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Educator and author John Gardner stated many years ago, "behind every problem is a brilliantly disguised opportunity." Perhaps your business experienced the problem of low or significant non-qualified leads in 2005. Obviously, this is a problem for the future growth and prosperity of your company. Normally, a company will turn to some type of immediate marketing to stop the bleeding and create some solid leads. Sadly, the majority of companies will not define and commit to a marketing master plan for the future. A master plan may also have elements of project stages per budgeting issues, future plan review, etc. Likewise, having a real plan for your marketing strategy that is consistent and reviewed for effectiveness over time will pay enormous dividends.
Marketing 2006: The 3 C's — connection, conviction and consistency
The textbook definition of marketing is the task of creating, promoting, and delivering goods and services to consumers. The real life characterization of marketing is to identify and meet the human and social needs of our society profitably. Yes, the numbers do not lie: good leads, closed sales and delighted customers are often the mirror of a successful marketing plan and a thriving business.
Peter Drucker, the guru of modern business management, encouraged managers to ask unspoken questions and consider ignored issues. In order to make the best use of your time and hard-earned money, real work will be in order for a successful marketing plan. Often, shortcuts in marketing end up being just an expensive ride down the rabbit hole for many. If we are going to see significantly more qualified leads, we must accept the fact connection with our target customer is the first step. Contractors who pursue connection with their customer will achieve a real relationship with their customer that will earn solid referrals and delighted fans in the future.
Conviction is the next part of our marketing master plan. Let's face it; marketing is expensive and we must be committed to a long-term plan even if we do not see immediate results or they are overwhelming. It is also important not to get caught up in the comparing game when you begin this new marketing campaign. You will see many of your competitors who do not work hard at marketing and who do not make the investment to promote their companies. Relax, you have to remember that your goal is to genuinely connect with your customer and form a lifetime relationship.
Therefore, it is imperative that you make the noble decision to make your customers aware at all times who you are, what markets you are working in, and how you are their best resource for their needs.
Finally, you have to make the final commitment to be consistent. Make the pledge not to abandon your marketing strategy when times are good and numerous qualified leads are coming through the door. I encourage you not to pull the plug on a hard fought campaign to save a little money here or there.
Make the extra effort, and review your marketing master plan on a yearly basis, and see if there are real results. Perhaps, only a few changes in your plan are necessary and can be corrected easily. Consistency and review are the keys because they are the proverbial rudder that steers the ship.
A recipe for success
A good company has a defined marketing effort. A successful company has a committed marketing strategy. A truly great company has a relationship oriented, committed and consistent marketing master plan for a lifetime. Doing the hard work of listening, research and monitoring your marketing on a consistent basis is a realistic recipe for success.
In the end, customers are looking for a consistent, reliable and creative resource — do you fit their profile? If not, know that your next shortage of leads is a brilliantly disguised opportunity; so start listening so you can commit to a marketing master plan for a lifetime!
JIMMY WALLER operates Geoff-Waller Construction in Lakeland, Fla., along with other members of his family. Last year Waller Construction completed 1,100 specialty remodeling jobs on $13 million in revenue.