Case Study: Julian Farmer, MD - Ambassador Home Extensions
Client: Ambassador Home Extensions, www.ambassadorhomeextensions.co.uk
“My previous marketing just wasn’t working, it was very random. I’d read several books but a recommendation to read Watertight Marketing came at the right time. I then met an Accredited Consultant and thought ‘here is someone with the answers’.” Julian Farmer, MD and Owner, Ambassador Home Extensions
Ambassador Home Extensions build bespoke extensions, garden rooms and orangeries. With 25 years in the home improvement sector they help clients create their dream specification and project manage the whole process through to delivery.
Based in Worcestershire, Ambassador is run by MD, Julian Farmer, an experienced builder and extension designer. Like many business owners, Julian faced the challenge of running his business, managing projects and looking after clients. That didn’t leave a lot of time for marketing and growing the business, which is where Watertight Marketing came in.
How Watertight Marketing helped
Julian was aware of the gaps in his marketing knowledge so was receptive when he saw a recommendation for the Watertight Marketing book, written by Bryony Thomas. He read the 100 plus 5 star Amazon reviews, looked at the website and ordered his copy. His first impressions were that this was a book written to be used.
As he explains, “it was written in plain language for everyone to understand, crucial parts were highlighted and there were tips along the way. It demonstrated the missing bits - for me it was taking marketing to a new level.”
Julian’s next step was to attend a Watertight Marketing ‘Lunch and Learn’ session in Bristol where he met Watertight Marketing Accredited Consultant, Ros Conkie, at the lunch and has since embarked on a two year programme of marketing transformation, guided by Ros.
So what actions did Julian and Ambassador take?
Julian’s story is one that many business owners will recognise. It’s hard to know what to do, so you try various marketing tactics, hoping for a result. As he explains, “I’d had some leaflets printed, done some adverts. I did a bit of a short marketing course that I got a grant for. I had some email templates - but it just wasn’t working. It was very random, without any pattern to it.”
So the first thing that Ros suggested was to find out what the priorities were for Ambassador and then put together a plan to tackle them, in order of importance.
To do this, Ros suggested Julian reviewed his marketing against the Thirteen Touchpoint Leaks™ using a Touchpoint Leak™ Assessment.
Developed by working with well over 200 businesses, the Touchpoint Leak™ Assessment is a bottom-up analysis that identifies how businesses lose both customers and profit from their marketing activities - and creates a traffic light action plan of priorities.
We’ll look at the top three leaks identified, and what Julian has since done to address them.
See: Do your own Touchpoint Leak™ Assessment
Leak #3 - No emotional connection
A lack of emotional connection came out as Ambassador’s top leak. A lack of emotional connection often occurs through a perception of limited personality or human touch in visuals and written style. Inconsistencies in experience across the organisation can also be a factor. It makes some businesses appear less approachable than they actually are, and risks turning business away.
Julian decided it was time to invest in a new brand for the business. The re-brand included a new logo (with feedback from the Watertight Marketing Facebook group), a new website and a tone of voice that talked to potential customers in a way that recognised and addressed both their concerns and aspirations for their home, therefore building that emotional connection through empathy and trust.
Leak #4 - No Gateway
With a typical project costing between £50k and £100k, an Ambassador home extension is clearly a very considered purchase. This makes evidence of capability and reassurance are critical. Julian’s challenge was how to give potential customers a low-cost sense of what it would be like to work with him - and therefore progress towards the bigger purchase.
Leak #4 addresses how easy it is for customers to buy from you - and the more you can do to give them a flavour of what it would be like as a customer, the better. A ‘Gateway Product’ is often developed to create a stepped path to purchase.
Julian and Ros developed an inexpensive site visit and assessment service designed to answer many of the questions customers typically have. During a 2-hour consultation, Julian will evaluate any limitations of the site and provide independent, impartial advice. And, for those customers who just want answers to typical planning permission issues, they created the Ambassador Guide to Planning Permission - a free of charge download, designed to be of help - but also build the Ambassador credibility in the eyes of potential customers.
Leak #8 - How (Format)
This leak addresses how your customers consume your marketing information. If your material is not formatted in a way they find easy to use, or view, they may ignore it. To overcome this, marketing content needs to be available in a range of formats that your potential buyers can access with ease and enjoyment.
In addressing this leak, as well as a visual portfolio of work on the new home page, Julian decided to produce a video testimonial for one of his biggest projects that had recently been completed. Video is very good for website SEO and favoured by Google, it also makes testimonials come to life as only a real customer can do. It’s very mobile and tablet friendly too. For potential customers it’s the perfect format to create an insight into what it could be like to commission Ambassador - and visualise just how nice their home could look.
Watertight Marketing author Bryony Thomas has described Julian’s video as “ticking every box that a video testimonial should do.” There are more in the pipeline but see what his customer Helen says below:
As a business owner without a marketing background, it was the need to take control of his marketing that first attracted Julian to the book. He’s now far more confident of the marketing tactics he’s put in place and feels he is mastering the fundamentals.
Julian sees it like this. “For me, the Watertight Marketing book was a real eye opener. It put everything into perspective marketing-wise. It’s helped with my knowledge and, in future there will be nothing random about my marketing activities. Working with Ros I am confident I have a strategy that will attract and support potential customers as they make their buying decision.” He adds, “The Masterplan course has also helped me focus on the right kind of customers for me and my business - I have a number of different projects in progress but I now know exactly how to showcase the best ones as testimonials that will attract more of the same.”
Related content: The Watertight Marketing Masterplan Programme
The Touchpoint Leak™ Assessment looked at each of the profit leaks - and, to date Ambassador have only addressed the most urgent. There’s a great deal more in Ros's recommendations - far more than can be featured in this case study.
Reflecting on the process, Julian is looking forward to implementing additional Watertight Marketing recommendations - and working further with Ros as an Accredited Consultant.
“Ros has always been there. She’s kept me accountable, or bless her she’s tried to! She’s very knowledgeable with good marketing resources to call on. She’s easy going, we get on well, she listens and she’s helped me put a lot of good stuff in place. I’ve got a much better understanding of what marketing is now. I know what my priorities are so I just focus on those. There's still a lot of work to be done but it's manageable.”
Ros Conkie, the Watertight Marketing Accredited Consultant who guided Julian through the Touchpoint Leak™ Assessment and Masterplan course added “Watching Julian go through this process has been such a privilege. When we first met he described himself as "a mosquito in a nudist camp – I know what I need to do but I don't know where to start!" Now Julian knows exactly where to focus his energy and which tasks to leave. He knows how to prioritise his marketing activities and is slowly and systematically working through it all.”
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© Watertight Marketing Ltd | This marketing case study was prepared by Watertight Marketing Accredited Consultant – Ben Wheeler.