Ep 019 – 3 Keys to Landscape Marketing Mastery with John Dalton

Home / Episode / Ep 019 – 3 Keys to Landscape Marketing Mastery with John Dalton

Are you ignoring your most important marketing assets? Do defined marketing budgets impact your sales? Should you be focusing my marketing on social media? Uncover the answers to these important questions and discover the potential of effective marketing strategies in this episode with marketing expert and CMO John Dalton. Tap into all the knowledge from this 25-year marketing veteran to dive into actionable strategies that drive your marketing, and unlock your landscape company's success through smart, disciplined marketing fundamentals.


Stay Away from Shiny Objects

Key Moments:

[01:25] Marketing Background and Branding through Mergers

[5:40] How should you budget marketing?

[08:27] How to track marketing efforts.

[09:54] What to focus on in marketing.

[12:53] Creating a social media plan for landscaping companies.

[20:48] Your greatest tool for marketing is landscaping.

[26:18] The value of referrals and reviews. 

[31:39] The importance of customer needs for marketing.


    1. How do I effectively plan social media content?
    2. How much should I spend on landscape marketing?
    3. What marketing tactics should I be focusing on?
    4. Who should be doing my marketing in my landscaping business?
    5. Why do brand standards matter for my business?
Episode Transcript
John Dalton John: [00:00:00] The Roots of Success podcast is for the landscape professional who's looking to up their game. We're not talking lawns or grass here. We're talking about people, process, and profits. The things deep within the business that need focus to scale a successful company from hiring the right people and managing your team to improving your operations and mastering your finances. We've got a brain trust of experts to help you nurture the roots of a successful business and grow to the next level. This is The Roots of Success. Tommy Cole: Welcome back to the Roots of Success podcast. I'm your host Tommy Cole with McFarlin Stanford. We've got an awesome guest today We're talking to John Dalton, chief marketing officer of McFarlin Stanford. He leads the entire marketing team everything from social media to content to branding strategy everything under the sun marketing wise He's got a wealth of experience, in corporate, as well as our favorite small business entities. [00:01:00] And he has a ton of stuff to share. It's going to be a great conversation. So let's jump right into it. Welcome, John. John Dalton: Happy to be here, Tommy. Thanks for having me. Tommy Cole: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, so as we are, you know,talking about marketing things, I think everybody wants to know who is John Dalton and where did he come from? So give us a little bit of background. What you've been involved in prior to McFarlin and that'll set the stage as we move into this. Branding for a Merger of Companiesz John Dalton: Sure. Absolutely. well, I've got about a 25 year history in marketing, starting in the advertising agency world. then I got my MBA from SMU just across the street from you, Tommy. That's where I, that's where I met a man by the name of Jim Cali. And he and I worked together for several years at Kinko's, and then lived through the merger with FedEx, so we did a lot of, a lot of things with international marketing and that was my big, introduction to very high level branding with FedEx and converting over stores all over the world. [00:02:00] Fantastic experience. I went on to work for some other large companies there in Dallas, Brinker International, which is a restaurant company. Did international marketing with them for several years. and then got out of the corporate world and became a small business owner, like a lot of our listeners. my wife and I run a couple of companies over the years. one, we successfully grew to seven figures, ended up selling that business. so I have a lot of big corporate marketing experience, like you mentioned, and then I've also been a small business owner. So I have a pretty well rounded view of marketing with the big boys to, you know, how you do it on a shoestring. so that's kind of my experience in a nutshell, and wound up back here working with Jim, right, working with all of you guys. it's been a really great partnership and I love the industry. So happy to be here. Tommy Cole: That's great. Man FedEx Kinkos is like a common name now We used to call it FedEx and then we used to call it just Kinkos. That is huge two [00:03:00] massive conglomerates coming together across the country in the world, right? Like what was so fascinating about giving about getting everybody on board into a whole branding exercise that we're, we're taking Kinko copies and merging it into like the mail delivery system. What was challenging and rewarding about that? John Dalton: Well, the biggest challenge honestly was Kinko's had basically no brand standards. They had a logo and you could do whatever you wanted with it. So we had international franchisees that would use the same logo, but everything else would be different, right? The structure of their website, what they use to promote it. and they were used to doing anything that they wanted to do. FedEx on the other hand is extremely strict, and they have very rigorous brand standards, which I, definitely appreciate. So, the hardest thing was converting people over to having no guidelines and boundaries, to having very strict boundaries, and trying to teach them the benefits of having those boundaries. [00:04:00] It actually makes your job easier as a marketing person, and even as a designer. You're able to focus more on the important things of being creative and less about just the overall design because a lot of that stuff's already baked in for you. So I had to give a lot of training presentations, even with interpreters, like in Japan, for example. that was pretty challenging trying to get those guidelines and all those ideas across to sometimes a not very willing audience. but at the end of the day, they all came to appreciate why FedEx does what they do. because it really, you know, whether you look at a FedEx truck, a website, a uniform, the inside of a store, it all looks the same. And that's really the point is that clarity and consistency. So, it's a really good, experience for me coming from something with no guidelines to something with very strict and very well put together guidelines. So, it was a It was kind of a masterclass in branding that I got dumped [00:05:00] into for 18 solid months. Tommy Cole: Yeah, that's great. What's and that's like our audience, right? I feel like there's a mix,it's probably a little loose in our marketing a small business, right? I feel like we tend to see that sort of put that to the side and I'll work with it eventually,and hopefully it all works out right. I feel like that's most of this small business owners at this point. Yeah. So this is, this is setting up pretty well. as we're, as we're approaching and we're getting into a whole new year, right? This is like very accommodating to talk about just marketing, for the 2024 season, but you've got several tips that you want to share. There's tips. that you want to share for all small businesses that,need to be doing, for next year. So let's go through that. Let's start with number one. John Dalton: W What Should Your Marketing Budget Be? John Dalton: ell,the first thing is, especially for small business owners, I encourage you to have a marketing budget. I think most small businesses that I talk to, they're trying to do it on a shoestring and a lot of times they don't have a dedicated [00:06:00] budget to what they want to spend, you know, on a monthly or annual basis. So they're just kind of trying things out, flying by the seat of their pants. And Anytime you don't have a plan or a budget, you're usually going to spend too much. So, start small, but start with a number, start somewhere. I think having a plan, with anything is always the best place to start so that you at least have some guardrails, you know, it sounds simple, but I would say definitely for a small business, well over 50 percent have no budget at all. They're just kind of, you know, writing checks and that's, that's not a good approach. Tommy Cole: Yeah. So a budget is good. It's probably no different than, you know, especially going into the new year. You should be setting your budgets for that year. Right. It's very similar to what's the budget for small tools and equipment in your business. What's the budget for the crews, the budget for new trucks or trailers and all of that. what's your labor budget? what's your materials budget? Everything should be planned out. And oh, by the [00:07:00] way, You have to do marketing, right? You can't just do nothing. So have a budget. There's a line item in most softwares today. You are being challenged to fill in that marketing line item and put something in there. so, within this budget, what, what should companies be spending? John Dalton: We talk about this a lot, mainly from a, a sales perspective and I like that you guys start very conservative, I know Chris Psencik just gave a webinar, last week where he talked about 1 percent of your total revenue as a marketing budget. As a marketing person, I think that's pretty low and conservative, but I think it's always a good idea for everybody to start pretty conservative when it comes to marketing because it's easy to get pulled in and, and spend money on things you don't need. So I think if you're in that 1 3 range, especially if you're an existing business you know, that you're kind of more in a maintain,cycle, I think that's, that's good. If you're trying to really grow or expand whether that's, you're [00:08:00] going into like trees and fertilization or even Christmas decor kind of, line of business, you might need to spend a little bit more, like 3 5%. but I would keep it conservative. And then, you know, the next thing I would do, is as you see things that you're doing start to work, that's where you want to spend more money, right? Start small, figure out what works and then you can slowly move budget over to those things that are really having an impact. How to Track Marketing Efforts Tommy Cole: So how do you know what works? Is it because of feedback? Is it because you're getting sales or calls or leads? What's the trigger there? John Dalton: Yeah, it's having some tracking metrics in place and then asking questions honestly, right? Especially when you get new customers. You should be asking them whether that's in a follow up survey or even face to face, how they found out about you. And that's the most important feedback you'll get is what was the marketing tactic that led them to giving you [00:09:00] guys a call, right? You have to get that, information. The other thing that's good to do is when you send out, say postcards or some kind of door hangers or something, you know, have an offer on there with a specific code so that people have to give that to you. So, you know, exactly which piece of marketing that lead came from. So it's about setting up some of the tracking upfront. And then honestly, The best thing is just asking questions. Tommy Cole: Yeah. I think that's really good. Asking the question, how did you find out about us? Where was it? Oh, a friend. Okay, a friend referred you. Check the box or I saw your truck. Okay, check the box. take that information and put it somewhere. And who owns that marking, right? You have statistics and facts based and So you know what to do there, right? okay, got it. So first was budget, right? Second is what? Where to Focus Your Marketing Efforrts John Dalton: Second one is stay away from shiny objects. And I think, with marketing, that's [00:10:00] really easy to get sucked into. the biggest ones right now, you know, are social media, AI, you know, anything that's like hot in the news. that's what you want to be careful of. That doesn't mean they're bad, but. If you're getting a lot of cold pitches in your email box about, Hey, we do these integrative social media plans for you. you know, hire this marketing, social media manager, or, you know, use AI to write all your content. Anything that sounds too good to be true, just like anything else in marketing, it's the same. It usually is too good to be true. so don't fall victim to those kinds of things and realize, you know, we talk a lot about sales and landscaping. It's not what it used to be, right? After COVID, things were just kind of falling in your lap. now you have to work for it. And the, you know, everybody who's selling marketing solutions is in the same boat. So they're out there, they're trying everything they can to sell you stuff, right? so just be careful of that stuff and focus on what works. Social media in particular, I think is one [00:11:00] of the worst because it's such a time suck, you know, you're like, Oh, I have to post three, four times a week. And, Social media is a good way to have relationships with your existing customers and show personality, buthonestly, it's terrible at generating new leads. That is not a really good channel for you to bring in new business You'll get some, but if you start tracking it, you'll see that it is not a primary driver. So it's really about figuring out what are those, those key things like we talked about with tracking and budget, and making sure that you're spending most of your time there and not getting sucked into the latest and greatest social media tactics or AI content driven, whatever. Tommy Cole: So stay away from shiny objects. You know, landscape business owners love shiny objects like we're on to the next. As business owners we're like, Ooh, ooh, I heard someone, I saw this. Right? So let's answer. This is probably an elephant in the room that I get a lot from, from just people and travels.[00:12:00] What is right for social media posts? is it different based on the company? Different based on the market? Different based on the services? Or is consistency the issue that most people struggle with? Is that what you're leaning towards? John Dalton: Yeah, I mean, your content should be driven by your customer, right? So if you're, if you're, if you're primarily a residential, it's going to be a lot about, it's going to be a lot of pictures of, of their work, right? It's going to have pictures of people's houses and their, the projects that you did for them to kind of showcase, some of those folks. Some of it's going to be, it's a good opportunity for you to feature your team, you know, some of the internal events. Just to show that you guys are human beings. and then if, you know, if you're more commercial it can be a little bit more, news driven. you know, it's really about understanding who your customer is and what kind of information they're interested in. Creating a Social Media Plan John Dalton: and just getting that out. Consistency is a huge thing. and I think it's just as important for, for you [00:13:00] in planning as it is for your customer. people's brains are programmed to recognize patterns, right? So you, if you're going to post twice a week, post on the same day at the same time, right? Because people will start to look for your posts subconsciously, right? And that also helps you because you, you know, in planning that you have a post at 2 p. m. on Tuesday and one at 2 p. m. on Thursday, let's say, I mean, you can just build that into your week, you know, so you're not just Shooting from the hip all the time. Tommy Cole: yeah. Makes sense. I'm a firm believer in that, you know. So to, to paint a little bit of a picture, you know, I talk about training all the time and how important training is, but oftentimes as business owners, we look at training as, well, that's a rainy day, thing, or when I get time in the winter, I'm going to focus on training and those are all the wrong answers. The answer is it's consistent training every single week of the entire year, whether it's raining, snowing, or it's [00:14:00] perfect outside. So. You would have to agree, I guess, it's no different than marketing, right? It's not when you want to do a post because you felt the need or you got some cool project. How about every Monday and Thursday, consistently, it's on the calendar that it just gets done every single week. And by the time that happens, You have over a hundred posts in that given year. Is that correct? John Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. And that, and that's, I mean, that's how, that's how anybody does it. You know, whether we're talking about a huge corporation like Apple or any small business, it's all about having that plan, you know, especially with the content. Cause it can be such a, a time suck. If you know when those posts are going to happen or that you're going to send out an email twice a month, or you're going to put up a blog every other month. Just write that down into your plan and it won't, it won't seem so daunting because it'll just naturally kind of cycle into all the other work that you're doing. and that's, that's honestly the best way to do it. [00:15:00] Yeah. Tommy Cole: I want to hit on one more subject with that before we move to the third. should be doing this? Is it the owner or is it a person or, or what's your suggestion on that? I think a lot of times where I'm going is We overthink this once and again landscapers overthink everything right? Well, the angle is not right Well, the camera is not perfect but like sometimes you just have to do it, right? You just have to be like, okay I'm not going to be perfect at this, but I've got to start somewhere. So what do you recommend for someone's like, okay, I've done nothing or I'm inconsistent and I need to figure out a way to do that. And not oftentimes as your office manager, the perfect person for that, right? Because office managers are different, no different than construction and maintenance, et cetera. So what do you recommend for those companies out there that like need to get something going? John Dalton: it's not an easy answer, but usually what I find works, especially if you don't have a marketing person in your [00:16:00] office,you have a lot of people wearing a lot of different hats is see if there's somebody in the office that is actually interested in doing it, right? Because if you're not having fun doing social media, it's going to show, right? People are going to see that it's kind of stale and not very exciting. So you want to try to find somebody who is at least interested in it. You know, if you have that plan. And you can at least try to map out a month in advance of what those posts are going to be about so that then you can write just some fun captions. go out and get some photos, you know, of the team, some of the jobs. It's all about thinking ahead of time and being prepared because if you're, if you're one of those guys, it's like, shit, nobody's doing my social media. I need a picture. I need to put it up today. The post content is going to be not great. The caption you write is going to be a little bit tense because that's what you are. so find that person in your office who has an [00:17:00] interest in it and, empower them to take the reins. There's a lot of different. calendar systems you can use even just an excel spreadsheet to just plan out a month at a time. Honestly, I think that's the best way to approach it It's much better to do that to start there than try to go out and hire some social media manager that you're gonna overpay for Tommy Cole: feel like all of your, resources are within, your desktop. Right. I feel like everything's there for one. You have all the work to show off. Right. So, let's just make up an example. Twice a year, spring, fall. Let's get a photographer, right? Not very expensive, and photograph three or four properties every spring and two to three or four every fall. Do you know what kind of content that is going to give you an ammunition to post? Like that's That's fun. But also like if you're doing once a quarter barbecue or a Christmas party Like where's who's taking photos of that fun celebration? So you're attracting what you know [00:18:00] new members and team members to be like we're having fun. We're having a great time but also capturing properties that we've built and properties that we maintain along the way and then all of a sudden you've gota hundred photos to pick from any given year. And then you just, you just post. I mean, at the end of the day, people love to see your rawness of a landscape company, like, you know, you're doing installations, you're mowing grass, you're fertilizing that, that's an attractive part. so that's my simplest version of, to just get some content out there. John Dalton: Yeah, no, I think those are good points Tommy The key to a good content plan is figuring out how to repurpose things and reuse them so that you're not always starting from scratch. You know, and the tip you gave about the photographs, hiring a photographer to come out, shoot your location, shoot a bunch of your jobs from a bunch of different angles, that'll give you a year's worth of photography that you can use in social media because.[00:19:00] You'll have hundreds of photos, like you said, and you could re crop those and reuse the same photo over and over. I know a lot of guys are either buying or renting a drone and getting some cool video of their projects, you know, that they could use, on their website and also on social media. I think that's real valuable. Use of your time and money.A lot of people are afraid to spend money on a photographer, but, it's incredibly worth it. they will figure out how to really feature your projects, you know, best lighting during the day. Like, they know how to do that. and it's, it's really a great investment and you can even find, you know, like, I know where I live in Asheville, North Carolina, there's a really good. community college trade school. You can find people who are taking photography classes. You can get for really, really cheap,very professional looking work. If your budget is really, really tight, but it's worth it. I would even have somebody come if you have a big Christmas party or a [00:20:00] big summer barbecue to take pictures for you so that all your employees are included. And that's not something you have to worry about during the event. very low cost for something like a couple hundred bucks and you'll get, just months worth of content out of it, Tommy Cole: At the end of the day is being disciplined of hiring a photographer and get it done. And then you got all this content, so love it. Okay. So moving on the third, 2024 is what? John Dalton: Third tip, kind of building off the shiny objects from tip two is to just focus on the fundamentals. I know we talk a lot about branding to some of our clients. Tommy, I've got a presentation I give to some of our peer groups. you know, focusing on the fundamentals, whether you're talking about sales or finance or marketing, there's always the best place to start. Your Number 1 Marketing Tool John Dalton: Right. So for me, when I start thinking about you as a landscaper,what is the number one thing that people see for the first time, you know, if they're interacting with you and your [00:21:00] company, what is it that they see first? Nine times out of 10, it's your truck driving around outside. Right. So that is their first impression. And you don't want to waste that. So the simplest thing you can do is, is honestly keep your truck clean, A dirty truck just tells people what you're going to do to their property. And it's not the message you want to send. So, keep it clean, whether that's your truck, your uniforms, your equipment, all of that communicates care and quality to customers. then honestly, it just, it makes your stuff last longer too. So. operationally, it's, it's a, it's a good thing to do, but it's, it's very important. Your truck is probably your most valuable marketing asset that you own, but just because of the number of eyeballs that see it driving around every day. So don't underestimate the, the importance of keeping that thing clean. I also talk to people about, the branding on the truck and what does it say? What do you need on there? And really all you need is your name, something that indicates you do landscaping and a way for them to [00:22:00] contact you. You don't need anything else. I call it the a hundred yard test, like walk a hundred yards away from your truck. And see if you can read those three things, your name, say landscaping, and is there a phone number or website that's clearly visible? And that's all you need. You know, you don't want to waste that. I think that is vital. And that clear, kind of clean communication, whether we're talking about uniforms, trucks, also should apply to your website. You know, to anything you send out. Just focus on the just the key pieces of information and don't try to stuff it full of a bunch of stuff Tommy Cole: Yeah. Yeah. I love that idea. The eyeball test is something that you brought up, that's dear to me and I, I use this term, I think when you did a presentation with one of our groups a little while back, I was impressed and I use this analogy and I'm like, just paint yourself of sitting here on a road and you close your eyes and a truck drives by [00:23:00] and you open and close. And the truck's gone. What did you see? And, you know, a lot of times it's like, I couldn't read it, but it was something of like a tree or, right. Or a wall. It was green, it right. And you're like, that's, you want to be able to open it up. And I feel like. You know, companies like FedEx, like as you mentioned earlier, or Nike, right? Nike has gone through evolutions of changing their logo to one day. Now it's just check, right? Like it's so famous, but before it was. The just do it in multiple versions along the way to where now becomes very simple, clean line. we tend to overdo, our trucks and our equipment. Now with our trucks and equipment, we also, it also goes into proposals, right, where we think we've got to put everything on a proposal, right? [00:24:00] And our shirts, you know, we got to advertise everything, all of our shirts and, and our offices. And it's just like, right. So you're saying like, keep it simple and clean. Right. I mean, you know, take a white truck for instance. A white truck stands out like just being plain white, right? and so what if you put that logo on the plain white truck and use the emphasis of the white truck? So, I love that example, right? I think we just overcomplicate of like we also do stonework. We also do pools We also do maintenance and you want to put it all in a package, right? John Dalton: I remember in one of those presentations I said this to one guy your truck is not a website. You don't have to list everything you do. You don't need all kinds of taglines. You don't need multiple ways to contact you You don't need pictures, keep it simple. Most people will see your truck for less than eight seconds. If there's more information than they can take in in eight [00:25:00] seconds, they will take in nothing. So you're, you're better off focusing on the three most important things and leaving the rest of it off. You know, and FedEx is a great example. They have a massive logo on the side of their white truck. And FedEx dot com, that is literally it. And there's a couple of things in the front, you know, that they have to just like an identifier, the number of the truck. But as far as customer is concerned, it's those 2 things. And I think anybody who's listening to this. Can close their eyes and they know exactly what that truck looks like, right? Because it's super clean. It's been consistent probably for the last 30 years. It's been the same design. So you don't even have to read it to know what that truck is. You see it and you immediately know what it is. And that's kind of the goal. Tommy Cole: Yeah. And, I know it sounds crazy, but have a clean truck. Don't be that mechanic person, right? That's got the worst running truck, but fixes everybody else's truck. Right? Because [00:26:00] everyone out there are watching, right? There's all eyes are on you at the end of the day. And, that is the, one of the biggest marketing, to have clean, clear trucks at the end of the day. I mean, equipment, trucks, all that. So love it. Review and referrals as part of your fundamentals. Explain that a little bit. Using Referrals and Reviews John Dalton: I think especially, now that we're having to actively sell and go out and find work a lot more than we did the last couple of years getting reviews and referrals iskey. Your existing customers are one of your best resources. so obviously you want to take care of them, but you always want to take advantage of asking them for who else might be interested in what you guys do. Whether that's a commercial client or residential doesn't matter. You want to have a process to follow up with people. And try to get some referral names from them, right? And same thing with reviews, and I think this is especially important with residential [00:27:00] clients. You want to have those reviews of your work on Google, Yelp, some of those other places, because that is a huge social proof that's very important for you. If you have a bunch of five star reviews on Google, Not only is Google going to put you closer to the top of the list, but you're much more likely to have people pick you, if you've got tons of great reviews. And both of those are all about having a system, you know, after the project is done, follow up with the customer and make sure that they're happy. And if there's something that needs to be addressed, you do that. And then at the end of that process, you ask them for a review, make it as easy as possible. Maybe it's a form that they fill out. and same with referrals. You want to make it as simple as possible and incentives are not a bad idea either. You know, if you can give them some sort of incentive, whether that's, some kind of a percentage off their next, maintenance visit or whatever it is.[00:28:00] they're much more likely to give you something, but really the most important thing is you just have to ask for the reviews and ask for the referrals. And if your customers are happy, they're going to be happy to give them to you. Tommy Cole: Yeah, a hundred percent.. You know, we're in the service industry at the end of the day. I've, had an experience. with a HVAC company in the summer months of Dallas, Texas, that was 110 degrees. And we had an issue with the AC unit and they were so great. They came out here quick, understood very, very customer service friendly, who they were, gave me their cards, worked on it. Got it up and running. And at the end of the day, both of them said, would you please leave a Google review? It means a lot to us. And I'm like, absolutely. They're like, make sure you name us our name. Like this is. This is how we get our business. This is how we keep going. And I'm like, so impressive because it was, it was part of their culture to instill in that. Now, does the client leave a review every single time? [00:29:00] No, probably not. But what if your sales team and your operations team that is out there working every day was starting to have relationships? with your clients of like, Hey, we're doing a lot of good things. And oh, by the way, would you leave us a review? What that means as people are looking up your business is, is just, it's like the easy sell, right? The referral is the easiest. You're already on site working for the client. You don't have to go get a new one, which is. 10 times harder. So, yeah, I love, I love that. And you actually put it on your, estimates and proposals, referrals is our, you know, invoicing, right? All of that same thing. John Dalton: Yeah, it's a huge thing. If you have, a couple of hundred five star reviews on Google, you can put that on postcards. You can put that in emails, any kind of prospecting activities you're doing, like sales presentations, everything.That means a lot to people and that, that will, that'll separate you from the competition. If you [00:30:00] have a lot of reviews and to your point, Tommy, it's a good opportunity to follow up the customer and change them, you know, that from a, just a transactional kind of relationship to a real relationship, right? You're developing that relationship with the customer when you're asking them, you know, Hey, did we complete the job to your satisfaction? and Hey, if we did, please go to this link and give us a review. That means a lot to us. So it's a great way to build that relationship and foster that. And to help you from a marketing perspective as Tommy's Takeawasys Tommy Cole: Yeah. Love it. Love it. Okay, John. So as we recap here. A lot of great information. So number one, the three tips for 2024 as we're kicking off this year. One is have a budget. Oh my gosh. The budget word, right? Everyone's scared of the budget and the money talk, but you know, one to 3 percent is the conservative approach. The more aggressive approach approach is three to five, but have a budget. You have a budget for [00:31:00] small tools and equipment. You have a budget for everything else. Don't forget about marketing. love it. second one, stay away from shiny objects. Oh man, this hits home so much. So stick to a plan. If you don't have one, get a plan. Stay consistent and disciplined about social media. That matters. And third, which is just focusing on the fundamentals, clean truck, clean, clean logo. look for the referrals and the recommendations. To me, those are excellent tips. John, anything else to add for, for those people listening as they're kicking their new year off from a marketing standpoint? John Dalton: Yeah. I think the main thing is, you know, when I talk to people about branding and marketing is,it's really about what your customer needs. Right. And if you're not sure what to do, or should I post on Instagram or Facebook, or should I send out postcards or emails, if you're not sure what your customer wants or how they'd like to be communicated with, [00:32:00] ask them. Don't guess, you're much better off. having a survey or talking to them the next time you're out at their place and figure out how they consume information or how they want to be contacted, they will appreciate that and it helps you be more effective as a marketing person with your existing customers. And as you start to learn how those customers like to be communicated with, that helps you understand how to communicate with prospects, right? Because they're the same type of people. they're just not on your list yet, but they consume things and they communicate the same way that your existing customers do. So Learning from your customer and communicating to them the way they want to be communicated with, is always the best way to go. Don't, don't assume that you're smarter than your customer and that you know how to talk to them because most of the time you're, you're going to be wrong. Tommy Cole: Right. Love it. Love it. My last two cents, for what it's worth is this, you know, how in [00:33:00] a budget of building a house or a facility or a commercial property. The last thing to go in is what? Landscape, right? And what oftentimes gets cut the most? Landscape. Do not let your marketing budget be the last thing to be inserted in your budget. It should be up there at the front because if you don't have marketing going on, you have nothing coming in, You're not showcasing your work, your employees, your brand, So, don't forget about marketing put it in your 2024 budget and rock and roll john, it's been a pleasure again I think everyone's learned a few tricks of the trade to take them into the new year. John Dalton: Pleasure to be here, Tommy. I appreciate you having me on. Tommy Cole: Absolutely. We'll see you next time