There’s a new queen in Augusta, Georgia. You can see her high above the freeway, standing confidently in front of her home. Advanced Services Pest Control began using an eye-catching “Death to the Termite Queen” billboard last year, and the reaction has been great, said Jeff Annis, company CEO.
“I fell in love with ‘Death to the Queen’ right from the start,” he says. “I’ve always thought that total colony elimination is the key to success both entomologically and from a marketing perspective. I thought ‘Death to the Queen’ would ring really well with my customers.”
The campaign combines two keys to success for Advanced: using billboards and marketing to women. Annis estimates that today two-thirds of his customers are women. He says women usually make the household decisions, and they are protective of their homes.
Annis and Advanced Services took the Sentricon® System “Death to the Queen” platform and created a series of TV spots, direct mail pieces and the billboard featuring a “queen defending her castle.”
“My wife and most of the women I know consider themselves the queen of their castles,” Annis explains. “They don’t like it if another queen wants to come and destroy their investment.”
Outdoor advertising has been an important tool to attract customers for Annis, whose company has been certified to sell the Sentricon System since 1995 and services 6,000 sites.
“We’ve been growing our outdoor advertising over the years,” he says. “It costs pennies per impression. We think that putting the message out there as big as we can makes a big difference and catches the eye. We hope it’s catching the eye of the queen of all those households!”
And apparently it has. Since the billboard went up a year ago, Annis has gotten sales leads from it.
“People call saying they’ve seen our billboard,” he says. “We’ve had some anecdotal conversations where people say, ‘What do you mean it kills the queen?’ It gives us a chance to talk about termite biology. I think this billboard has really created some buzz.”
That message is important. Advanced Services uses printed pieces provided by Dow AgroSciences touting the “Death to the Queen” messaging, Annis says. The company is also diligent about sharing a video on the Sentricon System with new customers.
“We always send new customers the link to this video,” Annis says. “We really want them to know how scientifically proven Sentricon is — more than any other treatment.
“My advice is to make sure the customer knows that with Sentricon, they’ve got the best way there is to control the termite. Yes, they’re buying Sentricon, but they’re buying Sentricon and Advanced Services. You combine a local company with years of research that proves colony elimination, and that customer has to buy.”
Marketing to women is so engrained in the culture of Advanced Services, it’s in writing. New employees in sales are trained with the company’s playbook, which explains the way the company markets.
“In our playbook, we talk about ‘Death to the Queen’ and appealing to our ‘normal’ buyer,” says Annis. “We think our normal buyer is more often than not a female. We don’t make it something phony, but I think shaping how you discuss things to fit your marketplace is a good idea. So I don’t mind enlightening them to the fact that most often this decision is made by females, so be particularly tuned in to who they are as a group.”
Although Annis’ company sees the importance of marketing to women and the “Death to the Queen” messaging, he knows not all business owners do.
“I would challenge them to test it,” he says. “My theory here is based on a lot of research done by people like Dow AgroSciences. I never felt like I was sticking my neck out because the decision to use this material was based on a reasonable amount of study. It’s far from someone just making something up.
“We entrepreneurs invest a lot more of our time, effort and energy in things that are a lot less proven than this. It takes a really good entrepreneur to say, ‘They may be right or wrong, but let’s test it and give it a try.’”
Visit the cssresourcecenter.com to order all the Death to the Queen marketing materials.