Michael Klein

The recession has made Ben Morey rethink his marketing plan. Instead of print ads or e-newsletters, the president of Morey Construction, in Signal, Calif., changed his thinking about how involved to get with his upscale clients’ personal interests.

Morey now inquires about clients’ hobbies, travels, and involvement with charities and community events with the intention of participating in those events or inviting his clients to related outings.

For example, Morey invited a client who is interested in golf to a professional golf tournament and spent four hours with him at the event. Another client, a doctor, received a gift card to help with a landscaping project at the clinic where she volunteers.

Top 10

Morey feels that this “organic” marketing is a better way to sustain his business.

During the economic downturn the remodeler became aware that most of his company’s work was for or came through its top 10 clients. Though he stays in touch with clients via e-mail and print newsletters, Morey realized that this top 10 group is inundated with information. “Through spending time with them, it became apparent that they don't pay attention to [all that information]," he says. “They focus on relationships."

So rather than expand on electronic social networking with Facebook or Twitter, Morey decided to focus on face-to-face social networking. To that end, he recently purchased $500 tickets for himself and his wife for a dinner being co-hosted by one of his clients to honor three couples in the Jewish community. He also placed a 1/4-page congratulatory ad in the event's program. At the dinner, Morey sat at a table with two past clients. Another couple at the table asked him to meet with them on a project they are considering. “That type of connection makes the introduction a whole lot easier,” Morey says.

Another client who Morey has played golf with referred the remodeler to a friend who then signed a contract with Morey Construction for three times her original budget. “She has confidence in us because of her relationship with one of my clients,” Morey points out.

Paying for Being Social

Morey Construction's new marketing plan does come with a price tag. The remodeler had to increase his marketing budget from 2% to 3% of revenue to 5%. In addition, he now needs a more robust program than the Microsoft Outlook contact software he currently uses so he can better track information on client interests and hobbies.

Morey’s bottom line might not be the only thing to improve with this new marketing plan: his handicap may benefit as well. “Typically I play golf twice a year, but in the past few months, I’ve played four times,” he says.

—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.

This is a longer version of an article that appeared in the April 2011 issue of REMODELING.

Have a suggestion for Ben Morey about contact software he could use or want to share the pros and cons of contact software you've used? Please e-mail senior editor Nina Patel.