Most people in the woodworking industry aren’t natural marketers, particularly among the smaller custom operations. They pick up their marketing skills on the fly as they can amid the day-to-day pressures of running a business. As long as there is business coming through the front door, they’ll focus more on production efficiency and what’s going on in the shop. That’s also why the vast majority will tell you that most of their marketing is just word of mouth.
But relying on word of mouth advertising hasn’t been good enough for most shops since the economy tanked. And now that business is slowly coming back, it is ever more crucial that woodworking businesses work harder to establish their place in the new market. A new tool to help them do that is a book by Neil M. Brown called Tools of the Trade: Modern Marketing for Construction Brands. Published in partnership with the Construction Marketing Association, the book also serves as a textbook for that group’s Certified Construction Marketing Professional Program.
For those in the woodworking industry, the book has several things going for it that put it ahead of generic marketing texts. Because it is targeted at the construction industry, woodworkers can identify with many of the examples and photos. Of course, some of those examples will not be directly applicable, such as ones focused at retail marketing such as in home centers, but the bulk of the information is right on target.
The best value of the book is the significant amount of space devoted to modern marketing concepts such as using social media, blogs, QR codes, and the like. This is information that is hard to find in any kind of authoritative form in one place and focused on a related industry. The book also covers conventional advertising, trade shows, and direct marketing.
One whole section of the book is devoted specifically to specialized construction channels and segments. The part of that section probably of most interest to woodworking operations is the section devoted to marketing architectural/engineering/construction (AEC) services. It includes healthy discussions of lead generation, lead services and leveraging associations for networking.
But all said and done, most woodworking business owners would probably be more comfortable having someone else handle the marketing chores. The book covers that, too, with a section on finding marketing talent, selecting marketing partners, and automating your marketing.
All in all, there is a lot of great information here, presented with good pictures, colorful graphics and clear writing. It’s well worth picking up to help bring your marketing up to speed.
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