A Backyard Marketing Lesson

Ever look at a half built paver patio and come up with a marketing analogy?

Happens to me all the time.

A few weeks ago, my wife and I (well, mostly me) decided it was time to get to work on a few projects for the backyard that we have been putting off. It might have to do with the fact that our daughter is graduating from high school and we are expecting quite a bit of family from out of town.

 

Or, it has to do with the fact that I apparently don’t have enough to do and enjoy physical pain.

Either way, here’s what happened and why business owners need to know about it.

The patio I had in mind required me to excavate the area seven inches down, haul the dirt away, replace it with four inches of gravel and one inch of sand before I even got to the pavers.

I had help from one friend for about three hours. Other than that, it was a wheelbarrow, a shovel and me. I’m lucky I didn’t die.

For three days, I dug in the ground, dumped dirt around the yard and shoveled gravel into place.

I was very proud of my work. I was out there past dark one night, setting pavers in the half glow of one light bulb hanging from a socket on the back porch.

The next day, from across the fence, my neighbor called out to say “It looks great!”

I am sure it did. From a thousand feet away.

On the fourth day, I had three quarters of the pavers in place when I noticed the problem.

The spacing of the blocks wasn’t consistent. A few stood up just a fraction of an inch higher than the others and the worst part – there was clearly a ridge down the middle of my patio. If you poured water on it, some would run to the right and some would flow left.

I had a decision to make.

Leave it and ignore the flaws or get in there and tear up most of my work and get it right.

This happened to be a Saturday. I had the whole day. If I hustled, I could be done that day. I still had another larger section to finish.

If I made the correction, it would add days to my project.

What would you do?

I tore it out.

As I pulled up half of my pavers and began to rake the sand off of the hard packed gravel base, a strange thing came to mind.

A marketing analogy.

Just like anyone can take a bunch of paver stones and set them in a pattern on the ground and call it a patio, business owners can buy ad copy or put a tv or radio commercial on the air and believe they have an advertising campaign.

From a distance it probably looks good and might get some results. For a while, the business owner can check the box in their mind and say ‘I am advertising. Now let me get on to something else.’

But like the paver patio in my backyard, if my goal is to get the best long term result – the one I wanted when I imagined it in my mind -  it comes down to the foundation those commercials are set upon.

 

When I start with a new client, I step back and analyze the marketing work they have done to that point. They point at the incredible paver patio and I see the foundation.

I ask a thousand questions…How’s their website? What are they doing on social media? What’s their audience? Where are they advertising to reach that audience? What are they saying to the people they do reach? What’s the goal? Who are they competing against? What’s the budget and what should it be?

As I go through that process, it might be necessary to undo some of the hard work and money that owner has invested in marketing for their business. Much like tearing the base out of something that was three-quarters complete.

It might be painful, and take more effort, but we are going for the best end result possible. And, like that paver patio, you are going to have to look at it every day. If you are like me, you don’t want to be reminded of the mistake you ignored.

Business owners want the result they imagined when they started their company. They should not settle for an off-kilter result that won’t last.

 

By the end of the day Saturday, I had leveled the base, added the sand back to my foundation and had the pavers placed again. To my neighbor, the patio probably looked the same as it did earlier that morning.

From my perspective, however, the project met my expectations and matched what I had in mind when I sketched it out on paper.

 

The dream of a perfect paver patio in my back yard led me to spend more money, expend more energy, consume more ibuprofen and take a few more days than originally predicted.

It took some perspective in order for me to see the mistakes I had made and dig into the base of my project in order to set the proper foundation to build upon. It also required me to be objective and honest with myself to see that some of my work was off-base.

That’s what BP Media brings to the table for business owners.

Let BP Media set the foundation for your advertising efforts. We look at everything you do, consider your message, see what’s working and make sure everything is in place.

That means we might need to dig into your website, your social media and your current branding efforts to see what kind of base you have to advertise upon. We will consider your current budget, your goals and your dreams when you started out.

At that point we can start talking about the imaging, commercials, messaging and media you should have in place.

It takes time to work through those steps. Sometimes, there is a little bit of pain. But the end result will be better, more focused, more effective advertising.

The kind you can build on.