Photos by Bill Sloan, Sloan Photography
Twenty-five up-and-coming pest control companies from throughout the United States were honored in September at the PCT Rising Star Awards event, sponsored by Univar Solutions and VM Products.
The two-day program, held at the Westin Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, featured a number of high-profile speakers, as well as the opportunity for attendees to participate in roundtable discussions and social events designed to encourage idea-sharing and industry best practices.
Doug Wyly, business development manager, Univar Solutions, kicked off the event by congratulating those in attendance for being selected to receive an inaugural Rising Star Award. He also highlighted Univar’s state-of-the-art inventory management system, which he said is designed to add ease, speed and simplicity to product procurement and tracking.
Keynote speaker Meredith Oliver, co-founder and chief strategist of Meredith Communications, Raleigh, N.C., described how PMPs can make customers their “super fans” in her well-received session on “FANtastic Marketing.”
“I believe every one of your businesses is as unique as a fingerprint,” she said. “Each of you has a unique business culture that has to be reflected in your marketing strategy. It is not one-size-fits-all.”
She then proceeded to provide valuable insights about how pest control companies can take their customer relationships to a new level, offering five common traits of fanatical sports fans, and why those traits are relevant for pest control businesses of all sizes.
“Sports fans say things like, ‘We won the game. We need to fire the coach.’” But fans aren’t actually playing the game or managing the team. Nonetheless, they’re so passionate about the brand, they feel like they’re part of the team. “They’re super fans,” according to Oliver.
PMPs should aspire to the same level of support. “Do your current customers feel the ‘we?’” she asked. “That’s what we’re going for” because when your customers become super fans, “they do the selling and marketing for you. It’s the best possible marketing there is … word of mouth.”
Oliver added that the key to marketing success is “amplifying” your company’s word-of-mouth advertising by leveraging an array of digital marketing vehicles including Facebook, Twitter and your company’s website, assuring the latter is easy to navigate and features key elements designed to drive leads and reflect your company’s corporate culture.
Prior to heading over to the Hard Eight BBQ for dinner, attendees also heard presentations from Kelly Brownlee, marketing director of VM Products, and Nathan Harris, digital marketing specialist for Univar Solutions, who discussed “Harnessing the Power of Social Media: Organic Social Posting and Facebook Ads.”
Day two of the event featured a “Voice of the Customer” roundtable discussion where attendees had an opportunity to share their thoughts and observations on a wide array of topics ranging from employee recruitment and retention to successful growth strategies and internet marketing.
Ethan Vickery, founder and president of VM Products, also provided an update on the company’s rodent monitoring systems, a dynamic market with long-term implications for the rodent control field. Vickery said VM Products has been manufacturing high-quality, innovative products for the professional pest management industry since 2003.
Companies honored at the inaugural Rising Star event included 855bugs.com, Waco, Texas; A-1 Pest Control, Lenoir, N.C.; Accel Pest & Termite Control, Virginia Beach, Va.; Admiral Pest Control, Bellflower, Calif.; Cascade Pest Control, Bothell, Wash.; Chem-Wise Ecological Pest Management, Aurora, Ill.; ChemTec Pest Control, Saddlebrook, N.J.; City Wide Exterminating, Locust, N.C.; Delcon Pest Control, Las Vegas, Nev.; East Cooper Termite & Pest Solutions, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.; Fox Pest Control, Oxford, Conn.; Harbor Pest Control, San Diego, Calif.; Hargrove Pest Solutions, Martinez, Ga.; Natural State Pest Control, Lowell, Ark.; Pest & Termite Consultants, Raleigh, N.C.; Pest Czar, Towson, Md.; Pest Force, Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Quality Pest Services, Anaheim, Calif; Rambo Total Pest Control, Puyallup, Wash.; Safer Home Services, Clearwater, Fla.; Steve’s Pest Control, Holts Summit, Mo.; Thomas Pest Services, Schenectady, N.Y.; Town & Country Pest Solutions, Rochester, N.Y.; Urban Desert Pest Control, Phoenix, Ariz.; and Triangle Pest Control, Raleigh, N.C.