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Friday, September 04, 2009

What works?

With more information overload in the last few days than I've experienced in many months, I've been trying to see through the increasing volume of questions and email inquiries to help you with some simple and easy-to-implement marketing insights.

For example, tomorrow, once I upload the images and verify my notes, I'll share some observations from the Greater Ottawa Home Builders' Association about the (to me) surprising and vital importance of signs in directing people to new home sites. Does the same principal apply for sub contractors; does it matter for commercial and non-residential construction?

Yesterday, a consultant whose earlier marketing materials promoted more effective Yellow Pages communications connected with me; does he think that the decline of the Yellow Pages is over-rated, or is it a real and fundamental trend?

What do we make of blogging, the social networking sites, and the like? On Wednesday, Rainmaking guru Ford Harding said his opinions about the value of these resources in marketing have changed since we first conversed on the topic about 18 months ago -- he now thinks they are important in the marketing process, but you really have to work at them. (Ironically, my conversation with Ford for became a key part of my first article in the SMPS Marketer, which led to many interesting relationships and opportunities.)

Then, I received copies of marketing material and questions about their effectiveness from a fellow blogger who is launching a new construction business. He asked my thoughts, and I responded that he is perhaps trying to do everything for everyone and it won't work, from a marketing perspective. Then I put my reality hat on and suggested he will find whatever business he can mostly from his existing relationships and previous clients.

At 10 a.m. today I'm having coffee with an Ottawa-based online service provider who wishes to expand his coverage/service to other markets. He wants to pick my brain.

When (if) things calm down, I will begin turning these issues into separate blog themes and delve into them more closely.

But I'll start with a few observations which you can use right away.

  • Often simple and dumb is best. Good job site signs are inexpensive and can be highly effective in residential work. We should explore which signs work best, and why.
  • The New Media is here and if you aren't connecting with it, you are missing perhaps the biggest marketing/business/networking revolution in recent history. (Thankfully, I got a bit of a head start in the blogging space).
  • If you can do what you can to help and serve others, without worrying about immediate reward, you ultimately reap the rewards that occur from these relationships. (That is why I answer the blog inquiries as best as I can even though they don't generally connect to immediate business -- I see the payback in places I'd never expect otherwise).
Finally, one of my most important pieces of advice -- and the theme of yesterday's marketing book upload on Twitter:
  • You need to work with your strengths to succeed; that is, you need to connect the combination of natural talent, passion and enjoyment of what you do. If you are forcing yourself into places you don't want to be just to make money to survive, or trying to succeed at things you aren't really good at doing (even if you enjoy the work) you will ultimately not get very far in life.
You have to have fun -- and be great at what you are doing -- to succeed.

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