Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's Your Pepsi Taste Test??

Yesterday, I had an extremely insightful conversation with well-respected marketing guru (he won't label himself this out of humility, but I will, I've researched his track record) Mark Schaefer of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. Mark and I discussed many topics, and I listened with an attentive ear, hoping to absorb as much of this man's knowledge as I could in the hour conversation he had alloted in his day specifically for me. When time came for me to speak, I told him of the conception of Eco-Protective Products, our goals and core-values. I recounted to him success stories, and other stories where we faltered in our actions but learned valuable lessons. 

Courtesy: Schick
As if he were a new customer, I explained why Eco-Protective Products offers greater value to potential clients versus an established named brand paint supplier. I poured my heart into the conversation because I pour my heart into our business.

Mark was patient, allowing me finish before he finally spoke, and his message couldn't have been more of a bucket of cold water to the face kind of wake up call. No this isn't an Ad for Schick Razor's but that image (right) pretty much sums it up.

I'm paraphrasing and embellishing Mark a little here, but his message was clear to me: Where is that heart, that person behind the business in your marketing message? Why is all of what makes your company better absent from your website, blog, and Twitter account? Why are you so cookie cutter and bland -- just trying to be another sheep in the herd? Do you want to your marketing message to be a carbon copy of your competition, competition whom you've admitted is bigger and more well known? Are Green and Sustainability the only legs on which your business stands, or is Eco-Protective Products something more? Something better?

It boiled down to him asking me, "What is your Pepsi taste test"? What sets you apart from the herd? In our industry's terms, do we want to be a substitute for Sherwin Williams, PPG, or Benjamin Moore? And the answer is no. We want to be more. What about you?

  • Do you want a to give your customers and partners a more fulfilling and valuable experience versus the competition? 
  • Do you offer higher quality, longer lasting products and services?
  • Does your company offer more cost-effective solutions?
  • Do your customers know your business beyond the sale; do you know your customers? 
If you answered YES above, don't be afraid to promote those facts!

Hey that's me (left) & Richard Feis (Right) of
Greenhaven Group in Atlanta, GA
Featured product (floor & panels on wall)
Eco-Coat 1500
So What to Expect Now

Moving forward, we will not be abandoning our core message of practicing sustainability in design, construction and daily life, but we will also give you a greater opportunity to learn about what comprises Eco-Protective Products. 

  1. On our website, you'll see us highlighting more what differentiates us from bigger paint companies than makes us so similar. Here is where we WANT your feedback. Where do other companies fall short? What can be done better to make your life and painting experience easier & better? You guys, our customers and friends, will help develop the future of Eco-Protective Products.
  2. Featured on both this blog and on Eco-Protective Products' site, you will see new faces -- some recognizable -- some may be you!! We are going to feature our customers because nothing defines a business more than its customers.
  3. We are also inviting our partners, friends, and employees to begin guest posting. This writer does not have all the answers, but I'm sure one of my far more knowledgeable colleagues may have the answer a reader is seeking. So if you're interested in guest posting, shoot me an email here.
  4. More personal stories -- we are a family owned business. As a part owner, I have done everything from help unload and blend raw materials in order to produce paint, to being integral in every step of the customer relationship process (first contact all the way to product application and onto shaking hands with a happy customer/ new friend when the project is completed). I want to share with you our experiences to provide you a window into the men and women who comprise Eco-Protective Products
In closing, whether you are a small business owner, a marketing professional, or just a person in this world, Mark struck a chord with me, and I want you to think about whether we should be spending our energy comparing ourselves, both similarities and differences, with our competition and the rest of the herd, or should we concentrate on describing WHO WE ARE and what makes us unique, makes us better.

We thank you for taking the time to read this post, but we really want you to be a part of the discussion moving us forward in 2011. Please, share with us a comment below, or if you prefer, you can email me directly here or call, (888) 809-8995 Ext 102.

Thanks again and warm regards,

Jamey Burrell
VP, Marketing & Business Development
Eco-Protective Products

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