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Thread: Marketing individualism – Should I do what he did?

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    Luis Salazar is offline Member
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    Default Marketing individualism – Should I do what he did?

    Interestingly enough we have been asked this question many times: Company X / competitor X is doing it, Should we? Though it is not very helpful the answer is yes and no.
    Let’s consider the most basic facts about marketing as well as business strategy in general. Just like human beings every business is unique in its nature, strategy, its customers and its products. Granted that there probably many similarities based on a particular niche; however those small differences that make a business unique maybe the key to success.

    Why should you avoid being sucked into replicating an online marketing strategy? Generally speaking there many moving parts in a long term strategy: starting from defining a goal, differences in SWOT analysis, difference in measuring variables, accuracy in tracking and many other factors . Think of it this way: when purchasing a health plan will you adapt the one from your neighbor? Of course you won’t – your concerns maybe entirely different. You could have pre existing conditions, family member that may or may not require participation in your health plan, etc.

    It is no different in online marketing. It is understood that some basic actions will remain the same no matter how individualized your marketing efforts are. For instance there is no escaping the fact that a Facebook page or Twitter account is a must. But the key ingredients to success are not those standardized actions rather than those components that are unique to the given business. The key is to undertake additional actions that would set you apart from the masses.

    Let’s start our discussion by talking about what you do to set your and your business apart.

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    Lisa T's Avatar
    Lisa T is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Marketing individualism – Should I do what he did?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis Salazar View Post
    For instance there is no escaping the fact that a Facebook page or Twitter account is a must.
    I don't agree with this at all....I don't think either is a must to be successful in renting storage units. I do think a website that is easily findable is a must...however we have a nearby competitor who does not have one, and he does ok because he's on the main road into town. We have another nearby competitor whose website hasn't been updated since we've been here, and has obvious mistakes, dead pages, and typos, and they were foreclosed upon last year and are now bank owned...so just having a website doesn't make you bulletproof, and you can be successful without one at all if you have great drive-by.

    But I don't think having a FB page or Twitter is a must in storage, and someone will have to convince me of the necessity for either.


    As far as what sets us apart, I hate to say it, but the biggest thing I have heard over the years is that a) we answered the phone and b) we are here at the facility. After that, it's cleanliness and well-maintained. guess it's the basics after all.

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    Luis Salazar is offline Member
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    Default Re: Marketing individualism – Should I do what he did?

    Lisa, while there are exceptions for every rule, I don't think that we can downplay the importance of online marketing. Facebook and Twitter are free resources so there's no beating the amount of people you can reach for relatively nothing except a little time and effort. Not all storage companies are fortunate enough to have the prominent placement like the one you mention so pushing an online presence is key. I agree however that being personable and present are perhaps even more important than online marketing.

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    Lisa T's Avatar
    Lisa T is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Marketing individualism – Should I do what he did?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis Salazar View Post
    Lisa, while there are exceptions for every rule, I don't think that we can downplay the importance of online marketing. Facebook and Twitter are free resources so there's no beating the amount of people you can reach for relatively nothing except a little time and effort. Not all storage companies are fortunate enough to have the prominent placement like the one you mention so pushing an online presence is key. I agree however that being personable and present are perhaps even more important than online marketing.
    They are free except for the amount of time it takes for a person to maintain both and keep them fresh and active, and to alert people that the FB and Twitter accounts are there and come up with ways to encourage customers and potential customers to visit or add you.

    There are more productive marketing methods that storage personnel can spend their time on. You can spend a lot of time trying to get the general public to notice your Facebook account, or your existing tenants to like your FB page or visit it reguarly...and for what results? We used to have a facebook page...and all we got after two years of effort was a bunch of other local businesses that wanted to sell us something.

    Like I said, I would need to be convinced that anyone gets rentals from FB or Twitter. So..we have 5000 members on here...can anyone share how many rentals they have gotten from either of these sources?
    Last edited by Lisa T; 5th April 2012 at 09:23 PM.

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    Mel Holsinger is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Marketing individualism – Should I do what he did?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa T View Post
    They are free except for the amount of time it takes for a person to maintain both and keep them fresh and active, and to alert people that the FB and Twitter accounts are there and come up with ways to encourage customers and potential customers to visit or add you.

    There are more productive marketing methods that storage personnel can spend their time on. You can spend a lot of time trying to get the general public to notice your Facebook account, or your existing tenants to like your FB page or visit it reguarly...and for what results? We used to have a facebook page...and all we got after two years of effort was a bunch of other local businesses that wanted to sell us something.

    Like I said, I would need to be convinced that anyone gets rentals from FB or Twitter. So..we have 5000 members on here...can anyone share how many rentals they have gotten from either of these sources?
    I would just like to throw this in. I can remember not so long ago when people began talking about the internet, there were a lot of skeptics that said this thing will never work, Yellow Pages will always be the best way to advertise. Fast forward, here we are and I have heard the same about Face Book, Twitter, etc. My feeling is, as more and more people embrace various electronic media methods we will see an increase in renters from these avenues.

    These marketing tools take some time to update, they may not get anyone yet, and not everyone uses them but I for one am a believer that the more we try, the more we embrace new technology the better off we will be. I am getting our stores more involved with these methods and I am confident that in the end we will gain and retain customers.

    And yes we have already rented to customers who "liked us" on Face book.

    And I sure hope all my competitors out there disagree with me and do not embrace/try these methods, just as I continue to hope all my competitors are convinced the Yellow Pages are completely dead, and by all means, please do not ever try direct mail, it simply does not work. ( ok, some sarcasm here?).
    Mel Holsinger, President
    Professional Self Storage Management, LLC
    3434 E. Kleindale Ste. E
    Tucson, AZ 85716
    O: 520.320.9135
    F: 520.320.9435
    www.proselfstorage.com

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    Lisa T's Avatar
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    Default Re: Marketing individualism – Should I do what he did?

    Mel my point is, that most storage facilities do not have full-time marketing staff, they have people who do everything else around the place and do as much marketing as time allows, and therefore must choose the marketing methods that produce the most "bang for the buck" as far as time and cost.

    We have a once-a-month donated book sale here to benefit the library that brings in hundreds of people, we go to realtor open houses at new subdivisions and charity events around town and spend half a day handing out brochures and popcorn, and many other such events. If we get 10 rentals a month or more from such activities and a whole bunch of likes and an occasional rental from a FB page, which is the more productive use of marketing time?

    Then again, the demographics of your customer base may also be a consideration as to what marketing efforts are the most productive. And which bring the best return on investment. Direct mail does work in some areas, but we have found in previous efforts that it is very costly for the results we got. As far as yellow pages, there are 27 pages of self storage advertising in just one of 6 of the yellow page directories that are delivered here...the cost of advertising in all 6 is HUGE and many of our competitors are running full page yellow page ads...what are the odds of anyone finding us with even a 1/4 page ad among the 27 others pages of ads, or a prospective tenant may not even use the directories we choose to advertise in, since there isn't just one yellow pages any more? So here again, you may get some rentals from a yellow page ad, but it is the most productive use of your advertising dollars?

    All of these are decisions that each company has to make based on results in their area. and the original statement posted at the beginning of this topic regarding online marketing is that FB and twitter are a must....I don't think the day has come yet where they are a must.

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    Mel Holsinger is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Marketing individualism – Should I do what he did?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa T View Post
    Mel my point is, that most storage facilities do not have full-time marketing staff, they have people who do everything else around the place and do as much marketing as time allows, and therefore must choose the marketing methods that produce the most "bang for the buck" as far as time and cost.

    We have a once-a-month donated book sale here to benefit the library that brings in hundreds of people, we go to realtor open houses at new subdivisions and charity events around town and spend half a day handing out brochures and popcorn, and many other such events. If we get 10 rentals a month or more from such activities and a whole bunch of likes and an occasional rental from a FB page, which is the more productive use of marketing time?

    Then again, the demographics of your customer base may also be a consideration as to what marketing efforts are the most productive. And which bring the best return on investment. Direct mail does work in some areas, but we have found in previous efforts that it is very costly for the results we got. As far as yellow pages, there are 27 pages of self storage advertising in just one of 6 of the yellow page directories that are delivered here...the cost of advertising in all 6 is HUGE and many of our competitors are running full page yellow page ads...what are the odds of anyone finding us with even a 1/4 page ad among the 27 others pages of ads, or a prospective tenant may not even use the directories we choose to advertise in, since there isn't just one yellow pages any more? So here again, you may get some rentals from a yellow page ad, but it is the most productive use of your advertising dollars?

    All of these are decisions that each company has to make based on results in their area. and the original statement posted at the beginning of this topic regarding online marketing is that FB and twitter are a must....I don't think the day has come yet where they are a must.
    There is more than one way to skin a cat so to speak. My point was that as more and more technology is embraced the more and more ways to promote a store will will change. Thats great what you are doing, not saying that these are an end all but my point is that the original post in my opinion has a lot of merit, just because something takes some time and may not work for everyone does not mean it will not work for some.

    As to a full time marketing staff, our stores do not have this and the managers(and I love them all) are charged with their marketing of their individual store in many ways, and yes they are busy but I have been around this business long enough to also understand that often there is time to work on new things, there is time to embrace "non traditional marketing methods, and depending on your store size, activity etc I also encourage mangers if they can to reach out and try new things.

    As to the yellow pages, totally understand, does not work for everyone, yes the cost may be high but if I know that I am getting 2 dollars or more for every dollar I spend I will continue to do so.
    Mel Holsinger, President
    Professional Self Storage Management, LLC
    3434 E. Kleindale Ste. E
    Tucson, AZ 85716
    O: 520.320.9135
    F: 520.320.9435
    www.proselfstorage.com

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    FHARumRunner is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Marketing individualism – Should I do what he did?

    I'll have to agree with Lisa on this one. I have a descent web site that is easily accessable but more importantly I feel I have built a great reputation in this part of the city for having a safe, clean acessible facility. The vast majority of my rentals come from refferals and drive-bys. The website generates a few direct inquires every month but it takes a phone call and visit to seal the deal. I've never had a customer tell me that is was because of the website that they decided to rent. I think it's a great tool just like the yellow pages used to be for directing customers to me, that's all, maybe if I felt more comfortable with Twitter and FB they also would be of some use, but my current methods have kept this facility at over 90% for the last five years with net income levels that very few facilities ever achieve. So this old man will continue doing what I do best, the best way I know how.
    Last edited by FHARumRunner; 6th April 2012 at 01:15 PM.
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