By applying an effective marketing process, you will see your company move out of the collection loop and into the world of selling secondary raw materials. Most importantly, you will see your waste management company continue to thrive.
By Samuele Barrili

I know it is an odd headline, especially when I consider the fact that waste management companies thrive even without marketing. Yet, it has its own why, which you will discover as you go on reading. First, I want to take a pass on what marketing really is and why your waste company should make use of it to continue to thrive. Marketing today is mostly confused with advertising, social media management, and communication on offline tools. While this may not be the case for you, this is what is understood by most people whenever marketing is mentioned. In fact, many think that by activating a Facebook page where they post pictures of their trucks or their waste treatment plant every now and then, they are doing marketing.

A Series of Processes
Marketing is first and foremost a series of processes that allow you to sell your products and/or services to a group of people who are interested in having them. This definition immediately makes it clear what marketing is—a series of processes. What this means is that every time a truck returns to a company after doing garbage collection, there is an order to follow that produces a certain result. In the case of marketing, the result must be to sell the waste collection service to the greatest number of customers.

Here is where a great discussion point for the waste management industry opens up. How can this process help your already thriving company to do better, especially when the world of waste management is facing major changes?

The goal today is to recycle as much material as possible in order to avoid the emission of CO2 for the production of virgin materials. In addition, the goal of every state is to become greener so that they can raise the quality of life and, therefore, attract the most people who become taxpayers. The correct use of secondary raw materials as a source for production helps local companies to produce, regardless of changes in the agreements between countries.

Building on this is the closure of landfills in favor of new waste management made by a mix of separate waste collection and waste-to-energy systems for the increased need for energy that “smart cities” require, with an eye on production.

A Dominant Waste Management Approach
So, here is where the scenario for marketing in your communities gets complicated. You are faced with a new dominant approach—separate waste collection. Let me add that the market will take two directions: those who will offer separate collection services and those who will not.

It is precisely the presence of these two directions that will cause a split. There will be your competitors who will decide to follow separate collections by selling this service and there will be those who will instead go to the waste-to-energy plants with not much sorting.

From my direct experience, I can tell you that the path of working in waste-to-energy plants will be the path most will follow because of two factors: their business model will not have to undergo major changes, and it is the easiest path. The only watershed will be determined by the states’ own regulations.

Few, on the other hand, will follow the separate collection route, which is more expensive to implement. Yet, it is the one that over the medium term is likely to offer the greatest returns if supported by marketing. Here, then, is the point I started from.

A Paradigm Shift
The implementation of a marketing process within a waste management company is the only one that can ensure that the implementation of this new business model will make the company thrive.
As I said previously, marketing is a series of processes that makes sure that your services are sold to a group of people who are interested in having them. I know very well that you are now thinking “garbage collection is a utility service and serves everyone.”

Remember that there will be many of your competitors out there who will continue to offer the classic garbage collection service and therefore you will have to answer the citizens’ question, “What’s in it for me for you to take over the garbage separation?”

In order to answer this question, there is an activity to be done. I am referring to a paradigm shift that is very important for the survival of your waste management company. You will have to stop considering citizens as needing your service and start considering them as clients in every way.

This paradigm shift will have to affect your entire business team. This means that from the truck driver to the phone autoresponder, they will need to have an approach focused on finding and offering the solution to the clients.

Identifying Clients
This activity is closely connected with another: identifying who are your clients. As a business owner, you have clear data on all your clients, but this is not enough. This data must be shared with everyone and, above all, it must be enriched with important demographic data that will help you identify what type of waste will be produced, how often, and in what quantities. I know you are
thinking, “What am I going to do with this?”

A Target Audience allows you to not only make a forecast of what waste will enter your facility and with what timing it will enter, but it also allows you to organize a unique offer with which to differentiate yourself in the marketplace and interest your target audience in your services. Now you may be thinking, “What offer should I formulate? Waste has to be picked up and whether it is sorted or not that is still what it is.”

As mentioned, the market will split in two and you will be competing with those who will pick up waste without sorting it. Your offer must be built on your target audience. This means only one thing: you have to know your audience in depth. How can you gather this information? You have many platforms at your disposal (from Numbeo to Statista and many others) that are rich in information, but to be able to use them you will need to set parameters that allow you to categorize your audience.

For example, let’s take one of the cities in which you operate. First, take advantage of the division into neighborhoods. In each of these try to identify:
• Average income
• The presence of supermarkets or shopping centers
• The presence of schools

With these parameters, you will be able to categorize the neighborhoods and get detailed information about your audience. This information is essential. In fact, it is needed to build your exclusive offer. At the same time, they are also needed to make a forecast of the types of waste that will come through the door of your facility.

Recent raw material shortages have put many manufacturing companies on their toes and, more importantly, turned the spotlight toward many companies in the waste world that, because of the amount of waste they process, could be viable alternative suppliers. Moving from collecting waste to selling raw materials is an epic change for waste companies.

Supporting Change
Change, however, needs to be supported by marketing. Marketing works in two directions:
1. Helping to identify your target audience to increase the quality and quantity of potential raw materials (waste)
2. Helping to get secondary raw materials into the market by finding customers who are interested in buying them

This is the logic by which marketing should work in your waste business. Unfortunately, I keep seeing online and offline
campaigns aimed at promoting the new management facility or the image of the newly acquired truck, instead of promoting an awareness of the value that waste has to the marketplace.
By applying an effective marketing process, you will see your company move out of the collection loop and into the world of selling secondary raw materials. But, most importantly, you will see your waste management company continue to thrive. | WA

Samuele Barrili is an Italian Marketer, TVHost, Podcaster, and Author. Born in Cagliari, Italy, Samuele began his career as a salesman in 2010. After earning a degree in Toxicological Chemistry at the University of Cagliari (Sardinia), he decided to dedicate himself to studying and discovering the art of sales. After nine years in the field, working as sales and marketing manager for national and international firms involved in chemicals, electromechanical, and waste management, Samuele created MiM Marketing Interim Managers, the first interim company focused on marketing for waste management companies. MiM company originates from the combination of the knowledge of chemistry combined with the knowledge of direct response marketing. Marketing4Waste is the first marketing service totally dedicated to waste management companies. He can be reached at  [email protected] or visit