SouthEnd Home Improvement's micro-marketing campaign culminated in a pool party attended by 480 people.
Credit: Photo: courtesy SouthEnd Home Improvement SouthEnd Home Improvement's micro-marketing campaign culminated in a pool party attended by 480 people.

Mark Whitlock, director of marketing and client development, had two fears: that not enough people would show and that it would rain. But the day, June 13, was bright and sunny, and the head count of 480 at the event, a pool party in the Charlotte, N.C., neighborhood of Cameron Wood, was in line with the 500 Whitlock expected. The company holding the event, SouthEnd Home Improvement, got 22 leads, set 20 appointments, and has since closed on four fiber-cement siding jobs in that neighborhood.

What It Is

SouthEnd Home Improvement, of Charlotte, was practicing something called micro-marketing where companies tailor products and marketing strategies to a confined geographic area. In this case a neighborhood of 806 houses 25 years old, originally sided in hardboard.

The company initially approached the neighborhood association with an offer to re-side the Cameron Wood pool house using materials donated by vendor James Hardie. In turn, the neighborhood board allowed SouthEnd to conduct its micro-marketing campaign: an e-alert, direct-mail pieces, and canvassing, culminating in the pool party.

Micro Sites

Other companies are also taking up micro-marketing. In January 2009, faced with credit rejects and a lead shortage, Durante Windows & Siding, in Birmingham, Ala., turned to micro-marketing. It selected a neighborhood where it had already done some work, then went to suppliers and negotiated discounts for a special promotion aimed at just that neighborhood. Former customers posted lawn signs.

Micro-site­?specific landing pages on the company's website, as well as canvassing and direct-mail pieces heightened interest. "We rolled it out in phases," marketing director Daniel Gallegly says. Total marketing costs for the campaign were less than 10% of sales. "To do this," owner Jason Durante says, "everything has to be done at the right time in the right way."

Those who have tried micro-marketing say success involves careful planning and prep work. For instance, Durante Windows & Siding selects neighborhoods that don't restrict canvassing. Micro-marketing also requires a long-term commitment with lots of follow-up. It's not overnight lead generation. "We've done it eight or nine times now," Gallegly says. "You've got to have enough houses, and you've got to approach the right demographic in the right ways."