During the 2020 lockdown brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, ECHO Incorporated experienced a dramatic spike in demand for its outdoor power tools as the market shifted and people migrated from cities to suburbs. Ken Osberg, Director of Marketing at ECHO, said, “The outdoor backyard became the new kitchen table and people were looking to beautify their spaces. This triggered shifts in our professional end users’ businesses. Mow and blow landscapers were getting asked to get into services they hadn’t offered before, like hardscaping, deck building, and power washing.” Outdoor professional services businesses boomed, as did growth in homeownership, resulting in a congruent boom in demand for ECHO products from both professionals and homeowners.
The increase in demand for power tools required ECHO to support its dealers in new ways. Osberg said, “The professional user predominantly shops at an independent dealer. Lockdowns really impacted dealers, forcing them to pivot from in-person selling to relying on digital ways of communicating with customers. This is where BrandMuscle came in to play for ECHO. We had already identified prior to Covid that we were missing the bus with digital advertising support for dealers. The independent dealer is a critical channel partner for ECHO. Dealers fulfill a very special need in the market. They offer service, they offer repair, they have factory trained sales staff, they offer products catering directly to the professional. They often have a very loyal customer base going back multiple generations. ECHO has roughly 6,500 dealers across North America, so they’re a very critical point of distribution for us. It’s important for these dealers to have the very best tools to reach their customer base.”
ECHO seized the opportunity to educate dealers on the importance of generational marketing. Digital tactics, for example, are more effective at reaching younger generations of consumers. As more and more people from the Gen X and Millennial generations are becoming homeowners, it’s important for ECHO dealers to incorporate tactics that will engage younger consumers. In Osberg’s words, “Your message can be the same: one-day sale, get 15% off. But you have to understand how you’re reaching consumers and ensure that dealers have the tools to reach all those generations. When they understand that and leverage the tools that BrandMuscle brings to the table, everybody’s winning.”ECHO worked with BrandMuscle to develop and implement the best local digital marketing strategy for its dealers to engage with customers both in-store and online, including Facebook ads, digital direct mail, and dynamic landing pages. ECHO’s dealer partners are small business owners without robust marketing departments, so making the digital marketing tactics easily accessible and customizable was essential for the program’s success. ECHO creates the ads and campaigns so they’re on-brand and on-message, then dealers deploy them to their local customer base using the BrandMuscle Intelligent Local Marketing Platform.
“Lockdowns really impacted dealers, forcing them to pivot from in-person selling to relying on digital ways of communicating with customers. This is where BrandMuscle came in to play for ECHO. When they leverage the tools that BrandMuscle brings to the table, everybody’s winning.”
Ken Osberg, Director of Marketing at ECHO