SAN FRANCISCO — In Part 1 of my Season-ing column that appeared in last month’s issue of American Drycleaner, I covered research results showing why it is so beneficial to your company and your customers to engage them so they understand all the services you can provide.

If you are not yet a believer, take the “Did you know...” challenge and ask your next 10 customers, “Did you know we clean ________ ?” (Choose a service that isn’t clothing.)

You can confirm what they don’t know that which you may think is obvious to everyone.

Since visual cues are processed so much faster than text or spoken words, use them to aid your staff in encouraging your customers and prospects to try a new service. Back up the visuals with text and narrative.

If your best customers are traditionalists, then that calls for different guidance than if you have successfully captured the trendier millennial market with tendencies toward minimalism.

Here’s an example (from thebalancesmb.com):

“The market research industry ... uses a consumer group taxonomy known as ACORN (A Classification of Residential Neighborhoods), grouping people who share a good number of attributes.

The ACORN method of classifying consumers may be more powerful than a more generic classification based only on demographic, economic, or socio-economic factors.

The ACORN categories and their associated components are described below:

Category 1: Wealthy Achievers

A — Wealthy Executives

B — Affluent Greys

C — Flourishing Families

Category 2: Urban Prosperity

D — Prosperous Professionals

E — Educated Urbanites

F — Aspiring Single

Category 3: Comfortably Off

G — Starting Out

H — Secure Families

I — Settled Suburbia

J — Prudent Pensioners

Category 4: Moderate Means

K — Asian Communities

L — Post-Industrial Families

M — Blue Collar Roots

Category 5: Hard Pressed

N — Struggling Families

O — Burdened Singles

P — High Rise Hardship

Q — Inner City Adversary

(http://www.thebalancesmb.com/consumer/profile/ defining/the/ideal/customer)

Professionally generated profiles will direct you in your theme choice because they indicate whether your best customers spend their time watching cultural events or prefer spectator sports.

What is their news-gathering source: streaming news feed, PBS, or Facebook?

Where do they spend the bulk of their time: working, playing or commuting?

What is their preferred communication media?

Your customer profile will give you the answers and make your promotional investment much more productive. Remember that you are not your customer, so don’t rely on your personal preferences to reach your target audience.

If your analysis determines that your customers are Aspiring Singles, you will reach them through different means than if they are Affluent Greys or Flourishing Families.

NEVER-ENDING HOLIDAYS

Quirky holidays like “International Coffee Day” may reach singles, while traditional holidays like Thanksgiving may be more meaningful to Affluent Greys, and family-focused celebrations like the Fourth of July may resonate more with Flourishing Families.

(http://www.holidays calendar.com/categories/weird)

For example, if you want to promote pet sweaters or bedding, “National Mutt Day” might be the right timing if your best customers are Aspiring Singles. Or, tie into Chinese New Year’s “Year of the ______” for traditionalists, or “National Puppy Day” for active families.

Seasons are obviously the same for all customer categories, but the promotional visual cues might be different. Shorts and sundresses evoke summer for everyone, but the image will change with the recipient.

Consumers don’t often think about hats being cleaned, but the visuals can be fun and expressive of their lifestyle. This is a category that can be relevant any season, year-round.

Luggage cleaning is a category with proven customer demand. Again, the images and the ad copy can be targeted by consumer category.

Everyone’s household linen needs cleaning periodically during the year, and the effective images that trigger action will change with the customer profile. Party themes will resonate with social customers. Traditional or heirloom photos will appeal to traditionalists. Portability might attract families.

Whatever you choose to promote for the month or the season, make a consistent, coordinated, integrated and extensive effort that focuses on benefits to customers.

Use banners inside and on the windows of your stores, or on your vans and company cars. Create buttons for your team to wear to prompt customer questions and encourage staff to cross-sell, and provide talking points to aid your crew in customer communication.

Tell relevant, illustrated stories in your blogs and e-mails and on all your Internet sites. Attach hang tags to outgoing orders and on mailings.

If you find this list overwhelming, delegate the responsibility or outsource it.

There are multiple organizations specializing in this service for cleaners, and many other creative pros who work for multiple industries. They can give your promotions a consistency that always distinguishes your copany as the sender.

The sooner you put a disciplined program in place, the sooner you will reap the rewards.

To read Part 1, go HERE.