You’re Either a Utility or You’re Useless

You’re Either a Utility or You’re Useless

Today, let’s talk about utility…For reasons that go on for far longer than I want to keep you this week, I’ve been crazed about getting the landscaping buttoned up early this fall.

Now, I like a good-looking lawn and garden, but I’m the “let’s have someone do it” kind of guy, but I get ideas from everywhere.

That means I’ve spent my fair share of time in garden supply stores lately

I’ve gone to the big box joints for stuff, I’ve found myself going to a local mom and pop joint called Primex Garden Center for most of my garden needs.

It’s a 2nd or 3rd generation kind of spot with fantastic greenhouses and beautiful grounds that could double as gardens you’d pay money to visit and the people who work there are as knowledgeable as it gets.

And that’s the difference

The big box stores and Primex have pretty much the same things; tomato plants, basil, miles, and miles of bulbs, shrubs, and mulch…oh the mulch, I’ve humped 4 yards of mulch all over my house the last 2 weekends and my back is yelling at me as I type.

The difference between Primex and the other stores is the staff. At Primex, everyone knows everything there is to know, they are helpful, friendly, and willing to do the extras to make you feel special.

At Lowes, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who knew what red bark mulch was much less where to find it. It’s not their fault, it’s the nature of the beast; low prices mean lower expectations.

And that’s why some, if not most people are willing to pay more

People are willing to pay for the knowledge they can’t get somewhere else. From where the mulch is located to how to plant Heinz tomato plants to understanding the permitting process for a new kitchen…and that’s where you come in.

If you compete with a bigger competitor, or you find yourself always battling over price, the best way to move the message is to be the utility. Being a utility makes you immune to price, it leaves competitors defenseless when faced with people who are willing to pay more for knowledge and it helps you distinguish yourself as the expert.  

You do that in your marketing. You let people know upfront they aren’t getting the cheapest, but they are getting so much more. You insert whatever your so much more is and go to town!

The Contractor’s Toolbox

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