In marketing, the more things change, the more they stay the same

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In the 1930s, German and Nazi operations spread deeply in the US, including well organized groups in southern California

I’m reminded as I delve into new technologies and their impact on business and marketing, that the fundamental issues and principles remain consistent. Sure, these days you can communicate instantly and word of mouth flies at lightspeed through social media, but personal recommendations and referrals continue to be the largest source of new business for most architectural, engineering and construction organizations. (See the ongoing poll results on the sidebar –the number right now is 41 per cent.)

Similarly, when you read stories about “fake news”, prejudice, and ill-informed (or absolutely correct, depending on your perspective) opinions, a visit down memory lane to the 1930s reveals similar traits and excesses. Then, at least one Jewish leader planted spies within German Nazi organizations in southern California, and discovered plenty of sedition and corruption. In the 30s equivalent of a 2017 “fake news” episode, one Nazi planted a circular into 30,000 copies of the Los Angeles Times.

As much as we might wish, we will struggle really hard to change the basics of human nature and perspectives.

These observations are vitally important in thinking about your business’s marketing and business development initiatives.

You certainly need to understand psychology and “social proof” and if you think you can defy/overcome the fundamental human traits, you will undoubtedly be disappointed.

What you can do, and should, is realize that at root your clients’ experience and perception of value will define your word-of-mouth and repeat business volume, and that will continue to be your most important profitable source of new business.

So, before you spend money and resources on external marketing, make sure things are right at home. If you get the basics right, then your external marketing will be powerfully effective and profitable; if not, you will be throwing good money after bad.

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