It’s an interesting question — do you have an answer? Certainly “going to market” includes a company’s approach to marketing, but it’s more than that. Most contractors have a sense of how they approach their market, considering themselves “residential” contractors or “commercial” contractors. Or perhaps they go to market as a “striper” or “parking lot sweeper.” That’s certainly a big part of how a company goes to market, but it’s only a part. That answer defines where you do your work or the type of work you perform, but it doesn’t offer insight into how you approach that particular customer type; it doesn’t cover how you try to find customers, get sales, and perhaps retain customers.
The fact is, contractors go to market in all sorts of different ways, and many contractors go to market in a number of different ways at the same time. Two articles in this issue take a closer look at some of the relatively new approaches contractors are taking as they go to market. Among the approaches are:
- Joining an alliance where large, national, multi-property accounts are basically pre-sold for you,
- Leasing of vanity phone numbers,
- Joining a web-based association that serves as a clearinghouse to help contractors and clients find one another,
- Working with a pavement maintenance job broker,
- Joining a network that has more in mind than how members go to market.
What’s important here is not that any of these approaches are the wave of the future, though they are certainly ripples of the present. The important point is that the contractors involved in these various efforts (and a number of contractors are involved in more than one approach) are taking the time and making the effort to analyze their current market, considering what the market might be like in the future, and determining how best to approach their market as they work to develop their business. Then, and this is a key, they act on what they decide.
So it is an interesting question: How do you go to market?