Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Don’t Do Plumbing, So Why Are You Doing Marketing?

Water heaters aren’t very exciting to me, however, mine was installed incorrectly years ago and some “reworking” needed to be done. The plumber just went to buy parts…some pipes, earthquake straps for reinforcement, and a smitty pan among them. Sure, I know what the first two things are, but the third… fuggedabouit. And INSTALLING those parts? Me? I don’t think so! Busy day here; he’ll be installing a new dishwasher today too.

I’m not a plumber, so I hired someone who possesses the knowledge and expertise required for resolving the issues. However, I AM a seasoned professional when it comes to marketing matters.

Yesterday on Google+ I commented on a lively discussion that spoke to my profession. Jim, who started the conversation, was lamenting about how so many businesses participate in social media, work hard at it and ultimately stress themselves out because they make “unremarkable offers to uninterested people.”

The folks that Jim was referring to in his post are trying to do my job…and Jim’s too! They may be great cooks, accountants, real estate brokers, landscapers, hey, even plumbers, but are they skilled in marketing strategy, market research or social media?

One of my comments from the conversation yesterday:

Been itching to write a blog post on the subject. I actually said those words to someone recently. And my plumber IS coming tomorrow to install a dishwasher. I wouldn't dare attempt it myself...I know when to leave it a professional.

But seriously, why do people feel they have the knowledge to do just about anything? I once headed a market intelligence group during my "corporate life". A department decided that they would write a "quickie" survey to get feedback on a product via employees. They never asked for my team's help. I discovered them administering the survey in the lobby. It was pure garbage that provided no actionable results and was a waste of valuable time and effort. SIGH.

Strong words? Yes. And here’s my peeve; it’s frustrating to be in the business I’m in. Painful too to see people not doing what they should be doing and doing what they ARE doing in a way that’s not helpful to their businesses.

Jim also brought up a most compelling point: “you can be so involved inside your business that you can't see what it looks like outside, to the marketplace.

Jim’s talking about how your potential customers see you. Simply put, a consumer’s perception of your business may be entirely different from what you THINK you're projecting to them. Is this rationale convincing enough for you to contact a marketing professional? Sure hope so.

My dog poses by the smitty pan.
Oh, my plumber just said to me “I'm going to tie your smitty pan in to your old condensate drain line.”


Thanks to Jim Connelly for giving me the final piece of motivation I needed to write this article. You can find him here.

If you want to know more about me and my "seasoning" (count your fingers, toes, and add some more) find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. I promise lively, engaging conversation and I don't bite unless threatened. And my dog? Rumor has it all dogs bite.


Anonymous said...

You've given me a lot to think about. Now, I'm off to do brain surgery on myself.

Gerry Wendel said...

Sure hope you're not going to give yourself a lobotomy!

Guy Sharwood said...

What I used to hate were all these people I knew who suddenly turned into ace auto mechanics when I had trouble with my Chevy back in the '70s. I guess it was more macho to do that than simply say "Darned if I know." I don't own a vehicle anymore and haven't since 1986, so that's how I eliminated that problem.I believe in the adage: Shoemaker, stick to thy last!

Shannon Grissom said...

Convincing...indeed :O)

April Poppe said...

Excellent point Geraldine. I don't cut my own hair either.. thank goodness! IT's a funny thing though. now you have so many microbusinesses, like my own, with small budgets and all this accessible social media. It's a thin line to straddle!

Gerry Wendel said...

April, Not "so many", just two. And yes, a lot of information regarding social media is accessible.

If you have a year to spare, you could probably teach yourself all of the best practices that I would show you in a few hours time, then your biz would reap those benefits during that year you'd otherwise spend "getting up to speed"! It's a matter of weighing what's more important to you, getting your business off the ground sooner or spending time figuring it out yourself when you should be concentrating on your business.

I also design STRATEGY...most small businesses skip this part then wonder why they're spinning their wheels and getting nowhere.So I help small businesses; that's where my marketing experience from 25+ years in corporate life and 3+ years as a small biz owner are unleashed.

Jim said...

Hi Gerry.

Nice to see you build out from the thoughts I shared on Google+ yesterday.

You make some very god points regarding the value of professional assistance and the reluctance of many to invest.

Andrew Baird said...

Interesting question indeed, I think it's the old case of "it depends", my wife manages social media for some of our clients, but for others (often if they're professional themselves) they'll do it.

Think about it, if you ask a question on a Lawyers fan page do you want a marketer answering your question - no you want a Lawyer!

Gerry Wendel said...

Hi Andrew, Not talking about account maintenance here...talking about creation and planning of the marketing strategy for the client.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to be the one to disagree here...not on your point though. I just think that you over-estimate how hard it is to install a dishwasher.

But I do agree that many small business people underestimate the amount of knowledge that goes into a professional marketing effort.

Gerry Wendel said...

The plumber visited primarily to redo the mess that a previous homeowner left when they installed a hot water heater. Since I just purchased a new dishwasher, it made sense for him to install it. It's possible that it's easy, but I have other priorities!

And appreciate your agreement on the point I was bringing across in the article.

Bridget Willard said...

But you can learn it.

But I do see your point. Very catchy title.

James Green said...

This is a good post! I think everyone can benefit from a little plumbing training even if you are focusing on the subject from a marketing perspective

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