Partying With a Purpose

Originally published
Originally published: 4/1/2012

 2J Supply is a wholesale distributor of heating and air conditioning products in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. This year, the family-owned company celebrates it 50th anniversary. We asked the company’s marketing manager, Tracy Martin, to explain 2J’s anniversary marketing plan.

Anniversary Best Practices from 2J Supply

•    Start Early: The earlier, the better! You need at least one solid year of planning.
•    Establish a Top-Down Team: 2J’s owners have been intricately involved in every stage of the planning. They established and have maintained the culture at 2J Supply; therefore, their involvement is crucial. Others involved: marketing manager for planning and execution; sales manager for sales-goal setting and sales-incentive planning; and the sales team for spreading the word and keeping the “buzz” going.
•    Use Multiple Channels: Any anniversary’s marketing plan should be broad and include as many different media as possible. Today, marketers can use so many tools and resources that there is no excuse for not spreading the buzz across multiple platforms. 
•    Create an Innovative Funding Strategy: 2J wanted to “go big” for the 50th anniversary but also be responsible with spending. The marketing manager came up with a solution by creating tiered levels of sponsorship for vendors and vendor representatives. For a financial contribution, they receive a wide variety of benefits from 2J Supply, some of which include: featured vendor for print and digital marketing throughout 2012; specific promotions designed to promote vendor products; POP displays; admission to appreciation dinner and sales show; select on-hold messages, and recognition on 2J Supply’s 2012 calendar.
•    Measure Your Success: 2J is doing this with specific goals associated with most of the anniversary plans and activities. For example, the company set a target number for attendance at its sales show; targeted sales-growth percentage goals with sponsor vendors; and expectations regarding the number of dealers that qualify for the trip program. 

 Anniversaries are important milestones to a company’s customers and employees. We’ve made both part of our celebration, but we’ve also aligned our yearlong anniversary marketing strategy with our sales strategy. Sales goals are a huge component. Our intent is to gain market share, strengthen customer relationships, and build loyalty all year long.

Here are some highlights of our plan:

•    Our entire sales team is focused on the anniversary because their performance and sales numbers can lead to big incentives for them and for their customers. Specifically, we have designed a way for our sales team to qualify for leisure trips based upon specific performance goals.     We have planned a trip incentive program to reward our loyal customers as well. Customers can qualify for one of two trips: San Diego or Maui, Hawaii. Part of the qualification strategy includes a point structure in which we reward our customers for being loyal and matching historical purchases. There is an even greater reward for customers who grow and increase their business with 2J Supply. Each and every one of our customers has a unique qualification goal.

•    There’s also a component for employees. More than 25% of our staff have 10 or more years of tenure. Like many companies, 2J Supply has a rich family-history: There is the Trimbach Family name, and then there are all of the people at 2J Supply who make up the company “family.” Owners Greg and Larry Trimbach have a plan to honor and individually recognize co-workers at our annual Profit Party and Anniversary Celebration event in April.

 Additionally, we remained dedicated during our strategy and planning sessions not to do something just to do it — all aspects would have an integrated goal within the plan for success. When our anniversary year has ended, we want to look back and have the ability to measure the success of our strategic plan.
Our marketing efforts are extensive, but also very focused. From a traditional print marketing perspective, we developed a monthly schedule of activities including:

•    statement stuffers,
•    point-of-purchase displays and handouts,
•    advertisements with industry publications,
•    informational and promotional handouts,
•    an anniversary calendar promoting our trip program each month; and,
•    three-dimensional direct-mail pieces.
Digital marketing includes promotions via:
•    our Facebook page,
•    our YouTube Channel, on which we regularly feature videos to promote the trip programs,
•    monthly email campaign,
•    QR codes,
•    on-hold recordings,
•    monitors at our branches that sit at the counters and display various images to convey our anniversary messages and promotions; and,
•    our website very effectively acts as a clearinghouse of information for the anniversary.  

 Our overall marketing mix has different “personalities.”  For example, the editorial tone on our Facebook page and the videos on our YouTube Channel are much more fun and informal than that of our website. Additionally, we have branch-specific celebrations planned for each of our eight locations throughout
the year. We cannot reveal all of our secrets, but we have plenty of “fun” included.

 We also plan to celebrate not only the past, but also the present and the future. All three are important to acknowledge, but our planning is very much in the here and now and leads into the future. We want to recognize and appreciate our current relationships with our customers and strengthen them so that we remain partners into the future.  

Tracy N. Martin is Marketing Manager for 2J Supply, a wholesale distributor of heating and air conditioning products in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

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