Patty McDaniel (Big50 1998) has a very simple marketing theme: Never let up. The president of Boardwalk Builders in Rehoboth Beach, Del., has always realized the importance of marketing, but it is only in the past few years that she has had professional help and the budget to implement her ideas.
She and her team have redesigned Boardwalk's jobsite trailers, job signs, brochures, and Web site. She is targeting the high end of the market and clients who expect professional-quality materials. "To present myself on that level, I have to have the collateral materials," McDaniel says.
In 1994, when sales were down, she consulted a marketing expert. Now, leads are up 30% over last year, but she's still pushing her promotional programs. However, the plan is better defined, thanks to the expertise of her consultant. Much of the marketing is not meant to generate sales. Instead, it serves to reassure her clients that they made the correct decision in choosing her company.
This year, she picked up an idea from Remodeling's article on a company calendar, which she thought would be a great way to keep in touch with past clients. She moved quickly to set up photo shoots of employees on jobsites and now has a 2002 calendar ready for distribution. She's already planning for a series of postcards next year to target smaller jobs. "I have a reputation for high-end stuff," she says, "but not everyone knows we do replacement windows and leak and structural repairs."
Her marketing projects can be as expensive and complicated as the new jobsite trailers or as thrifty and simple as a few mugs. (A couple of years ago she printed the Boardwalk logo on mugs, which she gave to a local establishment. The restaurant's served coffee in them ever since.) She finds inspiration in magazines and at trade shows. "I have no original ideas," McDaniel says. "I just implement what I have seen."