CHICAGO — More than half (50.9%) of drycleaners say that the marketing activities they use pay off in real dollars, according to this month’s Wire survey. Only 10.9% say that their marketing efforts haven’t paid off, while 38.2% aren’t sure. And that’s good news, since, on average, respondents report spending 3.5% of their firms’ annual gross sales on marketing initiatives.
Drycleaners are using a variety of methods to market their businesses, with more than two-thirds (68.5%) making “Community Outreach” the most widely used marketing tool. Almost as many operators (63.0%) now have a website, and (61.1%) report using print advertising such as newspapers, magazines and brochures.
Some 44.4% use direct-mail marketing initiatives, and 40.7% use e-mail marketing. A handful (5.6%) use the broadcast media, and others report using billboards and door-to-door sales. A few (3.7%) rely on courteous service and little else: “Customer recommendations are the best advertising,” one respondent says.
Asked to name the main goal of their marketing efforts, 18.2% of respondents say that they are intended to build the customer base; 12.7% aim to encourage customer loyalty; and 14.5% aim to build brand awareness. No drycleaners said their marketing initiatives exist solely to increase short-term sales.
“Marketing in this business is 99% discounting,” says one operator. “Price your service for profit, not just survival, and you’ll watch your bottom line grow.”
More than half of respondents (54.5%), however, say that their operations’ marketing programs include “All of the above” goals. “I don’t believe we can afford not to market ourselves in this economy,” another operator says. “We must encourage existing customers and garner new clients.”
While the American Drycleaner Wire survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.
Subscribers to American Drycleaner’s Wire e-mails — distributed weekly — are invited to participate in an industry survey each month. The survey is conducted online via a partner website. Each survey is developed so it can be completed in 10 minutes or less. Readers are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.
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