Use the 2023 WQA Consumer Opinion Study in your strategic marketing planning for 2024
Strategic marketing planning is your roadmap to success and dealers who use the 2023 WQA Consumer Opinion Study have a leg up on the competition.
As you start 2024, you need to take a hard look at how your business did in 2023. You need to review what worked and what didn’t work. You need to analyze the number of potential buyers in your market and consider how you can reach them. This is a time to fine-tune your message; do a deep dive into your competition and evaluate your unique value proposition. This is what sets your business apart from the rest.
Your marketing plan is your compass in the ever-changing business world. A solid plan will help you move forward and stand out in today’s competitive marketplace.
More Competition – More Interest:
According to statistics from Dun & Bradstreet, the number of companies selling water filtration has grown by 12% in the past 3 years. While there may be increased competition, there is also increased interest in water filtration.
Consumers are clearly concerned with the condition of the water in their home. The 2023 WQA Consumer Opinion Study shows that “almost 3 out 5 households and very concerned/concerned about the safety of their water”.
That means you need to be sharp, focused, flexible, and creative – and, have a strategic marketing plan in place to move forward and reach those households.
Direction and Focus:
A clear, well-defined plan guides your team. Set specific goals, define your target audience, and chart out the tactics to get there. This focus ensures everyone is on the same page, working together toward shared objectives.
Set goals you can measure. Your marketing plan gives you a benchmark for success. Track your progress, identify what’s working, and make informed adjustments for the best results.
Let’s start with your goals. Are you projecting increased sales? I hope so – there’s lots of opportunity.
According to the 2023 WQA Consumer Opinion Study, almost 50% of American homeowners have some kind of water filter in their homes. That percentage has grown over the last few years (it was 2 out of 5 in 2021). That means there is an increased perception that this is a vital need.
That also means that today, at least 50% of American households do not have a water filter. And, based on the study “almost one-quarter of those without a system have some interest in purchasing in the future”. That’s a lot of potential business.
With a strategic marketing plan, you can optimize your resources—money, time, and people. No more wastage. Direct your efforts and spend your marketing dollars where they matter most.
That means when you market, target – target – target.
The 2023 WQA Study shows that one-third of water treatment products were purchased in the first month a homeowner is in their new home. And, “overall, 4 out of 5 systems were purchased within a year of moving”.
That means dealers should be directing their efforts at new homeowners, since they are the most likely buyers of water treatment products. If you have a limited budget, this is where you spend it.
The study also points out that “owners of home water systems were far more likely to be on a higher economic scale than those who did not”. If you’re selling whole house systems, your marketing efforts need to focus on people who can afford your product. In the marketing world, this means overlaying income, modeled credit or home value when you consider your prospective customers.
You need to understand your market and competitors. Your marketing plan helps you identify what makes you unique. This distinctiveness sets you apart from your competitors. It is also what attracts and retains customers.
Let’s go back to the 2023 study. Consumers want to do business with knowledgeable people. 40% of consumers think the water treatment company is the expert in their area. Are you? How do you portray your dealership, your technicians?
Are you out there in the public eye, discussing water quality and water safety? Do you network with other business professionals? Are you perceived as the local expert? Do they trust you?
Is your staff up to speed? According to the Study, the ability to answer questions (81%) and product knowledge (79%) were considered the two most important attributes in a salesperson.
Since you know expertise resonates with consumers, consider highlighting that in your marketing. State it unequivocally in your marketing: we are your water quality experts. Make it one of your unique value propositions (UVPs).
Reviews and Testimonials:
The more expensive the product, the more reviews a consumer will read before making a purchase decision. According to the 2023 WQA Study, 42% of consumers say that reviews are the most important thing influencing their decision.
Your strategic marketing plan needs to include a tactic for obtaining reviews and getting them onto your website and in your marketing material on a consistent basis. If the last review you have on your site is from 2021, you need to make this a priority.
18% of consumers said they preferred to do business with a company whose products were made in the U.S. If your equipment is made in the U.S., make sure that’s on your marketing material, your website and in your UVP – loud and proud!
Understand Your Customer:
Know your audience inside out. Your marketing plan requires you to dig deep into customer behavior, preferences, and trends. Tailor your messages to resonate with your customers. This drives engagement and loyalty.
Back to the 2023 WQA Consumer Opinion Study. Of the homeowners who do not currently own some kind of water filtration device, “over one-quarter of them implied that a promotional offer or rebate might motivative a purchase”.
That means that when you market to homeowners, you need to consider including either a promotional offer or a rebate in your marketing. Make it a worthy offer or it will be meaningless.
Here are some examples:
- $200 / $250 off installation (you pick the dollar amount)
- FREE designer faucet for your water filter ($200 value)
- 1 year supply of soap / salt / detergent
- FREE low-flow shower head
- Receive a $25 Gift Card with Water Test
Target Unique Audiences:
Another new question highlighted in the 2023 Study – Two-thirds of consumers who do not currently have a filter said they’d consider installing a system if they undertook a major home remodel.
This can be a great innovative targeted marketing opportunity. Consider marketing to homeowners who just refinanced their homes. According to statistics from Bankrate, 43% of refinances are for home renovation. Want to stand out from the competition? Pull a list of refinances and market to them. You can even select by the loan amount. If they’re considering renovation, a whole house system is on their list. And they should be on yours. This group is easy to reach by direct mail.
Another statistic I found valuable from the study: “Millennials are the only segment where over half (59%) believe a water treatment product is a necessity.” In the world of sales, it’s always easier to sell a need than a want. When you market to Millennials your messaging needs to remind them that the quality of water they provide to their families is in their hands.
WQA Consumer Opinion Study
I want to give a shout out to the WQA for undertaking the 2023 WQA Consumer Opinion Study. This is a real tangible benefit of WQA membership. Market research is a very expensive, time consuming proposition that individual dealerships cannot afford to do on their own. The fact that WQA undertakes this study every two years gives us lots of historical data and benchmarking we can use for future growth.
From a marketing perspective, the Study offers actionable data that helps guide us in crafting a strategic marketing plan. When we understand consumer preferences, motivation and purchase timing, we can do a better job with our planning.
As we start 2024, you need to make sure you are poised for success. Your strategic marketing plan empowers you to make informed decisions, thrive in a dynamic marketplace, and confidently lead your business toward its goals.