It looks like the long residential construction dry spell is over.  It’s time to dig out of your 
hibernation cave and start spending time and money on your marketing plans.  It’s time to contact 
your customers; past, present, and future, and let them know that you’re ready when they are, to 
begin that next big project.
What have I been smoking?  Nothing, but I have been talking to a lot of architectural firms 
throughout the West, and with only a few exceptions, every geographic area is on the upswing.  
Both tract and custom new homes are once again being built, people are moving, and more homes 
are on the market.  This is great news for the residential designers.
If you’ve been in this industry any length of time, you’ve lived through several of these roller-coaster construction cycles.  You learn to live with it, but these last few years have been the roughest in recent memory.  Now is the time to redouble your marketing efforts.  You don’t want to lag behind your competition when this turn-around kicks into high gear.  You want to make sure your company name is the first one your customers think of when they need to start on that long-overdue construction project.
One of the classic economic examples of correctly predicting economic prosperity came right after World War II.  Some economists predicted that with the influx of GIs returning to the states, there wouldn’t be enough jobs, housing, or food to go around and the country would be looking at another depression-era economy.  Other economists predicted the can-do spirit of the war would be brought home, and the country would see unprecedented prosperity.
At the end of the war, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler quickly retooled their factories from manufacturing military equipment to cars.  These companies expanded and tooled-up for the returning GIs, anticipating the huge sales to follow.  Studebaker, Hudson, and Packard, all formidable competitors before the war, bet on a recession following the war and cut back on production capacity.  By the time the latter three had realized their mistake it was too late.  A few years later, all three had the dubious honor of going bankrupt during a time of economic prosperity.  It wasn’t the market; it was mismanagement that had been their downfall.
Basically, the message is to be ready, have your company positioned properly, and be in the right place at the right time.  The market is definitely on the rebound.  Getting your name in front of your potential customers for future sales is paramount.  Once the market gets into full swing, it will be too late to start getting your message out.  Your competitors will have already beaten you to it, and you’ll never catch up.
This is the time to make your move, to stand out.  Now is the time to let your customers know that you’re there for them.  After all, if your company has survived the last several years, it stands to reason that you can take care of business and get the job done during the good times.  Take advantage of the situation and make a statement to your customers.
I once had an architect tell me that he welcomes the slowing of the construction market.  “It weeds out the guys that shouldn’t be in business in the first place.  It gets rid of the ones that don’t know how to properly design a building or manage a business.  I get so tired of telling customers that we’ll always be here, long after our competitors have vanished.  It’s times like these that I can make my point.”  Well said.

Marcus Dodson
editor & publisher
No More Hibernation
Its Time to Redouble Your Marketing Efforts