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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Creating value

On Friday, we received some really good news.
First, I learned a general contractor is proudly displaying in the his front lobby a feature profile we published about his business more than a year ago. He has contracted with a web designer to rebuild his website, and the designer emailed me asking if he could obtain a copy of the article for further use.
I,of course, agreed.
The second call, however, meant even more to me. A subcontractor called to report on an impending meeting to discuss a highly specific industry issue where, he said, sub trades within his sector felt they were being railroaded by product manufacturers into paying for bonding coverage which more rightfully should be the manufacturers' business. He asked us if we could send a writer to the meeting. I concurred, immediately.
Neither of these developments bring a cent of revenue to our business; both involve some cost in time and effort and perhaps forgone revenue. But they also indicate we are delivering value in ways that transcend traditional marketing objectives.
Clearly, the general contractor and web designer have found ways to use our feature profiles long after the majority of copies of the published issue have found their way to the landfill or recycling depot.
Meanwhile, the subcontractor had also long-ago paid an invoice for an advertisement congratulating one of general contractor he supplies; with one objective in mind: To retain his relationship and 'connection' with a solid client. Fair enough, but now we could deliver the really meaningful value -- our independent journalism and ability to report on sensitive issues fairly and accurately. The subcontractor knows his voice is not lost in the wilderness; someone listens, cares, and will let the broader industry know about his concerns.
How can you deliver longer-range value in your own business? This may, in fact, the most important question you ask.

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