Let’s grow your business

July 1, 2008 By    

The re-engineering of LP Gas magazine continues with my acceptance of the challenge of writing a monthly column on marketing that relates to the propane industry.

 This kind of bobtail to boardroom experience is something I am thankful I can draw from
This kind of bobtail to boardroom experience is something I am thankful I can draw from

For several months, Editor Pat Hyland and I have been discussing propane industry needs and the concept of increasing the marketing emphasis of the magazine.

Pat assures me that he will not interfere with my need for editorial independence and will only edit as needed to correct my dreadful grammar, punctuation, etc. You can expect the column to represent the author’s view and not necessarily the magazine’s or yours. It will be in forward motion to address the marketing needs of the propane industry. We hope you find marketing ideas and inspiration within to help you grow your propane business.

Why me? Here are some of my propane industry background and business interests that I can draw from to write about marketing to propane consumers in this challenging energy world:

My conventional employment career of 37 years in the propane industry spanned working as a field employee for an independent propane company in Michigan to the senior marketing position for one of the largest nationwide propane companies. There were several stops along the way, and I did my best to learn and contribute at each one of them. This kind of bobtail to boardroom experience is something I am thankful I can draw from in my current career.

Industry volunteerism has helped me spread my roots in the propane world. I have served in several positions at the state association level and with the National Propane Gas Association. Past volunteer activities with the Propane Education & Research Council include chairing its Consumer Education & Advisory Committee and serving as a council member.

Volunteer activities have allowed me to network and gain many business contacts and friends across the country and around the world.

I left conventional propane employment behind in 2005 to start my own consulting business, concentrating mainly on serving the marketing and education needs of the propane industry. Occasionally I wander off that path to learn and gather fresh ideas from other industries. My clients afford me the opportunity to work in the energy industry and with other related groups in a variety of ways.

I am able to readily access research on the home-building industry and other topics. Much of my work involves use of this research in ways that educate building industry professionals on the benefits of propane and related appliances. It also connects them to propane marketers who can meet their clients’ energy needs.

When consumers, building and trade professionals and propane retailers exchange the same positive messages about propane, good things happen.

In the Marketing in Motion column, we will look at some of the marketing basics, including what it takes to form a marketing plan, what some of the marketing tools are and where you can find them.

You can expect to learn how to identify your real competition; it isn’t your neighboring propane retailer. We will look at ways to switch out customers from the electric company rather than from other propane retailers.

We will review innovative gas-burning products that can significantly increase the number of burner tips and gallons per propane customer. Expect an in-depth look at the green movement, what it can mean for your propane business and how your customers are joining the movement.

We can explore how your customers are dealing with high energy prices through conservation, installation of high-efficiency appliances and energy switch-out, and what you can do about it. We will take a good look at builder programs that work and other marketing ideas you are willing to share.

You could say we are not short on material to discuss. I will strive to write columns that will stretch our collective understanding of propane marketing. I hope you join in the conversation.

Tom Jaenicke is the owner and president of ATomiK Creative Solutions LLC, a limited liability company that provides consumer education and business development consulting, primarily to the propane industry. He can be reached at 810-252-7855 or


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