Think little, think big: How can we assess our construction marketing priorities?

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marketing priorities
060404-N-4965F-008 Pearl Harbor (April 4, 2006) - Joe Gutt, director and cameraman from Film House, Inc., a Nashville based Department of Defense contractor for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, documents Sailors performing damage control training at the Naval Submarine Training Center Pacific. The video documentation will be used to produce a segment spotlighting the Damage Controlman rating, which will be aired worldwide on the American Forces Network (AFN). U.S. Navy photo by PhotographerÕs Mate 1st Class James E. Foehl (RELEASED)
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Some Google swag. If you can associate with big name institutions, brands or individuals, either locally or (better) internationally, you win powerful marketing credibility.

Matt Handal, in a recent blog posting, points out some of the fallacies of human/marketing behavior. We often sweat the little things, but take wild and reckless gambles on the big stuff (including, ironically, when we play it safe by continuing to do what we’ve always done rather than risking some experimentation and innovation.)

He writes:

When you think about it, we get to gamble for a living. That’s actually really cool.

We’re gambling every dollar we spend on marketing. And let’s treat it like that. Let’s think like professional gamblers when we’re betting.

If the bet is small, the chances fair, and the reward large…let’s not over think that bet.

But let’s also recognize the big bets and give them the careful thought and attention they deserve. Let’s not bet foolishly just because that money can’t fit into our pocket.

Examples of foolish “big bets” include:

  • Throwing staff and marketing efforts at implausible RFPs because “they’re on salary anyways” — rather than reviewing whether the staff energies can be redirected to something more useful or (gulp) maybe considering whether the practice is over-staffed;
  • Continuing to exhibit at trade shows and attend conferences with dubious results because: “It’s in the budget” and “we’ve always done it that way” rather than (a) reviewing whether the strategy towards the conference needs to change or (b) there are better ways to allocate the money;
  • Refusing to invest in BIM, virtual reality and high-speed data/communications because “they’re too expensive”, “the learning curve is too  long” or “we don’t need to do this stuff because our clients/suppliers aren’t demanding it.” (I don’t need to be an ostrich here to see the changes that will reshape the rules of the game in the AEC industry — and will hit you like a sledgehammer if you aren’t prepared, now.)

And the small stuff we waste time on: Well, in some respects, because it is small stuff, it is okay I think to waste some time on the little things. I do it all the time, for recreation, if nothing else. And sometimes the small-time energies add up to big time results; as for example, my answering some questions on a Google help forum. Reward for this seemingly time-wasting activity: Expense paid invitations to summits and international conferences, a huge increase in my personal network, and the so-far wise decision to invest a few dollars in my retirement account in Google (soon to be Alphabet) shares.

However, conversely, it doesn’t hurt to take a quick look at your “small time” wasters and see if they still have value or interest, or they are overall contributing to a big-time priority misplacement.

Conclusion: Spend more time analysing and considering the big impact decisions, and have no fear in tackling the changes you need to make. You may free up some resources for small-time investments and innovations that grow too much bigger initiatives.

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