Sarah Ghirardo knows the route to take when a trade company wants to drive up sales.
During her 4 1/2 years running HVAC marketing campaigns at Service Champions North, sales more than doubled—to $55 million.
Subsequently, ServiceTitan brought her onboard as Senior Marketing Operations Manager for Marketing Pro. Ghirardo also currently heads Lady Titans, an 800-plus-member advocacy group of women (and allies) in the industry.
One primary lesson she brought with her and now shares with ServiceTitan clients: Your brand starts with your culture.
At Service Champions, Ghirardo says the company really started to grow after an initiative to change the brand. And that change started simply enough—with new truck wraps.
"We did new commercials, but we also shifted the culture," she says. "We outlined common service language throughout the customer experience. We took marketing from saying, 'OK, it's not just a piece of direct mail, it's the culture.' We took it in and dived into scripts all the way through to the customer journey, to make sure that there was a consistent message."
During this transition, Ghirardo says employees began to see how aligning a brand with culture really mattered. It wasn't just a matter of new branding on trucks.
"It was, 'How did we impact the community with that message?'" she says. "How did we really want to show up? We realized that people buy from people. Then we started showcasing our employees and our team. They were what we used for marketing. It was pretty awesome."
For Ghirardo, that very personal campaign showed the huge impact marketing can have.
"That's what I love about marketing--that you have the ability to change a consumer's behavior and thought process," she says. "It can be done very negatively, too. But we focused on the positive and went that way when it came to branding and marketing."
Her other big tip for any size business looking to get the most out of social media and branding: Do your math before marketing.
"The opportunity is to look at your capacity, your seasonality and really know that your forecasting is going to be iterative," Ghirardo says. "Take the historical data and evaluate it."
She says you need to ask: "How did I do?" And, "What reasonable goals can I grow to?"
Don't just spend money and hope for the best, Ghirardo says.
"You can't rely on wildly outlandish goals for your business, no matter what your revenue size is," she says. "Because I guarantee when you write a goal down, and when you speak it into existence, it can happen for you. Any revenue-sized company can always build onto their brand."
Sarah Ghirardo recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel as part of Season 5 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included Ghirardo's thoughts on:
Changing consumers’ thoughts and behavior with branding.
Seasonal campaign tips and insights.
Marketing communities, mentorship, and agency relationships.
Making math a part of your marketing arsenal.
The wisdom found in Purple Cow by Seth Godin.
To hear more tales from the trades, subscribe to Toolbox for the Trades on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or anywhere you get podcasts.