Equipment World

August 2013

Equipment World Digital Magazine

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MARKETING: Give people a business excuse to choose you above your competition T Know your Business series, Part IV here are several contractor misconceptions about marketing, says Cynthia Paul with industry consultant FMI. First, marketing is not sales. Second, it's not just directed at gaining new customers; In fact, 80 percent of it should be directed at your existing clients. Third, it's not voodoo. "It's fairly easy to get your arms around," Paul says. "You're communicating with decision makers, warming them up to understand your company and to buy from you. You're giving people a business excuse to choose you above your competition." Unfortunately, marketing can seem like overhead, says Mike Stark with the Associated General Contractors of America. "Contractors are typically looking for more clients, better clients, and clients that align with their businesses. And during the downturn, many were chasing everything just trying to keep the lights on." But just like a construction project, your marketing has to have a blueprint, which starts with a look-in-the-mirror exercise, Stark says. "Some of it might be eye opening, but it will help you focus on your strengths and not chase everything." While a marketing plan doesn't have to be complicated, it does have to answer some key questions: • How is your company different? What are your strengths? • Who is your competition? • What do you want to communicate? (To access Paul's marketing plan template for small contractors, go to And you're not off the marketing hook if you participate primarily in the low-bid arena. "People forget customer experience is a real live selection criteria," Paul says. "If you're a pain in the butt to deal with, if your clients have any option, they're going to find a way to use someone else." Beyond that, great customer experience on a low-bid job will help you get information faster, get change orders approved and get access to different parts of the job. Get smart about your competition Examining your competition is a key part of your marketing plan. "Contractors say they know everything about their competition," Paul explains, "but they need to go deeper. They need to know their competition's target markets, and which clients Construction University is produced by Equipment World and presented by Case Construction Equipment continued | August 2013 45

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