Founded in 1985, Dr. Green is a family-run lawn care services company operating in Ontario, Alberta and the United States. The company’s primary focus is on residential lawn health, including seeding and weed control services.
Lawn care is a competitive market no matter where you operate. In Canada, Dr. Green faces dozens of competitors, from family-owned local companies to national and international franchises. As prices and services are relatively similar across all competitors, success is determined by who can develop the best marketing strategy and deliver top customer service.
The customer acquisition and retention challenge
Lawn care has a clear annual cycle in Canada, so acquisition and retention of customers happen within a narrow window of six weeks at the start of the year. In Ontario, for instance, three-quarters of Dr. Green’s new annually generated revenue comes in February, March and April.
That means Dr. Green needs to make every dollar spent on marketing count.
Over the years, the company tried a number of solutions, from newspaper ads and inserts to door-to-door solicitations. The results were mixed, as affordable solutions were unsuccessful and effective solutions were too expensive. Even with direct mail, the company’s early efforts were unfocused.
Dr. Green turned to Canada Post to more efficiently cultivate customers and sow the seeds of success.
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Using data visualization for effective audience targeting
Marketers understand the seemingly constant challenges of acquisition and retention, a pressure particularly felt among seasonal industries where ebbs and flows are more extreme. When working within a narrow time period, the pressure is on – there can be no waste.
Targeting tools offer geographic, demographic and lifestyle data that help marketers locate their best prospects. Visualizing that data lets decision-makers see the insights needed to make confident, data-driven decisions about targeting criteria that will meet business objectives.
Effective targeting is the key to making direct mail work smarter to get messages into the right hands.
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Dr. Green embraced Canada Post Neighbourhood MailTM and Personalized MailTM from the start.
The company sends direct mail to 300,000 homes in Alberta with the goal of hitting every home three times within its seasonal sales window.
To succeed with that kind of volume, however, Dr. Green had to be strategic. Precision TargeterTM helped the company get to the root of its potential customers. Knowing what their best customers looked like, the company filtered for income (seeking households making $80,000 or more); homeowners over renters; and detached or semi-detached homes.
My ‘ah-ha’ moment with Precision Targeter came when I saw how demographic data and geolocation identified our best potential customers right down to the route level of some of the awesome postal codes we have.
Dr. Green used Canada Post Visualization, a tool that provides a visual representation of data, like geographical insights and patterns, to evaluate each mailing and optimize targeting based on the best opportunity to grow its customer base.
Canada Post made other suggestions, as well, like using Personalized Mail to encourage previous customers to sign up for the upcoming year and incorporating QR codes into their marketing creative driving to their get-a-quote tool.
Data insight results
In 2020, Dr. Green saw 30% sales growth in Calgary and 15% sales growth in Edmonton thanks to Precision Targeter. In 2021, the company adjusted its campaign using Canada Post’s new data visualization tool and saw further growth: 30% in Edmonton and 20% growth in Calgary.
That year, Dr. Green also added 2 extra campaign mailings in 4 top-performing postal codes (2 in Calgary, 2 in Edmonton). Those became the company’s most productive postal codes. They look to expand that number to 6 postal codes.
While Precision Targeter and Visualization pointed the way to success, the addition of a QR code to the direct mail creative helped people take action and speed-up conversion.
In 2021, the connected direct mail with QR code pointing to the get-an-estimate tool became the company’s top online lead generator – over 2,000 scans leading to 700 sales and $200,000 in revenue.
They were so happy with the omni-channel activation of the QR code to turn physical into digital lead generation, it was added to the sides and tailgates of their vehicle fleet this spring.
“All of this data insight is something that we’ve never really been able to see before. It has proved to us that our old way wasn’t going to work – and we need to do what works. Working with Canada Post has helped us understand the opportunities we have available to us,” Ratcliffe said.
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