Construction Marketing 101: What is really important?

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Sad contractorNot surprisingly, when I see published articles such as one in a regional construction association magazine titled:  “Construction Marketing 101 . . .” I waste no time reading the story.  However, when I read stuff like the text below, I cringe, especially when the marketing consultant is advocating as a first priority to “Build a professional building identity kit.”  (As I’m not writing positively here, I’ll observe my policy of not identifying the original source as I don’t wish to cause anyone harm with my words.)

“A business-identity kit has professionally designed business cards, logos and stationary.  A consistent look and feel in your business communications is important to establishing your brand. Money spent here is an investment that lasts for decades.”

Now, there is nothing wrong with designing a decent logo and having professional business cards and presentation materials. Unfortunately, these things mean little if the underlying business substance is lacking.  I’ve seen lots of construction businesses do quite well with their marketing with crappy logos and sloppy business identity kits and I’ve never seen a business where the marketing collateral overcomes underlying flaws and problems in the underlying enterprise.

If it costs a few hundred dollars and your contract designer can come up with a decent logo, okay, but if you are spending a lot of time and energy sweating over this sort of detail, could I recommend instead that you take some of your best clients out for lunch or coffee, talk with your employees, and maybe some external consultants, and learn about what makes your business special, unique, and effective.

To me, great marketing reflects and enhances your underlying business values and character.  You don’t need to go through touchy-feely “mission statement” exercises to figure this stuff out — if you have it, you know it.  Then share it, and you’ll do quite well with your marketing, even if your logo isn’t perfect.  (Ironically, however, you’ll also know how invest some money in this stuff at the right time, when it supports, not leads, your overall marketing initiatives.)

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