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Friday, February 08, 2008

Marketing and fun

Like wine, and eating out? Do it. "The more wine costs, the more people enjoy it - regardless of how it tastes, a study by researchers in the United States has found." Intriguing. If we could apply this to our business, does that mean by charging our clients more for the renovation, commercial refit, or GC project management, they'll be even happier with the value?


Here is a simple and effective suggestion: Make the activity you most enjoy in your work and life your primary marketing focus. In other words, take the truly most satisfying part of your work, and build out from that your primary time and energy commitment to develop and maintain your client relationships.

So, if your passion is golfing, you know where your marketing should be. If you love skiing, or hockey, or phoning strangers, or knocking on doors one after another, do that. I enjoy writing and journalism. Since I happen to be reasonably good at these interests, the blog and newsletter are obviously right for me.

This of course does not excuse us from responsibility for the essentials that we do not enjoy. If you are a neat-nick, you will naturally want to be in charge personally of cleaning your work area at the end of each day; if you are not; you will still need to ensure the work is done -- either directly, or by hiring or delegating someone to the task. And maybe for some reason you can't stand talking with your clients -- you just want to do the work well. When they call you, you need to return their calls, promptly. (I'm noticing now, however, that I don't get too many phone calls each day. People write me emails and I can -- good for me, since I am a writer, of course -- write back!)

Most people of course don't enjoy some of the so called "standards" of sales and marketing -- like cold calling and canvassing -- for good reason. And conventional 'networking' where you are supposed to mix and mingle around a business-social gathering is awkward for people like me, who prefer to sit in the corner and read, or eat peanuts. This is fine. In an emergency, we may need to do things we don't enjoy, but we don't need to make them our main-stay and we can still to some extent adapt our interests to the environment (want to talk about golf or hockey, anyone?) If you are in the minority who actually enjoy marketing activities that others dislike, you have a natural edge. I've enjoyed reading forum postings from people who actually enjoy canvassing and cold calling (at least they say they do) and brag about their results. Good for them.

Here are some reasons why you will achieve great results by taking your personal passions and making them your primary marketing focus:
  • You will want to do the work, and you will want to do it consistently. For example, many people start blogs, only to give up after a few entries. That won't work. Since I enjoy writing and the personal journalism reflected in the blog, I don't mind -- in fact I enjoy -- taking the time each day for this work.

  • Your passion will 'connect' with your prospects and clients. People like being around people who enjoy who they are; especially if they share common interests! And this business is all about relationships.

  • If you are spending any money on marketing, you'll spend it on something you enjoy, and best of all, if you do it right, you'll turn a personal pleasure into a tax-deductable business expense.
I of course cannot tell you where your greatest interests and satisfactions should be; or specifically how (without knowing you better) to turn these passions into your marketing strategies. But you can start by simply writing on a piece of paper the three things you most enjoy. Then figure out how to connect the dots to bring these passions closer to your potential clients.

2 comments:

Sonny Lykos said...

Mark, for some of us, writing down the things we enjoy most is not necessary. It just happens naturally as we become involved with a situation that happens to align with what we love doing.

For me it’s construction investigate work. I prefer it to just remodeling. Even my WOR - Work Order Request, the form I used for small jobs, mostly repair jobs, has three important sections: Problem/special instructions, Existing Symptom(s), Cause(s), Solution A (Eliminate cause(s), Solution B (Correct symptom)(s).

As I fill it out, I explain all of the above to the customer, often using material samples I keep in my truck, or via a web site from my laptop with a broadband card.

I just found out a friend uses the same technique. He emailed a few copies of reports and photos sent to customers. I’ll email them to you so you can see the degree of professionalism they contain.

The passion Mark and I have is obvious in his reports. The rest just come out naturally with nearly every encounter with people when they learn of our career.

Mark Buckshon said...

Sonny, you are right. You don't really need to plan and 'research' what you like doing, naturally. It just happens. The interesting thing is we all are interested in different things -- and the ability to 'be ourselves' really enhances our natural marketing abilities. (Organizationally, when you get to the point of hiring employees, this can get interesting, as well. How do you encourage/foster individual creativity while ensuring your basic standards are met? But that is another question, for another posting.)
So, soon, will be the materials you sent me by email. I really like the use of the 'before pictures' and will publish once I've cleared them. Another great idea!