There’s no doubt that 1-800-GOT-JUNK is a Canadian entrepreneurial success story. The origins of the Vancouver-based company read like a by-the-numbers rags-to-riches plot. So here’s the pitch:
In 1989, Brian Scudamore saw a pickup truck hauling away junk while he was sitting in a McDonalds drive-through lineup. After this moment of inspiration, he spent $700 on his own truck and started making cash picking up other people’s unwanted stuff.
By 1998, the business was called 1-800-GOT-JUNK and was recognized by Profit Magazine as one of Canada’s 100 fastest growing companies.
Now celebrating its 25th anniversary since its creation, 1-800-GOT-JUNK is evolving past the technology that is the source of its name and moving online, modernizing its methods of discovery and lead generation.
Amar Jodhan, a Digital Marketing Specialist at 1-800-GOT-JUNK, described how the formerly telephone-based company uses search engine optimization (SEO), display advertising and email marketing to acquire customers.
“We touch every point along the customer journey,” Jordan told the Dx3 Digest. At the end of the funnel is the online booking engine, first launched in 2003, that spits out estimates based on locations and other details.
“For a junk company, I think we’re the pioneers and we innovated the system of booking a junk job on the internet and giving out prices and estimates,” Jordan said.
In its 25th anniversary statement, 1-800-GOT-JUNK revealed that online booking exceeds 30% of the company’s revenue. One can imagine that number growing to beyond 50% within just a few years.
“It’s so simple, from end to end. You put in your information and everything is booked for you. Then you get a phone call from us,” Jordan added.
Among the standard marketing channels, 1-800-GOT-JUNK’s 10-person marketing and public relations team partners with organizations such as Second Chance Toys, which distributes used toys to children in need.
“We constantly create content which is not promotional, but very informational for our customers,”
1-800-GOT-JUNK also promotes causes such as Earth Day, to reinforce its success in diverting items from landfills.
“We constantly create content which is not promotional, but very informational for our customers,” Jordan said. For 1-800-GOT-JUNK, the blog content also serves as excellent SEO fodder, so that new customers find their services with a simple Google search.
In 2010 and 2011, 1-800-GOT-JUNK was featured on A&E’s Hoarders, making the brand a household name in the United States.
In addition to maintaining his role as CEO, Scudamore frequently takes the opportunity to tell his story of entrepreneurship, and describe how his company has grown over the past 25 years.
The name of the company belies a connection to old media, but the continued success of 1-800-GOT-JUNK clearly demonstrates a firm grasp of the modern state of marketing.
David St. James, VP, Marketing and Commercial Sales is speaking at Community Management Conference CM1 on May 22 in Toronto.