“We are challenged based on how our industry has evolved,” said Salah, pointing to industry consolidation, products that have become commoditized and increasingly diverse audience segments with differing needs.
Chicago-based USG faces the additional challenge of working with a limited marketing budget to reach multiple segments, including channel partners, architects, builders, contractors and specifiers.
“When we go to the different verticals, they communicate with us in different ways,” Salah said.
For example, USG found that within the contractor segment, its largest, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of Hispanic contractors in the U.S., estimated today at more than 9 million. The company also discovered that Hispanic contractors generally are not heavy Internet users and do not read many trade magazines.
So to reach this powerful segment, USG developed grassroots marketing efforts, including a contest called “El Mero Mero Drywalero” that awarded $10,000 to the fastest dry wall installer. It made the promotion a family event to leverage strong family values within the Hispanic community, Salah said.
USG also sponsors soccer teams in local communities and has developed local dealer education and training programs aimed at Hispanic contractors.
Another marketing effort that has proven successful for USG is sponsoring a NASCAR car. NASCAR racing is the most popular sport among 70% of its product users.
The company has also boosted its public relations efforts and developed integrated marketing campaigns around the USG brand as well as specific products.
Salah offered four take-aways for conference attendees:
- Create a clear marketing strategy that is tied to business drivers.
- Align execution with customers and strategy.
- Deliver a simple, consistent message.
- Align sales and marketing into a collaborative team.