another negative Scotts ad attacks us

Discussion in 'Lawn Care Business Management' started by americanlawn, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,852

    Scotts Lawn Care just sent our mailings in our market. A customer brought one in yesterday, and she (former Scotts customer) ain't buying what Scotts is shoveling. I will highlight a few statements off their mailing:

    "Only Scotts has access to cutting-edge research & development"

    "Others made big promises.... at the end of the summer, the promises they made looked pretty empty, and their low price was not a bargain"

    "Scotts has proprietary professional products"

    "Scotts Lawn Care customers rate Scotts better than other professionals" (there was fine print at the bottom)

    "Technicians are certified by Scotts Lawn Service Training Institute" (insert joke here)

    "Breakthrough technologies & unmatched expertise & experience"

    This new Scotts mailer even showed a chart comparing "them" to another National company>>>

    "One stop shop for lawn and tree & shrub" (insert laugh here)

    "Exclusive water smart & edge guard" (more fine print at the bottom of their ad)

    There are several more misleading examples, but my fingers are getting tired. :laugh:

    Thoughts?
     
  2. TTS

    TTS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 615

    You can either focus on your competition or you can focus on your customers. Let them do as they will but if you take care of the people and truly deliver on your promise every time you will come out ahead.

    Conversely if you want to go to war send out ads that don't mention their name but expose all of their down sides and your up sides. American lawn where you're a person not a number, small enough to give you personalized attention, custom solutions not a one size fits all robot etc
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  3. sjessen

    sjessen LawnSite Gold Member
    Male, from Knoxville, Tn
    Posts: 3,060

    Just take the high road Larry. From reading your posts I think you are sharp enough and your work is good enough to compete as is. I would prepare answers to their claims and teach your techs what to say if asked.

    My guess is they are going after TruGreen, Lawn Doctor or whoever is the national player. You have very distinct competitive advantages being a smaller operator who knows the specific needs of the properties in your area. Many large companies do a one size fits all plan.

    Good luck this year!
     
  4. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,852

    Good stuff -- thanks. Yes, the "comparison chart" was Scotts vs TruGreen. Odd thing is I will match a local TruGreen lawn against our local Scotts lawn any day of the week. Serious, cuz we now acquire more ex-Scotts customers than we do TruGreen. For Scotts to do this rubs me the wrong way. Inaccurate at best.

    I'm sure this new Scotts mailer is generated for all states allowing the local franchise guy to "sign his name". Cheezy imo.

    We never mail out or pass brochures. Since 1990 (when we incorporated), we have NEVER even mentioned or compared ourselves with ANYBODY. Heck --- we never even call anybody - even after running an estimate.

    Most folks do not like negative stuff, and they sure as heck HATE phone calls. Plus we hate making phone calls in the first place....LOL

    We advertise on radio, television, yellow pages, website. You will never once see us "mentioning" any competitor whatsoever. All we pretty much say is "here we are".

    I like this thinking -- I sleep good at night, and more importantly, I am proud to know (and get along with) our local LCO's.

    My 2 cents
     
  5. sjessen

    sjessen LawnSite Gold Member
    Male, from Knoxville, Tn
    Posts: 3,060

    My guess is that mailer was done by their national advertising firm from Ohio or wherever. You need not play in the mud with them. Let them fight it out and you can pick up the casualties....and there will be some.

    Soon, they will be fighting it out over price. Soon after, their managers will either have to raise prices or cut down on the amount of product used so they can hit their numbers. It only takes about one season of crabgrass and other weeds to turn off the new customers.

    Funny how these companies shortchange their customers on weed control rather than just using less nitrogen because it is the weeds that drive homeowners nuts.

    One last thought - when a company starts making a lot of claims it usually indicates they have been having issues with service and/or quality in the past and their advertising is designed to try to turn around a bad image.

    Glad you are well.
     
  6. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Male
    Posts: 7,602

    this is weird. I get so much fight on this… I get criticism for it, but I advocate the same thing. Ive never seen anyone else say or do this (the no calls things)

    It's always "NO you must flood your customer with overabundance of annoying communication to a degree no other company can possibly compete…only then will they plan to murder you in your sleep young jedi"

    Do the job, stay off the phone, IMO. 99.9% of others disagree.
    Never seen anyone else say this….. interesting.:dancing:
     
  7. sjessen

    sjessen LawnSite Gold Member
    Male, from Knoxville, Tn
    Posts: 3,060

    The guy I refer all of this type of work does does the same thing. Heck, sometimes it is hard to get him to return calls. The only marketing he does is aerating and overseeding in the fall but that is done via mailers.
     
  8. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,852

    I dropped off this "anti'TruGreen, etc" mail piece today to our local TruGreen. I realize some guys hate TruGreen, but our local TruGreen branch is top notch (at last for the past 12 years or so).

    I said, "I just received this Scotts ad." First thing the branch manager said, "Is this another attack ad toward us?" I said, "Yes, unfortunately". He just shrugged it off -- not saying anything bad. Then we spent almost an hour shooting the bull about our ChemLawn days back in the 70' & 80's.

    Bottom line, it pays to have local friends in the industry. ie, "If you ever need anything, just let us know". Outfits like these will always be friends (even if they are competitors). They don't brag (except for me sometimes .. sorry), they never complain, and they never badmouth others.

    Too bad Scotts resorts to this type of advertising. Especially with so many misleading & false statements.

    I am now looking forward to 2014 so we can acquire even more former Scotts customers.
     
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,081

    Be sure to fight back with your own top-quality features and benefits in your promotional material.
    "Don't settle for last year's technology."
    "Genuine prodiamine, the best and longest-lasting crabgrass control".
    "Our iron, manganese and zinc correct the three most common soil deficiencies."
    "High potash for deeper, stronger roots--this means less watering is needed."
    "No-dandelion guarantee available only from us."
    "All our equipment has edge shields to protect your flowers."
    "Our people have average a high level of training and experience; they are state certified."
    "More soil tests in our town (3000) than any other company. We know local soils. "
    "More slow-release nitrogen than big companies--for longer-lasting green."

    You couldn't possibly make all these claims--these are just examples.
     
  10. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    I LOVE it when competitors make these claims! We can show the customer the science and research that proves each and every one of these claims is BS.

    When customers see the university data that disproves these claims, they come ot our side every time.
     

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