Whether we’re discussing traditional or digital advertising, data plays a critical role in finding the right customer in the right place at the right time, and closing the loop on measurement and attribution. In the case of home services, the value of data comes down to how effective you are at managing your Cost Per Lead and Return on Advertising Spend.
In Infutor’s latest episode of the Identity Revolution podcast, Steve DeZara, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Think Unlimited, talks about advertising strategy pre-internet and digital marketing’s impact on the home services industry and COVID’s impact over the last 18 months.
Our host Fred Pfeiffer gets a history lesson on the evolution of Luna Carpets and Steve digs deep on Think Unlimited’s technology and the future of lead generation in the Home Services industry.
- Name: Steve DeZara
- What he does: Steve is the CEO and Co-Founder of Think Unlimited
- Company: Think Unlimited
- Key Quote: “Everything that we do is focusing on extrapolating more dollars out of an advertising space, and we do that in two ways. One is getting into more opportunities. So, cultivating top-of-funnel leads to provide more opportunities on the leads that have already been purchased. And the second is converting those leads at a higher level.”
- Where to find Steve: Email | LinkedIn
- Sales reps perform very differently based on the demographics they’re in front of. Steve believes demographics play a vital role in marketing from personalization to optimal lead routing. “One of the biggest challenges we had, as we were growing, was trying to identify which sales associate best aligns with which lead. What we found is sales reps perform differently based on the demographic that they’re in front of. And some folks connect with a particular segment better than they do with others. So that was the problem that we tried to solve.”
- Think Unlimited’s lead gen solutions. Steve presents two primary products: the lead score model and cultivating. “Think Unlimited has two primary product offerings. One is the lead score model. Obviously, it’s much more robust. It’s like the old model, but on steroids. The secondary product offering that we have in Think Unlimited is cultivating, performing leads from a dynamic and creative perspective. So, we understand the consumers’ attributes, their buying behavior, and what their volume motivators are. And then we cultivate those top-of-funnel leads to turn them into appointments.”
- People needed home remodeling services, especially during lockdown. Steve claims that the home services have survived the pandemic because people still needed HVAC, plumbing, or kitchen remodeling services. “In mid-April of the last year of 2020, demand increased significantly within home services and across the broad spectrum of options, whether it was flooring, windows, roofing, kitchen, a bathroom remodel, or basement remodel. […] So, it aligned really well with our services.”
Luna Carpets – The Very Beginnings of Steve DeZara’s Career
“Luna Carpets was founded by my father back in 1958. My father actually immigrated from Europe. And when he came to the States, he didn’t speak any English then. So, his demographic was all Spanish-speaking communities. He was an icon within the Spanish-dominant community, a pioneer, and television advertising on Telemundo and Univision back in the day.
We were growing 30% a year up until about 1997, when we reached the cap within the Spanish-dominant community. We put a lot of data surrounding the lead generation, demographics, and getting deep insights into who our consumer was. Then, back in 2012, we merged with Empire Carpet. It was a fun ride, a lot of hard work, and the level of success was grounded in data as we built out some proprietary technology platforms that help us stay in both the lead generation and the sales process.”
Think Unlimited and Its Focus on Lead Generation
“We bought a few proprietary elements of technology back in the day of Luna. A piece of technology that we were proud of created a great return for the company and facilitated our growth as we built a lead score model. It could be home services, could be mortgages, could be insurance – they can all generate a lead. One of the biggest challenges we had, as we were growing, was trying to identify which sales associate best aligns with which lead.
Again, Luna’s a shop-at-home company will generate leads. We would route sales reps to the home. What we found is sales reps perform very differently based on the demographic that they’re in front of.
Back in 2009, we built a proprietary AI model. What we were doing was looking at the attributes of each individual lead. So, you get an inquiry, a consumer who’s interested in your car. We wrote a custom model, a custom algorithm to predict the probability to close and the average ticket price at each lead level so we would understand the value of each lead.”
People Needed Home Services Even During the COVID Pandemic
“As a lockdown came, and the pandemic was imminent, and we had lockdowns, we altered our approach of targeting more central services such as HVAC, plumbing emergency repair services, etc. What we found, and it played through pretty quickly, as demand increases significantly within home services and across the broad spectrum of options, whether it was flooring, windows, roofing, kitchen, a bathroom remodel, or a basement remodels, the stimulus money with less spending in hospitality and working from home 24/7, did really identify the needs at house. So, if there’s a need for a new kitchen, bathroom, windows, or new roof, it’s more prominent when you’re working at home. Lead generation close rates were great for the home services space.”
A Recipe for Success: Learn from Your Mistakes and Don’t Repeat Them
“If I look back at Luna, for example, there were a lot of successes and a lot of failures. And learning from those failures and not repeating those mistakes and having disposable dollars allocated, as it relates to changing an operational procedure, or different lead generation techniques, or compensation packages, as long as you can control it, monitor it, measure it, and not have it be managed by a God, I think that’s the biggest drivers of success.”
[18:06] “I think the one area that drove success, not only at Luna but also at Think Unlimited, is managing the metrics, having a clear vision of what the end game is, and then putting in milestones to achieve that end game.”
[21:09] “The data is incredibly solid. We’re seeing increases in our model performance as a result of more data points and better data. But again, wearing that data hat is understanding what the business problem is because everybody has a different problem.”
[21:57] “I think it’s critical to succeed in today’s business environment. So those that have a data science team or have data analytics should understand first what the problem is, and then tap into the data to find and understand the attributes of what you want to change or what you want to emulate.”