“Pitching” and conversations

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crane new constructionThe Construction Marketing Ideas linkedIn group receives several submissions and postings each day from marketers promoting their products, services or consultancies. The LinkedIn system thankfully has some moderator controls — some marketers seem to spam as many possible forums as possible, hoping some will stick, and some rather less-than-useful stuff also gets through and needs to be cleaned up periodically.

Marketing “gunk”, pitches, sales jobs, spam, and the like, alas clutter the mind-space but it is hard to say to anyone “don’t do it” when it is cheap and the processes can be automated. I get requests from our sales team to “send an email blast” and have to tell our representatives that this sort of emailing happens to be illegal in Canada (under stringent Canadian anti-spam rules.) However, it can be done in the US, but does this sort of stuff really work?

The answer, of course, is “it depends.”

There’s always the story of push and pull marketing. The most extreme form of “push” — door-to-door canvassing — stirs up all sorts of negative emotions (and plenty of door slams on my part) but undoubtedly some residential contractors can build a profitable business that way. They budget for the turnover, the hostility, and play the numbers game, and because they control the dynamics of the calling and activity, can reasonably safely predict their lead generation process.

Conversely of course, we all enjoy and prefer marketing’s sweet-spot; those seemingly spontaneous referrals, repeat business inquiries, and natural “asks”. An example of the latter — I’m chair of the Ottawa Construction Specifications Canada chapter and one of my association board peers runs a highly successful engineering practice. Does it take much effort for me to propose, and him to accept, us publishing an advertiser-supported 20th anniversary feature in Ottawa Construction News?

The in-between push and pull marketing, I suppose, relates to providing high-quality content, useful information, and free services, and not being afraid to let potential clients know about them. So, while I resist (and deny) my sales representatives’ proposals for purely marketing e-blasts, we will distribute our editorial product online and let readers know about it through email sendings. The content has enough relevance that quite a few readers pay for it; so the online intrusion isn’t so great or harmful.

The conclusion here: If you are going to push, be aware of the push back, and if you are thinking of broadcasting your message, focus on content with genuine value rather than a sales pitch.

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