Perception: It’s vitally important (for you, your colleagues and your clients)

Marketing success, in part, depends on your understanding of perspective: You can almost never see things exactly like your client or potential customer

Matt Handal has observed some vitally important concepts in his post: Why Marketers and Owners Don’t Always See Eye to Eye.

His observation: Marketers indeed may be experts at marketing, but they didn’t (in many cases) build the business from scratch. Obviously the owner has done something truly right in creating and maintaining the business to the scale that it could afford to pay a salary for someone to do the marketing stuff.

On the other hand, if a business can afford marketing resources, surely they should be given weight and consideration, or why bother having them?

We can extrapolate these thoughts further. In my case, for example, I’m a marketer but also started the business from scratch. (Well, actually I’m a journalist/writer who started the business, but right from the start realized I would need to sell advertising to make it possible. It took me a while to figure out how advertising truly fits within the marketing picture, especially for AEC practices.)

Can someone who has journalism at heart truly understand the perspectives of an architect, engineer or contractor (general or sub)? The answer: Yes, but to a crucially limited extent. After all, journalists have been trained in the art of understanding and interpreting the world around us; we have specialized interviewing, researching, data-gathering, writing and communications skills. Since I’ve been working in this industry for a more than a quarter century, I’ve learned its rubric.

(An example of this understanding: A building supply dealer mentioned at an association gathering about major anti-dumping duties that had just been introduced by the Canadian government on drywall imports from the US — I sensed right away this story needed to be reported urgently, and can see — by tracking Google inquiries site traffic — that indeed I was correct in my assessment.)

However, there is a big difference between me having a perception of industry issues and truly living the life of anyone else within it. I’m not the building supply dealer suddenly facing the need to require significant price increases — nor am I the drywall contractor who signed fixed price contracts and now sees his materials costs rising, instantly, by 100 to 200 per cent. It is one thing to know there is an issue — it is another to actually pay the price underlying the controversy.

When we do our marketing work, we should remember that we can (and should) certainly understand, respect and empathize with our current and potential clients, but our perspectives will always be different. Unless we remember that fact, we may fail to understand, as Handal quite rightly points out, that there can be more than one “right” to any story.

I welcome your thoughts and observations. You can email or post a comment to this article.

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