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Friday, July 17, 2009

Passion and marketing

Participants share a moment at the Greater Ottawa Home Builders' Association Golf Tournament earlier this year. If you enjoy golfing, and have products or services to market, association events like this can be invaluable for building your business (and you'll have fun while you play.)

Some of the saddest people I've seen are older (or for that matter younger) people who are working because they "have to"; for the money, for survival. Sometimes this situation is through no fault of their own, or is a trade-off for something better for the future. I have great respect for immigrants, for example, who take on menial jobs to create a future for their families.

But many times, people lose touch with what is really important in life. If you can't enjoy your work, then you doom yourself to a trapped life. The paradox is you may be "good" at your work and the pay may be excellent. But are you really living a good life?

"What does this thinking have to do with Construction Marketing?", you may be wondering. The answer is that if you can connect your own passions with those of your current and potential clients, you'll have the perfect marketing space -- and you'll be successful in ways that transcend your paycheck (though you will probably do well financially.)

These thoughts come to mind as I prepare to write a feature about the Ontario Masonry Contractors' Association. I've had the privilege of speaking with several of the association's leaders and supporters in preparing the article, and one thing came through to me loud and clear: They really care about their stuff.

They aren't just in the brick and masonry business to make some money (though undoubtedly they are successful at it). They really care about and consider their work to be truly important.

Now, you wouldn't want me anywhere near a construction site actually doing the work of a mason, (or for that matter, handling the responsibilities of an architect or engineer.) My passion has always been journalism and business, and writing.

I happened to connect with the construction industry about 20 years ago, almost by accident. Over the years, I've had the good fortune to meld my interest in journalism and publishing with the construction industry, and begun to understand it at a greater depth than most writers. This means, even if I can't actually operate the equipment or perform the actual skills of the construction industry, I can still sense its heart and the passion of industry practitioners and tradespeople.

If you want to be successful at marketing, your challenge is to connect your passion for your trade or profession, with the passions and interests of your potential clients. (You can see for a start that if you don't really like what you are doing, I would advocate you find some way to get to do what you really enjoy).

How do you achieve this connection? One place you can make the links are relevant client-focused associations. Usually they have special interest groups and committees. In other words, if you love golf, you offer to help co-ordinate the golf tournament. You'll be connecting and playing with potential clients who enjoy golf, like you, and (best of all), your respective business passions and interests will "connect" in an environment of common interest. Yes, you'll have fun -- and discover business at the same time.

I've applied these principals by using my writing and journalism skills with the relevant association for construction industry marketing, The Society for Marketing Professional Services. By writing for the association's magazine, I've made many truly useful connections and developed some great business opportunities. But I haven't struggled to do the work. I truly enjoy it.

Take a close look at your circumstances. If you love what you are doing for a living, you are on the right track. If you can connect with others by finding common ground with what they truly enjoy doing, you'll achieve true marketing success -- and have lots of fun in the process.

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