I was walking home the other day and I just had to stop when I saw this simple but effective sign:
While I didn’t need a haircut, I loved the creativity, and I thought about how this one little sign is a great lesson for some guerrilla residential solar marketing:
Creative content: What made me stop was this package deal: I could get a cut, a wash, and most importantly a beer with my cut and wash. The owner was clearly aware of his demographic and even though beer has nothing to do with cutting hair, it’s an added value that his male demographic might appreciate.
As for solar, I’ve seen plenty of iPad gift offers when people go solar, but I wonder if that gift can really grab the attention of the Generation X families and Baby Boomers who go solar today. They may already have enough iPads for every household member, and secondly, the iPad is a fairly common bonus gift in marketing big ticket items, so not very original or enticing.
So instead of an iPad give-away, let’s really consider our target audience and be as creative and thoughtful as this Barbershop Owner. For example, how about a “Get a Date Night Baby Sitting Package When You Go Solar.” A bonus gift like that would probably grab Mom and Dad’s attention even more than an iPad, no?
Packaging of services: Our Barber Shop owner brought together a package of services in his street billboard offer that included washing, cutting, and beer.
In the same way, what other partner services can your company offer with solar? Energy efficiency, roofing, and HVAC services come to mind, but what about other maintenance services, such as landscaping? Vivint Solar already does this type of marketing with home security services, and Comcast has made a deal with NRG to offer solar with cable, so this isn’t as unusual as you might think.
Location and timing: The Barber Shop Owner placed the sign in front of his store where I and other male pedestrians would see it while walking home from work. Even if the beer-bait content weren’t so creative, he still thought carefully about both visibility and timing.
Solar marketers must also think about their ad-buy locations and timing in relation to their target demographic. There’s no use placing a billboard ad, newspaper ad, or radio ad if our target demographic is driving, reading, or listening in other places and times. Consequently, if you want to hyper target families, better to put a billboard ad on a school little league team in the spring than on a freeway.
Similarly, Pandora ads may be inexpensive and reach a wide audience, but the app’s audience consists of a younger demo that may not own a home. Instead, a 15-second local NPR ad, which has a more liberal and more affluent audience, would certainly be more effective, especially during drive time commutes.
I know it’s one little street sign, but I’d never noticed that little barber shop before, and now I have. So it was very effective brand recognition and it was also a very powerful lesson for how we can all … UnThink Solar.
P.S. If you’re going to be at SPI in Las Vegas, join me for some free lunch, beer and prizes at the SPI Tweetup! Limited number of tickets. Details here.
Tor Valenza a.k.a. “Solar Fred” is the founder and CMO of UnThink Solar, and the author of Solar Fred’s Guide to Solar Guerrilla Marketing. For more solar marketing info, sign up for the Solar Fred Marketing Newsletter or follow @SolarFred on Twitter.