This morning, I received an email from a Construction Marketing ideas LinkedIn group member asking for advice on how he could solve two problems: Achieving an entry-level opportunity as a civil engineering technologist, and (in the meantime) how to find customers for his relatively new trades business.
I couldn’t offer a magical and satisfactory answer because, of course, this individual has the challenging marketing opportunity of “breaking in” — that is, finding the first rung on the ladder to success. His frustration is understandable, because he has or is trying the tools commonly suggested in these circumstances. He has obtained overseas experience, the is ready to volunteer and contribute to the community, and he isn’t asking for much — just a start.
The best answer I could give was for him to make contact with people doing the work he wishes to do, and seek out informal fact-finding interviews (not to request a job, but to learn about the work and business.) Coupled with community service and association volunteer work, he might make his breakthrough and get started.
Contrast this story to a renovation contractor I know who runs a one-person business (with a significant amount of informal hands-on help from his wife). There’s no advertising or outward marketing needed; he gets all of his business from first-hand referrals. He is careful to comply with the laws in our jurisdiction, including threading through the very narrow exemptions for very high mandatory workers compensation insurance fund contributions. (This exemption allows him to reduce his operating costs significantly, which he passes in part on to his clients — but he isn’t “cheap” and so earns a good living for his time/work.)
In many respects, this contractor is as invisible in a marketing sense as the struggling engineering technologist, but both have very different circumstances in real life. You could say the small scale contractor (he doesn’t wish to grow his business larger) doesn’t need marketing support, and the struggling technologist can’t afford (or probably wouldn’t benefit) from marketing, though he needs it badly.
Both of these individuals fall outside of the Venn diagram for construction marketing success. I won’t force the successful invisible contractor into the diagram, and the person seeking his career success will need to use informal and resourceful self-reliant solutions to find his way.