In the last edition of the Executive Report, we discussed what a residential metal roofing customer looks like. In this edition, we will begin a series on marketing residential metal roofing. Knowing your target customer is important but only valuable if you can turn that individual into a cost-effective lead. Residential metal roofing is a specialty, niche product that requires effective marketing to be successful. Consumer awareness of metal roofing options is continually rising, but few consumers call a home improvement company looking for a metal roof 2 -3 times the cost of traditional roofing materials. The companies out there that are enjoying the greatest success with residential roofing are generating leads – and making their market! We find that the most successful companies are spending 8 – 15% on marketing in order to generate the consumer interest and awareness necessary.
As with any expense and investment, especially when spending 8 – 15% of gross revenue, tracking your numbers is critical. You must track costs in relation to revenue, but also the effectiveness of each marketing effort by tracking the cost per lead and set, demo, and closing rates. We have known too many companies cease to exist after dumping dollars into marketing efforts they failed to realize were no longer effective. We also know many companies that fail to adapt to new marketing methods and instead spend 18% or more on traditional methods that continue to increase in cost. You can be incredibly successful spending 8 – 15%, but you must know the location and effectiveness of every dollar spent.
Before spending a dime, however, you must define a consistent brand and identity for your organization. If you fail to establish what makes your organization unique, different, and special, any marketing, regardless of medium, will be less effective than it could be. By carrying this unique message across all of your marketing efforts, you will stand a much better chance of separating yourself from the advertisements we have all become so accustomed to tuning out. Rich Harshaw of Monoplize Your Marketplace, a speaker at our 2015 Annual Dealer Meeting, is a pioneer of this identity concept.
Gone are the times when developing a brand only meant you needed a prettier logo and higher quality commercials than your competition; today’s consumers are much too savvy, educated, and discriminate. You must develop a brand and identity that articulates what separates you from the competition. It can be anything, but it must be something, and it must be specific and personal to your organization. It cannot be blanket statements like, “we care about quality,” or “we take care of our customers,” but rather SPECIFIC details on how your attention to quality is manifested and what it means for your customer.
I have a customer whose identity is customer service. They do an incredible job communicating and caring for their customers from the moment they make contact through the end of the project. One element of their marketing message is “The Mikey Principle.” They promise they will not employ a team member to work on their customers’ homes that they would not also trust with babysitting their son, Mikey. That is specific and personal and, most of all, true. If your identity is quality, how is that manifested? Do you pay painstaking attention to vent pipe flashings? Do you use a more expensive fastener to ensure the project performs as promised? What does “quality” mean and will customers tell you care about it more than your competition?
By developing a unique brand and identity, you can then create memorable marketing materials that will stand apart from traditional and stale messaging. Consumers will also develop an emotional connection with your organization before you are ever in contact. By promoting your brand and identity, they learn the essence of who you are as an organization and WHO you are will resonate much more than simply what you do. They will want to work with you when they are next in the market for a roof, as opposed to only considering you as one of the three bids they plan to collect.
We will discuss the nuts and bolts of various marketing methods in future issues of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report, but nothing is more important than first establishing your brand and identity. I have included some questions below to help you determine what makes you more valuable and unique than your competition. Dig deeper than the immediate answer to any of these questions. Continue to ask “how?” and “why?” till you know exactly how your identity is manifested in the day to day operations of your business.
Where do you, the owner, invest the majority of your time?
What segment of your business are you most passionate about?
Why do you still wake and go to work every morning?
How do you sell differently than your competition?
How do you support customers differently than your competition?
How do you install differently than your competition?
How is your team different than your competition? How do you treat them different than your competition?
How are your products different than your competition?
A word of caution – any identity should create an expectation from your customer. They want to do business with you because of your identity. They will be severely disappointed if you fall short of promises and expectations or they will be ecstatic – and you will be incredibly successful – if you establish and fulfill a powerful identity.
Thank you, once again, for participating in this discussion. I would relish the opportunity to discuss the topic further or help any of you identify and craft your own identities.
Please do not hesitate to let me know how we can serve you.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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