What a construction site can teach us about marketing.

Broadway beanstalkEver walk by a construction site and wonder what the heck they were doing on the other side?

Construction sites in Manhattan fascinate me.  In the middle of a hundred skyscrapers, there’s a giant hole and dirt, and then months later, another one of those skyscrapers sprouts up like a beanstalk.

For safety reasons, construction sites in Manhattan aren’t accessible or even visible to the public. They’re walled off by giant sheets of plywood so you can’t catch a glimpse at the incredible work being done on the other side.

But you’re curious, aren’t you?  Especially if you’ve seen backhoes and dump trucks poking out above the walls, and strong dudes who look good in orange vests and plastic hats walking in and out.  You’ve wondered just exactly what was going on back there.  Maybe you’ve even tried to peer between the cracks in those plywood walls?

Construction companies noticed.

I walked by just one of those sites the other day and snapped the picture below.  Take a look at what some companies are putting into those plywood walls.

Broadway Window

It’s  a window!

They know you’re curious.  So they’re feeding your curiosity.  They are literally saying “Hey, I know you’re in a rush, and have a thousand things on your mind.  But stop for a second.  Look at this.  Isn’t this cool?”

Now re-read what I just wrote and think for a second . . . isn’t that the objective of advertising?

The construction companies spent a little extra money by installing those windows to give the public an inside perspective on what they do . . . because they recognized that’s what people want these days.  They want to know how things work.

And yes.  This is new.  In 1972, we didn’t care so much how things worked.  Because it took too long to find out.

But this is 2013.  This is the age of Google at our fingerprints.  We can find out how to change our own oil, or who wrote that country song  with the lyric “chicken dinner,” or even how to build a skyscraper in seconds.

So we do.  And we’re obsessed with finding out this stuff.

And so is your audience.

A cheap secret to getting your audience more invested in what you’re “building” is to give them an inside look at the process.  (Click here to read a story about how one company did just this with cupcakes.)

Show them what you do.  And they’ll do what you want them to.

 

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Comments
  • Fred Landau says:

    These internet days, it almost feels like the longer a show’s in development openly – such as in showcases, small theaters or songwriters’ cabaret performances – and letting people hear work from the show, the more the show amasses followers that are anxious to see it in its early days. (A long development period used to suggest trouble, didn’t it?)

    Maybe this ties in to your recent article about needing to stand still for a while to move ahead.

  • One of my favorite memories of walking around New York when I was in high school was walking past the theater where the latest revival of Guys and Dolls, (we’re back, black, and better than ever) was doing a set load. Doors were open and I got to see the set. Even though it was kind of a cheap set for Broadway, it was a thrill, nonetheless. It would be pretty cool if Broadway shows would create websites to show the set design process (and costumes, and maybe even lighting and sound design) from the first drawings etc. to the finished product. It certainly would build a connection with an audience– especially visual people.

  • Wayne Paul says:

    D-zude,

    If I’m not mistaken, construction sites have always (my life: the last 50 years) left portals or windows for the “sidewalk superintendents/passersby to view the proceedings. Albeit, without plexiglass…

  • Debbie Saville says:

    Every time a shadow of doubt questions my process, I read a blog or yours that seems to come up at the right time and makes me feel more confident in the decisions I am making. Yesterday, one of my team members asked me… “Aren’t you afraid someone will run with your idea?” I was questioned because I am thinking of ways to get the format of this show and some of the music introduced. I intuitively said, “No, I am not afraid, I believe in my mission statement and no one can create what I have already spent two years of my life developing and no one has the original copy written music that goes along with it. The time is now for the people of Pittsburgh and beyond to start getting the buzz on what we will premier hopefully at the end of July next year.” Thanks Ken, your blogs are my guideposts that help me stay confident in what I am doing.

  • Anfrage says:

    Yes! Finally someone writes about enviroment
    friendly cars.

  • Joeann says:

    There is definately a great deal to learn about this topic.
    I like all the points you have made.

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