This past winter my wife and I were awarded a trip to Hawaii through Wolfcreek Columbus, and sponsored by Kichler Lighting. It was in appreciation for a great year of sales and quite an honor being the only Central Ohio outdoor lighting contractor to receive this reward.
We had a fantastic time, (did I mention it was Hawaii?). I met with landscape lighting contractors from all over the United States and Canada discussing marketing strategies, tips and tricks, and common challenges within the industry.
Some interesting points regarding regional differences were brought to light, (no pun). For instance, unlike here in the northern climates, lighting contractors operating in the southern U.S. define their busy season as winter, when it’s also the dark season. Makes sense huh?
Here in the north the weather dictates an untimely season for lighting installs, (spring and summer when daylight is at its longest and darkness at its shortest). Even in an unusually mild winter like we just experienced, the mindset among potential customers is that outdoor lighting is something best put off until spring. This in conjunction with the premise that landscape lighting is just another landscape upgrade option, are misconceptions that really need to be addressed, (or corrected), by us northern lighting guys. Hmmm, I see a marketing opportunity here.
Another regional challenge involves the growing use of LED lighting. One of the advantages of LED is that it produces much less heat than an incandescent fixture. That’s all well and good, but what happens if you live in Michigan or Minnesota where a blanket of snow is as prevalent in the winter landscape as grass is in the summer? You end up with LED fixtures buried in the snow with little heat to sufficiently melt an opening around them. I talked with a contractor in Minnesota who said for this reason alone, LED has not yet taken hold in his market. Manufacturers are trying to come up with solutions including telescoping mounting stakes that can allow the homeowners and contractors to raise the fixtures above the snow level in the winter and slide them back down in the warmer months.
Evidence that the demand for outdoor and landscape lighting by consumers is growing, (no matter the region), was by far the most encouraging take away from this trip. This is manifesting itself here in Central Ohio as well with another great year taking shape for Outdoor Lighting by Landscape Design First. I have some exciting projects that I look forward to sharing here on the site over the next several months as they are implemented and realized. I’ve also hired a new enthusiastic associate who will be working with me as business continues to grow.
Stay tuned for more Light Notes