“Get out of your office marketers and into the field to see and experience what your sales people and our customers do everyday.”
My dad was a salesman. He sold municipal equipment like street sweepers and road line strippers. He was successful at it from my recollection. As a young man my dad spec built homes with my grandfather, an owner of several lumberyards – Draper Supply. When I began working in the marketing department at Andersen Windows I was reminded of the advice my dad gave when I graduated from college, “Get out in the field to work with your customers and learn first hand from their experiences.” This advice has never failed me.
At least twice a month, I visit construction jobsites, residential and commercial, new construction and remodeling, to learn. I see the incredible process of ideas in a drawing that is laid out from the footings. I witness how critical the framing is to the fit and finish of the home. I share the experience of products being delivered to the job site (or not), how the packaging holds up in the dirt and rain, and how they are actually installed.
During my time on the jobsite, I get to talk with the leads for the general contractor and the subs. They tell me what works and what does not. The builders share with me why they chose certain products and suppliers. Mostly, I just stay out of the way to watch and learn.
This combination of field experience and marketing is something I like to call “Smarketing.” The 2.0 is in reference to an early post about the changing relationship of marketing and sales in the buyer’s journey. Having a sense for how your marketing efforts are received and applied by your customers will make you a better marketer. Context is critical to success.
Too often I meet with the marketing team of building products manufacturers that rarely if ever spend time on a jobsite. All of the marketers I met with this year at the International Builders Show and Kitchen and Bath Industry Show shared when asked, that they have not been on a jobsite in the past year or longer. Several social media and digital marketing folks stated they have never been on a jobsite.
Every two weeks we post photos and descriptions from our latest jobsite visit to the Draper DNA Facebook page under the title of Project DNA. We showcase all types of projects at various stages of construction featuring hundreds of different products. Project DNA has captured a wide range of projects from the construction of a new cathedral to waterfront homes. We identify new trends in building practices and design. Most importantly, we bring each jobsite learning experience to our clients as we work together with them to create simple, effective marketing programs and campaigns that connect with their customers.
Our advice to you is to get out of the office and into the field. You will gain insight, respect, and a sincere appreciation for the work being done there.