When the competition grows it is important to define the largest number of parameters to win the business.
By Samuele Barril

For some people, marketing for a waste management company may sound strange. Why is it needed? We are talking about a service needed by people, companies, states, and more. That is a common objection that I have heard dozens of times. And every time I answer with the same question: Is it not a sellable service that you are offering? Why don’t you want to sell your waste management/collection service to people that need it? Usually, when people hear this answer, they stop talking and start to listen.

People can be confused about what marketing is. They think that it is advertising and not a process that should be instilled by the company, or they may think that marketing is something only connected with social media like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. If you are in that group, do not worry, I am going to explain how a marketing strategy will help you drive your waste collection and increase its profitability.

What is Marketing?
Marketing means performing a whole series of actions to sell a product or service to a group of people who want it. The definition is clear, but there is an important point—actions to sell a product or service to a specific group of people. You are offering a service that is needed by a group of people, citizens, or companies; that means that you should consider who wants your service before every single sales action and activity.

I know that it sounds strange, but when the competition grows it is important to define the largest number of parameters to win the business. For example, think about the car competition, Formula E, a challenge where electric cars run in circuits created all around the world. All the cars, even if produced by different manufacturers, are equipped with the same energy and the same power. There are only a few things that can change the result of the race, including the tires, aerodynamics, weight distribution (the weight is the same), and the driver.

In waste management the challenge is similar. Many different companies offer the same type of service to the same target audience. You are competing for the same client with dozens of competitors. Initially, you:
• Reduced prices, your competitor reduced prices too.
•  Reduced prices again and changed your service for better.
• Your competitor did the same, adding a new bin for the collection.
• You did the same, adding a Netflix subscription for one month.
• And so on.

To make a long story short, you reduced the prices and added extra services that reduced your margins. However, at the completion of this escalation, the customer decided to give the business to your competitor. Do you think that the strategy you applied worked? So, how can you move your company forward?

Marketing is a Process
Marketing is a structured process that can drive the results of your company, but there are certain actions needed to sell your service to a target customer. How can you be proactive if you do not know who needs your waste collection service?

First, carefully analyze your current clients and the potential ones. You should know their hobbies, their habits, their interests, their professional role, and their needs. Second, add the complete knowledge of your competitors: their offers, how they are promoting themselves, who their sales team is, and more. Finally, to complete the process, add data on the quantity of waste produced by your clients and the potential clients. You should now have a complete understanding of your target market.

Now that you know the market, it is time to define the marketing strategy that you want to use. When learning your market (clients and competitors), you should define how to attract their interest for your service and where. This is a crucial phase and one that is able to increase the profitability of your waste collection.

If you only use a strategy based on the one described, unfortunately, you will finish in the same price battle as shown. At the end of the competition, the only one that lives is the one that has the largest capital to continue to work without losing money.

On the other hand, if you put in place a strategy totally based on sales of secondary raw materials, you should have a large capital to invest in while avoiding citizens or clients who pay for your service. It is something feasible, but you need strong and long term agreements with companies interested in purchasing secondary raw materials. This strategy has a risk—when you are not able to supply secondary raw materials, you lose the agreement with the secondary raw materials purchasers.

There is one strategy that, in my experience, works better: a mix of waste collection and sales of secondary raw materials. This strategy is totally different: it works with increasing the waste collection and creating long term agreements to sell secondary raw materials.

On one side, you will charge a small amount for the waste collection and offer incentives in order to increase the quality of waste collected. On the other side, you have to create long-term agreements with companies interested in your secondary raw materials. This strategy is the most effective and the one able to increase customer retention, your margins, and the market share.

Try to create your agreements to sell secondary raw materials with local companies. That is the best way to promote your company in the area while creating new employment opportunities.

Create Your Strategy
Once you defined the marketing strategy, it is time to create the sales strategy. This will be easier than you think because you will already have the data about the market. In fact, you will be able to know exactly what and where your customers and your prospects are. The only thing that you should do is create the right promotion.

As a result, your sales team will be able to close more deals with customers interested in your service—not because the price is lower than the price of your competitors, but because in your strategy you have shown that your service contributes to saving the planet and helping the local economy. | WA

Samuele Barrili is a Waste Management Expert and Business Strategist. 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) and many masters in Waste Treatment, he combined his knowledge to
define his mission: save the planet helping 6,000 waste management companies to continue to thrive. After nine years in the field, working as a sales and marketing manager for international firms in waste management, Samuele created M4W Marketing For Waste, the first growth agency focused on helping waste management companies. Marketing4Waste is the first service dedicated to waste management companies. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit www.marketing4waste.com.