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And speaking of trade magazines, you must read this

Okay, so I make fun of trade magazines and took an unfair jab at Grounds Maintenance, even though I’ve faithfully read each issue every month for the last nine years. Speaking of Grounds Maintenance magazine, anyone who is running or starting a business based on a service rather than selling merchandise absolutely, positively, no arguments must read this excellent article on how to market a service business published this month, you guessed it, in Grounds Maintenance magazine.

Money quote:

Service typically cannot be separated from the creator-seller of the service. Customers’ opinions regarding a service frequently are formed through contacts with the production/marketing personnel and impressions of the physical surroundings in the “factory.” Therefore, building personal relationships and trust with customers is vital for your service business. Too often, the contact personnel (your landscaping crew) think of themselves as producers of a job rather than marketers of a service. Training your employees to interact with customers, or designating a foreman who is knowledgeable, courteous and willing to go the extra mile to answer customer’s needs is very important to marketing your services.

Of course, as readers of this blog know, I would argue this is equally true of retailing.

Of course — and this is typical of the problems you find in trade magazines — later in the article the authors stress the importance of determing the price elasticity of the services you offer. Ummmm, sure, if you say so . . . How many landscapers have you hired, Dr. Venture, that not only know what price elasticity is, but can do the research and make the calculation? I don’t know about the groundskeepers you have crawling the grounds of Cornell (the author is an econ prof there), but if they could calculate price elasticities, do you think they’d be pushing frigging lawnmowers around all day?

Read the article. Puzzle through some of the MBA talk and memorize what you understand. Seriously. It’s a great article. End of lecture.

(And if you can’t sleep tonight and that pound of Vicodin you just swallowed isn’t helping, try 10 Steps to Renovate a Sand Bunker. I bet you can’t last past number five. I’m telling you — I actually read this stuff, but even I nodded off around number 3, “Remove The Sand.”)

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