Giving and taking: The imperfect science of generosity (and business)!


Written by my friend Mark Buckshon of Construction Marketing Ideas

For you.

This weekend I’ve been mulling over situations where I failed to follow “best practices” in construction marketing and had my hand slapped, and where we did everything right, and still got our hands slapped.  The “I” and “we” are deliberate.  I will always take responsibility for anything that goes wrong with this business and the “we” occurs because I wish to spread the credit among colleagues.

Ah, best practices.  Generosity, sharing, respect, never forcing your marketing message down unwanted places, giving, honor and the like.

Bad practices:  Spam, intrusion, offensive communications, (unwelcome) interruption, cliches, boredom, disrespect, sloppiness.

I know a few people who (at least to me) always seem to get it right — everything is “best practices” — and some who always seem to have it wrong, but if you are like me, most of us are somewhere in the middle.  We screw up, get angry, mess up relationships or take things for granted.  Or, worse, we do everything 100 per cent correctly, and the other person (organization) just milks us for all our free stuff and then discards our generosity like a heap of trash.  (Of course, even thinking that happens is “bad” because we are supposed to be unconditionally generous.  Sure.)

These points, especially, operate in the space of permission and relationship marketing.  If yo are a star with fame and recognition and a great personal brand you don’t have to work too hard to pull new business in.  But if you aren’t quite there yet, how do you climb that mountain of success?  You want people to know who you are and how good your services really are, but they just don’t care (unless they know you already).  And you perhaps just don’t have enough people ready to refer you or purchase your services through your existing network.

So you need to reach out — with advertising or paid marketing services (like PR agencies, SEO “experts” and the like).  And most of what you find out there is either crap, overpriced or simply doesn’t work very well.   Maybe you can get faster results, cheaper, by spamming, telemarketing or canvassing.  You cross to the dark side to survive.  Or you call someone like me and pick brain — I’m “free” after all — and don’t think of buying anything in return.  (Self-wrist slap here . . . I’m supposed to be generous without worrying about reciprocation because it just happens, right.)

There is a right answer and conclusion here and it is something I need to remind myself about when things are less-than-perfect.  We are all less-than-perfect though we can still aspire to higher standards and do our best to keep things in perspective.  Sometimes magical insights arise at the strangest places and where you least expect them; and sometimes you will do everything the way you should, and feel like you’ve been drained as your energy is sucked out by takers.

I will be generous.  I won’t intrude or irritate or offend in my marketing.  I will learn from my mistakes.

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Mark Buckshon Construction Marketing Ideas


  1. You will continue to believe, you will continue to give, and others will continue to take. And in the end Paul, you are the better person. Don’t let the leeches of the world undermine your greater sensibilities. The reward doesn’t (necessarily) show up in your wallet, it doesn’t exist as a logo on your card or website. The reward exists in the hearts and minds of those you helped, and best of all, in your heart and mind.

    Keep the faith, it’s why you’re you.


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