent of their total revenue on
marketing to maintain their current position. Companies looking to
grow or gain greater market share should budget a higher percentage,
typically around 10 percent.
Once you have that
number in mind, you will have to decide where you want to allocate
the funds. Keep in mind that television and radio advertising is
much like a game of poker, you need a ‘minimum’ spend to get in the
game; otherwise you are wasting valuable dollars. There are several
options if your budget does not allow for these types of
advertising, so don’t be discouraged, just get creative and get the
ball moving in the right direction.
Marketing is like the
“ever changing gobstopper” of business, but it is an essential piece
of the puzzle. Start slow, track your results, and watch your sales
is the co-owner of
Services, a Michigan based media company, that focuses on the
marketing needs of companies in the PHCE industry.