Back in the old days…
A Yellow Pages ad was considered effective marketing. When I launched my consulting practice and started working with Duct Tape Marketing (DTM) in 2010, we actually targeted companies who still paid for those ads. Using the DTM methodology, we taught people how to do marketing for themselves. We’d start with a strategy and set up systems to make marketing repeatable.
Then marketing started to change as the internet became ubiquitous. New opportunities to promote small businesses were cropping up. Facebook, online advertising, apps, responsive websites, etc., developed and became complex enough that the average business owner had trouble keeping up. We went from simple DIY marketing to a more complex framework that offered far more options but required expertise.
That’s when marketing firms began calling on small businesses in earnest, selling tactics that promised to get their clients onto page 1 of search results and get their phones to ring. They were selling single tactics and telling prospective clients that this would take care of their marketing needs. Back then, people who merely liked your Facebook page might actually see your posts.
At that time, I was focusing on a handful of clients, working on strategy and then helping them tailor their marketing to attract their ideal customers. We created goals and plans and set up marketing systems accordingly. And it worked.
As marketing became even more complex, I was no longer able to provide all the services that my clients needed. We brought in experts to handle the more technical tactics, and I worked with the client to get the rest done.
It worked for a while, but as I got more clients, I found my head spinning. Clients were getting daily calls from salespeople selling the latest marketing solution. Some were actually worthwhile, but most were a waste of time and money. The clients needed me on site more often. There were just too many details to manage, and I was spending more time than I had budgeted working on their marketing and not getting it done. We needed to bring in experts, but the budget wasn’t there. Things needed to change. I had to become a marketing agency or make a fundamental change in the way I served clients.
Over the years I had worked with several clients in the building trades and had niched my consulting practice to serve them exclusively. I was on my local board of NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) and an active member of the Marin Builders Association. I like working with people in the building trades because they’re genuine and creative, and they appreciate the value of a skill.
In 2018, as I was preparing to move from California up to Washington, one of my clients decided to hire an in-house coordinator to oversee the details of their marketing for their several showroom locations and I would manage them. Taking on the role myself was outside the scope of my role as consultant; it would have been cost-prohibitive for me to spend that much time on site. The new arrangement worked out well for everyone. The coordinator handled the detailed work that could be done only by someone in-house, working closely with me to create the plans, budget, and priorities to get it done right.
We realized great benefits from having someone in-house.
· The solution is cost-effective.
· The person is embedded and part of the company. Being on site means they see what’s happening and can react and manage more effectively.
· They know the company better than a consultant or agency can.
· When new marketing initiatives come up, they don’t necessarily cost more in labor.
· The owner can direct marketing without having to be involved in the training or the minutiae.
· Marketing remains goal-oriented. We can evaluate opportunities as they arise and determine if they fit with company goals. This makes us nimble as well.
From this experience I decided to create a coaching program unlike others—which typically coached the owner. My program would work with the in-house administrator responsible for getting marketing done. It would keep the day-to-day details of marketing where they belong, freeing up the owner to take a more strategic (and appropriate) role.
I developed the coaching program because it makes sense. I’ve integrated the Duct Tape Marketing methodology and the needs of the remodeling contractor into modules written specifically for the marketing administrator without previous marketing experience. Marketing isn’t rocket science, but there are so many opportunities available that it takes an organized, strategic approach to make it work.
I am dedicated to helping remodeling contractors market their services well, so they can meet the goals they set, be competitive, and focus on their craft. I look forward to working with owners and marketing administrators who:
· Have a vision of where they want the company to go
· Do quality work
· Are committed to the coaching process
· Have an in-house marketing administrator who’s willing to learn and grow.
What About Your Company?
Let’s say your situation is something like this:
You’re a remodeling contractor with an office and staff—maybe including a designer, project manager, estimator and office personnel, plus someone who oversees marketing programs. You outsource some of the marketing. As the owner, you’re busy running the business, neither able nor interested in micro-managing marketing. You could really use some direction, though. You understand that you’re not a marketing expert, but you need one. You can’t afford and don’t need to hire a full-time marketing director. It doesn’t make sense. You want to see things strategically and to make sure you’re spending money on marketing wisely.
What options do you have?
OPTION 1 – Hire the Expertise –
Hire a marketing director with experience in the industry for $120K or more with benefits.
Pros – Expertise.
Cons – Too expensive and wasteful, since you don’t need someone in that role, at that level, full-time. Hard to find qualified candidates.
Missing – Affordability.
OPTION 2 – Outsource to an Agency –
Hire an agency to handle all your marketing.
Pros – Experts in tactics; strong reports for tactics they manage.
Cons – Not likely experts in the remodeling niche, expensive, not necessarily comprehensive and strategic. May be strong at some tactics but weaker or don’t even handle others, leaving holes in the plan. More marketing = more expense; they make more when you do more. Too easy for you to react to the marketing plan vs. being proactive.
Missing – An in-house person to see the big, strategic picture, ask questions, and see what’s missing.
OPTION 3 – Hire Part-Time Marketing Administrator
Pros – A dedicated resource. Less expensive, located in-house.
Cons – Entry-level, part-time, and therefore not as dedicated or knowledgeable as a full-time employee. Likely little to no marketing experience or training. This person lacks the expertise to lead marketing or be strategic, and the administrator’s manager is unlikely to have the marketing knowledge to guide them.
Missing – Expertise, experience, dedication; someone qualified to oversee the marketing program.
OPTION 4 – Assign Marketing to Current Employee –
Give marketing responsibilities to someone in addition to their regular tasks.
Pros – Cost-effective. This person knows the company and is located in-house.
Cons – Reactive vs. proactive. The employee is not likely trained in marketing and may lack time or interest. Marketing is not likely to be a top priority.
Missing – Expertise, experience, interest, and possibly time; someone to guide efforts.
OPTION 5 – Marketing Coaching Program for Remodelers –
We educate, train, and coach remodeling contractors’ in-house marketing resources.
Pros – Affordable. Strategic. Comprehensive. We strengthen your marketing resource, making them a more valuable asset. We provide marketing expertise through educational modules and one-on-one coaching, customizing the marketing system for your company’s needs. Location doesn’t matter; coaching is done online.
Cons – Need to have a committed marketing administrator and a moderately involved owner who wants to manage marketing to meet company goals.
If this approach resonates with you, check out our services page for more information about the program.