As with any commodity, propane comes to mind in times of necessity, only to vanish until again called upon. Unlike the product it sells, national propane provider Ferrellgas has given people a reason to think about, and engage with, the brand outside of necessity.

The Ask

Ferrellgas took its partnerships to heart by placing the customer experience at the forefront of its growth efforts.

Ferrellgas’ diverse customer base spans the gamut of age, geographic region, and propane use. From farmers in Georgia using propane to dry their crops to families heating their homes and fueling their grills in Washington, Ferrellgas seeks to connect with each of its customers not as a major corporation, but as a trusted, hometown partner. Instead of focusing solely on efficiency and the bottom line, Ferrellgas took the idea of partnership to heart by placing the customer experience at the forefront of its growth efforts. Because while commodities like propane are easily traded and easily forgotten, partnerships last.

With its brand position in place, the goal then became to translate Ferrellgas’ partnership message cohesively and authentically across every channel. The company named long-time digital agency partner DEG with the purpose of ensuring that from the text on the website to the Customer Service Specialist answering the phone, Ferrellgas’ message would resonate with its customers.

The Answer

Ferrellgas’ customers disproved the long-standing assumption that rural customers did not use digital devices, instead engaging with the brand online, especially on mobile devices. Armed with this knowledge, DEG and Ferrellgas worked to expand and optimize the brand’s presence in each digital marketing channel so that no matter how a customer was interacting with the brand, the experience was of the highest standard. DEG also used each channel as an opportunity to offer customers exactly what they needed from the brand at that time.

DEG and Ferrellgas expanded and optimized the brand’s presence in every digital channel.

Among the projects initiated for Ferrellgas’ digital channels were:

  • Redesigning the Ferrellgas website
  • Redeveloping Ferrellgas’ corporate intranet
  • Migrating Ferrellgas’ email program from Salesforce Marketing Cloud 1.0 to 2.0 and launching new email triggers
  • Implementing SMS with Salesforce Mobile Connect
  • Optimizing Ferrellgas’ paid media program, growing leads while bringing down the cost per lead

These enhancements to Ferrellgas’ marketing channels were the foundation for DEG’s overarching focus: developing a full-scale marketing plan that delivered a steady stream of communication in order to connect with customers using cohesive, consistent messaging across every channel. In other words, no matter when or where the customer was, they were going to receive partner-level treatment that met their needs in that moment.

This was the first time Ferrellgas had targeted its consumers with lengthy marketing campaigns, so DEG and the Ferrellgas team began with the basics—identifying the proper voice, tone, and imagery—and then used data and customer behaviors to develop messaging that would resonate in each moment and on their device of choice. Ferrellgas has launched campaigns quarterly since the beginning of 2017, and is set to launch a longer Fueling What Matters to You campaign, which will be a central theme to the brand’s messaging moving forward.

Along with presenting contextually relevant information to customers, DEG and Ferrellgas are also using a mixture of data and human interaction to create a more personalized customer connection. They dug deep into the customer experience to better understand the types of questions customers are asking and the information they seek most to craft messages that resonate at every step of their propane purchase journey. The agency is also working with the brand to help arm their drivers—those who interact with customers face to face—with toolsets that enable them to provide an even higher level of customer service.

The Results

In 2017, DEG and Ferrellgas’ relationship came into full bloom as DEG was named Ferrellgas’ agency of record. The agency will help expand Ferrellgas’ cohesive messaging across its traditional advertising platforms, including local and direct mail marketing, traditional media, and local listings, while also adding to its digital efforts with paid social strategy and video production. With DEG’s cross-channel approach and the agency and brand working together to provide an authentic partnership experience with its audiences, customers are finding more and more reasons to not just think about propane, but to think about Ferrellgas.

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