Nicole Krawcke: Time to think outside the box
Take successful strategies from outside the industry and apply them to the trades.
Market disruption. It’s a hip, sexy new term that I hear everywhere nowadays. In fact, the last three industry conferences I attended all had sessions on how to become a “disrupter” or how Amazon has successfully disrupted numerous markets.
It’s true. Amazon has been a huge market disrupter for many industries, but especially retail stores. I admit I am an Amazon Prime member myself. Where else can you buy a baby shower gift, a dog car seat cover, some new kitchen rugs, an iPhone adapter and some Halloween leggings (Yes, I’m already thinking about Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday!) and have everything arrive on your doorstep the very next day? It’s a one-stop shop that’s incredibly convenient for the consumer. I also happened to order all this stuff during one of the largest sales of the year: Amazon Prime Day.
I was not the only one shopping on Amazon Prime Day. According to Amazon, this year’s Prime Day surpassed sales from last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, with members purchasing more than 175 million items during the two-day event. Additionally, Amazon announced it welcomed more new Prime members on July 15 than any previous day — and almost just as many on July 16 — making these the two biggest days ever for member sign ups. That’s huge. Now, how can plumbing contractors use this model in their own businesses?
David E. Rothacker of the Go Time Success Group had one idea on Service Roundtable’s Plumbers Digest forum.
“Amazon Prime Day is a feeding frenzy,” Rothacker commented. “What if you had a Club Membership Day? Hold it in a typical slow time of the year and relate your effort to Amazon. Put together a big campaign to build it up and offer crazy insane deals for a limited time. Only ‘x’ amount will be sold. Time the deals. Offer expires in ‘x’ hours, ‘x’ minutes.”
Rothacker went on to suggest coordinating with other contractors around the country to offer this deal on one specific day to allow plumbing, HVAC and electrical home service companies to own the day.
“If the greeting card industry can do it with meaningless days, so can we,” Rothacker added. “Watch it play out on Facebook. ‘Hey, my guy is offering incredible deals on such and such date, what about your A/C contractor?’”
This is one prime example of taking a successful national marketing strategy and applying it to contracting businesses. Another great example comes from Domino’s. The national pizza chain has marketed itself as a tech company simply by making it easy and convenient for its customers to buy pizza. They started by allowing customers to order via Twitter, then expanded to Amazon Alexa, Slack and Facebook Messenger.
Think about it. The way people interact with each other and the world has changed thanks to technology. People don’t want to pick up the phone to order food or make an appointment for their plumbing or heating contractor. They want to do so through an app or via online chat. I know plenty of contractors who have taken advantage of this emerging technology and have placed Live Chat windows on their websites. I know a few more who have gone a step further and created their own scheduling apps for their customers.
The bottom line here is contractors need to change with the times and that means getting creative in how their products and services are marketed and received. Don’t let the trades become just another disrupted industry.