Last week I walked by a neighborhood barbershop, and for the first time in all the years that I’ve lived here I noticed that they also sold hats. I had to chuckle.
Working as a marketer, whether in-house or on the agency side, when colleagues or clients come to me with a request there is one thing that I ALWAYS insist on giving or getting before I start work – a due date.
I’ve worked with a lot of vendors and partners, and inevitably, the ones I continue to call on will provide me with schedules, or at least a date that I know I can see progress by. The ones that can’t commit to a date are the ones that scare me.
The last three weeks have been pretty difficult for my five year old son. He has been to the ER twice now for head injuries, once for stitches (bike accident) and another for the medical glue (playground accident at recess). Needless to say, we’ve all been pretty upset about it and we’re a little on edge now every time he starts running.
For him though, the most upsetting part wasn’t the injuries, but the fact that he had to go to the hospital. The first words out of his mouth after the bike wreck were “I don’t want to go to the hospital!!” Of course, it broke my heart knowing we’d have to go because he was hurt pretty badly. He then cried again when we had to go to the doctor to remove the stitches, even though it wasn’t a painful process.
What does this have to do with marketing for A/E firms you ask? Well, maybe a lot. It’s been weighing on me for a while now, how do we convince our son that the hospital and the doctor’s office isn’t that bad, if the only time he has to go is when he’s sick, hurt or getting a shot? We can’t. We have even tried giving him “treats” after every visit, but it doesn’t eliminate the negative impression.
I’ve decided that we have to get him to see the positive sides of those places by taking him at other times. Maybe we can go visit a friend’s new baby, or work out a deal with the doc that we can go and check his height for fun or something. (Not certain they’ll go for it, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask, right?)
So here’s the parallel I draw for the A/E industry, and the question I ask. If your prospective clients only hear from you once a year when you’re looking for work or they have a new RFP out, what kind of impression do they have of your firm?