How Building Materials Firms Can Market with Limited Time

When you’re running a busy material supplier business, you don’t have much time for marketing. In fact, it often gets pushed to the bottom of the priority list. However, if you aren’t marketing your firm today, you may not have work tomorrow. To help you effectively market even when you’re busy, you need to break your initiatives down into smaller goals that you can more easily achieve. By setting smaller goals, you’ll gain momentum, and it will be easier to keep your initiatives going.

Time Management

As a material supplier, you have constant demands on your time. Taking orders, filling orders, ordering stock, tracking special orders, and tracking your finances can leave little time for marketing. Yet, if you don’t market your business, you won’t have orders to process for very long. You have to market today for sales tomorrow.

It’s no surprise that marketing becomes less of a priority the busier you get. You have to focus on meeting today’s expenses before you can look at tomorrow’s revenues. You always think you’ll get to marketing when things slow down. Soon, however, you may notice that weeks have passed since you paid attention to your marketing plans.

How do you keep marketing from slipping in priority? Many attempt to keep their efforts going by multitasking while doing other activities. They think they can get more done if they attempt to do two or more things at once. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. Studies have shown that when we constantly switch gears and bounce back and forth between tasks, we become less efficient and more likely to make mistakes.

Multitasking is a Myth

The unfortunate truth is that multitasking is really a myth. We’re really wired to only focus on one task at a time, says neuropsychologist Cynthia Kubu, PhD. “When we think we’re multitasking, most often we aren’t really doing two things at once, but instead, we’re doing individual actions in rapid succession, or task-switching,” she says.

One study found that just 2.5% of people are able to multitask effectively. This means very few people can actually accomplish multiple tasks at the same time. Continuing to force yourself to try to multitask is working against your brain’s own processes and lowering the quality of the work you’re able to perform.

So, if we can’t multitask to keep our marketing efforts going, what can we do? When facing a full schedule and the need to market, you must face this truth: you can’t do everything. While this may sound like a defeatist attitude, it’s actually the key to a more effective marketing plan.

Using time management techniques and adding additional help can help you reach your goals, but if you’re trying to accomplish many things at the same time, you may find your efforts ineffective because they aren’t focused. Just as a distracted driver can cause a vehicle to swerve off the road, if you aren’t focused in your marketing efforts, you too can get off course.

Choosing the First Initiative

The key to an effective marketing campaign is to choose a first initiative and focus on it before tackling your other goals. The first initiative should be the one that will generate the greatest outcome with the least amount of effort. You’ll need to assess each initiative for possible outcomes and the amount of time or finances required to implement it, then choose the one to start with.

Once you’ve selected the most profitable goal, determine who needs to be involved and whether you have all the resources you need. If you don’t have everything you need to complete the goal, you’ll need to either select another goal or do what you can to get more resources. Continue this process until you have selected a goal that you can afford to implement.

Next, you’ll narrow the spectrum of the goal down to what you can achieve in a two-week timeframe.

Two-week Goals

Two-week goals are the most effective timeline because they offer flexibility when work responsibilities take over, while not being so far in the future that they never get completed.

Set your two-week goals by determining how much of the chosen initiative you can complete, realistically, in the next two weeks. Break the initiative down into small, bite-size tasks that you can fit into your schedule around your other responsibilities. Then, schedule the first task and repeat for each task as they are completed.

After one week, check in and see where you are in your list of tasks. Are you on track? Do you need more resources? How are things going? If you need help or additional resources, ask for them or adjust your timeline as necessary.

Once you’ve completed your two-week goal, use the momentum you’ve gathered to complete more of the initiative by selecting a new two-week goal and following the process.

An example

Let’s say that your marketing goal is to begin using LinkedIn to market your materials. Your two-week goal is to complete one status post. Break this goal down into smaller tasks that you can complete in a short amount of time. Your task list may look like this:

  1. Set up company LinkedIn page
  2. Brainstorm ideas for posts
  3. Write text for first status post
  4. Choose photos or other media
  5. Complete first status post

Each of these tasks can be completed in just a few minutes, and all of them can easily be finished over a two-week span of time.

First Things First

The third habit in Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is to put First Things First, and it suggests that we should prioritize tasks that are important, instead of those that are urgent. Marketing is an important part of maintaining and growing a construction material supplier business.

The myth of multitasking keeps you from effectively completing tasks, as you convince yourself that you are being effective when you’re not. Address this by putting First Things First, and you will find that your marketing initiatives gain momentum even when you’re busy. By focusing your efforts into small chunks of time, you can make progress on your marketing goals without sacrificing your other responsibilities.

Patience Jones