Yesterday I was driving along thinking to myself, “How many contractors, large, small, medium, whatever, would still be around today, if they advertised during the good times?” What I mean by that is, I hear a lot of guys and girls say “Hey listen, we don’t need to advertise, we’ve got so much business and referrals, and we’re packed.” And I understand that. Referrals are a complement to the good work that you do.
But it’s kind of like the ant and the grasshopper fable with advertising and marketing in that you have to continually store nuts or berries or whatever the hell the ant was storing up for winter. In other words, the only way you get referrals is by doing a good job for somebody else in the first place, and the only way to get that job is by marketing.
So, when I call on accounts and they tell me, “We can’t advertise now. It’s a bad economy, it’s not a good time, it’s fill in the blank”
Then I ask; “How much advertising did you do when times were good?” They respond with; “We didn’t do any, we were packed. All that refinance money sloshing around, everything was great!”
Then I always wonder, how long are they going to be able to survive? They don’t have anywhere near the referral business they would have had if they just kept the name out there in the marketplace for themselves.
Think about that as you go into 2015—you need to advertise when times are good to be around when times are bad!
I know a lot of guys and girls hate marketing, hate advertising. They think it’s the devil’s work. But I know a lot of guys and girls with houses right on the beach down the shore because they’ve spent significant dollars marketing their companies steadily through every economy.
And I know a lot of people who told me 5 years ago that they didn’t believe in advertising or marketing or even websites who are back to working for somebody else today, most likely for the people with the houses at the shore.
The point is, operate your business for the long term. You are probably a private company without shareholders to report so, so think 3 years, 5 years, even 10 years down the road. Start 10 years from now and work your way back to right now, today. And plan on how you are going to get there.
Some companies I work with have been around for 100 years. They have names on their doors of founders who died 60 plus years ago and you see their trucks everywhere.
One more example why you need to advertise all the time, even in the good times. I’m sure you know where every McDonalds is in your neighborhood, but McDonalds still spends $6 million dollars a day on advertising.
Do you know why?
They have to stay ahead of Burger King. In other words, everybody may know you, but your market turns over 15 to 30% a year due to people dying, or moving or people getting pissed off at you. This 30% is what is called the unknown market, and that is who you have to advertise towards. You need to replace those customers or clients with people who want to do business with you. So get to work. Develop a strategic marketing program that’s going to build your business in 2015!