As I work with contractors all over the United States I find a condition almost epidemic to our industry, “Lazy Marketing”! For an industry that works so diligently to build the facilities we work and live in, it truly boggles my mind how half cocked most marketing efforts are. Now I know I’m a sales guru but any sales individual worth their salt will tell you they need good marketing techniques to grease their path. Effort in any facet of business relates directly to the value placed on that facet. Unfortunately, very little value is placed on a good, solid marketing campaign. Now I know you’re getting hit from all directions from consultants and marketing firms to invest in their great products, services and programs. It can be mind boggling sorting through the need for social media or jumping to the top of a Google page. My motto has always been to be patient and see what techniques stick and produce, then incorporate them.

I find there are 3 basic reasons most contractors struggle with their marketing plan:

1. Flat Out Lethargy: If you don’t completely see the value of marketing to your clients you just won’t do it. You’ll delay, go cheap or worse, do nothing at all. You feel it’s all a waste of time and resources. You can’t see any immediate results therefore it isn’t necessary. Well, time to become a real business person. Marketing gains you exposure. Most people who call a contractor for the first time have recently seen or been touched by a sales and marketing effort. As good as you think your company’s reputation is, if you don’t promote that value, far fewer know of them than you may think.

2. Fear of Expense: I’ve heard of people paying from $50K-$100K for a re-branding program. For some reason the term “hoodwinked” comes to mind! With the advent of electronic marketing, costs have dropped significantly. E-newsletters, e-blasts, social media and websites have drastically reduced the price of a good campaign. You really don’t need to go to a training class to learn their effectiveness. Teach yourself! If you lack creativity, hire someone on a per project basis to help. Or retain a reasonable marketing consultant to run your annual campaigns. Unless you’re a super sized firm you really don’t need a full time marketing person to do your eblasts! Hire the sales and business development person instead.

3. Lack of Discipline: This one drives me nuts! Some contractors start doing marketing campaigns, get results and then don’t stay consistent with them. What!? I know crazy isn’t it? Any time you garner the attention of potential customers you’re reinforcing your brand. Why wouldn’t you want to continue to do that? If “outta sight, outta mind” is true then so is “in sight, in mind”! Make sense? Of course it does! Is it really that difficult to have good bid presentation materials, get a newsletter out a whole once a month, keep you website updated or have a sales slick to put in a potential customer’s hand? I’ll answer that for you, NO!

We spend a great deal of time helping contractors understand the need for marketing programs and campaigns. They often need a great deal of assistance creating and managing them. But those that are consistent in implementation get results and swear by them. Not every marketing idea works and some are shams, i.e.: paying for leads, paying to climb to the first page of Google, and paying someone to manage your Linkedin account. They are not as time consuming as you may think and many of the new, proven electronic means are here to stay. Remember 15 years ago when you thought email was a fad? What do you think of it now? Your clients that are between 25 – 35 years old are communicating via the web. Are you marketing aggressively there? Or are you more worried about wasting a client’s time or filling their email queue?

If 70% of people delete electronic newsletters that means 30% don’t! If you send one to 2,000 targets or existing customers, it means you have 600 readers a month! Tell me another way to get the attention of 600 qualified targets a month! The Midwest is still significantly lagging in this area as compared to the coasts and major metropolitan areas in Texas. Yes, I said Texas. Even though we have all the same resources they have available to us. You can develop an image as good as some of the highest profile companies in the world for a fraction of the costs. People trust professionalism and obviously distrust non-professionalism. Look, if you’re in one of the above categories change it now. You’re not too late. As a matter of fact, in the construction industry, you’re still ahead of the curve!