One of the most basic principles of marketing is this: Go where the customers are. When I started my landscape contracting business in 1988, that was the first thing I did – I went out and talked to people in our community to announce my new company. Within 24 hours I had 3 qualified leads. Unfortunately, coming from an entirely different industry, I now had a problem. I had only a clue about my new profession, and really, no idea at all about the green industry itself.
That’s when I remembered the suggestion of one of my former customers as a corporate sales and marketing professional. Get involved in trade associations – meet people that can shrink your learning curve. I remember having a computer back then, but certainly no use of the Internet, so I have no idea how I conducted my search. However I did it, I discovered our Illinois Landscape Contractors Association – ILCA, and of course, I got involved. As a result, I learned, and as a result of that, I kept coming back to learn more.
Soon, I learned about other associations – some local and a few national. It eventually led me to my first GIC in Cincinnati in 1996. I was impressed with how things were both the same and different with other green industry professionals, depending upon their region, market, and area of specialty. And I also discovered that some of my Illinois colleagues were even more willing to open up and talk with me about some of our mutual challenges now that we were on neutral territory.
These are just a few of the reasons I keep coming back to GIC. How about you? What brings you back to GIC every year?
Do you ever stop learning? Business is changing is so many ways. Yes, we do have an Internet now, which presents all kinds of new opportunities. In fact, at this year’s GIC I’ll be giving three presentations to help you use the Web to market your business with social media and Internet marketing. With Web capabilities changing daily, the only thing I’m sure of today is that you will definitely learn something new – that’s a promise!
If you’ve read this far, please take a moment and share a comment on what brings you to GIC. I’m interested. And I look forward to seeing you in Louisville.