Marketing Failure #15: Snowblower manufacturers blow it.

I have a question for you. When snow covers your driveway in copious amounts — as it has done to mine many times this winter — have you tried

(a) shoveling it
(b) paying someone to plow it
(c) driving back and forth over it to tamp it down
(d) ignoring it and waiting till it melts
(e) using a snowblower
(f) all of the above

If you answered “(f) all of the above.” You get extra points. That’s how I answered. There are plusses and minuses to all the choices.

For example, shoveling is a great way to take matters into your own hands and stay in shape. But with frequent snows like we’ve had this winter, you’ll have to enjoy spending hour after mind-and body-numbing hour doing something that is probably used as a form of punishment for those already being punished in Russian prisons in Siberia.

I’ve often tried “(b) paying someone to plow it,” but it’s hit and miss. Residential drives are always far down the list for the guys with plows on their pickups. Giant Eagle, malls, schools, office buildings and every other large space comes first. You could wait hours for a plow guy when you need to get your car out of the garage in minutes to get to work.

Items (c) and (d) are often met with disdain by your spouse and your neighbors.

It wasn’t until my family gave me a nice big Toro with electric start this past Christmas that I tried (e) using a snowblower. Now there’s no turning back. It takes just 10 minutes to do my drive, and I don’t have to wait for or pay anyone or even break a sweat.

After I got my snowblower, I began to wonder why more people don’t go this route. I realized I couldn’t recall ever seeing a TV spot for a snowblower or an advertisement anywhere. So I looked up ads for snowblowers online. Boring. Boring. Boring. All I saw were descriptions like “All-steel construction with a 24-inch intake height and 16-inch serrated augers.”

Those kind of industrial specifications have their place, but wow…they really missed the mark. Because while getting the driveway done in 10 minutes is kind of important, any guy with a snowblower will tell you that it’s not about getting it done…it’s about doing.

And here’s the real key, the dirty little men’s club secret: using a snowblower is FUN. What? Clearing the driveway is fun? No…that’s a benefit. Using a snowblower is fun.

Think back to when you had snowball fights with your buddies. You laughed, you felt silly and powerful at the same time. You were throwing snow.

Now, what does a snowblower do? It throws snow — a ton of freaking snow. And it does it with a gas engine that makes a very cool noise.

Your snowblower puts you in a club with other snowblower owners in your neighborhood. You look at each other as you blast mountains of white stuff into the wild blue yonder and give a little head nod thinking, “Oh yeah, we’re cool.” You all know you’re having fun, but you’re all acting like you’re doing something really important.

So why don’t snowblower makers focus on the fun aspect? A better question is…why don’t they offer free trials? Who could use one and not want to keep it?

Maybe the manufacturers don’t know enough about their customers. They missed the mark. Learn more about your customers’ motivations and make sure you don’t.


About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Email questions and comments to GFF@FarrisMarketing.com and connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

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