What Are You Famous For?

Last week I had a conversation with the owner of a home improvement company on the East Coast. The business has been open for more than fifty years, and until fairly recently it concentrated exclusively on replacement windows. Name and location are removed here.

They have expanded into other areas of home remodeling, and changed their name from _____ Replacement Window Company to ________ Windows, Doors And More. In spite of this, the owner told me, the vast majority of new customers are still coming to him for windows. He wants to increase his non-window business, and asked what I thought of an advertising campaign in which he listed all the things his company can do — kitchens, bathrooms, master bedrooms, etc.

I advised against it — told him that the most successful campaigns focused on one thing. It was my opinion that the fastest way to introduce his non-window services to new customers was to advertise windows.

My reasoning: after fifty years, the business is famous, and trusted, for windows. That’s they’re “point of entry” — the thing new clients ask about first. Because of the equity he’s built, they will bring in more new customers, faster, by going after more window business. If their house has windows, it’ll have a kitchen… and a bathroom. Start the relatioinship with windows, and they’ll be back for other projects.

It wasn’t a great conversation. My guess is that when we hung up the phone, he still felt that a window campaign would close off other opportunities, while I continue to believe it will open them.

So it was with great interest that I read Tom Ray’s essay on the restaurant business in the Achievers Circle newsletter this week. Ray is the Executive Vice President of Jim Doyle & Associates, and has spent years traveling the country, working with business owners on their marketing plans.

Ray described a meeting he had with the owner of a casual dining restaurant. The establishment was famous for burgers, but the owner wanted to sell more steaks.

I call [this] the “Michael Jordan syndrome.” You’ve got the greatest basketball player who ever lived, and he wants to try his hand at baseball!? Just dunk it!

So what did I do? I brought back a strategy to sell more steaks… by advertising burgers!

The campaign Ray designed capitalized on the restaurant’s reputation for the Best Burger in Town, and advertised a specialty burger. The specialty burger is now the #2 seller on the menu, the campaign has been running for several months, and new traffic is way up.

In his case, burgers are his point of entry. If you want to sell more steaks, advertise burgers, get new faces in the door, give them a great experience, and tell them to come back for steaks. Like my colleague, Don “the Guru of Ads” Fitzgibbons, says, “If you want to sell parrots, advertise parakeets! Everyone who buys a $700 parrot bought a $29 parakeet first.”

For the East Coast home improvement guy, window are his point of entry — his “burger”, or  “parakeet”. He’ll get more kitchen and bathroom jobs by advertising windows.

What’s your point of entry?


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2 thoughts on “What Are You Famous For?

  1. Very interesting article. It makes complete sense. We usually seek experts in physicians, mechanics and even Realtors. “Michael Jordan Syndrome” is the perfect analogy.

  2. For being a nutjob rock and roller software geek that predicted the 2008 economic crash based on energy and currency volatility.

    And for my killer Hungarian Mushroom soup.