How can I target the right age group for residential carpet cleaning?

Hi Steve,

We’re looking at buying a mailing list and targeting certain demographics for a Spring carpet cleaning mailing campaign.  Do you find an age range that the majority of residential customers fall into? If you were going to direct mail to carpet cleaning prospects and age was one of the available selection criteria, what age range would you include in the target search?

Just Thinking About It in Rochester, NY

senior-customersAn interesting question, Just.  My estimate would be over 35 and with an emphasis on even older.  But let me digress on your initial question to expound on why this “35 and even older” profile presents such a challenge for the typical carpet cleaner IF he or she wants to grow.

In our “Strategies for Success” seminar we do a class exercise profiling both our typical customer (including age) and the average (usually very young) entry-level technician. The differences between the two will scare you to death.

After extensive class discussion we always arrive at the same conclusion: Both the typical young technician and the (usually middle aged to elderly) home owner are suffering from the same Primary Emotion- They are SCARED TO DEATH of the other individual in the transaction!

Then I ask: “What did we call the last relationship between two countries founded on ‘Mutual Fear”?” That’s right- the COLD WAR. Something to think about.

Another question: What do we do when we fear someone? We avoid them. So consequently there are thousands of hard working but oh-so-very-young techs out there who spend their day “hiding out” from the client, avoiding them as much as possible.

Yet the #1 way the customer defines if a “good job” or a “bad job” was done on the carpets is based on their RELATIONSHIP with the person doing the work. Interesting, huh? How to get out of this vicious cycle?  “Knowledge does bring confidence.”  We fear what we don’t understand and we avoid what we fear, including the homeowner. And so the vicious cycle begins once again … so sad, because it is so unnecessary … with the right knowledge.

The side effects of fighting this “Customer Cold War” are the main reason so many young technicians burn out and quit quickly. Our job as owners and managers of carpet cleaning businesses is to give our techs the tools (weapons) to fight and win. Sorry to be so dramatic … but it is all true. And where can your technicians get this “knowledge”?  (I thought you would never ask!)  Just go here VAST to see where your front line techs can get the knowledge and confidence they so desperately need!


P.S.  Wow, Just, that was quite a detour from your original question re: mailing demographics.  Let me get back on track here!  IF you are going to buy a list based on home owner age I would go with forty and over.  But two additional suggestions:

  1. I would think median household income and average neighborhood home values would be two factors that might even be more valuable than age.  Lost of “old people” are just scraping by on social security and hand outs from their kids.  Sad but this economic fact makes them poor prospects for your services.  You are looking for affluent home owners with disposable income, regardless of their age.
  2. Before you invest huge amounts of money in direct mail analyze your website and especially how well you are doing with “search engine optimization”.  At least some of the funds you have targeted for direct mail may be much better invested in the internet.  Maybe Big Billy Yeadon will chime in here with a few thoughts …

1 thought on “How can I target the right age group for residential carpet cleaning?”

  1. Well I will try to stay on topic a little more than my illustrious companion. That’s what happens when you are responding from a hammock in an island resort.

    According to a study commissioned by the IICRC only 39% of consumers have ever had their carpet cleaned by a professional. This figure jumps to a much more reasonable 56% for people over 60.

    This does not mean a 30 year old homeowner will not pay to have their carpet cleaned. It just means that targeting is so critical if you want to have the best ROI on your marketing dollars.

    Here are my suggested demographics:

    Female 45+
    Home owner
    College educated
    2 income family
    pets (the more the better)
    Children (even better recently left home as the parents redo the kids rooms and have everything cleaned)
    Neighborhoods in which you are already strong.

    Hope this helps.

    Sent from the cold snowy north. At least 6 months from a hammock.

    Big Cold Billy

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