Although The Wiese Co. has served the Natick, Mass., and surrounding areas for more than 15 years, it wasn't until a little over a year ago that owner Ray Wiese recognized the need — and was willing to incur the cost — for a full-time, in-house marketing person.
Wiese hired Kelly Russell as the company's vice president of marketing and business development. Although Russell had no remodeling experience, she had an impressive background in marketing and business development, formerly working for a private jet company and Monster.com, one of the largest online job databases. “Kelly Russell brought marketing to the company,” Wiese says emphatically. “I took the risk and made the investment to have someone like her. Her presence offers the company continuity and expertise.”
In Russell's first year, she overhauled everything from the company Web site to the business cards. “The face of The Wiese Co. changed over several months,” Russell says. The goal was twofold: to create consistency among the company's various marketing tools, and to raise the bar.
One of the company's best moves was enhancing the existing four-page newsletter. Although Wiese was sending it to current and past clients, Russell wanted to take it a step further — adding more information and more recipients via a rented list. The glossy quarterly now reaches 8,000 to 10,000 select residents in four areas. But rather than blanket the communities, The Wiese Co. qualifies recipients by income level, ZIP code, and age of the home. Russell also added local and regional newspaper and magazine editors to the circulation.
Although considered a marketing tool, Russell calls the newsletter a “passive sales technique.” “It's less in-your-face,” she says, of the content-rich newsletter, which includes remodeling tips and information about trends. “We never say, ‘Hey, look at this great thing we did,'” Wiese says. Instead, the idea is to show clients how The Wiese Co. can help them create their dream home.
The success of the newsletter has led to a partnership with a local wine store, which not only contributes articles but also offers the newsletter to its customers. In addition, Russell is considering creating a monthly e-mail newsletter.
While the company continues to grow — and is on target to hit its goal of $4 million in sales this year — it is being cautious, focusing on a tight geographic area and only adding more employees as needed. “If there's something we did right, it was taking the risk and hiring a marketing person,” Wiese says. “I wish I had done it sooner.”