The Online Marketing Series for Contractors – Who is your Client?

Published by Liam Curley | Date 9 August 2018

A marketing strategy starts with questions.

You need to ask yourself certain questions in order to understand who you seek to serve, the problems that this person has and how your business will solve their problems. This may sound like marketing fluff, but it really isn’t. This exercise delivers clarity and gives you a roadmap as to how you will deliver a product or service that the customer needs and wants to pay for.

What type of client?

This is probably the most important question you can ask yourself from a strategic position. Who decides to give you their business?

For example, is it going to be a Housebuilder or a Commercial Fit Out Contractor/Developer? Whilst both need an electrical subcontractor, the service each client wants varies massively, so each is looking for an electrical subcontractor that fits a certain profile and delivers a particular service.

All of this is critical and it’s important that first you select only one customer type to target. That doesn’t mean that you only do business with one, but it does mean that you can position your business to address all of the specific needs of that client. You can get to know them, understand their biggest challenges and then build a service that addresses their challenges more than any of your other competitors.

For example, if you’re a subcontractor targeting housebuilders, you know that speed and productivity is of the essence. Specifications are straightforward. There’s very little scope for value engineering because this client has built hundreds or thousands of similar properties and knows exactly what they require. What they need from a subcontractor is a firm that can deal with a high paced environment, quickly moving from one building to the next. A subcontractor that has highly efficient management systems that ensure work is done to spec and the highest speed possible (without jeopardising quality).

On the other hand, a commercial fit out contractor works on more ‘complex’ projects with a higher focus on specification and product performance. Each project is different, each one has been specified by a different architect and therefore, they need a subcontractor with the skills and experience in-house to work in challenging, bespoke environments. Whether this is to come up with design solutions, source high-end products or identify each and every value engineering opportunity these skills vary (at least in perception) to those required in House Building.

As you can see, both clients need an electrical subcontractor, but the service they need differs wildly. If you try to build a marketing plan that addresses both sets of companies, you may produce a plan that does neither well. But, if you pick one type of customer, you can identify all of the problems they encounter in your line of work, then build a brand and service that helps them overcome these problems.

Just pick one

We would all love to have a slice of every market, and you may ultimately earn that. But, successful companies pick the smallest viable niche and absolutely nail it with a service that delivers above and beyond the expectations of that nice compared to what they receive from the competition. Only then do you expand from there.

We’ve created a range of resources to identify and track the specific questions that you need to ask yourself in order to clearly mark out who your customer is and what they truly want from your business. If you’d like to access the resources, all of which are free to blog subscribers, please subscribe to our blog and then reply by email here to request the resources.

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