Sometimes we're in conflict between our marketing professional selves and our personal or professional buyer selves. I'm in conflict now as I try to get my home back together after a hail storm pummeled our roof, fence and who knows what.   

My conflict is seeing how repair services are marketed to us and how as a buyer I perceive their efforts to meet my needs .  Yes, I see the hail storm as an opportunity for them. They have services and products in need, a well-defined target audience, and a high rate of anticipated purchase for their product.  For excitement, they face multiple competitors in a race to a sale.

This could be a chance to see multiple marketing styles and find out what works best on me.  It's a good test because all contenders start out the same.  No company has an inside track or perceived advantage. I was not already in the market, had not contacted any suppliers, no former suppliers have claimed me, and my insurance company offered only vague guidelines, no company recommendations. So how did they do?
Getting the Contract: Simple Marketing Tips for Contractors

First in line.  Yes, we had people going door to door.  The best ones came with a business card, had printed material and asked if we'd had an inspection. Those eliminated early came with less impressive cards, and copier quality pages.  One, from the company's scheduling supervisor, was eliminated immediately. The strategy of getting everyone out to present credentials quickly has merit, but their size advantage would have worked better if they had offered fast estimates or the benefits of their volume buying. Being there is important but someone with the information to get me further in the process was judged vital to staying in the race.

I've been marketed. There's a separate category for companies who put technology ahead of contact.  I didn't get a single call from a person.  All the callers identified themselves as companies, offering me a choice of meeting days but not a way to determine if I wanted to meet with them. It was easy to say no, especially since my number is on the no call list.  I also felt marketed to by companies which just left a card or information in the door, taped a page to the mailbox or handed to me as they walked by, in one case, as I was talking to a competitor. We're all busy, but some showed up wanting the work.

Able to fulfill the sale.  Being available to meet my need for a great roof, reasonably priced and fast would decide the winner.  My marketing side appreciated the challenge.  As a buyer I looked for actions and information.  I wanted experience and knowledge, plus a commitment to the business.  I am swayed by well written, designed and produced material with a url supporting it, and I listen to see if he or she was offering me a deal or a good roof.  I also favored those who gave information over those who flooded me with jargon. I wanted both a deal and a roof but it's the roof that lasts.

 Made the jump to my side of the table.  Those who had advanced to the next round had one more quality. They spoke to me as a partner. They shared their recommendations of what worked for me, why one shingle was better than another, and what information about the roof and fence my insurance adjuster would need. One contender who has the inside track right now offered me a yard sign.  No it didn't mean I signed the contract.  He said it would keep the door knockers away. 

As a marketer I saw it as a way for him to keep me from finding a better deal. As a buyer it gives me peace of mind from some tough marketing challengers.  I might find a bit better deal, but I'm happy with a seller who got far enough to take care of details important to me. 

Rob Neff is a Senior Marketing Manager and Writer at Marketing Eye Dallas, a full-service marketing firm helping small businesses grow exponentially by providing an entire, dedicated marketing department for an affordable, monthly rate.
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