• Contractingbusiness 1990 Ibmselectric

    Who's the Expert Here?

    June 18, 2010
    Anything Uncle Sam can do, you can do better.

    I found a great marketing brochure the other day, designed and written for restaurant owners. Its purpose is to inspire them to move towards an energy efficiency mindset, including incorporating a slew of new products.

    This baby had it all. Great information on energy, relevant data, tables and charts, eye-catching graphics, and some of the best motivational copy I’ve ever seen. So who do you think produced this marketing marvel? The good ol’ U.S. government.

    Ya gotta hand it to Uncle Sam. He’s a fast learner. Most people his age would have retired long ago, having never touched anything more complicated than an IBM Selectric! But don’t be fooled. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency know how to go to market, and they’ve got plenty of cash to get it done.

    EPA GreenChill is one example. That’s the consortium of manufacturers and supermarkets who are devoted to energy efficiency initiatives. But you know just as much as they do about efficiency. You’ve made a career of it.

    So what are you doing to reach your customers with relevant information to inform and inspire to something better? Who’s the expert, the government, or you?

    Ladies and gentlemen, Uncle Sam may not be taking away business, but he is taking the high ground as an information provider. Invest in communications. Get yourself lined up with a quality design agency or PR group, and establish an information campaign that shows you know what you’re talking about, and that you are the refrigeration/HVAC expert. You should have quality printed material that documents your company's history, capabilities, projects, affiliations, and expertise.

    And, by the way, are you entering contests? Have you nominated yourself — or had someone else nominate you —for a Contracting Business Commercial Refrigeration Contractor of the Year Award http://bit.ly/CBCRCOY or Commercial HVAC Contractor of the Year? http://bit.ly/GilletteCB

    IF YOU ALSO DO HVAC DESIGN/BUILD, Contracting Business also presents annual Design/Build Awards for commercial HVAC retrofits and new construction. Your peers want to see your best D/B work. AND...YOU...CAN...USE...AWARDS...AS...MARKETING...TOOLS!

    • Do you issue press releases to local and national media outlets?
    • You must get aligned as a local expert with local media, especially now, when energy is on everyone’s mind.
    • Your Internet presence should be established by now, and not by a high school kid down the street (I know it’s a start; he’ll get better), or a pal who’s trying to make some extra bucks designing websites out of his basement.
    • If you establish a promotional category on your website, keep it current. I saw a website for a company that had in the “articles” section an article which the company president had written more than five years ago for a trade publication. Awards, too, must be current and relevant to the times.
    • A social media presence is also essential, but play it smart. Make it strictly for business. Don’t use the same Twitter or Facebook account for business and personal use. Separate them. Stay focused on your business, but check each of those once a day and post something relevant to the others.
    • Your trucks must be different. They should broadcast your specialties, your technician’s training or certification, be clean, and look sharp. Fewer penguins, more capabilities.