Remembering, again, where we find most of our business (and where we can discover new business)

The ongoing Construction Marketing Ideas poll at a roofing conference -- A sign of "authority"
The ongoing Construction Marketing Ideas poll at a roofing conference

In mid-February,?Angela Delmedico,?CEO/founder of?Elev8 Consulting Group sent me this email:

Hi Mark, I saw your poll on Construction Marketing Ideas Blog website on new business generation, found it very interesting!

I’d like to cite this in a press release I’m writing, I’ll be presenting on marketing and publicity at the Win the Storm Conference.

Please advise if this is accurate per your online poll.?

According to a Construction Marketing Ideas recent poll of construction industry professionals throughout the U.S.: 42% of new business is generated from word-of-mouth and recommendations; 29% generated from existing clients, 13% from advertising, 11% leads, and 5% canvassing/ telemarketing.? ????

Also, who is your demographic, how many readers, mostly construction company CEOs on this blog yes??

I find these #s to be very relevant, interesting data to share. I work with many companies that don’t understand the value of building their brand, which really ties in with word-of-mouth, leads to repeat customers of existing, etc. etc. ?

I verified her observations and forgot all about it, until this weekend, when Chad Bronstein. owner of, sent me the image based on the presentation. I had just given Chad’s business an order for a campaign as we seek a new US-based commission sales representative.

The coincidence and connections here will probably result in little if any direct business, but they remind us of the importance of the ongoing poll, which I’ve published for more than four years.

It has (as of writing this post) attracted 1,267 responses and continues to receive about three to five new answers each week.

Of course, as the number of responses increases, the impact of individual responses on the poll total?diminishes so you can’t read too much about trends here (and it certainly isn’t scientific, as there is a self-selection process in answering anonymously.)

Nevertheless, the numbers have remained consistent over the years, with minor category shifts. And they tell us much about what we should be doing with our marketing.

If 72 per cent of our business arises from repeat and referral (word of mouth) then clearly anything we can do to increase the volume of positive repeat and referral business is good, and anything that results in previous customers leaving us, or saying negative things about their experience, is bad. Any measures you take to enhance the client experience and build enthusiasm for repeat and referral will have disproportionate?marketing value, especially since these measures don’t need to cost much if any money.

But this doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for the additional 28 per cent for non repeat-referral business. First, you won’t grow without new business and second, if you have other marketing methods that are effective, you’ll be much more secure in your business foundations. (And of course the new clients can be converted to ongoing repeat/referral clients, meaning they have incredibly high lifetime value.)

Finally, and perhaps most challenging, we should appreciate that marketing is a multi-stage process and many elements go into the big picture. Although I can attribute a significant amount of profitable business to this blog over the years, I cannot track much in the way of revenue from day-to-day postings and activities, and the little surprises such as the coincidental references at the roofing conference might be intriguing, but don’t translate necessarily to actual revenue. Yet, I know that over time, all of this work pays off.

Yes, there are things you can do for fast, effective and immediate results — and these relate to initiatives to enhance your repeat and referral sales. Much marketing, however, remains big picture, long-term and (especially for the AEC world) hard to measure. That is the way it is.

If you have observations or thoughts about this or other blog posts, please feel free to comment or email Mark Buckshon at

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