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Saturday, June 16, 2012

The construction marketing magic of instant gratification

In the other Construction Marketing Ideas blog, you can read a story about the virtues of delayed gratification -- in particular, the "marshmallow test" which proved that the 30 per cent of four-year-olds who could wait a while (and receive a second marshmallow for their patience) ultimately did much better in life when they grew to be adults.

Fair enough.  However, as marketers we have the ability to turn rules on their heads and here, "instant gratification" is the way to win hearts, minds and money.

Now, obviously we aren't in the business like the used car dealers who say "no credit, bad credit, we'll fix things so you can drive away today" (leaving the poor suckers seeking instant gratification even deeper in debt.)

As well, in practical terms, most construction projects cannot nor should be instant gratification exercises.  You really don't expect anyone to pick up the phone, order a $20 million building (or even a $10,000 small renovation job) on a single call, do you?

But you can still provide instant gratification, by answering the phone on the second ring, sending a thank-you card after a great meeting or, perhaps, meeting a spontaneous request because you know the person will really appreciate it.  Small gifts are good (blatant bribes are not)  .

I certainly didn't hurt my case when the tax auditor showed up at our offices and he found waiting a few paper cups and a "10 pack" of Tim Hortons coffee.  "Thanks," he said.  "You know, there are people who are afraid to offer me a coffee because they think it would be in conflict, or there are people so mad that they won't offer me a coffee in spite.  I'm really allowed to accept this gesture."  When the auditor left our office three hours later, he gave us the greatest gift possible:  Nothing.  As in:  No additional tax owing.

So, yeah, if you visit job sites in Canada and want to win the hearts and minds, bring the coffee -- or maybe a $10 coffee gift card.

Simply put, anytime you can find a little way to provide some instant gratification to your employees, contractors, or clients, do it.  And give your employees the power to do the same thing -- it won't break your budget.

Instant gratification is great for construction marketing -- when you give it.

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