Ferrellgas asked its agency of record DEG to help create its brand messaging, implement technology for better customer data management, and guide the business forward.

As with any commodity, propane comes to mind in times of necessity. When consumers don’t need it, they don’t think of it. That’s why one national propane provider focused on giving people a reason to think about and engage with its brand outside of necessity.

The challenge

As the second-largest American propane provider, Ferrellgas has distributed propane to countless businesses and homes throughout the nation for nearly 80 years—all while exceeding industry safety standards. Intending to improve its marketing program to better engage customers, Ferrellgas asked its agency of record DEG to help create its brand messaging, implement technology for better customer data management, and guide the business forward.

Propane customers are diverse in age, geographic region, and propane use. While predominantly rural, they often rely on digital devices to engage with brands, which contradicts preconceived notions of how rural customers connect. Armed with this knowledge, DEG and Ferrellgas worked to expand and optimize the brand’s presence across all digital marketing channels.

The strategy

Knowing Ferrellgas’ customers were engaging with the brand’s digital channels, DEG sought to craft a cohesive customer experience for all propane consumers. The agency evaluated Ferrellgas’ customer data, finding the company used multiple CRM systems to document propane sales and customer communications, making it difficult to track all data and use it to grow its business.

DEG also found the website and brand messaging didn’t speak to what propane consumers valued most. To address these challenges, DEG crafted a plan to digitally transform Ferrellgas’ marketing with a customer-focused approach to every project and recommendations on technology to help the business grow.

Since implementing Salesforce tools, Ferrellgas has identified its competitors’ unhappy customers, decreased the number of customer service phone calls and manual entry of data, and streamlined personalized partner communications.

The solution

First, DEG began creating cross-channel campaigns to communicate the many uses of propane in fueling everyday life on farms and in factories. The messages also shared the value Ferrellgas placed on partnerships with its customers.

DEG then developed a new corporate intranet for Ferrellgas’ associates to easily find information and collaborate on projects across the country. Leveraging SharePoint Online, DEG built a pre-configured, custom template for creating and publishing a new intranet blog. This solution allowed several Ferrellgas leaders to communicate directly on the company intranet without having to do the administrative work of formatting and posting the blog, while making it stress-free for the communications team to swiftly and easily create a blog for its leadership team.

To better engage its customers, Ferrellgas and DEG migrated the company’s email program from Salesforce Marketing Cloud 1.0 to 2.0, providing new packaged features for the brand to use in marketing efforts, including Social Studio. The agency also designed and launched new triggered email messages to customers and implemented SMS with Salesforce Mobile Connect for additional communications. At the same time, DEG began optimizing Ferrellgas’ paid media program—growing leads while bringing down the cost per lead—and working to improve the brand’s social media engagement with customers.

Next, DEG developed a full-scale marketing plan to deliver a steady stream of communication to customers across every channel. DEG upgraded Ferrellgas.com with new designs, content, and features, and launched strategies laddering up to a Fueling What Matters to You campaign that embraced the brand’s messaging with customers. DEG and Ferrellgas also used a mixture of data and human interaction to create a more personalized customer connection. The agency crafted messages that resonated at every step of the propane purchase journey based on the types of questions customers were asking, and also helped arm Ferrellgas’ drivers with toolsets that enable them to provide an even higher level of customer service.

DEG implemented Salesforce CRM as Ferrellgas’ customer engagement platform, migrating its customer data and integrating its 50+ operations systems. The agency created online customer and partner portals for tracking sales and customer service cases and deploying personalized customer communications. DEG also built an analytics dashboard for forecasting and measurement, collectively bringing customers into a single view for Ferrellgas.

Finally, DEG crafted several videos for the Fueling What Matters to You campaign, which started as a creative project of updating Ferrellgas’ brand standards and developed into a full-brand execution for engaging with customers. The agency produced two full-length videos—one focused on agriculture and another on B2B distribution—as well as shorter cuts for sharing across digital channels.

The outcome

Throughout the 10-year relationship between Ferrellgas and DEG, the partnership grew from vendor to agency of record, encompassing marketing and communication campaigns, as well as technology implementations to transform the propane provider’s processes and practices for engaging customers and growing its business.

Since implementing Salesforce tools like Marketing Cloud, Social Studio, and CRM, Ferrellgas has identified its competitors’ unhappy customers and reached out to earn their business, decreased the number of customer service phone calls and manual entry of data, and streamlined personalized partner communications.

Ferrellgas and DEG also earned recognition for award-winning social and paid media campaigns, website enhancements, as well as email and SMS communications. With the cross-channel approach and collaboration between brand and agency, propane customers are finding more and more reasons to think about Ferrellgas when thinking about fueling what matters.

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