Case Study. Promoting U.S. Products and Portable Carpet Extractors
At a time when many carpet cleaning technicians were moving from portable carpet cleaning extractors to truck-based units, U.S. Products, was concerned that their business would be negatively impacted. All their machines were portables.
These were also hot-water portable extractors. In most cases, a hot-water extractor is more useful at removing soils such as grease, oil, wax, and other items that often find their way into carpet. However, as we will discuss later, this became a concern as the cleaning industry became “greener” focused.
U.S. products had a lot going for it at the time. Their machines were considered some of the most powerful and effective hot-water extractors in the industry. Many referred to them as the “Mercedes” of carpet extractors because they were so well made. However, just like a Mercedes, they tended to be a bit pricey.
When U.S. Products contacted AlturaSolutions, they asked us to do the following:
- Promote the flexibility and capabilities of portable carpet extractors.
- Explain why hot-water extractors (“hot-water” refers to the heat of the water/solution released onto the carpet) are more effective and how their speed and efficiency can improve worker productivity.
- Point out the value of these machines that cost more than other portables but are worth the money.
The first thing we decided to do was visit this client to learn about the manufacturing process and see how their portable extractors were made. The manufacturer had won awards for having one of the most cost-efficient and streamlined manufacturing sites in its state, a facility that helped them maintain both quality and high production levels.
We then went to work, contacting trade publications that included discussions about carpet cleaning and extraction in their editorial calendars. Surprisingly, there were many, such as this one for Buildings Magazine. Promoting the products also included not only cleaning-related magazines, but also facility management publications, education and healthcare publications, as well as insurance and restoration magazines that addressed such things as cleaning up after hazards and fires.
We then took advantage of several content creation strategies to promote U.S. Products
For instance, we brought in case studies. How better to tell the benefits of portable extractors over truck-mounted machines than to turn to carpet cleaning technicians that have realized this firsthand.
One user of the client’s equipment discussed how he was able to secure an annual contract with a multi-level office building because he used portable equipment. “With a truck-mount, you can’t get higher than the second floor. With a portable, we can get every floor in the building. Height does not matter.”
Dealing with the fact that these were hot-water extractors became a bit more difficult at the time because some green organizations and advocates claimed that hot-water extractors negatively affected the environment. For instance, they claimed the hot-water machines released fumes into the air that cold-water machines did not.
That can be true in the situation of mixing cleaning solutions at a faucet with hot water, but it is not necessarily correct when the water and solution are mixed by the machine, in the machine.
The green advocates also claimed hot-water extractors required building water heaters to pump more hot water, thereby increasing fuel consumption. The client’s extractors, however, heated the water internally and did not require hot water from the building.
We dispelled these issues with facts, again using marketing content. While it was not our intention, we made it clear that some of these green organizations and advocates had not thoroughly done their homework as to how hot-water carpet extractors actually work.
Finally, there was the cost issue. Surprisingly, this was very easy to address. Once again, we let the facts do the talking. Distributors of carpet extraction equipment updated us on how often certain other brands found their way into the shop needing repairs. When a machine is down, it can have severe repercussions for the carpet cleaning technician. A smaller company, for instance, may have to stop all work until their extractor is back up and running.
What we found is that on average, for every two times a competing portable carpet extractor needed repair, our client’s machine was only down once, many times less. If you added up the costs to repair these competing machines and the negative impacts caused by downtime, it became clear that paying more for the client’s extractors was an investment, not cost. Ultimately, it saved money.
This company grew significantly while we worked with them and eventually was sold to one of the largest manufacturers in the professional cleaning industry. Our client was a small company when we started. But their growth and market share made them ripe for an acquisition.
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