Daikin is a Japanese multinational air conditioning company with a 50-year history in Australia. Sold exclusively through its dealer network, Daikin runs a cooperative advertising model which funds up to fifty per cent of dealers’ advertising as long as they comply with guidelines and caveats.
To help ensure that dealers were getting the best return for their advertising spend, Daikin hired me to run a series of training workshops around Australia. Working closely with Daikin Brand Manager, Lien Lam, I developed a custom training presentation that covered the fundamentals of digital marketing and advertising, Google Ads, social media ads and how to effectively outsource this.
Then in August, September and November, I traveled to Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Newcastle, Canberra, my hometown of Sydney and twice to Melbourne, to deliver this custom training to Daikin’s dealers – all small business owners.
“Advertising has changed a lot in the last 10-15 years, but old habits die hard,” says Brand Manager Lien. “Daikin engaged Brook to help equip dealers with the most up-to-date knowledge and insights on the different steps of the buyer’s journey in a world which is increasingly online.”
Air conditioning, especially for a premium brand such as Daikin, is not a quick decision and the buyer’s journey is long and sometimes complicated. Daikin dealers are small business owners – often with a background in the trades – and marketing may not be their focus or even their priority.
Despite being (relatively) small businesses, some were spending upwards of $100,000 per year on advertising, without a clear understanding of how to measure their return.
Also in attendance at my custom training sessions were Daikin Account Managers, who personally manage specific dealer relationships, and State Sales Managers. In order for the marketing and sales teams to encourage dealers in their marketing efforts, Account Managers need to be regularly upgrading their digital marketing skills to ensure that their knowledge and advice is as good as it could be.
“Daikin relies on our dealer network to engage with as many prospects and customers as possible and our dealers at times lean on us to give them advice on marketing and recommendations on what they should or could be doing,” says Lien. “So we hired Brook to ensure that the advice they’re getting is as relevant and valuable as possible.”
The digital arena can be hugely intimidating, with many moving parts that go beyond digital ads. It’s not enough to run a great advertising campaign – a business also needs effective landing pages to direct web traffic to, a great follow-up, and an effective, consistent sales process.
Therefore, the digital ads seminars also touched on what makes for effective website design, how to optimise website meta information to improve search engine optimisation, how to read analytics and the most important data to focus on, and the all-important sales process. All these elements are necessary to ensure that dealers were getting the highest return-on-investment for their ad spend.
Dealers who responded were selling better than average. Many attendees were owners, managers or admin staff who were tasked with marketing, and the average size of their businesses was eight people.
As small business owners with little-to-no education in digital marketing, it was important that training was engaging and easily understood.
“We chose Brook because she listened closely to what we needed, asked intelligent questions and proposed a more well-rounded, integrated approach,” says Lien. “Brook was engaging, approachable, relatable and real. She didn’t use jargon or marketing speak but rather educated and empowered the dealers, while making complex technical subjects seem simple and achievable.”
These custom training seminars were specifically designed to make digital less intimidating and more do-able. Dealers may consider taking advantage of Daikin cooperative advertising budget, or rethink their ad spend, from television, print advertising or local directories, towards Facebook ads, Google Ads and the accompanying upgrades to their websites to ensure they get the best return on their ad spend.
“Feedback from our surveys has been fantastic,” says Lien. “Brook had a number of dealers after each seminar hanging back to ask further questions and seek advice. The business has never done this before so it’s always a little unnerving to see how it’ll pan out. But we’re really pleased by the outcome and excited by the possibilities of what happens next.”