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By Going Green, Company Grows 60%

By Going Green, Company Grows 60%

Advanced Combustion Technology

About This Project:

When looking to grow business through a comprehensive marketing solution, we take a broad look at the product that is being sold—not just the marketing program.

By looking at Advanced Combustion Technologies’ product and service from a different perspective, we created a message and marketing plan that leveraged their strength as they relate to the market’s needs, rather than what they perceived as the markets needs. The results? The company has grown from $5 million to $7 million in just over a year.

After seven years in business, and $5 million in annual sales, Peter Marx, Owner, Advanced Combustion Technologies felt his business had reached a plateau. Over the last two years they had trying to introduce a new product into their market that would substantially reduce emissions for their clients, at the fraction of the cost of competitors’ solutions.

Peter had a business development team in place, and existing sales materials that included a web site, sales presentations, and sales sheets. All of their materials were focused on delivering highly technical information to a very targeted group of decision makers at energy plants around North America. 

While ACT’s product delivered superior results at a much lower price tag than competitors, one problem they faced was their inability to get leads for their sales team. None of their efforts to get the attention of decision makers seemed to work.

When he was able to get in front of prospects, Peter found that nobody knew who the company was. The company did not have an established logo, brand or identity in place, either with its internal team or in the minds of its prospects and customers. Each piece of collateral or communications represented the company in a slightly different manner. Peter new that he needed to develop and polish ACT’s image and create useful tools and a lead generation program to increase sales opportunities.

We put together a six-pronged solution to help launch ACT’s product and develop sales. This included creating a marketing plan, a logo, web site, sales collateral, trade show materials, and a direct mail program.

The marketing plan called for examining the product itself, and how it was being presented to prospects, identifying the needs of the market, and increasing sales. Previous efforts focused on very technical data, and didn’t include punchy bites of key information, including the potential reduction of emissions (up to 85%), the low cost (under $1 Million for a complete solution), and the ease of installation or upgrade. ACT had an extremely environmentally-friendly solution at a low cost that was easy to implement.

Earlier marketing efforts had tied the company to oil, coal and fire industry through the use of the heavy colors black and red, and this combination was at odds with their environmentally friendly solution. Once we identified ACT’s strong impact on the environment, we created a logo and identity the reflected this position. With greens and yellows to represent the environment, and grey to represent their high tech solutions, we developed a visual package that was brighter, bolder and more engaging.

ACT’s earlier web site had been created based on a template downloaded for free from the internet, by a contractor who had little experience marketing on the web. In fact, ACT’s online presence at the time was very similar to dry-cleaning service in Ohio. We redesigned their web site to be search engine friendly, to tie into future direct marketing and sales efforts, and to better communicate what the company does. We broadened the levels of information available on the site, and created more opportunities to display visuals, in addition to the technical explanations of their products and services.

A key component of our program was consistency across all materials. ACT had no marketplace recognition, and it was important that—with their limited exposure, their new and unique message was represented consistently every time. To do this, we incorporated the elements we created for their logo in their other sales collateral, including a sales presentation pocket folder and product inserts. Instead of creating a plain white data sheet, and a pocket folder covered with generic stock photos, we chose instead to use dramatic variations of the logo, so that prospects were exposed throughout the sales process to ACT’s “green” message.

ACT didn’t have a budget for a large booth space, and only attended one or two shows a year. As a result, we focused on creating large posters that could easily be transported by their sales team and mounted quickly. These posters focused more on getting attention, rather than trying to convey all of the technical benefits of their service. The sales people could do this through discussions and by handing out collateral, once their prospects’ attention was captured.

Lastly, to wrap up the campaign and to start generating leads, we developed a direct marketing campaign to “soft launch” their product. Peter didn’t have hard data, but believed that historically they closed 40 - 50% of leads they generated. Being that the price tag was generally high (usually just under $1 million per sale), the market was small, and ACT didn’t have a plan in place, they worked on fewer than ten projects a year resulting in $5 million in sales. They were looking to double that over two years.

What his team needed was exposure so that when they bid on projects and visited prospects, potential buyers would recognize the company, and have a positive impression of ACT’s products and capabilities. We put together a plan to do this, as well as start generating leads.
We set up a monthly direct mail piece that would go out to a targeted list of prospects. After six months, sales would follow up with a call or an email. In addition they would pursue any leads generated from the mailing.

During discovery, we found that Peter had an analysis tool that would allow him to consistently and accurately estimate the savings and reduction that could be achieved with ACT’s product. When all numbers were entered in and the data analyzed, he could deliver a report—quite quickly—that he would guarantee the results of. This was a huge discovery, and one that he wasn’t currently using in marketing. We created a card that focused on the green aspect of the company, promised up to 85% reduction in emissions, offered this free analysis of the plant’s current emissions and potential for reduction, and a guarantee of results.

Our plan called for a targeted mailing once a month, excluding the end of year holidays, with two goals: build recognition, and generate sales leads. Since we launched Advanced Combustion Technologies’ rebranding effort and direct mail campaign, awareness has increased. Clients have positively commented on ACT’s new look, and sales activity has increased due to recognition. And their goal, based on previous experience and capabilities was to generate only one lead per month. To date, we’ve run two mailings, each generating 7 hot leads. While the numbers seem small, ACT’s size, price tag, and market size, make these results dramatic, and business-changing. In addition, we track their entire program with our proprietary analytics tool, so ACT can make educated decisions on what to do next with their sales and marketing program. 

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Matt Vacaro
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"The things we were most pleased with were – you delivered ahead of schedule, below budget, state-of-the-art marketing materials for me to go to a function under tight deadlines."

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