Direct marketing and construction marketing: Can we learn from their similarities and differences?

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image credit:joshmacdonald.net

Matt Handal has responded to an email I sent to him regarding the recent blog post where I offered some unvarnished promotion for his proposal writing course, with some observations about e-marketing.

Also, it’s interesting that you mention “e-marketing.” I don’t think of what I do as “e-marketing.” I’m not sure there is such a thing as “e-marketing.”

The tactics I use are really “direct marketing” tactics that have been used for decades.

It’s funny to me that people in the service world don’t take advantage of these tactics. For example, if people aren’t 100% happy with my course, I give them every cent back. No questions asked.

You mentioned that tactic…eliminated their risk. I used to go as far as to give a 110% money back guarantee. That’s risk reversal (you win/I lose). I just couldn’t find a 110% graphic.)

Here’s the irony. If your service is outstanding, nobody will ever ask for their money back.   Why would they? And even if someone decides it’s not the right fit for them, a full refund ensures their happiness.

But try to find any service provider who gives you a 100%, no questions asked, money back guarantee.

Yet, every direct mail product advertisement has offered this for years.

Handal is right, and his observations raise some interesting thoughts about the common elements/qualities behind successful marketing, and the truly significant variations depending on what you are selling. (And this leads to a further question. Can we apply unconventional benefits in markets that don’t expect them?)

Clearly, for example, it is a challenge to offer a “100 per cent satisfaction guarantee” and refund offer for a multi-million dollar commercial building or even a residential renovation.

The difference, of course, is that the online course is created once and sold many times — so the capital cost/loss of refunding a single order is insignificant. But can you “refund” someone when they aren’t happy with their new building, after you’ve paid your subtrades and suppliers and perhaps owe a hefty amount of cash to the banks or trade creditors?

But you can certainly do some things to achieve much of the marketing benefit of the 100 per cent satisfaction guarantee, namely by doing your absolute best to deliver that satisfaction.

As an example, even if the lawyers advise you not to offer an iron-clad warranty, what happens if you voluntarily deliver it, by structuring your contract with an on-site follow-up inspection and remediation service; resulting in a truly impressive final impression? The positive references/good-will and repeat and referral business will probably pay far more than the cost of some simple fix-ups. And you may find that embedding the warranty into your contract costs you little more than you would be expected to ensure under statute or common law, in any case.

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