“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” You’ve heard it before, and while you might be able to work your way through parts of your home improvement business without a written, well-thought-out plan, when it comes to marketing, that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

Yet, for far too many dealers I work with, the extent of their marketing plans include goals of “X%” of revenue spent. While having a defined goal is a great way to track your efforts throughout the year, using this as your sole plan leads to “shiny object syndrome.” This makes you susceptible to the latest and greatest lead generation opportunity, or, even worse, the latest and greatest product that promises good margins. But the lower ticket drives your marketing costs up, because the cost of leads stays the same.

Think about it. Labor and material are what they are—a cost of doing business. With the tariffs situation, glass issues and a trucking nightmare driving up manufacturers’ costs, your ability to control your own costs is going to be limited.

Most of our forward-looking dealers understand the changes to the buying process that are happening now and how they’ll change even more in the near future. While you might think that might change how we pay salespeople, I believe we’ll have to pay more to acquire and retain high quality sales folks that are more consultative and educating, rather than those who close deals with just the brute force of their personalities.

Then there’s the question of marketing diversification. While most dealer-partners I talk with understand the necessity of not putting all of your lead generation eggs in one basket, because of the many hats that they wear, there is a tendency to stick with a couple of three (by the way, the urban dictionary says that I can say that) things that seem to work.

The answer is to create a written, well-thought-out home improvement marketing plan.

Next time we’ll get a little more in the weeds about the how, but, in the meantime, here’s some food for thought before we get into the nitty gritty for how a good marketing plan can deal with some of these issues.

Eggs

Part of the reason that smart folks, who know that they need to balance their lead gen efforts, don’t get it done is because the they don’t have a plan. You can certainly have effective lead generation efforts that “cost” more than your goals (and have other ancillary benefits), but you also need to plan for smart, lower-cost means for marketing as well.

Turbocharging

Planning allows you to really think about how to maximize your efforts and, thus, your results. Some of the smartest home improvement marketing pros that I know use multiple ways to target the same market, because they understand that different people process messages in different ways. More about that next time.

Sharpening the Saw

If you have a well segmented marketing plan, then training your sales teams becomes a little more focused. Selling a telemarketed lead is much different than a TV lead.

Size Matters

A well-researched home improvement marketing plan identifies opportunities for higher tickets, driving down overall marketing expenses.

Next time we’ll get down and dirty on how to create a leveraged marketing plan for your home improvement business in 2019!

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