By the late 1990's and into the early 2000's, research showed that Big Box stores were taking outdoor power equipment share from our dealers, despite dealers’ product and technical knowledge that allowed them to better serve customers. The problem was that potential customers, lured by the massive advertising budgets of the giant retailers, didn’t know that there were local STIHL dealers nearby who could offer them much more than the Big Boxes and could do so at competitive prices. To compete with the huge advertising budgets of the Big Boxes, we needed to become much more efficient by pooling the marketing funds of STIHL, Inc., STIHL SOUTHWEST and our dealers.
It was time to expand our message to consumers everywhere, so we launched the Marketing Advantage Program (MAP) nationally in 2006. This revolutionary program remade advertising in our industry and within just a few years, the tide had turned. The Big Boxes were losing market share in our category, while our dealers were gaining market share. Just three years later, STIHL became the #1 selling brand of outdoor power equipment in America, despite the continued expansion of the Big Boxes into more and more communities and the willingness of our competitors to compete directly with dealers by selling their products online. We may be biased, but we believe that Marketing Advantage was vital in returning the outdoor power industry to independent dealers.
A Gift Celebrating the Marketing Advantage Program
The Marketing Advantage Program revolutionized the industry and, in our opinion, reversed the decline of outdoor power equipment sales by servicing dealers. To celebrate our 4th Decade and the commitment of our friends at STIHL Incorporated to our dealers, we are placing an incremental MAP advertising campaign during the upcoming Holiday Season.
Our gift to the dealers who are supporting MAP with their own investments is a 5-week online campaign on Facebook and on thousands of web sites using Programmatic Digital advertising. These ads will all be locally tagged with the dealership name and city and will be linked to the dealer’s PowerChord web page. The original idea was that this would be a $50,000 incremental campaign since that works so nicely with our 50th anniversary, but in the end, we’ve invested significantly more. For more details on this gift and the success of the Marketing Advantage campaign, check out the campaign overview.
Take a look at some our favorite memories from this decade...
STIHL Southwest Cookbook
Our first cookbook was produced in 1983 and only included recipes from members of the SSW staff. By 2003, the technology had improved significantly , so we took on the bigger task of asking dealers to send in their recipes. Some of the recipes are wonderful and are still used in our kitchens now, and quite a few of the recipes are from folks who are still STIHL dealers today.
SSW's New Building
In 2002, we began construction on SSW’s new building, which we moved into in May of 2003. This building with 50,000 square feet of office/warehouse with multiple truck doors was a huge improvement and made a significant difference in our ability to response to Hurricane Katrina, just two years later. Moving the entire business including around 15,000 parts/accessory SKUs was a massive effort that still hasn’t faded from our memories. As a result, we purchased land surrounding the new building so that we could expand rather than moving again in the future. More on that decision when our 5th Decade page is uploaded.
neon blower sign
This flashy neon sign still draws attention after all these years.
Remember the old clip art co-op advertising binders? Here are a few old favorites, including one of our favorite headlines of all time, “Grown Man’s Candy Store”.
This 1997 newsletter includes a still-memorable story about a highly trained chain saw user who, fortunately, chose to wear his safety apparel even when doing a small job.
This newsletter features our sales award winners for 2001. All of our top State and Overall winners remain successful STIHL dealers today.