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Saturday, June 09, 2012

Construction Marketing: The most important business lesson

The mathematical inflection point (from Wikipedia).  This posting describes a business inflection point.
If you search back in the archives of this blog, you'll arrive at the original entries some six to seven years ago and a posting describing the "inflection point"  -- a moment when it seems the business behind this blog turned on its head, and through an incredible series of beyond-probability events, reached its bottom and commenced a long, and at times, fitful, recovery.

Yet the surprising story here is that -- despite deep and fundamental changes in how we do business -- what we do hasn't changed very much.  In other words, allowing for evolving technological and product quality improvements, the underlying service has changed very little in the last several years.

The real change, and this is important, is the underlying approach to business and the values which shape it.

Seven or eight years ago, we sold the service, delivered the promised goods, and moved on.  Relationships were generally, if unintentionally, defined transactionally.  I remember well how we approached a local (and important) industry association to set up a co-operative marketing arrangement.  The association reviewed the idea, declined, and then we moved our separate ways.

Now, when it comes to construction marketing, we still assess the relevance and value of individual association participation and will pull the plug on membership, if necessary.  There is no reason to throw good money after bad.  However, the question is much less whether there is a transactional "return on investment", than whether we can discover human, effective and responsive ways to get involved and contribute to the group's overall success, while enjoying healthy relationships within the community.

These values also underlie the business relationships with employees and contractors.  Six or seven years ago, I would have thought of a "benefits plan" as an entitlement, to be avoided for its cash-draining cost.  Now I see it for what it is; a reasonable indication that the business is ready to offer some intrinsic value to employees that goes beyond salary or hourly pay.  (Contractors of course cannot participate -- they are truly independent, after all -- but we aren't into playing games by turning people who want and should be employees into artificial independent contractors, either.)

I like this recent posting in the other Construction Marketing Ideas blog describing EllisDon CEO Geoff Smith's own blog.  Lessons learned.  Values remembered.  Can you do the same?

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