(Marketing Strategy)

The #1 Best HVAC Club Membership To Attract Clients And Sell

There are literally over a million ways to build your HVAC club membership, but where do you start, and more importantly, where do you stop?

Ryan Chute
Ryan Chute
April 2, 2021
The #1 Best HVAC Club Membership To Attract Clients And Sell

There are literally over a million ways to build your HVAC club membership, but where do you start, and more importantly, where do you stop? Having studied hundreds of the best (and worst) club memberships around North America, I have built this club membership based on sustainability, psychological implications, and consumer behavior. The best HVAC club membership is the one that easy for sellers to sell, and buyers to buy.

The goal of any club membership is to get a disproportionate share of your marketplace subscribed to your club, thereby taking them ‘out of the market’ from other HVAC companies. When prospects think of your company first, and like you the most, you have captured their heart. Once you’ve captured their heart, it’s left to your technicians and salespeople to satisfy the mind and open their wallets.

This means that your club membership is not a moneymaker, per se. At best, your club membership will cover off payroll in the shoulder seasons. When a company offers you that silly low, crazy high-value proposition to get you to become a customer, they are only hoping to cover the cost of generating you as a lead. Club memberships are kinda the same thing.

Don’t take this to mean you have to offer the empty promises of hype. Look at it as an opportunity to let your prospective customers decide if they like and trust you enough to get to know you better. A well-designed and executed club membership will give you that opportunity and then keep them happy for a long time.

Here is the best HVAC club membership model:

Preventative Maintenance Provided

  • A springtime AC tune-up and cleaning
  • An autumn heating tune-up and cleaning (premium only)

Club Membership Benefits

  • Priority hotline
  • 24-hour priority scheduling
  • 2-hour arrival windows
  • Schedule reminders
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • 2-year workmanship guarantee
  • 5%-10% off all parts and labor (no caps)
  • $49 diagnostic fee (regularly $99)
  • $50 - $100/year toward new HVAC system
  • Surprise and delight factor

Pricing

  • Basic club membership
  • $12.95/month for 1 visit a year (auto-renews yearly) or $16.95/month
  • FREE for Military, Essential Services, and Seniors
  • $6.95 for each additional on-site unit, $7.95 if paid monthly
  • Premium club membership
  • $19.95/month for 2 visits a year (auto-renews yearly) or $23.95/month
  • Military, Essential Services, and Seniors only pay the difference
  • $9.95 for each additional on-site unit, $11.95 if paid monthly

Benefits, Explained

Offering 5% to 10% off of any bill is easy to manage and easy for technicians to remember. To discount more than this is just giving up unnecessary margin and makes you look like you are charging too much, to begin with. To have different discounts for different levels of membership incentivizes the premium membership, making it an easier decision for the buyer to upgrade. While there is likely inventory that you should not discount up to 10%, there are other items that you could easily discount more, balancing out the impact over your inventory mix. Don’t get bogged down in the details of each piece of inventory, simply price your products and services accordingly.

PRO TIP: NEVER discount without a really good reason.

When you apply an additional $50 to $100/year toward any new HVAC system you are demonstrating appreciation for your long-term relationships and loyalty. This is a valuable benefit to your club membership and incentivizes two things:

  1. Staying on the club membership to build up a juicy new unit credit.
  2. Choosing your company when it comes time to replace their HVAC system because they have a credit sitting on your books.

A 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is a bold message you self-impose on your technicians to get it right. Satisfaction is a completely subjective matter so it’s important to define what you mean by satisfaction, and what you provide if they are not satisfied. Refunding diagnostic fees and refunding an entire new unit sale are vastly different and clarity and transparency are key to turn an unsatisfied customer into a raving fan.

PRO TIP: Don’t invent ways to weasel out of paying up. Fewer limitations represent the greatest value and are a much stronger trust play. There is no better advertising than extreme satisfaction, particularly on the ugliest ones. Find a way to leverage the story.

Offering a 2-year workmanship guarantee on your service and maintenance demonstrates that you stand behind the work of your technicians. This guarantee also puts you back in the customer’s house instead of calling your competitor. There is little evidence to support lifetime guarantees are superior to shorter terms, as most clients are most concerned about immediate ROI. Lifetime could be perceived as a baseless claim, actually damaging your integrity and trust with the client. There is also a significant liability to properly holding a lifetime warranty on your books that can reduce your valuation when you go to sell the business. If you do wish to offer extended warranties, consider charging appropriately for them and building a proper strategy for delivering on those warranties (for example, third-party underwriters or a pooled escrow fund).

A springtime AC tune-up and outdoor coil cleaning gives your company the opportunity to improve the customer’s comfort, safety, and savings. Each visit gives your technician an opportunity to provide options for upgrades, deeper cleaning, and recommend the opportune time to start considering a new unit.

Like the springtime AC tune-up and cleaning, the autumn heating tune-up and cleaning is just another opportunity to impress your valued client.

PRO TIP: Place springtime and fall tune-ups and cleaning on separate lines – more line items, more value.

Diagnostic fees will vary in different demographic and geographic locations. The key to a good diagnostic fee is that it represents approximately two-thirds of your per call cost of running an individual call. In many states and provinces, this is approximately $150 a call. Club members should receive a 50% diagnostic fee reduction as it is a simple calculation of value in their mind, while still representing one-third of your truck cost.

You should always charge a diagnostic fee for repair work (not maintenance) and be willing to refund the diagnostic fee if the customer is not satisfied or if they opt to do the work with you, particularly if it is same-day service. Avoid trip fees or other complicated stacking fees that make it more difficult for the prospect to make an appointment.

Priority hotlines are a simple way to track your calls and demonstrate that your club members actually do take priority. 24-hour priority scheduling with a 2-hour arrival window demonstrates that you understand and believe that a client’s time is the most valuable thing you have influence over.

PRO TIP: Priority is priority. That means ALL repairs, maintenance, and installations for club members.

Schedule reminders make it easy to be your customer.

People are delighted when they are surprised. That means doing something valuable that they had no idea you were going to do. Goettl will swap out your fire alarm and CO2 detector batteries for you. Others give out generous quantities of flashlights, ice cream bars, and other interesting bits as a way of saying thanks unexpectedly.

Pricing, Explained

Offering two options, one visit or two visits a year is based on rational choice theory. When a person is given the choice between two to five options, they are inclined to choose the best of the options provided. When the person is offered the choice of taking it or leaving it, they will more often leave it. This is the primary reason why your club membership should have two options. As an additional point, this allows you to offer a free (or deeply discounted) option to our most cherished members of society.

Offering a yearly price and a slightly higher monthly price is something digital marketers have made mainstream in recent years. There is more value for your company to get money today than to have it trickle in over the next 12 months. This is known as the present value of money. To keep it really simple, money now is always better than future money when creating club membership pricing models.

There is another rising concern about monthly payments, subscription fatigue, and it’s not just streaming services that are implicated. Customers feel like they are facing financial hardships by a thousand tiny cuts, bleeding them of their cash reserves. Home service companies also get bundled into this ever-growing group of monthly payments that are slowly overwhelming North Americans. In short, if you can get paid upfront for your club membership program, take it.

In a study performed by Adaval and Monroe, there is a perceived saving when you expose the prospect to a higher number. $24.95/month acts as a decoy price to the $19.95/month when paid on an annual basis. Note that we are never saying that the price is $240/year, rather we are still providing the monthly impact so that the comparison is easy and enticing.

Given that a truck costs approximately $150/call, $12.95/month at 1 visit a year would cover the expense of one visit. You will want to eliminate renewals and set up all club memberships on annual auto-renewals. By putting your monthly service at $16.95/month (with no end date), you are creating a disincentive to pay monthly. This means you get paid now, which is ALWAYS the best option and reduces the exposure to subscription fatigue. Think of it as the reverse psychology of giving a discount for paying upfront.

Offering a FREE basic club membership for active military personnel and veterans, essential service providers, and senior citizens is a brave and bold move. Actively promoting it proudly is even more courageous. After all, you don’t make money giving things away for free, right? However, when you think of the goodwill associated with this strategy, it will more than pay for itself by many multiples. You now have the opportunity to serve those who serve us, and offer the added value of the club membership with no further discounting to each of these groups.

Strategically, the BIG discount of your club membership saves you having to offer BIG discounts on everything else you sell as well. This means eliminating the additional discount on a new unit sale, in lieu of savings you pass along by way of a free club membership. Thinking of it this way, you appear considerably more generous by offering something of real value at 100% off, than offering a large ticket sale at 10% off.

PRO TIP: Don't want your club membership to be free? Charge $1 a month instead.

Once you’ve provided your first maintenance, and established trust and rapport, go ahead and upgrade them to the premium service for the difference between the two programs. If they have multiple units, you can service those additional systems for as low as $6.95 for each additional unit (at the same address). Just like a car dealer, this is about getting the car onto the hoist. A club membership is not meant to be your big moneymaker, rather your low barrier to entry.

To upgrade to the premium package is $19.95/month for two visits a year or $23.95/month. Military and veterans, essential services, and seniors only pay the difference to get the premium package, realizing real value. Those who have multiple units only need to pay as low as $9.95 for each additional unit onsite.

Club membership is the lifeblood of your HVAC business. The more work you can do providing maintenance in the shoulder seasons, the more stable your business is for growth. A large membership base will feed your technician's hours, improving their income and yours, and allow you to improve their skills and knowledge in the field. Every successful HVAC business has a happy, healthy, and abundant membership base and you deserve one too.

Good selling!

(Online)
(Offline)
(Marketing Strategy)
Ryan Chute
Ryan Chute

Helping small businesses become BIG brands with a holistic marketing strategy that speaks the same language across all sales and marketing channels.

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There is no longer any guesswork, hope, or fear that our marketing strategies are going to work. If our client’s are able to abandon any limiting beliefs about marketing, deliver operational excellence, and play the long game, our marketing strategy will accelerate their profitable growth.

Wizard of Ads® for Services pricing model is based solely on the top line revenue of your company. It consists of an Upfront Fee and an Annual Fee. These fees are inclusive of scheduled travel, services, and all other expenditures as outlined in the Consulting Agreement.

The Upfront Fee covers the intensive Uncovery Process, the first year’s Media Buy, the Creative Process, and the Market Research while the Annual Fee goes toward implementation, ongoing creative and consulting, and next year's media buy. You get a team of 3.5 people, with direct access to a top tier Creative Lead and Media Buyer, and on-demand access to me as your Master Strategist. You will also have a full-time Account Manager keeping everything on track.

While the upfront does have an initial pinch, it is easy to amortize the investment over the many years we will be working together to grow your business. Wizard of Ads® retain clients for 10 years, on average. The sale of the business is the number one reason for termination. We actively terminate the bottom 1% of clients who are unwilling or unable to follow our strategies.

Wizard of Ads® for Services believes that all rewards should be directly correlated to the success of our clients. This means that the Wizard of Ads® for Services only receives a raise when the company achieves growth. For example, if your gross sales for the year have increased by 25%, the Annual Fee you pay us in the following year will also be increased by 25%. Likewise, if your gross sales decrease, our Annual Fee will decrease by the same percentage during the following year.

This is an exceptionally easy and fair way to track and reward success. This model was developed by Wizard of Ads® over 35 years ago and has served us well because it serves our clients well.

As a rule of thumb, we take the risk of working for considerably less than our actual value in the first few years as we help accelerate growth. This means you need to be willing to pay us exceptionally well when you start doing even better.

When should I engage The Wizard of Ads® for Services?

There are four key revenue stages for engagement with the Wizard of Ads® for Services.

  1. Under $3.6 million in revenue
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  3. Between $10 and $20 million in revenue
  4. Over $20 million in revenue

Under $3.6 million in revenue is an investment in your brand. This will serve you well in establishing your brand story early on and help you with your name, logo, and truck wrap design. It's easier to create pictures from a story than it is to make a story based on pre-drawn pictures. You'll be glad you did. Everyone on a fast path to growth is.

Most clients start with Wizard of Ads® for Services between $3.6 and $10 million in revenue. They have often seen a natural ceiling with their leads for demand service and are looking for ways to push past the ceiling. This can only be done with a properly executed brand strategy, specifically in mass media with a sticky story.

Between $10 and $20 million in revenue, Wizard of Ads® for Services has some natural economies of scale. This is a sweet spot where Wizard of Ads® for Services can offer some added value in getting the ball rolling.

Over $20 million in revenue is actually the lowest cost point of entry as a percentage of revenue, but not the cheapest time to start with the Wizard of Ads® for Services. Leveraging all economies of scale aside, we have been left out of the upside along the way, so engaging when over $20 million in revenue means we have to mend a lot of fences damaged along the way. This is also where clients see significant savings in their media buys and production costs.

There are also three market sizes to consider.

  • Primary Markets are the top 50 cities in America.
  • Secondary Markets are the smaller cities in America.
  • Tertiary Markets are the more rural trade areas in America.

When considering an engagement with The Wizard of Ads® for Services, consider what size market you are in. For example, a $3.6 million company in a Primary Market will struggle to get the necessary reach needed to make a splash. You either have to be more patient than a larger company or spend more money to accelerate your reach.

Alternatively, a $5 million company in a Secondary Market will look like a pretty darn big fish in a medium-sized pond.

A $20 Million company in a Primary Market will feel like a $50 million company using our strategies to potential customers.

The key to remember is that the earlier you start with the Wizard of Ads® for Services, the lower the investment to get started. As they say, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.

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Offline, the Wizard of Ads® for Services Creative Lead will create the ad copy, cast the voice actors, source the production house, direct the performance, pick the music bed, manage all the edits, and provide you with the completed ad for final approval before sending to air on your behalf. This is included in our fees.

You pay for the production house, actors, royalty-free music, and jingles directly to avoid any potential for markups, commissions, or management fees.

We have many friends in the industry that give our clients good deals due to the large volume of work we provide them. We will introduce you to them.

Online, the Wizard of Ads® for Services Digital Lead will either coordinate production in-house or work with your preferred digital vendors. The scope of work will be determined and fees will reflect the scope of work to be done.

How long before a brand-forward strategy starts working?

In approximately three months of activation, we’ll just be getting live on air. In six months (3 months on air), you’ll be getting anecdotal feedback from people that you are being heard, but there will be no direct line to revenue.

After 6 months on the air, you’ll think you made the biggest mistake of your life signing up for this branding nonsense. After 9 months on the air (12 months in) you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel.

At 12 full months on the air, you’ll know why you did this branding thing. Two years from now, we'll be clinking champagne flutes as you wonder why you didn’t do this sooner.

How long before we’re live?

The general guideline is 70-120 days, depending on the level of production needed and if there is a name change to your business.

This includes an onsite visit, a deep dive into research, and getting things created, negotiated, approved, produced, and live on the air.

  • Uncovery - 15-30 days based on travel. 1-2 days onsite.
  • Research - 30-60 days based on the scope of work.
  • Creative and Media Buy Process - 45 to 60 days
  • Offline Production - 15 days for radio. 30 - 60 days for television.
  • Online Production (if switching) - 60 days

This means planning for roughly 90 to 120 days in the proper development and production of a completely unique Marketing Strategy before anything hits the airwaves.

Are you exclusive?

Creatively, yes. During the term of this Agreement, all Creative Partners assigned to your Account shall not engage, directly or indirectly, as an employee, officer, manager, partner, consultant, agent, owner, or in any other capacity, in any competition of the client, including any company engaged in marketing consulting.

For clarity, the Creative Partner is defined as the individual Wizard of Ads® Partners who is responsible for creating your creative strategy and ongoing creative copy. Competition is defined as companies that engage in the same industry and business units (e.g., Furniture, Automotive, etc.) as you. The market area is defined as the area where the marketing message naturally reaches through DMA or 60 miles from the city center of the client's service area(s).

Naturally, we exclude any potential future competition in markets where you are not currently active at the date of signing.

We do not limit Media Buyers in any market. Media Buyers get better deals for larger volumes, making it beneficial for the client to have the Media Buyer available to do as many buys as possible to secure the best deals on the client’s behalf.

Do you do digital marketing?

Wizard of Ads® for Services can provide a host of digital marketing solutions for services. Wizard of Ads® has specialized Partners that provide digital services that serve services effectively. Under no circumstances will digital marketing services be offered without Wizard of Ads® for Services core solution.

It is most likely that Wizard of Ads® for Services will work with your existing digital partners and suppliers. If you do not have a reliable digital provider, we would be happy to introduce you to a number of great providers that play nice with Wizards.

Do you do jingles?

Wizard of Ads® for Services can assist you in getting a jingle for your business. Like any other tactical element of a marketing strategy, we do not produce a jingle for the sake of a jingle.

If you do not have a story or a strategic reason to have a jingle...or an ad campaign to tie it to, do not waste your hard-earned money on a jingle. You are wasting your time and money.

When you do build a single unified marketing strategy that incorporates a jingle for a specific (often scientific) reason, we have a Jingle Wizard who has studied the art and science of jingle design.

He will score you an original, royalty-free jingle, including professional singers, musicians, and producers. He will not knock off a generic jingle from a publicly available music bed that sounds like everyone else's jingle.

Your jingle will serve a very specific reason and produce a very specific result. Have you guessed how much we love jingles yet?

Who owns the copyrights?

Wizard of Ads® for Services owns copyrights for two very specific reasons. We also provide a fair use clause in all contracts to ensure you are in no way limited to the access of your creative works, whether you are working with us or not.

The first reason we own your copyright is to ensure that we do not have to go up against our own creative works in other markets we serve. This means you are not allowed to lend, give, borrow, tweak, rent, lease, or sell your creative works to any other company at any time.

The second reason we own your copyright is that we can establish a one-time value for your creative works in the event that someone steals the content. Upon selling you the copyrights, you can go after the perpetrator for theft and make a considerable bounty in a slam dunk case.

Here is how Wizard of Ads® word the fair use of your copyright for as long as your business is in operation:

All writing and/or marketing materials we create for you are not works-for-hire. Wizard of Ads® for Services hereby irrevocably grants you, and your successors in interest, the non-exclusive, royalty-free, non-transferable, and worldwide right to use the Works in connection with the marketing of your business pursuant to the Marketing Strategy for so long as your business is operational.
How do I measure brand results?

There are a number of interesting ways to measure results. Some people like to get unique identifying telephone numbers, or create branded URLs that redirect to landing pages or the website. However, much of this is a waste of time and energy as it never tells the true story of the brand journey and how it affected the decision-making process.

Other indicators of brand effectiveness include tracking new customers, reactivated customers, or running a brand equity survey to get a sense of your share of mind. Digitally you will see direct search increase, which cannot be affected by anything digital, as well as branded keyword inquiries increase. You’ll, of course, need to get your digital people to add these to your campaigns if you hope to see an increase in conversions.

Wizard of Ads® for Services racks the simplest of indicators. Top line revenue. When your branding takes effect, and the company responds in kind from the phone call or form fill-on, top-line revenue will increase. Efficacy is plotted on a T12, and total lead volume from all sources is tracked.

12 things you should know before signing up.
  1. Quality relationships take time. Branding is a long-term strategy. That’s why most services do it wrong, or not at all. There is always a lag between the start of the new campaign and the time it takes your customers to connect the dots. You MUST BE READY, WILLING, AND ABLE to endure this lag period. In our experience, the lag is typically 6 to 9 months, depending on how competitive the marketplace is, your company’s reputation, your budget in relation to reach, and the eight uncontrollable environmental factors. During this time, we will be helping you implement a transition plan to ease the pain. The good news is that this lag only happens once.
  2. Decisions by Committee. We completely reject the notion of decisions by committee. We work with a single, courageous decision-maker. We welcome decision influencers, but we only look to the Owner for the final decision. All decision-makers and influencers must be involved in the Uncovery and Marketing Strategy Presentation if they want to offer input in the future. It is critical that we have a 100% fully approved plan that can be defended and championed by all leaders in the organization.  
  3. Proven Strategy. That means we are not the low-cost provider. With hundreds of service clients and a playbook of strategic devices, tools, and tactics, this isn’t a guessing game for us. We know what to do to make your goods and services appealing to potential buyers. If you can deliver the goods, we can  build the relationships. If you are uncomfortable with the idea that you are paying us less now so that you can pay us considerably more once revenues allow, please do not commit. We intend to be your true partners, in sickness and in health...so long as you own your business.
  4. Automatic Payments. Everything is on automatic payments. If you struggle with managing cash flow, figure that out in your business first. We accept all major credit cards and ACH payments.
  5. We Cause Problems. If you don’t have a capacity issue now, I promise you will in about 9 months. Let’s deal with recruitment out of the gate as part of your comprehensive marketing strategy.
  6. We Own the Copyrights. All writing and/or marketing materials we create for you are not works-for-hire. We irrevocably grant you, and your successors in interest, the non-exclusive, royalty-free, non-transferable, and worldwide right to use the Works in connection with the marketing of your business pursuant to the Marketing Strategy for so long as your business is operational.
  7. Brand Building. We will be steering you to limit the use of discounts, rebates, coupons, and sales to attract clients. We know this feels counterintuitive to many, and we will clarify our reasoning. Rest assured, we have considerable experience in creating similar offers that are not damaging to your profitability, your brand’s integrity, and your preferable long-term client relations.
  8. Creative Authority. We must have creative authority over the words. You can accept copy as written or reject it outright, but you cannot modify the words yourself. If you do not like something as written, we are happy to discuss it and make the necessary change to maintain the integrity and intention of the words chosen. Alternatively, we will scrap the concept and create new copy that you are happy to get behind 100%.
  9. Proprietary Algorithm. The media buy must be structured in a very specific way, including running a full 52-week schedule. It is based on brain chemistry, not P&Ls. Once we have committed to the buy, it’s important to avoid adjustments unless they are calculated additions.
  10. Knucklehead Factor. You should expect knuckleheads. For example, when you start running ads that are certain to get attention, you need the courage to continue running those ads, even when you receive complaints. We celebrate complaints. It means we’ve made people feel.
  11. Digital Weasels. In about three months from the time your advertising campaign hits the airways, your digital marketers will show you a marked increase in direct and organic traffic. Some Digital Marketers will mistakenly claim this success as their own. Done properly, you can continue to spend less and less on digital lead generation by increasing your branded keyword online presence.
  12. Annual Marketing Meetings. Travel permitting, we prefer to hold Annual Marketing Meetings (AMMs) outside your city. Years of experience have taught us that we get better results when decision-makers are outside their sphere of influence, away from the day-to-day distractions of the office.

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