The marketing director your HVAC business can afford vs. the one you need

hvac marketing

Why not hiring anyone may be a better idea

I don’t own a crystal ball, but if you’ve been thinking about hiring a marketing director, I’d like to predict what’s going to happen. First, you’ll set a salary that seems ridiculously generous – so much so it will create some anxiety for you. Second, you’ll end up hiring someone who has a little bit of experience with social media, may know how to use design software, and is proud to have written a couple short stories. Their only knowledge about the HVAC industry involves operating a thermostat.

The endless cycle of marketing directors

You’ll devote more time than you expect to “training” them, which is to say explaining what your business does. They’ll make some rookie mistakes that cost you money, fall for every sales pitch they hear from media salespeople (grocery cart ads?), and keep deferring decisions to you. Finally, when they reach the point where you trust them to handle things on their own, they’ll take another job and you’ll be back to square one.

It’s about experience and capability

If you’ve hired marketing directors in the past, I’m willing to wager what I described was a familiar scenario. It’s not a reflection of your skills as a business owner … it’s more the fact most HVAC contractors aren’t marketing professionals. You don’t know as much as you’d like, so your goal is to hire that knowledge. The people you hire will know what to do, right?

When you hire any employee – whether it’s your new marketing director or a service tech – you’re seeking two things: experience and capability. With a tech, you can probably spot both right away. A five-minute conversation tells you whether you could send this candidate into a customer’s home, because you understand exactly what the job entails.

What are your expectations?

With marketing directors, that becomes much hazier. As you’re preparing to find the right person, what exactly are you looking for? What are the five specific tasks do you expect that individual to perform? (And “run our marketing” isn’t a task.) Just as important, how will you know whether the person you hire is doing a good job, especially given how little you know about marketing? If you say Goal #1 is to generate more leads, how will you measure that? What’s your goal? (And “more than last year” isn’t a real goal.) How will you define what qualifies as a lead?

A generalist isn’t enough

I’ve devoted my career to helping HVAC contractors grow their businesses through proven strategies and practical steps, and I’ve had this conversation more often than I’d like. There’s a huge gulf between what owners want to accomplish and what they’re able to get for their budget. Most of the time, they end up with a generalist who’s good at a handful of tasks, but that’s it. So they know how to do social media, write blog posts, and design print ads. What about pay-per-click advertising? Search engine optimization? Buying radio and TV spots? Creating a website?

So what if you already have the marketing director of your dreams? Well, you’re one of the lucky ones. But you have one person, and one person can only know and do so much. That means they’re probably either missing opportunities or racking up bills from multiple subcontractors. The simple truth is even the best marketing directors are capable of handling only part of the job.

One FTE … or a whole department?

We know the problem is real, and that’s why we’ve built our business around solving it for you. We can provide you with an entire marketing department for less than the cost of a single full-time employee. Suppose you’re a $5-8 million company. When you factor in benefits and employer taxes, that $90,000 marketing director is going to cost you more like $140,000. For less than that, we can put a complete marketing department to work for you.

You’ll get writing services, design services, a pay-per-click specialist, an SEO specialist, a web developer, social media, media buying, reputation management, and more – a team of eight or nine experienced experts who know your industry, delivering services through one account manager who treats your business like it was their own. Even better, it’s all coordinated, so you won’t find yourself refereeing arguments between vendors.

Delivering both expertise and economics

Each time you hire a marketing person, you lose time helping them understand the nature of what you sell and how the process works. Not us. We know what’s involved in selling a heat pump. We understand what it takes to move a prospect to better equipment with a higher price point. We know how to turn government incentives into powerful sales tools. And you gain the benefit of what we’ve learned working with dozens of other HVAC contractors.

Another benefit? Consistency. Instead of having to find a new marketing person every couple years and putting your efforts on pause while they get up to speed, your marketing program becomes an ongoing machine, capturing solid sales leads and helping you convert them into customers.

Already have a marketing person?

If you already have a marketing director or marketing manager, that’s no problem. In fact, we’ll make them more effective and improve their morale. Their role becomes overseeing our activities and serving as our representative within your company, sharing the information we need and carrying out internal aspects. They’ll be able to focus on aspects of your business they currently don’t have time to do, like pricing and creating marketing incentives for your team.

Haven’t found the right person? We’ll help you better define your needs and their role so you don’t waste time interviewing the wrong people. You’ll hire better because you’ll have a deeper understanding of what you need.

Sometimes the best hire is no hire

You can keep going like far too many HVAC contractors, stumbling from one marketing director to the next, never quite getting what you need – and losing people to better jobs after they’ve finally earned your trust and confidence. Or you can stop and ask yourself whether it makes more sense to pay less and get more expertise and performance to show for it. We’ll show you exactly what that’s done for your peers throughout the U.S.:

If you’d like to know more about Cornerstone, and how we work as your outsourced marketing department to help grow your business, contact Or you can call (317) 804-5640  x108.

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