I admit that one reason I’ve been able to stay in business for 25 years is that architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) marketers aren’t always rational when they spend money on marketing. They purchase potentially ineffective advertisements in our publications, while they fail to take simple measures — without spending significant money — to achieve highly profitable returns.
This imbalance troubled me enough that in 2006 I vowed that I would ensure all of our clients could receive honest value for their money. If they pay $500 for an ineffective advertisement, okay, we would make available enough free consulting and educational resources — or if possible pragmatic lead-developing guidance — so they could obtain their money’s worth.
That is why I started this blog, and wrote two books on the topic. The blog, of course is free. For advertising clients of our business, the books plus consulting support are also free, on request.
Trouble is, very few clients request the resources and those who do “get it” already. I can only offer these fortunate clients some incremental advice and not the game-changing insights the advertising purchasers who have a way to go would be able to obtain if they simply took a bit of interest in the practical marketing resources available to them.
Thankfully, not everyone misses the point. Brian Javeline’s program on setting up residential contractors’ websites for search engine optimization — and direct lead generation — is simple, easy to follow and about as expensive as a single advertisement in one of my publications. (And, frankly, if you do a bit of research on the web, you can find all of his information for free — but it is probably worth your money to spend the cash to learn the basics properly.)
Instead, Javeline observes, contractors dump thousands — or tens of thousands — of dollars into lead generation services that turn into economic sink-holes.
Why, then, do AEC marketers throw so much money away on crap. For example why are really bad publications (not mine, thankfully!) with virtually no circulation or distribution full of advertisements from local contractors, who should know better?
I wish I had the answer. It is fine to say that the industry lacks marketing sophistication; where business decisions are based on “low bid wins the job” or “I have a relationship with the client” but there doesn’t seem to be a good way to encourage a mind-set change, except perhaps a nasty business-threatening crisis (but alas, the owner often seeks help when it is too late, or doesn’t buy into the measures he or she needs to take to resolve the problems.)
The conclusion here: You don’t need to spend much money to have an effective marketing campaign. Think $1,000 maximum. That will buy you one or two key instructional resources, a strategic blueprint, and an action plan that should generate low-cost and high quality leads.
Don’t believe me? Well you can check with Javeline, Michael Stone, Mike Jeffries or (on the ICI side) Matt Handal or join your local SMPS chapter and put any of these resources/consultants to a test. Or you can buy my books or (for more individualized consulting, spend a bit of money on some advertising in one of our publications, and then connect with me for the consulting/support advice and referrals.)
You most likely won’t do that. We will sell some profitable advertising to individuals who don’t read this blog (that’s okay for my business), or you will think it beyond you to connect to any of the experts listed above. Instead, you’ll do nothing, or fall for the wasteful marketing mistakes countless other contractors have made. If you want some reassurance that you are okay, that is fine with me — you’ll be “normal” for the industry. And that’s unfortunate for your business and marketing success.
If you would like to defy the crowd and succeed, you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for some insights, resources, and the under-$1,000 blueprint for AEC marketing success.