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JLC University - Advertising/Marketing System

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  • JLC University - Advertising/Marketing System

    Money is the life blood of any business. As such, it must be spent wisely, not at: “I think I’ll try this” or that idea.

    So when you decide to do some advertising, how do you decide what type? To make that decision you must first understand that advertising serves one purpose, to let people know you exist, what you do, and how to contact you. So “Bob’s Construction, Inc.” doesn’t cut it. Just what in construction does Bob do?

    Truck signs, job signs, business cards, billboards, and the many things like coffee cups are all aspects of advertising. But the advertising must not be an opportunity for your sign painter his artistic talents. Use simple fonts, large text, contracting colors (not gold on white) and easily read.

    Marketing on the other hand, attempts to make a direct connection between you and the customer, or potential customer. Marketing is “relationship building.” Here’s your opportunity to let them know how you feel about them. And let’s face it. When we hire someone we also want that “connection” to exist otherwise we don’t hire them either. Furthermore, that “connection” must be made, and validated by with your staff, your subs and their staff, your suppliers - everyone that comes in contact with the customer. So marketing never stops, even after the job is completed.

    Here’s what happened to me recently to give an idea of “bad” marketing in the form of customer service after their marketing initially got me as a customer.

    The broadband card for my Mac laptop died. I called Verizon and the guy walked me thru the procedure to try to fix the problem. He couldn't, and decide the card was bad and told me to take it to a Verizon place to they could do a diagnostic on it. But he failed to tell me to call them first to see if they had a “tech” dept. I went to the store I bought it from - in the mall. I hate the mall and almost never go there. They did not have a tech dept., being just a booth on an aisle. Off to another place that had a tech dept. After waiting about 40 minutes (there was a line) the tech guy took a new card out of a package and sure enough, it worked - mine was bad. That was the extent of the "diagnostic."

    Do you think he just gave me that new card? Nope. He told me Verizon would send me a new on and I'd have it in two days. Then I’d have to send my bad one back in the prepaid Fed-X box. All of that additional cost to them, and delay to me, but that’s their “procedure.”

    My Hp scanner will not work with the newest OS for Mac - Leopard. So I got on HP’s web site to download an updated driver which I was sure they would have, but I was wrong. It’s been in the “making” since Nov. 7, 2007. Result: I went to Office Max and bought a new Epson flatbed scanner, and it works with Leopard, plus their web site also had an upgraded driver that provided more goodies for the scanner.

    Verizon irritated me as a customer. HP lost me as a future customer. Epson is my new “supplier.”

    Nothing - NOTHING we do or say that involves a customer is ever to be thought of as minor, small, unimportant, or insignificant. NEVER! So for all of their marketing budget, Verizon and HP STILL did not provide what the “marketed.”

    So how does one “market”, in what ways, and at what cost?

    To this day I use what I learned in a high school class that’s called The Scientific Method” (TSM). As it can be a tool in marketing, or any other business or personal problem for that matter is this way: On a sheet of paper, make a list of every possible way you can think of to market your business.

    On separate sheets list only one at the top, of the above list. Then draw a line down the center of the sheet. On the left side list all pros, and on the right side list all cons. Remember, that’s done on a separate sheet for each item from the original list. When you have competed, Take the sheets that have the most “pros” and the least” cons. The things to concentrate in your marketing program should only be those items with the most “pros”. To those, put a cost factor, and go from there.

    I use TSM for business problems of all sorts because it eliminates emotion and forces me to the rational realities to find the correct solution to any problem.

  • #2
    Definition of marketing...

    Here's a simple definition of marketing:

    Marketing is understanding and anticipating customer needs and meeting them profitably.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: JLC University - Advertising/Marketing System

      By any measure Verizon didn't understand or anticipate their customer's needs or meet them profitably.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: JLC University - Advertising/Marketing System

        Alex, in our industry, and really even in Verizon's, just satisfying one's needs isn't enough. I think most can satisfy. Those who go beyond get a larger share of their target market.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: JLC University - Advertising/Marketing System

          95% of my business has been working for builders. I have always had great relationships with them.

          My marketing to them was basically striving to understand what was important to them, then provide it. I know my efforts worked, because I received preferential treatment over other subs when work was scarce, or money tight. They would ask me if I got paid last week, (which I did) cause they hadn't. I got bumped in front of them to do the next frame if only one foundation was ready, even though it was promised to them. I got paid for all my extras; They did not.

          This is why:

          LOYALTY: I was in a position to work for only one builder if they could keep me busy. They did, so I did. I was valuable to them since they could have me go to another job of theirs at a moment's notice if needed.

          CLEANLINESS: Every builder wants his jobs clean. Not just on Friday. Customers can show up at any time. Not only do I clean up each day, I work clean. Not waste time on cleaning, but stuff like having a trash can for scraps and using it all day. Doesn't take extra time as some think: Going out to the porta-john? Grab the can on your way.

          HELP WITH JOB MANAGEMENT: I didn't supply materials when I framed, trimmed, and sided, but I would gladly help coordinate getting them to the job. Did my own lumber takeoffs, or checked theirs before it was shipped. Found rafters and joists several times that could be ordered 2' shorter. Checked the interior door package that all doors had correct swings--before they placed the order. They loved that stuff. Get leftover lumber list to them so they could check it against their credit receipt.

          LOOKED OUT FOR WAYS TO SAVE THEM MONEY: I knew when the billing cycles ended for their suppliers, and would delay orders past that date if possible. Reduce header sizes where possible. Give the job an extra push when needed to get the work to the point of the next draw, while leaving other stuff for later.


          I placed myself above my competition by looking out for the builder's needs. I didn't compromise my own, however. And really this stuff paid off. I could charge a little more (not a lot), got paid very promptly even when others had to wait, and I got steady work, not peaks and valleys, which makes running your business a whole lot easier. I could grow, and I didn't have to look for work.

          Tom
          1) Unconsciously Incompetent: He knows not, and knows not that he knows not. He is a fool. Shun him.
          2) Consciously Incompetent: He knows not, and knows that he knows not. He is simple. Teach him.
          3) Unconsciously Competent: He knows, and knows not that he knows. He is asleep. Wake him.
          4) Consciously Competent: He knows, and knows that he knows. He is wise. Follow him.

          May we all endeavor to progress from not knowing that we know not, to knowing that we know.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: JLC University - Advertising/Marketing System

            WOW! Now that is an example of going far beyond their expectations.

            Alex, About satisfying people. If they have low expectations to begin with, then satisfying those expectations is not hard. Many of our customers, because of our general reputation, have those low expectations.

            In Tom's case, his GCs also had low expectations. Look at what he does and the results. That's not just satisfying the customer, that's knocking their socks off.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: JLC University - Advertising/Marketing System

              A large portion of this area of Ohio is part of Appalachia, and as such we have a lot of state and federal government grant programs to provide home improvement to underprivileged families. Unfortunately most of of these programs
              go unused because of lack of knowledge about them.

              I'm in the process, along with our local Human Services department to create
              an outreach program to let qualified families know about these programs and take advantage of them.

              I feel that this will not only help to get my name out there but also to help put my company in a positive light in the community eye. Most areas have these
              programs, or something similar.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: JLC University - Advertising/Marketing System

                Terrific idea, Chad. Back in MI HUD had the same program. We did a lot of work in both houses and mobile homes. Unfortunately, back then our local small town building inspector dictated the (wrong) "specs" and among other things, he always spec'd particle board for subfloors in bathrooms and kitchens. I finally got fed up with having to price and install the wrong products and dropped out of the program.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: JLC University - Advertising/Marketing System

                  Tom-

                  I like the way you do buisness. I don't doubt that you are in demand. I was a finish carpenter before starting my building company and I treated my builders just as you described. It did not take long to get noticed.

                  The subs that I use today are much the same. I know that they are looking out for me when I am not looking. When a sub or supplier acts that way with me it makes the home building buisness that much more rewarding as I often have made a freind at that point.
                  -Dan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: JLC University - Advertising/Marketing System

                    In our area the whole auction and raffle thing has hit schools and organizatons as an easy and cost effective way to raise capital for their needs. One thing we have started doing is offering discounted design service when a design build contract is signed. Also to help get our service division off the ground a couple of hours of free or discounted service or sign on for 4 hours get two free.

                    This has really helped all involved. For us it is usually just time and no upfront hard costs for us to pay. Usually with a certain level of donation you are put in flyers, bulletins, or banners at the event usually at the cost to the fundraisers not you. Also since people are bidding for your service it yet another form of prequalification. Most of all you are selecting to help out a worthy cause of your choice, albeit tax deductable it sure doesn't hurt to have money to pay those taxes you can't write off :)

                    Also kudos to tom wish I had a sub that really cared that much about the processes of building
                    Last edited by JMS BUILDERS; 01-27-2008, 09:08 AM. Reason: forgot
                    JASON

                    "The measure of success is how high you bounce after you hit bottom"

                    George S. Patton

                    www.jmsbuildersandremodelers.com
                    (shameless plug for the google bots)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: JLC University - Advertising/Marketing System

                      Prior working for myself, I worked for several remodelers and a few medium sized builders. We built everything from condo's to 3 million dollar homes, depending who I was working with at that particular time.

                      Over the years, I discovered that the one thing that all of the prospective and actual homeowners had in common was the discontent with the respective company who was doing the building. They all had the same problems.....they didn't get what they paid for.....in their eyes.

                      Being an employee, vs an owner, I generally sided with them. I just couldn't understand why a builder, remodeler, or any other contractor would waste the accessibility to have their reputation spread around by not providing the person or persons who were shelling out their $$$$ what they were paying for. It was always the same story....we have to keep the budget tight and finish the job. Instead of promoting the builders name, they spent their time badmouthing and complaining about the service they were receiving....contrary to what the builder actually wanted.

                      I guess that's what working for production based builders will do.

                      By being on the front lines, and having long, intimate conversations with homeowners, I felt that I had the ability ....and the desire....to give people what they paid for.

                      First things first.....Make people remember me..

                      Create an interesting name for myself and my company....which I did. I used a nickname, which I had from working with a previous boss, and started the process of introducing myself to everyone I met, with this nickname...... and it worked.

                      How many times have you met someone and instantly forgotten their name?

                      Everyone I meet does not forget my name because it's so unusual. Instant recognition by simply changing the way someone knows how to address you. It allowed my "reputation" to associated with an unusual name, thereby being distinctive, by simply changing the name by which people addressed me... and I've never looked back. It was a simple way for people to be curious about me and my work.

                      Secondly, and more importantly, was to provide complete satisfaction. I would involve the client / homeowner in the process. I would explain in great detail, what I was going to do, how I was doing it, and what the end result would be. If something went wrong, I would disclose the problems or issues to the owner, and show them that I had complete control over the issue and it wouldn't effect the overall outcome. I gave them confidence, in knowing, that the job would get done, even with any delays due to unexpected circumstances, with the end results being what I had told them from the start. In other words, I gave them what I promised I was going to give them. I provided them satisfaction.

                      End result...... they passed my name on as the guy who "did what was expected of him.....and sometimes even more". I provided them reliability and job completion which matched their expectations..... I simply gave them what they paid for.
                      Chuck

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: JLC University - Advertising/Marketing System

                        Thanks for the comments guys.

                        Thinking about Sonny's experience with Verizon, I recall a poor experience I had with them also. But in my mind, they made it right.

                        I've had long waits when I've had to visit the Verizon stores. Not the mall kiosks, or the independent vendors. Last time I waited 2 hours. When I was paying for my new phone, I asked to see the manager. I told him politely, but directly, that that kind of wait was totally unacceptable. He apologized, but no more. I then told him this was the time when he could make it right. He asked, What do you mean? I said, You've got unhappy customers throughout this store. You aren't even apologizing to them unless they ask to see you, which most people won't do.

                        But you know what they WILL do? They'll leave, and tell their story about how awful the service is here. And I'm no different. But you as the manager have a chance to turn that around. Everyone has bad service from time to time, but you still have to keep customers happy. I don't know about the rest of the people here, but I want you to comp this $15 car charger.

                        He did it.

                        I think another marketing tool we must use is to offer the customer something that will show them we care, we're sorry, and we want make it up to them in a small way, when we make a mistake.

                        Even though I had to TELL the manager what he should do for me, he made it right.

                        Tom
                        1) Unconsciously Incompetent: He knows not, and knows not that he knows not. He is a fool. Shun him.
                        2) Consciously Incompetent: He knows not, and knows that he knows not. He is simple. Teach him.
                        3) Unconsciously Competent: He knows, and knows not that he knows. He is asleep. Wake him.
                        4) Consciously Competent: He knows, and knows that he knows. He is wise. Follow him.

                        May we all endeavor to progress from not knowing that we know not, to knowing that we know.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Marketing, customer satisfaction and performance results

                          Originally posted by Sonny Lykos View Post
                          Alex, in our industry, and really even in Verizon's, just satisfying one's needs isn't enough. I think most can satisfy. Those who go beyond get a larger share of their target market.
                          Sonny,

                          Agreed.

                          I understand the the importance of exceeding customer expectations. I've spoken on the subject at the Benchmark Conference, the premier management conference for the housing industry. As an executive with a homebuilder I helped them achieve a 97% customer satisfaction rating. Now, more than 70% of their customers do not consider another builder.

                          Exceeding customer expectations is vital in any high performance organization. Those that delight their customers achieve significantly better performance results.

                          In this industry I'm not sure how many do satisfy their customers. I do know most companies don't measure customer satisfaction. If you're not keeping score, your just practicing.

                          Respectfully,

                          Alex
                          Last edited by Alex_Saloutos; 01-27-2008, 12:40 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Marketing, customer satisfaction and performance results

                            Originally posted by Alex_Saloutos View Post

                            In this industry I'm not sure how many do satisfy their customers. I do know most companies don't measure customer satisfaction. If you're not keeping score, your just practicing.

                            Respectfully,

                            Alex
                            Based upon what we all know about our competitors, and our general reputation as an industry, not too many.

                            And as I've said before, those who just want to "make a living" will not be too concerned about being "the one to go to" in their area. Let's face it, it takes extraordinary people to run extraordinary businesses. You, Tom, and others here exemplify that reality.

                            And I know to some here I come across a being a know-it-all. I know zip compared to you guys. I only know about marketing, service and branding, and I'm not even an real expert on those areas, but combine what I know based upon my experiences, with what you guys know about business, and the technicals or the trades, all represents one hell of a combination - if used, and properly.

                            In fact, I can't handle know-it-alls, and our industry has far too many of them. I think I posted this once before a few years ago, but here's an opportunity I had to write a column on the old RSI magazine back in 1986. In my opinion, what I said back then still applies today - 22 years later.
                            Attached Files

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: JLC University - Advertising/Marketing System

                              Couldn't sleep. found this while browsing the Net.

                              http://flooringtheconsumer.blogspot.com/

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