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Communication Coach: Live by the calendar to create generous marketing

January 30, 2019 -  By
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Photo: iStock.com/PrathanChorruangsak

Photo: iStock.com/PrathanChorruangsak

I was doing some discovery work with a new client, our first meeting together.

She said, “Marketing is difficult.”

Marketing used to be easy. You could pay for an ad and recoup its cost plus a profit. This was the power of a full-color Yellow Page ad. The more you paid the more you got back in return.

Marketing is now difficult because it’s different. You can no longer win by outspending your competitors.

Modern marketing is a dance, says Marketing Hall of Fame inductee Seth Godin.

What’s the dance, you ask? It’s the give and take, the ongoing conversation that buyers have among themselves, and hopefully with your business too.

To be invited to the dance your marketing has to be generous. This is one of the messages of Godin’s recent New York Times bestseller, “This Is Marketing.”

What if you had unlimited marketing resources, the most creative minds and the tool they need to work their magic? How would your marketing change how people feel about your business?

Most landscaping companies start the year with the best intentions, welcoming their customers to a new season with big ideas and great generosity. Then the dance fades to a shuffle.

Let’s fix that with a plan to deliver generous marketing that engages people with a promise to help them get what they want.

You can decide what that means for your business. I like to think of it as solving problems and inspiring people to buy what makes them happy.

It’s marketing that consistently shows up to address customer needs and wants. That alone is a powerful message. Get that right and you are ahead of 90 percent of your competitors.

The tool that drives this is an editorial calendar, better known in the landscaping industry as the marketing calendar.

Here’s how to set one up today. As you use and refine it throughout the year you will make it better. Next year the process will be that much easier.

1. Take inventory of your marketing assets

Choose from the content you have now. This may be videos, blog posts, articles, newsletters, interviews, and case studies. What still has value?

Update some of that inventory to make it better. Freshen the title, spice up the opening paragraph, that kind of thing.

2. Live by the marketing calendar

Now put that fresh content to work. Decide on 12 monthly themes that make sense for your business and live by them (see No. 3). These are themes that address customer problems (like pest control, drainage or turf renovation) — and that satisfy urges to upgrade (like patios, water features, and landscaping).

3. Teach your teams about marketing

Make sure your team members know this is the month we talk design with customers, as one example. That marketing theme should become the mantra for the month, part of the company culture.

Get everyone talking it up, including production teams. They are on the front lines with customers and can be a great source of leads and referrals.

After 30 days move on to the next theme and continue the dance.

Marketing isn’t as easy as it once was because it has evolved. More than advertising, it’s now everything about your company, its culture, and every customer and their ideas.

That collaboration is what makes generous marketing possible. You only need to keep showing up, ready to do it.

Oh, and remember that if you don’t dance with your customers, somebody else will.

Jeff Korhan

About the Author:

Jeff Korhan is the author of Built-In Social, founder of Landscape Digital Institute, and a Duct Tape Marketing Certified consultant. He helps green industry owners, marketers and sales teams craft and communicate branded customer experiences that sell. Learn more at www.landscapedigitalinstitute.com

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