The global pandemic forced ECHO to rethink how they sold
ECHO Incorporated is a leading manufacturer of professional-grade, high-performance outdoor power equipment for commercial and residential use. Best known for its chainsaws, trimmers, and blowers, the company is committed to innovation and quality in the landscaping and gardening tools market.
But, like many businesses, the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns had a significant impact on how ECHO ran their business.
With more people working from home (and even moving from cities to suburbs), there was a dramatic spike in demand for outdoor power tools.
“The outdoor backyard became the new kitchen table, leading to a newfound interest in customers beautifying their outdoor spaces,” shared Ken Osberg, Director of Marketing at ECHO. “Which, in turn, triggered shifts in our professional end users’ businesses. Landscapers who typically offered “mow and blow” services were asked to do more hardscaping, deck building, and power washing.”
Good news for ECHO: The outdoor professional services businesses boomed, as did the growth in homeownership. The net result? Increased demand for both professional and homeowner ECHO products.
This change in demand required ECHO to support its independent dealers — a critical channel with nearly 10,000 dealers across North America — in new and creative ways.
Dealers fulfill an exceptional need in the market — they provide service and repair complete with a factory-trained sales staff. They often carry products that cater directly to the professional. Equally as important, the local deals have a very loyal customer base, often going back multiple generations.
“The professional user predominantly shops at an independent dealer,” Ken shared. “Lockdowns had a considerable impact on dealers, forcing them to pivot from in-person selling to relying on digital only.”
ECHO shifted to a generational marketing approach and ran over 2,500 campaigns in 2020
ECHO seized the opportunity to educate dealers on the importance of generational marketing, a marketing approach that targets different generations of consumers based on their unique needs, preferences, and behaviors.
Effective messaging is often much different when targeting Gen X versus Millennials.
With more younger people starting to buy homes, ECHO dealers had to shift their marketing to account for a unique audience — incorporating tactics to engage younger consumers.
As Ken said, “Your message can be the same: One-day sale … 15% off, and so on. But you must understand how to ensure dealers have the necessary tools to reach all generations. With the help of BrandMuscle, everybody wins.”
With the help of BrandMuscle, ECHO created and implemented the optimal local digital marketing strategy for its dealers to engage with customers in-store and online across all generations. Tactics included:
- Facebook ads
- Digital direct mail
- Dynamic landing pages
BrandMuscle ensured all campaigns were on-brand, on-message, easy to access, and straightforward to customize per local dealer (nearly 2,000 of them!) — an essential component to the overall success of the program.
In 2020, ECHO ran over 2,500 unique campaigns across five media channels.
Ken summed things up best: “Lockdowns really impacted dealers, forcing them to pivot from in-person to online selling. BrandMuscle to the rescue. The results speak for themselves.”