Meadow Outdoor is one of those companies you’re familiar with even if you don’t know it. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, chances are you’ve seen one of their 1200-plus billboards along rural and urban corridors. They’ve successfully become the biggest billboard company in Oregon, competing alongside much larger, national advertising networks and earning the respect of their peers and community.
What’s their secret?
It starts with family. Meadow Outdoor has been family owned and operated since 1968. This emphasis on close, long-lasting relationships includes the company’s extended “family” of 25—and growing—full-time employees, many of whom have worked with Meadow Outdoor for over a decade. It continues through the company’s dedication to their communities—Meadow Outdoor frequently donates to local charities— as well as a commitment to customers, who appreciate the prompt service and guidance provided by Meadow Outdoor’s seasoned team of expert billboard designers. And, as we at Daylight Studio can attest, the company also treats business partners like family.
But it takes more than a big heart and an incredible team to succeed in the hypercompetitive, high-stakes world of billboard advertising. That’s why Meadow Outdoor chooses to invest in digital technology to address its most significant operational challenges.
Once we reviewed Meadow’s needs, we developed a new content management system for the company. Harnessing the power of FUEL CMS, this system handles everything from artwork and inventory numbers to invoices, receivables, statements, contracts, and day-to-day reports. Our development of the system was informed by the each department’s specific process requirements.
How the New Database System Serves the Meadow Team
Betsy Hege is the Sales Service Manager at Meadow Outdoor. She is concerned with two things – Inventory control, and guiding the customer service experience for Meadow customers through responsive support and guidance for the sales team.
“Our sales team can now view the current status of any billboard and its 10 year sales history on one screen. We all spend less time trying to find contract and structure information and more time selling. Custom screens and fields have been built into the database to relieve labor intensive processes related to preparing renewal contracts and locating specific event dates related to producing the large scale vinyls that are the customer’s artwork on the billboard. Sales reporting that previously required downloading data and manipulating in Excel are now done with a click and a save. In the new database, client lists for each sales person are easy to access and sort, making the database an excellent planning tool for customer contact in their territories. I really appreciate the level of automation we have received in the new database, the customization for our unique processes, and transparency of the data.”
Jeani is the Production Manager at Meadow Outdoor and is the real mastermind behind their database system. She spends her time managing contracts and billboard production orders—it’s a lot to track. Fortunately for Jeani, Daylight created a notification and reminders system that lets her concentrate on what’s in front of her, while not allowing small details to fall through the cracks.
“Our process for sending copies of signed contracts back to the customer used to be to copy the contract and then mail it to the customer via snail mail. Our new database has the ability to scan these contracts into the database and associate it to the contract information and number we’ve inputted into the system. This has completely changed the way we send out these contract copies. We now take the scan of the contract that is in the database and email it to the responsible salesperson, who then emails it to their client. This is 100% savings in envelopes, paper, and stamps; allows the salesperson to retain a copy of the contract; and gives us proof that the contract was sent. It’s saved us a huge amount of time and has increased our efficiency tremendously.”
Pam is the master of the books, and the one who keeps Meadow rocking and rolling by sending out invoices, and statements, recording payments, and writing checks—all while listening to the greatest hits of the 80s. At the end of the day, though, Pam wants what anyone else would want: balance. It’s no surprise then that her favorite part of the new Meadow database is the Daily Balance Report: single number at the end of the day that indicates a job well done.
“Manual invoices are used for production charges that are incurred for additional design change-outs. In the past, these manual invoices would often be challenged by the customer because they weren’t rent charges and often the people paying the bills had no knowledge of the additional charges incurred. Our new database allows us to put in the name of the person who approved the charges, the date it was approved, and a picture of either the design or the installation. In cases where we don’t print but just install the design they sent to us, we can indicate the date it was installed with the installation picture. This has reduced the calls and challenges by at least 75%, and has made it easier for our collection department to pull up the invoice and explain the charges.”
The Results in a Nutshell
Meadow Outdoor’s new database system has improved efficiency antd quality of life in virtually every department of the company:
- Sales staff can view current contracts, locations, set up reminders, create contacts, and set up desired lists. They can type in the contact’s address and access a map that provides an overview of all of the company’s billboard locations in the area
- Management can access real time information about profitability of each billboard.
- The team can monitor illumination on billboards that are not rented, saving energy and time.
- The contract management process has been digitized, improving accountability and eliminating the need for envelopes, paper, and stamps.
- Accounting can instantly pull up and review any invoice with a client. Accounting also receives daily reports of leases coming due in the next 90 days.
- Meadow Outdoor can sort and view work orders in an easy-to-navigate, permanent database.
Meadow Outdoor’s story demonstrates the power of an efficient database to transform daily operations. It all adds up to more a productive company, happier clients, and more time for every member of the team to focus on what matters most: building relationships, giving back, and getting their message out there.
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