06 Jun 2022

Trade Talk | Marc Piper - Free Resources to Market Your Extended Warranty Program

Trade Talk - Marc Piper

On this episode of Trade Talk, Marc Piper the Project Manager for JB Warranties shares some details about the free print materials they provide to customers to help them market extended warranties. 

Here's a breakdown of what you'll learn:

  • Quick walkthrough of JBW free print marketing materials available to customers
    • Printshop capabilities
    • HVAC trifold, flyer, postcard, and coverage form
  • NEW Addition - Renewals Postcard
  • Direct Mail Marketing
    • Specifically targeted
    • It’s tangible. The recipient has to touch it so they have to see it.
    • It’s personalized.
    • Mail is familiar to everyone.
    • Direct mail response rates are between 5% and 9%. The 5% rate is mostly for envelopes.



Connect with Nick and Rick:

Alanna Jackson and Stacy Jackson

Marc Piper


Read the transcript:

Alanna Jackson: So welcome to another episode of Trade Talk. And you might be thinking, I'm not Brian Bohannon, or I'm not Tommy Q or Nick Aarons, but I am part of the JB marketing team. I am Alanna Jackson and Stacey Jackson is also part of the marketing team. And we're going to talk to Marc Piper today, who is the project manager at JB Warranties about some different things, print marketing and some other new things that they have coming up. So, Marc, can you tell us a little bit about what you do at JB Warranties and share some things about what a project manager at JB Warranties means?

Marc Piper: Absolutely, absolutely. And good morning. Basically, I run the print marketing, things that have to do with the trade show materials, all the tangible stuff. You guys do a great job of handling our social media. And my part is basically all the printing and we do a lot of printing. We have our own in-house plant. We produce all the marketing materials that are available to the dealers on our portal, in house. We cut them down and ship them out free of charge to our customers. And we've got a couple of new projects that are coming up. The one that we're going to talk about later is the renewals. But for the most part, we print a lot of postcards, flyers, tri-folds, and coverage forms. And these are all, like I said, available on the portal to all of our dealers.

There's basically materials. We give you the resources or we give them the resources to help sell this product. And all it takes is for them to talk to their TM. They get a hold of me and we produce what's needed for them, ship it out. It's usually done within five to 10 working days, which is a pretty quick turnaround for print. And like I said, everything is done in house, so there's no delays. Once in a while we'll have to outsource a really, really big project. But that doesn't happen very often.

Alanna Jackson: So mainly a lot of the projects you work on are design stuff or materials that they would need to use?

Marc Piper: Yes. Everything from the table cloths and the banners that they take to trade shows, to some of the specialty products like pens and cruzies and stuff like that. We handle the shipping of that to our reps. And then for the dealers, we do a lot of print marketing materials and that has increased the activity. And that has increased a lot in the last couple of years. And it's good to see.

Alanna Jackson: And your print shop capabilities, you guys just got a brand new print-

Marc Piper: We've got a brand new digital press. [inaudible 00:03:00] It's basically a high end copier, but the industry likes to call it a digital press. Full color capability. We could print on heavy card stock. We had the ability to do variable data, which is personalizing addresses on some of the mailing materials. So if we have a customer, what we normally do is we'll print a hundred postcards, a hundred flyers, a hundred tri-folds and 50 coverage forms. And that's the basic order. Now the customer, the end user takes the postcards and they'll put labels on it and they'll stamp it themselves when it's just a couple of hundred or so recipients that they're sending them to. But in the event that they have a mailing list of 500 or more, send us your mailing list. We'll convert it to a CSV file and do a mail merge for you. And we'll print the information and the addresses on the pieces. And we'll even drop them in the mail for you.

Alanna Jackson: Okay. And then as far as, you have all different kinds of pieces that you print, right? You said you have tri-folds, flyers, postcards, and what is the one piece that maybe most might use?

Marc Piper: The tri-fold is popular, but the postcard is the most popular. They're both pretty popular, but the postcard, we push a lot of postcards out of here.

Alanna Jackson: Okay.

Stacy Jackson: So Marc, what kind of fee does JB Warranties ask for from their customers for this, is it free?

Marc Piper: It's free. It is free. We want to give our customers the resources to be successful. So we do everything in our power to help them out with their marketing needs. Because some dealers, they're in small towns and they don't have a marketing team to help them out. So we'll step in, we'll give them that boost and help them out with getting the word out. We're currently working on our plumbing section. So it's not just HVAC, we've got in the works right now, a designer working on putting together a plumbing marketing campaign for tri-folds.

Alanna Jackson: So that'll be a new thing that you haven't had in the past, right? Because a lot of HVAC companies also have plumbing and electric built into them as well. They're a one stop shop for all those things. So I'm assuming that they would be able to use both the HVAC and the plumbing as separate pieces that they would work with their customers on?

Marc Piper: Yes, exactly.

Alanna Jackson: So have you had any feedback from them about that yet? Are they excited about it or have you not really sprinkled it out there yet?

Marc Piper: I haven't put the word out yet. We've talked about it with the reps before, but we haven't made the announcement just yet because we want to have everything finalized before we say, hey guys, surprise. And we're hoping that it takes, and I'm sure it will.

Stacy Jackson: Speaking of new surprises and new items for your customers, maybe you could tell us a little bit about the new renewals postcard?

Marc Piper: Yes, absolutely. I've got a copy of it right here.

Alanna Jackson: Drum roll.

Stacy Jackson: Nice. There you go.

Marc Piper: The renewals basically. You have your regular postcard. This is what we send out. Logo goes there and it's got the address paneling and all that. This is what we normally send out for new warranties. We needed something to reach out to people whose warranties are coming up for expiration. So that's why we came up with the renewals postcard. This is so that the dealer can reach out to their clients and let them know, hey, your warranty's up in so many days. We can add a couple more years coverage. It can be anywhere from two to 10 years. So it's about eight years coverage on the Protection Plus or the labor only on if they have a two year plan or three to 10, which gives them seven years additional coverage on the three year plans.

So they could talk to their team about that also. Basically the way they do this is, they do the rest of our marketing materials. They'll log onto the portal, upload a logo onto the print materials or printed marketing materials tab, upload their logo and make sure that their info is all correct on there. They hit a button that says generate materials, and they could select if they want all four or all five of the pieces or if they want to just select the tri-fold, or if they just need acknowledgement forms or any of that, they can customize what they're going to get. And it produces a PDF. They can download a PDF and view it to make sure that everything's okay on it. And then they can just submit their order. They usually go through their TM. We're working on automating the system. That's going to happen pretty soon. So we're going to have an interface like Vista Print would have.

Alanna Jackson: Okay.

Stacy Jackson: Oh, okay. That's cool.

Alanna Jackson: So they would pretty much, they go onto the portal. They make sure that, I guess, do they get to see the postcard? They'll get to see the postcard and then see where their logo will fit on it. Okay.

Marc Piper: They can download it and open it up in Acrobat Reader and they can see everything on there.

Alanna Jackson: To make it super easy for them not having to think through a lot. And just all you got to do is just open it, click it and submit your order, right?

Marc Piper: Exactly. Yeah.

Alanna Jackson: Okay. And then that goes to you guys?

Marc Piper: Yes.

Alanna Jackson: And then you print it out on your print machine?

Marc Piper: We print it out.

Alanna Jackson: Or digital copier, if I'm using the right word.

Stacy Jackson:

Digital print.

Marc Piper:

We print on our copier.

Alanna Jackson:

And then you print it out and then you mail it back to them and then they can send it out and do all that good stuff.

Marc Piper: Exactly. Or if they have a list of homeowners that they want to reach, that's over 400 people, we'll be more than happy to take that mailing list and take care of the printing, the trimming, the traying. Because whenever you do bulk business mail, you get postage discounts and it makes it easier. And it goes quicker when you go through the bulk mail system through USPS, which is business mail. And we basically do all the work up front before dropping them off at the post office. So we're able to get a few postage discounts like that. The post office takes it in the trays, the paperwork is set and everything. They drop it in the machinery and they're good to go. The post office is where they like to, if you can help them do as little work as possible, they'll help you out with some of the pricing. And that's how the business mail works for us.

Stacy Jackson: If they have a list of 400, you said, or more?

Marc Piper: 400 or more, if I'm not mistaken, yes.

Alanna Jackson: Does that cost extra for them?

Marc Piper: No.

Alanna Jackson: That's all still free?

Marc Piper: Yes.

Stacy Jackson: Wow.

Alanna Jackson: Okay. That's pretty awesome if you're a customer that you guys are taking all that kind of like a burden to a small business of doing all that work for them and you get it taken care of and it's free.

Stacy Jackson: So one thing that a lot of businesses big or small have gotten in their minds is that direct mail marketing is dead. Everything's about online, but maybe you could talk about some of the reasons why customers should take advantage of this, about how they can target. What are the benefits of direct mail that people need to keep in mind and why it's so important?

Marc Piper: Well, first of all, it's specifically targeted. So it's the people that you want to send it to, that you've got on your radar. You can target that demographic however you want. It also, it's tangible. It's something that even if you get a piece of direct mail in your mailbox, you have to look at it. You're going to read part of it before you throw it in the trash. If you get a follow up, that's another touch. Every touch gets you closer to a yes with direct mail. And it's pretty funny, the response rate is much higher than email campaigns or social media. It's between five or 9%. The 5% is the low end of it. And that consists of actual direct mail that comes in envelopes that you have to open up. Those sometimes get chucked right away and they don't get to read it. But 5% is still pretty high and your 9% are going to be your flats, your postcards, or renewals or folded brochures.

Alanna Jackson: And it's a good point because, I get all my mail and I know a lot of it's junk mail, but I do always see the ones that are like the postcards. And you notice who it's from. You catch like a, one of, the title of it or whatever. And it is something more than you get when you have email because with email, you can immediately delete it and you didn't see anything about it.

Stacy Jackson: Right.

Marc Piper: Yep. And then you can hit unsubscribe and that'll be that, you'll never [inaudible 00:12:34]. With direct mail, you'll keep getting that direct mail [inaudible 00:12:38], but it is tangible. Like I said, people get their junk mail. They look at it, they've already seen it. They'll throw it to the trash, but that image sometimes sticks. And with every follow up it's just more recognition. It's familiar to everyone. More people trust male than they do email messages. So that's another plus, that is why the high end is close to 9%.

Alanna Jackson: That's true because a lot of times also, if you're not familiar with who's sending you that email, I'm not going to click a link in it because, is it going to mess up my computer? I don't have to worry about that with a direct mail thing. I can look at it and then I can go and search for their site. They might put a link on it, but I'm typically not even going to type that in. I'm just going to search for their site, but it's just, it gives you a better opportunity.

Marc Piper: Precisely.

Alanna Jackson: And then what is the process? I know you spoke about, get in touch with your TM. What do customers need to do if they want to learn more about this, or if they want to get started, what's the process?

Marc Piper: Normally get in touch with, your TM and they can get it with me on a call if it's something that's a little more robust and complicated, like a big direct mailing campaign. If it's just a simple print order for the generic stuff that we normally do, just let them know and they'll submit the order. We are working, I mentioned this earlier, we are working on automating this process. The print shop is in its infancy, but it's taking off pretty quick. And we're already at that point. It's a good problem to have, I wasn't expecting it to grow that much. Our volume has increased significantly in the last year.

Get in touch with your TM. They'll submit the order. Pretty soon here, we're going to have an interface where the dealer can actually log onto the portal and view their proof and just hit submit order after they've approved what they see on their screen or what they've downloaded and looked at. And that will drop the PDF, the production ready PDF directly into our print queue. So whenever the crew comes in to print, everything will be there on our printer, queued up on the screen, ready to go. We will look at the due dates on there, and then prioritize what needs to be printed first.

Alanna Jackson: So what if somebody, maybe they don't like free stuff or they have something where they need a copy of it, ASAP. Can they print straight from the portal?

Marc Piper: Absolutely. Let's say they want to print something real quick to show somebody, the files that generate from the portal are production ready PDF. So you could take them, let's say you order a hundred and oh, I need more. Let me run to FedEx or Office Depot to go get some printed. You could take that file. And it's built with bleed it's got all the right color profiles entered and everything, it's made for production. So they can take that file or those files to any print shop anywhere and produce more if needed.

Stacy Jackson: So what kind of lead time do people need to give you if they have a project? Is it maybe a week turnaround? Longer than that, shorter?

Marc Piper: Usually around a week.

Stacy Jackson: Okay.

Marc Piper: It's usually around a week, depending on volume. There for a bit, we were pretty slammed. It comes and goes. It's never dead slow though. So I like to tell people it'll be between five to 10 working days. If there's an issue where it's going to take longer, because it's a special type of job, we will give you a deadline and estimate as to when it can be produced.

Alanna Jackson: And are there certain kinds of materials specifically that are just canned pieces that they have available or can they work with you to create custom at all?

Marc Piper: It's mostly canned, even though I don't like to use that word. We've got templates. It's standard. We have templates that are built in. They drop their information, they upload their logo and they make sure that all that's correct and it populates those spaces on the pieces. And then we print them out and send them. Now, if it is a big project, and if it's a customer that has a big event or something, we will work with them to create something, if it's within a reasonable timeframe.

Alanna Jackson: So again, just to recap, log into the portal and they can access templates and different things there and submit their print jobs, or they can contact their TM to get more information and get some help getting set up, right?

Marc Piper: Exactly.

Alanna Jackson: And if they want to contact you for any questions or anything like that, how should they do that?

Marc Piper: They can always email me. And it's mpiper, M-P-I-P-E-R @jbwaarranties.com, or they can talk to their TM and we could set... I've worked with a couple of TMs where we do a call together and we figure something out for a custom piece that they're working on or that they have in mind. I've done a couple of those recently. So get in contact with your TM, they'll set it up or, contact me directly and I'll be more than happy to help you. But this is something, since it is the TMs account. This is something that I prefer they're involved in. So there's no gap in communication whatsoever.

Alanna Jackson: Okay. So go to your TM.

Marc Piper: I would. That's what I would do.

Alanna Jackson: First and foremost. Okay.