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Sunday, October 12, 2008

In place, out of place

Last night, as Vivian took in cultural events at Vanderbilt University, Eric and I headed downtown to the seasons opener of the Nashville Predators. Hockey in the South? Seemed really strange to our family -- sure, in Ottawa hockey is the sport of choice, with organized junior leagues and so on, but this is Tennessee!

But in the packed downtown arena, you would conclude (if you only saw the single evening snapshot) that the sport belongs here, as much as in Canada. The arena was nearly full (though we could buy last minute tickets the day of the game), and fans really enjoyed the experience. The Predators won, as well, against Dallas.

"What does any of this have to do with construction industry marketing?" you might say. My answer is simple: If you think marketing is all work and no play, there is no room for adventures and different experiences, and you should not enjoy time with your family, you are losing something important in the equation. Balance and rest, with a little adventure, refresh you and rejuvenate your spirit. (And if you use airline points programs effectively and travel off season, you'll find you don't need to break your bank account to enjoy some great experiences.)

But there is another value in this sort of experience -- triangulating your familiar perceptions in different market environments can provide insights, understanding and sometimes (in fact often), aha moments. By combining familiar with the unfamiliar, you may find a key to innovation and uniqueness, in a matter that relates to your current and prospective clients' interests.

This is one reason I advocate association involvement and participation; including networking with peers from your industry, in other communities. You'll meet non-competitors with similar values, and their own ideas, and discover innovative ideas which you can copy or adapt to your own markets.

Today, we're heading to the Nashville Zoo. (Monday, and more importantly, Tuesday, I will do some real work here, but, yes, weekend family time is worthwhile for business and marketing.)

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