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How Smart Marketing Can Create Jobs In Montana

Outgoing Governor Brian Schweitzer (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Two years ago I was sitting in my favorite recliner, cup of hot coffee next to me, enjoying the morning paper when out of the blue my wife said, “I want to enlarge the deck this summer.” And she went back to reading. You have to understand that my wife is a very informed person. She reads the paper daily, listens to talk radio, watches the 24/7 cable news shows. She was well aware of the economic climate in which we where living at the time. And she was well aware of our finances or in some cases lack of them.

So How Did This Short Conversation Relate to Marketing and Job Creation?

That short conversation created a buyer … me. I began the budget process for the deck and also started the process of finding the right person to do the job. Somewhere out there was a carpenter or contractor who was trying his or her best to find someone like me. Someone who has a need they can fill. Marketing is the process that contractor will use that allows us to meet. In the case of my contractor I got some recommendations from friends who had similar work done to their properties.

Job Creation and Recession Ending Marketing?

When I speak of “recession ending marketing” I’m not speaking in plural but rather in singular. It would be great if the recession ends for everyone, but right now you just want it to end for you. Here are some ways to make that happen.

Perception of Value

The deck project was not awarded to the lowest bidder although I also didn’t intend to overpay for the job. I was looking for the best work at the best price. Not necessarily the lowest price, but the best price. Although the recommendations carried a lot of weight in my selection, the contractor still had to build trust and confidence with me. If I don’t feel trust I will not even bother requesting a bid. Some of the ways to build that trust would be things like testimonials, photos of jobs similar to my project, licenses, and memberships in well-known building associations. I was a motivated buyer, so the contractor had to make the case for how he could help me and make me feel confident about his expertise.

Customers Change Direction Based On Wants and Needs

Remember when gas was $4.00 a gallon? Did you change your driving habits to save money? When gas closer to $3.00 a gallon did you revert back to your old ways? Chances are most of you didn’t. You found that consolidating trips was a smarter way to use your vehicle. When the economy is challenged, we don’t give up the things we love, but we will alter our lifestyle based on our needs or wants. Your marketing plan should reflect an understanding of these changes in lifestyle. The deck idea was a good one, would add value to the property and would be something we could enjoy for years to come.

Cut Waste To Save Jobs

It is easier to cut waste 2% than to increase sales by the same number. The continued operation of the business is critical to both the owner and the employee. Every person in your business needs to realize that it’s a team effort. The more employees can do to cut waste the more secure their jobs will be. Your employees should be bringing in customers. Everyone knows someone who needs your products or services. Give employees an incentive to take ownership of their job and contribute directly to their own success.

Create a Plan of Action to Save Jobs

Take things a day at a time. What does it take to keep the doors open? Assume your average sale is $235.06, what would it take to get it to $240.00? We are only talking about $5.00 per customer. Just 96 customers per week, spending an extra $5.00 will create $25,000 in additional yearly revenue. Sit down with your staff and create a plan to increase your average sale. Is your advertising targeting the correct income levels? Are your products priced appropriately? Are there add on sales that are not being presented to customers? Do you know your sales staff’s closing ratio? If 100 people come in your business and 75 of them walk out without a purchase, something is definitely wrong. You need to know how many people are walking and how many are buying. Create a plan to track customers and communicate as to why they are leaving empty handed.

Some Final Thoughts

Advertising guru Peter Drucker says, “A strategy is a sense of direction around which to improvise.” Your plans are always going to be a work in progress. No one knows where the economy is going, but we do know that it will be changing day to day. Smart companies have the ability to adapt to economic and market conditions. Smart companies knew how to find me, a job was created, and that’s why we have a larger deck today.

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