How One Landscape Maintenance Business Used Marketing Strategy to Drive Marketing
One of our clients is in the landscape maintenance business. A large portion of their accounts is Home Owners Associations (HOAs) that use a property management firm to oversee the property. In working on their marketing strategy, we discovered that the job of a property manager is not easy.
In fact, there are so many people to please, costs to control and issues to keep at bay that part of our client’s positioning has been to “make their lives easier.” Their goal has been to nurture the relationships with property managers, HOA board members and the folks on the landscape committees so that they can do a solid job on the ground with crews maintaining the landscaping and be seen as the obvious choice when the contracts come up for renewal (typically every few years).
Here are some ways we are using our marketing strategy approach to create marketing that is simple and effective.
It wasn’t until we interviewed property managers during the strategy portion of the engagement that we gained insight into how tough their job can be. By putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and thinking about their needs, wants, and challenges you’re able to see things from their perspective and act accordingly.
For this example, HOA property managers have two:
- They answer to and interact with a group of stakeholders — board members, landscape committee members, homeowners and contractors doing work for the HOA, such as a landscape maintenance company. Each of these roles comes with its own needs and concerns, and the property manager has to deal with resolving conflicting needs.
- Budget is a key concern — There’s never enough money to keep everyone happy, and there are many ways to spend the limited funds to try to get the results needed. It’s the property manager’s job to act in the best interest of the HOA and stick to the budget.
- Coronavirus is at the top of everyone’s mind. With the continuing virus, daily press on the topic, the social distancing and sanitation measures that are being put into place, they have an opportunity to provide innovative solutions and education.
In talking to several property managers during the strategy phase of our engagement, I found that managing relationships and expectations can be incredibly stressful and difficult. A property manager has to solve problems, deal with emergencies and one of their least favorite, respond to the small group of nitpickers (those homeowners who look for problems and make the property manager’s job even more difficult).
This situation occurred recently when a frustrated property manager gave out the landscape maintenance foreman’s number to homeowners complaining about low-level issues. Responding to these “emergency” after-hours calls resulted in significant extra costs to the HOA since many turned out to not be emergencies. To help the property manager, our client created a script for property managers in the office fielding phone calls about non-emergency issues. Following the script and asking questions of the caller about what they observed helps to determine if the issue is serious enough to call in the landscape maintenance company on an after-hours call.
The benefits of implementing this script were several:
- it made the property manager’s life easier to manage those calls
- provided a tool to educate and manage expectations of homeowners
- reduced “emergency” calls and the costs charged to the HOA
- have improved relationships for all involved
We are taking this concept a step further. That script is valuable content, which can be leveraged with other clients too. They are sharing this content with other property managers to use (in fact, our client has presented on this very topic on a webinar for property managers). We are developing additional content that will educate homeowners, board members, and landscape committees about key ground issues that their HOA may encounter. Not only will this help the HOA, but it will also raise awareness of our client’s residential tree services.
The goal is to ensure that our client is positioned and seen as the obvious choice for contracts that come up for renewal, an indicator that is easy to track. Strong working relationships with property managers and HOA board members along with top quality work that is within budget will be the drivers.