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In need of a marketing idea? Look to Your Customers

marketing idea

Marketing idea

When Tron Jordheim and others at StorageMart started the company’s latest marketing campaign, they looked to their existing customers for inspiration.

The company’s latest campaign slogan, “Save it, Store it, Share it,” came “more an observation of the way people use us already,” said Jordheim, the director of marketing for the self-storage corporation, which operates more than 130 locations in the U.S. and Canada.

The campaign, which started in the past year, tells customers that storage units can be used for more things and in more ways than are normally considered.

“People tend to think of storage as something that somebody else does but not something that I need,” Jordheim said. “That’s where this ‘Save it, Store it, Share it’ comes in. Who doesn’t have something that could be used later or shared with a family member or friend? Just because you don’t have a use it for it now doesn’t mean that it won’t be useful later on.”

The recession decreased the number of new businesses using storage places for surplus inventory and individuals needing storage space as they upgraded to new homes. StorageMart looked to its existing customer base and asked, “What are we missing?” Jordheim said.

“I think this idea of ‘Save it, Store it, Share it’ is just us realizing what people are doing and this probably makes a lot of sense for everybody,” he said.

The era of cheap credit card purchases and buying products on debt has ended for many Americans, who became more tightfisted in a down economy. As a result, Jordheim said, he believes people are less likely to get rid of their existing possessions. There is a greater focus on value of purchases.

The assumption in a boom economy was that self-storage was used primarily by people moving to new homes and in need of temporary storage space, Jordheim said.

“As you make assumptions as how people use your products or services, you might miss out on some real ideas,” he said. “When the self storage business was much busier it was easy to believe that people were using it because they were moving … but that really wasn’t the fact. Only 15 or 20 percent of or our customer base used the units in that way. Really it is about people using it as a lifestyle choice.”

That lifestyle choice idea can be applicable to many customers. The idea came from the very people who use StorageMart’s services already.

“We wouldn’t have thought of this, if we didn’t reconsider how our services were already being used by our customers,” Jordheim said.

Jordheim will speak about “Save it, Store it, Share it” as well as branding and marketing at the Self Storage Association 25th Annual Winter Executive Workshop in Steamboat Springs, Col., from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, 2011.

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