Thoughts on construction law from Christopher G. Hill, Virginia construction lawyer, LEED AP, mediator, and member of the Virginia Legal Elite in Construction Law

Humility (and a lighter touch) Can Help Your Construction Marketing

Originally posted 2012-01-27 09:00:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Construction Marketing IdeasThis week, Musings welcomes back Mark Buckshon of the Construction Marketing Ideas blog to Guest Post Friday. Mark publishes several regional construction industry newspapers and websites. He can be reached at 888-432-3555 ext 224 or by email at buckshon@cnrgp.com.

Recently, in co-ordination with my business’s primary business consultant Bill Caswell, we coordinated a Webinar, Taking Your Construction Business to the Next Level. The participants enjoyed the event and discovered value in Bill’s insights, but I know I must give myself a large “F” for preparation and testing. I simply did not allow enough rehearsal time to fully understand the Webinar software, so when our guests were waiting for the program to begin, I fumbled over technical details and we couldn’t use all of the online Webinar software’s functionality.

After the event, Caswell said he didn’t enjoy the lack of face-to-face interaction with participants. They could communicate by text messaging but, even though DimDim’s advanced software allows a second camera and the ability to switch microphones, the rules of the game are different when people are located in many different locations (and in my rush to overcome the technical problems from lack of preparation, we couldn’t access these useful functions.)

DimDim’s software is free for Web presentations with 20 or fewer participants, and its fees for larger events and greater functionality are truly reasonable. You can access the service at http://www.dimdim.com.

I made another mistake in the event’s advance marketing. I tried out various types of event promotion software and went past the stage of reasonableness to overkill in repeated promotional messages. One reader sent me his forthright opinion. “I’m really getting tired of your repeated Caswell promotions,” he wrote. Following up to my apology, I communicated: “BTW, I truly appreciate this because it raises a question: When is there “too much” marketing?”

His response:

In response to your question, as Seth Godin says, “It’s all about me….me, me, me.” Readers are only interested in themselves (myself included). I believe there is a frequency “line” you can cross by marketing too much. Below the line represents value to the consumer (because you are making me aware of the product) and above the line represents meaningless (you’re wasting my time) promotion. Each of us draw the line in a different place, but we do draw a line.

So, it seems I over-marketed the event, while under-preparing the technical aspects, leaving the presenter in a frustrating situation where he had to proceed in a framework of discomfort. Will Bill Caswell ever want to do this sort of thing again? Will I want to go forward with other Webinar-type programs in the future?

The answer, in part, is that if we don’t try new things and learn from them, we cannot grow. But you can never prepare too much and if you are using various marketing methods, you should never forget that even if they are readily available and easy to use, you should always respect the frequency and volume of messages you deliver.

Lessons learned . . .

P.S. After this posting, several readers – including Chris Hill – commented favorably, and the person who sent me the original complaint sent me a courteous email thanking me for accepting responsibility for my mistakes; showing the power of authenticity and humility in marketing. But I hope I don’t make these mistakes again.

Bill Caswell’s website is http://www.caswellccc.com. It includes a useful free (and extremely quick) resource of answers to some of the most common and challenging business questions.

As always, please join the conversation with a comment below and contact Mark for more. If you enjoy what you’re reading, please subscribe to keep up with the latest Construction Law Musings and check out the other Guest Post Fridays here at Musings.

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12 Responses to Humility (and a lighter touch) Can Help Your Construction Marketing

  1. Sending our too many e-mails to promote an event is an issue we grapple with. Out of curiosity Mark, how many e-mails did you send out and over how long a period of time?

    Thanks! Johanna

  2. Johanna:

    I think I hit the ‘send’ button about five or six times. This is the problem. I didn’t have a specific plan, and noticed several offers for event marketing and promotion resources, so used them all (along with frequent blog and regular e-letter postings).

    Not good. Exactly where persistence becomes irritation is something of a fine line, and you will certainly get more chances if you provide useful value rather than just promotional talk, but I think you are getting into dangerous space if your “same” message is repeated more than four or five times within a couple of months.
    .-= Mark Buckshon´s last blog post ..Insights =-.

  3. Thanks for your answer Mark!

    Your post really hit home for me because we do a lot of e-mail marketing and figuring out the sweet spot between getting our message out and annoying people is difficult.

    All our consulting services are delivered as workshops which we promote through e-mails. We also have a newsletter with interesting content. We were sending out one e-mail per week, alternating workshop promos with the newsletter. However, the difference in the unsubscribe rates between the promo e-mails and the newsletter forced us to reassess our strategy and look for creative ways of embedding the promo messages in value-added content – which is what you suggest.

    Not easy – and yet, e-mail marketing works. I’ve come to the conclusion that after doing everything possible to give people useful content we still have to be prepared to live with the occasional complaint, which will arrive regardless of what we send out…

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