As the first ever Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer (CSMO) at Dwyer Group, with 19 brands and counting, Lisa Zoellner is making it easier for everyone from the leadership table to customers to get “Neighborly.”
The data told the story. Less than two percent of Dwyer Group customers have used more than one Dwyer Group home service. For a parent company that has been around since 1981, this was a big insight and a massive opportunity for continued growth. But how do you tell a simple, compelling story that resonates with consumers and unites 19 different brands? You begin by looking for the brand truths in the customer experience. We spoke with Lisa Zoellner, the first C level marketing executive at Dwyer Group, to learn how this all came together.
CMOO: Congratulations on landing this incredible role at the Dwyer Group. What is it like to be the first Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer for the organization?
LZ: “It’s an exciting challenge and a first for me. While I’ve held CMO positions for more than a decade now, I’ve never been the first. The support I’ve received from the organization has been amazing. There was a pent up hunger for marketing representation at the leadership table at Dwyer Group, and now I have a fantastic opportunity to set the strategy for long term success in this role.”
CMOO: So what is Neighborly and why is it important?
LZ: “Neighborly is a home service platform that links together the 13 Dwyer Group home service brands into one access point at getneighborly.com or getneighbourly.ca. These are our 13 service brands across the U.S. and Canada where people in need of trusted home service providers can search for services in their area and get connected directly to one of our franchisees. It really streamlines the process for searching for home service providers. But more importantly, Neighborly tells the Dwyer Group family of brands story in a cohesive way that has never been told to customers before.”
CMOO: How did Neighborly come about?
LZ: “It really started when all our customer data across our service brands was finally compiled into one database and the analysis could begin. Once the data was realized and the business need was identified, we knew that we needed to develop an overarching brand to link our home service brands together. As I mentioned, the story of our family of brands was never told to customers, so they had little idea that other services were available to them that stuck to our strong Code of Values. The challenge now was to tell a story that’s true to who we are and find that common thread that pulled it all together.”
CMOO: So what was the brand insight that led to Neighborly?
LZ: “The insight was in the way we service the business, backed by real data. We use a Net Promoter Score (NPS) platform to measure customer satisfaction for each of our brands. These scores are higher than at any company I have ever been involved with. In fact, our lowest NPS is still higher than the average NPS scores I’ve seen elsewhere, so I knew we had something special. In addition, the common thread for our home service brands were the words that our customers used to describe their experiences like ‘friendly,’ ‘caring,’ and ‘helpful,’ — all qualities you find in a trusted neighbor. You can see our Code of Values shining through the data and insights. And that was the kernel of truth that led to Neighborly.”
CMOO: I know you just launched Neighborly, but how’s it going so far?
LZ: “Really well. We’ve learned so much. It’s going to take some time to analyze the data, but the support for this concept was strong out of the gate. We were essentially creating and launching a new brand. Meanwhile, working with 13 brands that aren’t used to cross-marketing gave us opportunities to communicate better. Our leadership team, brand teams, franchise advisory team members and franchisees have been really generous and supportive, so we’ve launched with a confidence that we are headed in the right direction.”
CMOO: What leadership lessons have you learned or would want to tell someone on their career path?
LZ: “I once had a senior leader tell me that he thought my ‘secret sauce’ was tenacity. It is true that being able to push through the setbacks while keeping eyes on the prize has served me well over the years. It’s something I talk about with young people looking for career advice. The other piece of advice I usually share is to take assignments that may not be the obvious career progression. Those varied experiences give you valuable perspective. I’ve always been grateful for the time I spent in Operations, for example, early in my career. It gave me a strong appreciation for the importance of execution. Lastly, choose to be a part of organizations that share your values. It’s amazing what a difference that can make.”