What really works for marketing and business development success? (And when advertising makes sense.)

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cadcr marketing
This Canadian Design and Construction Report articleadvocates low-or no-cost marketing approaches.
cadcr marketing
This Canadian Design and Construction Report advocates low-or no-cost marketing approaches.

It may seem odd for a business owner to write a content marketing article that doesn’t in any way advocate purchasing the product/service his company sells, yet there is a reason for the somewhat “un-marketing” perspective in this story I recently wrote for the Canadian Design and Construction Report: What really works for marketing and business development success?

The argument: Build an intensively responsive corporate culture and client-centric responsiveness, earn your trust (brand) through community service and integrity in your relationships, and you’ll build and grow your business through repeat and referral business. It’s straightforward enough.

Here, for example, I write about how to get association membership/participation right.

Your community spirit and association relationships will carry you far, longer-term, when you handle things with an intelligently selfless attitude.

If I had a marketing budget of $10,000, would I spend it on advertising or community/association service? It may seem strange for me to advocate the community/association service option, since my business earns more than 95 per cent of its revenue by selling advertising.

However, if you have limited marketing budgets, you’ll achieve much better results by contributing to your community than you will by pouring money into third-party marketing services (including advertising).

The challenge: You need to be very patient, and have absolute integrity in your community/association participation – and to do this right, you can’t spread yourself too thin. (You can assign different key employees to different groups/associations, but I’ve found through personal experience that the commitment required means that you can’t really connect effectively with more than two or three at the same time – and you need to have a three-to-five year payback expectation for this work to be successful.)

 

The question then, if our business earns 95 per cent of its revenue from advertising, why don’t I encourage potential clients to purchase the product/service we sell?

The answer: If you could put the “benefit from advertising” category in the marketing mix, you’ll discover three segments within the AEC marketplace

Large, successful businesses who wish to expand and deepen their market power.

The very low-cost marketing models undoubtedly have value, but at a certain threshold, especially for consumer-focused businesses, intensive, repetitive and all-encompassing advertising to appropriate target audiences can indeed become highly profitable, especially since you control the time, format and frequency of the marketing cost.

Specialized circumstances, often when you can enhance client or employee/community relationships.

In these situations, you use advertising to enhance and expand your already-important client/community relationships. These purchases are often more one-time than regular.

Modest-budget directory, placeholder and “presence” ads when you know you are reaching a sizeable market of potential clients.

Here, you don’t expect overwhelming results, but seek to make it easier for potential clients (and current/occasional ones) to discover you.

So there is an important place for advertising. We of course advertise in our own publications, but follow the basic low-cost marketing methods to find, connect, and retain relationships with the businesses the circumstances where advertising, indeed, makes sense.

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