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Here goes my Saturday night after a couple beers SWOT analysis. I'd have to say that one of our strengths is competitive advantage; we pay a lot of attention to details on all of our jobs and have created a good reputation for doing quality work. Another strength would be customer service - a lot of time is spent ensuring that customers are happy, before, during, and after projects. A weakness would be lead generation - we stay busy but our leads are inconsistent. Another weakness would be the marketing budget - we do a good deal of social media advertising (free and paid), support some local youth sports, restaurant menus/placemats/coffee mugs, and some print ads but I would like to expand into radio ads and into several other local newspapers.
 

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Read the book Freakonomics # 2

The book Freakonomics says that 98 of all college professors think they are in the top 2% for their teaching quality.

Another book states that 80% of the people people can see a person for only 1 minute and they will give a more accurate answer regarding that person's IQ than the person can himself.

I've been a Die Hard with advertising and work on creating new advertising no less than one hour every day and about 7 days every week. Right now, I'm taking a break from writing an advertising letter that I have been working on for 5 days. This letter is going to plumbing contractors to solicit them for the services we provide and they don't such as public sewer laterals, mold remediation, asbestos abatement, trenchless sewers, and a lot more. The letter contains only 11 lines and contains a short list of the services we provide.

My weakness with marketing is hiring sales people. I am a poor judge of people and have a weakness for people looking for jobs. I hire too many of the wrong people hoping they have some good qualities that will benefit my company and I get stung many times.
 

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Accidental Painter
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(spoken in context of an AA meeting)
Hi,

my name is bill. I have a problem. I can sell like no other, but I cannot retain customers. I suspect my pricing has alot to do with that. When talking pricing with my peers they say I can't sell at my prices (I aint cheap).

Unfortunately, I do. Which leads to me being used like a piece of meat and tossed to the side for the next lowballer. Customer retention is my problem. I need help. I need to stop over delivering at a higher price, giving my customers a quality product they don't want.

I can't do crappy work for cheap (eyes welp up). WHY GOD WHY!!!

(Sits down in shame)
 

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I have no idea about marketing aside from showing up on Google and perhaps a tiny teeny bit of facebook. Other then that I dont know chit.
 

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Definition I go to for clarity...because from here it seems to get abstract and complicated fast. That being the 'weakness'. Find it difficult to drill down to definitive "action/s".

"Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling the product or service. It is a critical business function for attracting customers."

I find the marketing aspect overlaps at least into the first 1/3 of the sales process or call. LOL In that time period I do well.


My bidness is in re-start mode with little overlap from the previous 'iteration'. 9 months from the transition and 6 months running on the ground. Currently have a flurry of activity that has come from 'networking' through a business coach, "friends and family" by myself and the right hand man's contacts. Mostly his, as I'm no where near as rooted in the area.

I'm very interested in others strengths & successes in the marketing realm particularly during the start-up phase.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My primary weakness in marketing is technology/online etc. I'm terrible at it and I recognize that fully.

My strength is building a brand and managing the brand.
 

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I put an ad in the HBAs two magazines every year, usually enter a project in the Showcase. Ive gotten a few jobs off of the Showcase.

Our trucks are logo'd. The ads and logos have sold us maybe five jobs in 5 years, none very big , under 20k.

I network pretty regular. Mostly social networking, not on a computer but community events, mixers, ect . That gets us basicly all of our work that isnt a client referral, most of our work is client referrals.

I also have been elected to several boards, this has opened a lot of doors for us.
 

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Have Trowel, Do travel
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my work is my strength, and is also my weakness.

I do no marketing, no signs on the side of my truck, or on the job. no advertising of any sorts

i'm to lazy
 
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I would say that 80% of my work comes from word of mouth and the remaining 20% from social media - the print ads score us 4 or so jobs a year.
 

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Isn't doing good work that yields WOM referrals a key part of marketing in the industry? You are branding (marketing) everyday by being on the job and doing what y'all do. Some cases don't need much more 'formal' marketing than that to meet your sales goals.
 

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Finishing Carpenter
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Strength? high quality. Weakness? don't know how to market my company. I've tried the local paper for a couple of years, that yielded one job.
Flyers, door hangers, no calls at all.

I now just advertise on Craigs list. It works, sort of. I am trying to figure out pinterest? I am guessing that folks will look at pictures there.

And I yak too much. It's a good thing as many customers want to talk and talk.... and so do I! so that can cost you.

Some referral jobs, not too many. I've had to drop my price on crown about 1/2 what I used to be in '08 - it's the market here now. I am competing with un-licenced non wcb non liability folks who do the "chop and slam and caulk- give me the check now" crowd. Oh well it's what I've chosen, so I try to figure out a way to compete.
 

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The Ultimate Wire Hider
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4,455 Posts
Strength- being able to make something work exactly the way that the customer wants it to work. If the customer can think of it, 99% of the time I can do it. Unlike many other people in my line of work, I don't have to "steer" my customer into accepting something other than what they really want.

Weakness- being too direct and truthful. This sometimes makes it difficult to "dumb it down" if they don't understand something about the system that I am installing. On the other hand I don't want to put myself in a position where I tell them one thing for the sake to dumbing it down and then they feel like I told them a lie after the fact.

One thing that makes the big box stores successful is that they are especially good at BS-ing their customers into believing things that are not completely accurate. I am often asked the digital vs. analog questions as it relates to the equipment. But when I tell them that it's ALL analog, it makes them a little angry because what I am telling them does not quite match up with what the salesman at the big box store said. It's like the smart salesman who obviously knows more than the dumb technician can't get on the same page.

Some guys are better at tapdancing around this issue than I am because all of these technical specs that they ramble off at the big box store really don't mean squat if the picture looks good and the sound is great.

People walk out of those stores feeling great about the fact that their new TV has more diddly-giga-dips than the other model.. but there was nothing wrong with the other TV to begin with. So then when they sit in front of me at their kitchen table... hung up on how many diddly-giga-dips there are in my system.. and I tell them that mine has about 50 less than the competition, they get upset and say, "I feel like you are cheating me! I don't want to pay all of this money for a home theater to have a screen that looks terrible!"

Most other guys would lie and say that the TV they're installing has 100 more diddly-giga-dips than the competition because they know that they can get away with it. The diddly-giga-dips don't affect picture quality so the customer wouldn't know the difference anyway.

Part of the reason why I tell them the whole truth is because they very well might look it up online, see that I wasn't truthful and then I lose the deal. But then again, there are other guys who are better at talking their way out of that kind of situation.
 
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