With a recession typically comes a reduction in consumer confidence and a trend to delay or cancel big-ticket spend items. Building projects are the biggest ticket of them all. To combat this you should be looking at increasing your marketing. If you have been using “word-of-mouth” as your only marketing strategy over recent years, it’s time to review your activities in this space and put together a more comprehensive plan.
The first place I suggest you start in putting a marketing plan together is picking a market segment or two in which to focus your energies. Segmentation is the most fundamental of marketing concepts. To quote marketing guru Theodore Levitt, “If you’re not talking segments, you’re not talking marketing”. Furthermore, there has never been a greater need for effective segmentation, due to several factors:
- Greater choice of products and services, allowing customer purchasing patterns to fragment.
- Media proliferation and specialisation, requiring more careful selection.
- Consumer sophistication and the desire to be treated as valued individuals.
There is often a resistance to targeting down to smaller groups of consumers because of the perceived risk of missing out on opportunities to quote. When asked “who is your ideal customer” some people respond with “anybody who needs a builder”. While technically correct, the problem becomes how will you stand out to everybody in a crowded market, given the likely humble marketing budget that you have. It is hard to make a noise that resonates with potential customers if your message is very generic; “I am a quality builder – hire me”.
To quote Dan Kennedy, the father of direct response marketing, you need to think about your marketing focus in terms of puddles, not oceans.
“There’ s absolutely no point in jumping up and down in the ocean and thinking you’ve done something. You want to jump up and down in a puddle. You can move from one puddle to the next, but you want to work puddles, not oceans. Small, carefully selected.” – Dan Kennedy
There are many ways to slice and dice the market in order to select your puddles to focus on. Residential versus light commercial is a start. Within residential it could be: reclads, high-end new builds over $1million, bathrooms & kitchen makeovers, villa restorations, small renovation/extension projects under $100K, etc. Pick a puddle where you have a natural competitive advantage, experience, capability and a real interest and start to put together a compelling offer to the people who live in that segment.
As you go deeper into your selected market segment, you will likely find that your understanding of the customer will become better and better. By doing some primary market research around the fears and frustrations, wants and desires of people in your target segment, you will be able to hone your messaging and offer to better resonate with them. This should lead to a more effective and easier sales process.
I can help you review your current marketing efforts and together put a more effective marketing and sales system for your business. To discuss what this could look like for your business contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 027-6886721 and we can talk.