Construction marketing’s number one rule: Less is (most often) more

go no go calculation
Perryn Olsen's "go-no go" formula. Less is often more in construction marketing.
Perryn Olsen's "go-no go" formula.  Less is often more in construction marketing.
Perryn Olsen’s “go-no go” formula. Less is often more in construction marketing.

Perryn Olson‘s recent blog posting: Best way to improve your hit rate, reminds us that you will often achieve much better results by doing less, much better.

He rightfully observes that if you spend 2,000 hours on 100 proposals (4,000 hours), to generate 40 proposals, you are far less likely to be successful than if you put twice as much effort into individual proposals (40 instead of 20 hours per proposal) but only work on 30 proposals —  and you would have 800 extra “free hours” to do other, useful things.

You’d probably agree that you’d win more bids when you spend twice as long on them. To do that, you need to be precise with the bids you pursue. Also, the remaining time allows that marketer to be proactive and do things to attract new clients such as updating the website, create a newsletter, attend a tradeshow, and actually meet with clients periodically. You’ll get more work and earn more by doing fewer proposals.

The same “more for less” concept can be applied to virtually any marketing or sales initiative, to a rational level, of course. Are you likely to get better results by calling 100 people, cold, or focusing on 20 or 30 worthy prospects and communicating with them with respect and thoughtfulness?  Will you really achieve better results by distributing massive volumes of spam, rather than by creating content that attracts the right clients to your list for thoughtful communication?

These observations, of course, can be carried to irrational extremes. I mean, if you produce zero proposals, you will end up with (obviously) zero results. And if you narrow things down two one, two, or even five proposals, and you don’t have good tools to analyze their success and they all fail because they are still misdirected, you’ll also end up with dismal results.

(And, rightfully, some might question the need to blog daily — surely the time could be better spent with fewer, more powerful entries. This advice could well be correct. I find some value, however, in retaining the daily blog posting discipline, even when I’m catching a few minutes of “work time” during vacation, at present, in Amsterdam.)

Nevertheless, I agree with Perryn that you need to end the shotgun approach, to focus, be thoughtful, and that quite often in architectural, engineering and construction marketing, less effort will often produce much better results.

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