U.S. Seal proves creating great products is always the best marketing strategy

Pitch Black’s Brand Strategy is Rooted in Marketing Theory. When we first made Pitch Black asphalt emulsion sealcoat, so many years ago, we never thought to make a cheap, low-grade sealcoat. We always set the bar high. We were contractors. In fact, the Archie family has been in the asphalt business since 1946. We understood the demand for a high-quality product and met it. But little did we know we were basing our business on a core competency — a competitive advantage that would take us through the highs and lows of an ever-changing economy. Sealcoat manufacturers and contractors should have a comprehensive marketing strategy if they want to weather any storm. The secret of Pitch Black’s success is about creating core competencies.

What are Core Competencies? Things such as quality, industry experience and customer service can help differentiate a company from its competitors. These qualities are not easily copied and yield competitive advantage (If you haven’t read about marketing greats like Philip Kotler, now’s the time). At U.S. Seal International, Inc., everything we do is strategic and steeped in research, including our precise Pitch Black formula, the specifications of sealcoat plants, pricing, territories, and how we promote the brand. We take marketing seriously, and you should, too.

What Exactly is Marketing? Often when we talk to people, they think marketing is advertising. In reality, it’s much more than that. Marketing includes product development, pricing, distribution channels and how you communicate your brand. When we invented Pitch Black, we were stunned at the high-quality product we’d created. Since then, we’ve improved it, and it has outperformed our wildest expectations. But it isn’t just the quality of the product that makes it successful; we live by the foundations of marketing theory — those that prove true no matter what’s happening in the world.
From city streets in San Antonio, parking lots in Wisconsin, city schools in Michigan, driveways in Idaho, national parks in Arizona, and churches in Reno, the quality, consistency and reliability of Pitch Black is visible in every state it’s in.

Why Quality Beats Price in the Long Run. In speaking to our customers, they describe our products as being anywhere from a mid-range to a high-priced product. Turns out, both opinions are true because we value multiple pricing strategies. Although we don’t set or mandate pricing, we recommend both cost-based pricing and perceived-value pricing. Most companies need a 50% gross profit margin to be successful. Add up your variable costs and calculate it. Then consider: What are your customers willing to pay for quality? What are your competitors charging? How many coats will it take to make loyal customers?

However, if you follow the Walmart model of winning business by always guaranteeing the lowest price, you’ve: 1) made yourself dependent on the quantity of jobs you perform per season; 2) set a precedent of low pricing that’s harder to raise later; 3) lowered your profit margin; 4) created a potential perception of lower quality, and 5) jeopardized customer loyalty. Thus, you’ve now made yourself more vulnerable to production capacity, customer demand, and competitor price wars.

Our family has always stood for quality, and it’s been a shield for Pitch Black in hard times. As owner Robb Archie’s grandfather always said, “Anyone can drop their price, but not everyone can increase their quality.” Price is not a core competency; quality is. You can offer deals to gain new customers. However, staying mid-range to high in your pricing and maintaining quality is a proven strategy to outlast the competition.

Make a quality slurry seal with Pitch Black. Patch holes with Pitch Black. You can even make rough areas disappear. We make a quality material you can base your business on. Pitch Black is an easy-to-use, safe sealcoat, with 0% Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. Now, that’s something you can base a marketing strategy on!

We successfully premiered Pitch Black at our newest plant, Pacific Sealcoat Distributors, in Tacoma, Washington. Contractors in the Seattle area were stunned by the quality of the material. We have more plants being built in other states and — rest assured — the highest quality of sealcoat will be made. We’ll continue to set the standard for quality.

ABOUT PITCH BLACK®: The Archie family got its start in asphalt in the 1920s with Robb Archie’s grandfather, Joe Archie, in Western New York. Archie’s dad, Earl Archie, learned the trade from his dad during the 1940s and 50s and taught it to his son, Robb Archie, who carried that knowledge from the 1960s and 70s to make Pitch Black® in the 1980s. The family secret formula has only been licensed to Pitch Black® manufacturers during the last 9 years, but Pitch Black® has been used for over 25 years.