Marketing basics: Focus your attention on clients’ fears and aspirations

Andrew Houston
Andrew Houston

Business/marketing?consultant Andrew Houston, president of Profit for Contractors ( has put into practice some basic marketing ideas that I’ve advocated for several years. ?He decided to join the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association Renovators’ Council, and then took things a step further by paying a modest fee to be a guest sponsor speaker at a recent?reno council?meeting.

I’ve always believed in relevant client-focused associations as the best approach to business-to-business marketing. Of course, Houston offers a BtoB service — but his advice, reported here, will be especially helpful for contractors serving the retail/consumer market.

Houston says his goal in consulting with clients is to reduce the “roller coaster” in their work — not completely (that is impossible) — but to take some of the stress of the ups-and-downs inherent in?the business by developing systems and marketing approaches to provide a more steady flow of leads, while reducing stress and frustration.

The best way to do this, he said, is through effective marketing, and that includes managing client expectations and timelines and qualifying the clients — and especially appreciating the “lifetime value” of a single client — because, when you have this number, you appreciate the importance of keeping good clients happy and developing their referral potential, and you may be more willing to spend money on marketing effectively designed to reach the ideal long-lifecycle and high-referring clients.

The marketing strategy, he says, encompasses focus on the “secret psychology” of clients — their fears and frustrations, wants and aspirations. Marketing should speak to these issues; and be client rather than-self focused. ?Then you need to measure everything, to see what works, and why.

Houston has provided some worthy (free) resources on his website and through his blog. ?I hope he’ll enter the 2015 Best Construction Blog competition.

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