Understanding a Client’s World: Getting Our Hands Dirty

At Oster and Associates, we pride ourselves on being a full-service agency. From competitor analysis, conceiving ad campaigns, developing a brand, media buying, social media, public relations and more, we have experience in it all. However, while we may be experts at what we do, you are the expert of your business.

We boast a wide variety of past and present clients, from plant propagators to landscape design, restaurants, organic produce, business associations, ski slopes and more. We are definitely not fluent in horticulture, culinary arts, logistical chains or schussing down mountains. How did we win our business? How did we gain our clients’ trust and create work that led to positive ROIs for our clients? How do we truly understand a company we’ve never studied nor been a part of?

Well, we start by getting our hands dirty.

Andres, the senior business strategist at Oster and Associates, and his wife have always maintained a beautiful backyard in the 22 years they’ve lived in their home in Chula Vista. They recently remodeled the lawn to cut down on watering and maintenance costs, and Andres was so excited to design a new waterwise space, choose new plants and get hands-on creating a new outdoor entertaining area. One of the focal points of a vignette within the backyard is a round stone fire pit, surrounded by green lounge furniture under a white pergola that provides just the right amount of shade. The whole area is surrounded by a rainbow of bright red, purple, orange and green succulents in white containers. It’s a colorful, relaxing backyard sanctuary for his family and friends.

So, when Oster and Associates approached Armstrong Garden Centers in hopes of earning its business, Andres was obviously excited. He’s been a gardener for more than two decades and truly believed in its products and plants, and he transparently shared his enthusiasm with the client.

However, Andres understood that simply knowing the company isn’t enough to earn new business. As marketers, we must of course know the brand, yet also take a step back and take an analytic look at the industry as a whole. A marketing team must use its expertise and assess the competitors, identify the strengths and opportunities within the market, understand the perception of a brand and consider how to frame a potential client using all these tools in context.

Oster and Associates gained Armstrong Garden Centers as a client not simply because Andres enjoyed gardening. We earned the client by combining our understanding of the brand with our passion for the industry and our expertise as marketing professionals.

It takes the trifecta – knowledge of the brand, passion for the client’s business and expertise within our field – to earn a client’s trust and business.

When I came on board at Oster and Associates, Andres took me to a nearby Armstrong store location to teach me about the client. He walked me around, introducing me to the people, the plants and the brand. His excitement for the industry rubbed off on me, and I thought, “I can do this too. I’m going to dive right in. I’m going to be a gardener.”

So I bought two tomato plants, four kinds of herbs and a lemon tree and planted them in containers on my balcony.

In order to know a client, it takes getting your hands dirty – figuratively, and sometimes, literally.

– Hannah


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