What is Marketing?

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

This is the first of a series of articles that will focus on low- to no-cost and often overlooked ways for you, as a residential remodeling contractor or tradesperson, to market your services. However, first I think it’s important to define what is marketing.

If asked to define marketing, most people I know start by naming examples of marketing. The list usually includes examples of what I call “Marketing with a capital M”, for example, advertising, websites, paid listings, brochures, mailing campaigns. And, some contractors might also include things such as vehicle signage, and site signs.

However, these activities are focused on only one part of the decision making process: generating awareness and interest in your company. Equally important, is what I call “marketing with a small m” These are the day-to-day marketing activities that generate a positive opinion about your company, help you win bids, and generate repeat business and referrals.

Decision Making Pprocess DiagramDecision Making Process

Let’s look at two very different examples of the decision making process.

In the case of a kitchen remodel, the decision making process can take months with the prospect looking at design ideas in magazines and websites, researching and meeting with potential contractors, soliciting multiple proposals, and checking references and reviews of your company. Price alone rarely determines who gets the job. Your ability to inspire trust and confidence is crucial to winning the business.

In the case of a broken water pipe, the decision process may compress into a single question: Who can we get here quickly? No competitive bids. No questions about price or experience. It’s assumed any plumber can handle the job.

The two examples are very different in terms of how and why the customer contacted and selected a company, however, in both cases the impression you make on the customer is equally important to the growth of your business. Will the customer:

  • Chose your company if more than one company is considered?
  • Use your services again?
  • Agree to be a reference?
  • Take the time to write a positive review for your website, or on Angie’s List, Yelp, etc.?
  • Recommend you to a friend?

It takes more than being good at your trade to turn a customer into a champion for your company. You are marketing your company and its services with every prospect and customer interaction whether you realize it or not. So here’s my definition of marketing:

Marketing is everything you do that generates awareness, interest, and a positive opinion about your company before, during, and after the job is completed.

In future articles I will provide specific tips, examples, recommendations, and resources for “marketing with a small m”