Everyone knows the whole point of advertising is to increase business volume. But what happens if business is already booming? Why the heck would you waste time and money on advertising when projects are leaping into your boat like fish in those weird nature videos? It’s an enviable business problem, and it’s the very dilemma the construction industry in the Pacific Northwest is experiencing right now. But when the fish are biting, a good marketer knows to keep baiting the hooks.
Boom time marketing (with a little fishing mixed in) was topic of discussion over a recent lunch with Scott Ramsey of Korsmo Construction, a $70 million construction company out of Tacoma, Washington. Scott is Korsmo’s Director of Marketing, a great talent and a good friend in the community. He’s delighted that business is crazy right now, but he also knows to remain vigilant because pendulums swing backward as fast as they move forward.
To what does Scott attribute their strong business volume? It might be his stellar website and marketing campaign (done by yours truly), as well as his foresight to “get louder” (as he says) several years ago. But the main thing he points to is the frantic development in downtown Seattle, freeing up great project opportunities in the surrounding areas that normally would have been a battle to land. This allows the Korsmo team, who are fierce South Sound advocates, to pick and choose the lucrative local jobs and pass lower yield options to smaller firms who would be a better fit.
“It’s the perfect way for Korsmo to promote itself as an industry expert rather than a replaceable vendor,” Scott says. “Being able to concentrate on fewer, higher profile assignments instead of many one-and-done ventures allows us to build a reputable portfolio, which in turn attracts and retains higher caliber, repeat customers. Scaling through excellent work rather than frequency is the right way to grow the business.”
Scott also believes success stems from focusing on niche verticals. Korsmo has a solid collection of tribal projects which they’ve built over time, having developed an intense and unique understanding of working with regional tribes.
“Not just anybody can march into a tribe’s headquarters and start a relationship,” he says. “You need to prove that you are in it for a genuine and sustained partnership. We truly enjoy our tribal clients and it shows. Empathy and respect is the secret to doing ongoing business with those great clients.”
Scott keeps his company’s eyes towards the horizon, finding ways to incorporate modern tactics to wow current and future clients. His team uses drone video to capture progress of projects in exciting new angles and is considering adding augmented reality, or using smart phones or virtual reality headgear to view computer renderings superimposed on live images in real time. He knows that these demonstrations of their future-focused vision will keep them relevant in the eyes of prospects.
And a future proofing strategy is key to avoid scrambling when things eventually slow down. From frequently updating their website with compelling case studies to attract organic web searches, to maintaining an advertising presence in regional trade pubs to remain top of mind, Scott and his team know general contractors, architects or tradespeople have their heads down now, but inevitably will be searching for new endeavors and partners to pursue. The more prepared they are now, the easier the opportunities will present themselves when they are really needed.
Ultimately, nothing beats the effectiveness of good-old high-touch relationships to keep the pipeline full. “Any day you can see us carrying around gift baskets we’re donating to our clients’ charity auctions,” says Scott. “We show up to their events as community boosters rather than vendors looking for the next job. It’s quality connections that still make a difference in the end.”