Marketing and carpentry

A while ago, we introduced the figure of the Industrial Craftsman—that is, a new concept linked to the figure of the producer of windows, furniture, and wood products in general.
As a joke, I tried describing him as a mythological figure, a sort of modern minotaur—half craftsman (in structure) and half industrial (in thought)—which absorbs the advantages of both sides, while leaving out the flaws.
In the last article though, we saw how the Industrial Craftsman still needs a team to achieve his goals with.
If we put together these two previous articles, today’s topic is just a natural follow up.
In this chapter, we’ll discuss marketing.
Every self-respecting Industrial Craftsman must learn how to market for the good of his company and employees.
People often understand well the notion of “doing something” (outward marketing) to attract new potential buyers, but at the same time, they don’t always manage to digest the concept of committing to what we described last time—that is, marketing within the company.
Knowing how to do internal marketing not only leads to retain your best employees, but also to attract new ones and to grow your company with a set of motivated professionals who are proud to be part of a winning team.

But what does marketing mean?
“Marketing” has become the latest buzzword; it’s the talk of the town.
Some would say marketing today is like a bad penny—it always turns up.
Talking about marketing is considered hip, though most who talk about it don’t know much about the subject. I guarantee you that this subject is quite vast and should be taken in small doses.
If we limit ourselves to the pure theoretical definition—the one they teach at universities—then we can define marketing as “a branch of economics that deals with the descriptive study of the market and the analysis of the iteration of the market with the company.”
I don’t know about you, but I personally haven’t studied economics and when faced with this very academic definition, I can only mutter “Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that.”.
On these kinds of topics, I need to go at them a lot more slowly. I need them to be explained to me like I’m five years old. I need them to be digested into something more straightforward.

What does marketing mean?
I have studied several definitions of marketing over the years, but I think the most understandable is “explaining why a potential customer should buy from me rather than from any of my direct or indirect competitors or even not buy anything and stay in the condition in which they are.”
When you want to market something, you have to keep in mind the important concept of “why from me and not from others.” We must explain why our product (window, cabinet, etc.) or service (warranty, delivery methods, etc.) is more suitable for solving the customer’s problem than that of our direct or indirect competitor.

Marketing vs. Advertising
When the word “marketing” comes up in discussions, I am often told, “Yes, but I already advertise.” Many companies are unknowingly doing just what they shouldn’t be doing: advertising. That’s the main reason why they don’t get the desired results.
Marketing is the opposite of advertising. While the two are often confused or assimilated, the truth is that they are two diametrically opposed activities.
Classic advertising can be done by the market leader (or co-leader), which are often large companies, through huge investments that small and medium-sized companies like ours cannot certainly afford. Unlike us mere mortals, big companies (Coca-Cola, Apple, Red Bull, Ikea) already have products that have won the minds of consumers, which already have a reason to buy from them instead of others. Therefore, the leading companies (in the minds of customers) can simply say through an advertising message that they exist and where they are. Nothing else is needed.
For us, that is not the case. Consumers don’t come to us just because we tell them where we are. And the ones who do come, probably after stumbling across some advertisement that tells nothing about us, usually do in the hope of finding opportunities, low prices, or absurd conditions, often making us lose a lot of time, only to end up with the cheapest and sleaziest competitor (of which we were aware from the beginning).
Since our brand (product, company, or service) might be unknown in the mind of the potential buyer, placing a simple advertisement that says “We’re here” is the best way to waste money.

What Is the Ultimate Goal of Marketing?
The ultimate goal of marketing is to sell. Period.
Everything else doesn’t matter— “views” don’t matter, “likes” don’t matter, and “visits” don’t matter.
All these things do not matter. The only thing that matters is the money that the company makes, which lets you go to the bank and pay your bills.
So if your marketing is bringing in money, then it’s good. Otherwise, it needs to change.
Why Should I Learn How to Market?
The survival of your company depends on marketing. Let me explain myself better by taking a leap into the past, starting in the ’70s, a post-war period when everything was in full construction and development.
At that time, there was no need for crazy things. It was very often enough to set up a shed and start producing something. In one way or another, it would be sold. There was no need to explain why yours was better than mine. There was a need for everything. It was a period of plenty, and there was no problem selling something.
The only real thing that mattered was to produce, produce, produce. All carpenters had queues in front of their companies because the demand far exceeded the supply. Carpenters with full bellies could afford to tell customers “Sorry but no, we don’t take private commissions.” or phrases that highlighted a lack of need.
Then, in the ’80s, companies began to have to deal with after-sales issues, as well as after-sales service. So, in the normal evolution of things, the world went on and as such things evolved towards better products but, above all, better services until the ’90s.
In the ’90s, everyone spoke of customer orientation. The imbalance between supply and demand was still important but not as much so as in the post-war years when everything was needed to be built. Consequently the need to differentiate through greater attention to the customer grew.
Many sales books of the time focused on knowing everything about the customer—the name of her children, the school they attended, their disciplinary reports, where the customer celebrated her anniversary of marriage—in short, total customer orientation.
This lasted for years and never required great efforts from the craftsmen beyond a minimum of commercial sensitivity and the usual productions dynamics that the carpentries were accustomed to for years. Then, in the 2000s, two heavy and unexpected meteors arrived that caused many companies to falter.

The first was called the internet, and although it was lucky for some, it was a misfortune for others (including carpenters). The second was called the crisis, and the building industry grew at its own expenses, helping to spread materials on the market that competed with wood, which found an open field with no adequate competitor.
The internet has irremediably and forever changed the rules of the game. At a moment’s notice, a potential buyer could solve his problem in a few clicks, receiving a number of price quotes from his chosen companies.
When the supply exceeds the demand and the offers seem similar, the problem suffered by many companies of the “lowest price” arises. That’s why every company should learn to market as soon as possible.
If you want, you can delegate marketing to someone else, but delegating the marketing task without actually understanding the topic is a crazy and unacceptable choice.
How would an external marketing agency, web marketing agency, or advertising agency explain to your potential buyers why you are better than your competitors? Customers must come to you instead of others, but the marketing agency does not know why and the graphic designer does not know why. If you are not straightforward with them in a clear and conscious manner, then they’ll go in a hunt for “likes”, “views”, and so on. You’ll just burn money with little to no return.

Knowing how to market is not only a useful thing but it has become extremely important because the internet exists.
If we analyse the traditional sales system, we can see that it is normally divided into three steps:
1. The activities that are done before a customer enters the company (marketing)
2. The activities that are done when the customer is face-to-face with our seller (sales)
3. The activities that are carried out when the sale is concluded (follow-up)
For many carpenters, step 1 is practically non-existent. In fact, before the internet, customers would get into their cars and go straight to the carpenters, entering directly into step 2.

But, for a moment, let’s leave aside that this system is obsolete and must be changed. Since the customer is not pre-educated about our products and services, step 2 becomes long, challenging, and inevitably repetitive because in the end, you would have no option but to explain your uniqueness.
Although it is still used by many, this system has been treading water for a long time. In a world where you use the internet to search for a restaurant, to book a hotel, to buy shoes, or to buy a bike, it is quite natural to think that if you want to look for doors and windows or a kitchen, you should also use the internet. Nowadays, the common procedure for problem-solving is asking the internet.
It’s easy to understand that if all these people, who turn to the internet when looking for doors and windows (plus those who do not use the net), do not find what they’re looking for immediately, then there is a serious chance that we we’ll never get to step 2.
In the meanwhile, another important advantage in abandoning the traditional sales system as soon as possible turns up: marketing that educates and leads the customer to understand why you are better than the others. Not only do we have a better chance of getting to step 2, but step 2 will be exponentially shorter.
Note that not everything happens on the internet. we don’t have to become experts only in web marketing or online marketing. In fact, we must master marketing in the real world—that is, offline marketing, the physical one that you can actually touch.
What does it mean to do online and offline marketing? Well, in the hope that this question doesn’t make you restless at night, continue discussing it in the next article through a large number of solid examples.
See you next time!