The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals has initiated two new marketing programs: a digital advertising campaign targeting consumers and a partnership with Gallup to survey pool owners. The ad campaign, meant to boost demand for pools and spas, will include social media and a targeted website called a microsite, and will launch at the end of the year.
“We know from [our] consumer research that consumers have looked at us and moved on,” said Lisa Grepps, director of marketing and communications for the Alexandria, Va.-based organization. “We’ve invested in consumer research going back several years, and now we want to leverage what we’ve learned and put it into action so [the industry] can put more pools in the ground, and so we can sell more hot tubs.”
The efforts toward this campaign began in 2012, when APSP commissioned the Harrison Group, a Waterbury Conn.-based marketing and strategic research consulting firm, to survey consumers.
“[Consumers] are spending their money on travel [and] the RV’ing industry, and we have a product that we feel can compete with those industries,” Grepps said. “We just need to have a collective effort to go and get it.”
The campaign was developed by Baltimore-based marketing agency Planit, after exposing focus groups to multiple concepts. The chosen campaign will revolve around the concept of escape. The “Pool/Spa/Hot Tub ESCAPE” logo will appear in digital advertisements whose imagery shows pools and spas morphing into an island paradise or other watery destination.
The ads will be used in a targeted Internet campaign through Google and in social media. In addition, the concept is being used to build social media pages and consumer microsites — one for pools, the other for hot tubs — that will contain, among other things, photo galleries, a member locator, and information about APSP. Pages will be set up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
The campaign will include tools for APSP members to use. A “member tool kit” will contain print advertisements, an email template, digital banners and other assets. A loan calculator app and APSP loan partner link help facilitate financing.
The Google advertisements will run December 2015 to April 2016.
The association has allocated a budget of $250,000 to the campaign.
Though the amount may be small by traditional advertising standards, Grepps said it is a very targeted campaign made possible by the Internet. Additionally, this initial installment is considered a first step.
“We want to begin to build a foundation now, and build on this year after year so that we can grow the industry and be a force with those competing industries,” Grepps said.
APSP also is preparing to launch another marketing tool. It has partnered with the survey company Gallup to develop data about pool ownership in the United States.
Gallup will conduct in-depth surveys of consumers who have purchased pools in the past 24 months to assess the state of the market and analyze demographic trends, media habits and the process involved in making purchasing decisions. The survey firm will analyze the data and write a report, which will be available to APSP manufacturer members who made a financial pledge to the project. These participants also will have input into the survey and direction of the research.
While the research will focus on pool ownership for this go-round, the association expects to address hot tubs in the future.