About Yes Marketing

Don Nichols, CEO

I started Yes Marketing in 1997 with the help of John Merrill and Billie Sprowls.  Both John and Billie worked with me in the marketing department at Barefoot Grass Lawn Service which had just been acquired in 1996 by TruGreen Chemlawn, a subsidiary of Service Master at the time.  I had not planned to start a company; I planned to retire.  Within a few months of my “retirement” a couple of former franchisees called to tell me they had split off from TruGreen Chemlawn and asked if I could help them with marketing.  I said yes; Yes Marketing was born.


As Barefoot’s Vice President of Marketing I learned a lot about marketing in the “green” industry.  As CEO of Yes Marketing, I’ve learned a lot about how to help small independent companies grow their business and increase and maintain profitability.  I started my career in marketing at Barefoot in 1980.  At that time, the company had ten locations in the Midwest, (five of them franchises), around 6,000 customers if I remember correctly, and wasn’t profitable.  But the industry was just beginning and the boom years were upon us.  We were able to grow the company exponentially in the next ten years, mostly through marketing but we did acquire a few other companies along the way.  We took Barefoot public in 1991 and by the time we sold it to Service Master we had expanded to over 100 markets and branches throughout the U.S. and Canada (most of them company owned) and had around 500,000 customers.  When I started Yes Marketing I was under the misconception that all of the same rules and business practices that I used at Barefoot Grass would apply to the clients I was trying to help.  I learned rather quickly that this was not the case.  Most small companies don’t have the capital and resources of a Barefoot Grass.  We had to modify our template at Yes Marketing to fit the needs and resources of the independent businessman and businesswoman.  And we did.


Since 1997, Yes Marketing has helped over 250 companies to more effectively market their business.  Two of those three former franchisees who first called me are still clients as is the first non-Barefoot related client I signed in 1997.  Along the way I added staff (including my son Robert who also worked on the Barefoot marketing team and to whom you would most likely speak if you called today) and added the necessary software and hardware to bring most of the analytic functions in-house.


I’m proud of the work we’ve done in helping so many independent lawn and landscape companies become successful.  That’s not to say that every marketing program or campaign we’ve ever done was a resounding success.  There were certainly times we did not meet the goals and numbers we planned.  But we learned – both from our failures and successes – and got even better at helping lawn and landscape companies grow their business with each one.


And of course we are still learning and still helping clients grow their business.  It has been and continues to be a wonderful journey.  Thank you to all those who have been a part of it.


Don Nichols, CEO of Yes, Marketing, Inc. was the former VP of Marketing for Barefoot Grass Lawn Service until 1996 when TruGreen ChemLawn – a division of Service Master - acquired Barefoot.  He is a graduate of The Ohio State University with postgraduate work in business and marketing. He has served on the board of the Mid-Ohio Direct Marketing Association and was its president in 1993.


Mr. Nichols was the first marketing professional in the Green Industry to develop a computer selection model based on statistical regression analysis in order to more effectively target prospects most likely to buy lawn care services. He was also among the first to statistically prove and quantify the effectiveness of cable television advertising.


Mr. Nichols is a board member of The Legacy for Children Foundation, and has served as a guest speaker/lecturer for PLANET, the Ohio Turf Foundation, and Columbus State College.








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