Throughout the month of November and December, the storage facilty at the end of my street displayed the following message on its changeable frontage sign: “Hide those holiday gifts with us! Half off December rent.” This was good. What was better was the change in sign for January: “Out with the old, in with the new? Don’t throw it away! Store it with us!” Now that’s marketing.
Our January issue has traditionally included our “State of the Industry Report,” in which we interview 10 to 15 of the biggest players in self-storage, and ask them to summarize their observations of the current market as well as make predictions for the upcoming year. Its lack in this year’s edition is not an oversight; neither should it be construed to mean this feature is extraneous or unattainable. It is quite simply that after years of supplying alternate versions on a similar theme, it seemed more useful to tell readers what to do about the state of the industry rather than recapitulate it.
What we know about the condition of self-storage is there is increasing rivalry over market share and suitable sites. The product becomes sophisticated as facilities encroach upon residential over industrial areas, but also as consumer requirements grow more refined and diverse. Operators ferret out inventive ways of attracting prospects, securing their business, and extracting information on how to keep them satisfied. And developers explore—and attempt—international progress more than ever before.
In October, we discussed ancillary products and services—such as wine, records, mobile and vehicle storage, as well as truck rental, shipping services and the sale of retail products —as ways for facilities to remain competitive and increase revenue. But not all operators have the means or inclination to provide these offerings, nor should they necessarily need them all the time in every locale. This issue addresses the least every facility needs to be public, prepared and profitable.
We’re talking about advertising, marketing and promotions; and that’s a jungle of confusion for many managers who have no training in these areas. There’s more to publicity than a Yellow Pages ad, but with the glut of advertising options provided through technology and human innovation, how do you know what works? What gives the best return on marketing dollars? To which approaches do consumers best respond?
The articles you are about to read will help you decide on a marketing budget; plan special events to draw prospects; and rival even the most savvy competitor. Yes, clever signage, such as the example cited above, can be part of that super strategy. So here’s a sign for you: “Lost in the marketing maze? Read this issue of Inside Self-Storage!” (Shameless, I know. But it had to be done.)
Happy holiday wishes to all,
Teri L. Lanza