Thursday, September 1, 2011


This little piggy stayed home."  That simple nursery rhythm seems to sum up the modular industry's attitude toward marketing.

Over the past year I have talked with dozens of factory owners, sales managers, sales reps and marketing people.  Wait a minute!  Make that two marketing people.  And that is why the piggy stays home. 

Factory owners and management simply don't have time for marketing, as least they don't think they do.  Marketing is what sets the foundation for sales.  Marketing is what identifies the prospective buyers for the factory.  Marketing establishes the benchmarks for the factory's advertising efforts.  Marketing is key to staying in business, yet with all that said, only two companies I've talked with actually have a marketing director.

Most of the time when I ask a factory owner if they have a marketing person, they tell me that the Sales Manager is in charge of that.  When I ask who is responsible for advertising, they hesitate a moment as if I didn't hear them answer that already and answer "The Sales Manager, of course."

You heard this a million times..."Ready, Aim, Fire."  But a Sales Manager's idea of bagging a builder or identifying who buys their homes is the shorter version..."Fire!"  "Ready" and "Aim" are not part of the sales process.

So the little piggy that should have gone to market to find out who, what, when, where and how people buy the factory's homes stayed home and never found answers to any of these questions.

"This little piggy went to market"   Without marketing, the modular factory has no real map to success.

"This little piggy stayed at home"  This is management's idea of how to get customers.  Sit around a table and discuss the reasons why nobody is buying their homes.  It always ends with everyone blaming the economy.

"This little piggy had roast beef"  After the (un)successful management meeting, everyone takes a lunch break and goes out and charges it on the company credit card because it was a company meeting, wasn't it?

"This little piggy had none"  This is the logical conclusion to the story.  No homes ordered and closed factory doors.

"And this little piggy went 'Wee, Wee Wee' all the way home"  End of story.

Without a marketing effort, whether it's a full time position, part time or contracted out, most factories will soon be singing the "little piggy" song as they walk out of the factory for the last time.


Ted said...

This is too funny but sadly too true. My sales manager has no marketing plan and wouldn't know what it looks like if he fell over one. He and the owner are constantly asking us salespeople why we aren't selling houses. Now all I'll see when they ask me that is a little pig going Wee, Wee, Wee. Thanks for planting that image.

Anonymous said...

Ted, I must work at the same company because my sales manager has never once talked about who buys our homes other than the builders and he never has time to offer suggestions on how to compete against other salesmen other than price.
My image will be the piggy that eats roast beef because thats all my sales manager does. sits at his desk and eats.

William said...

Sadly Ted's and Anonymous' comments, along with Coach's blog, are indicative of a LONG STANDING problem in the modular industry. For years they have operated as PURE FUNCTIONS of the housing market. When it is up they flourish (through no efforts on their part) and when the market is down they suffer - but this time through NO effort to market on their part. In my 40 years in the industry I have not seen any appreciable long-standing marketing my modular operations and I do not expect to see them before I pass away from this earth to see my heavenly father. sad sad sad
Coach a short definition of what I call marketing -- PUTTING BUTTS IN THE SEATS. That is what we want from our marketing efforts. Giving our professional salespeople people to talk to. People to whom to tell the story of their company, their products and how the two of them (company and builder) can form a true win-win scenario.
And last one take on your ready-aim-fire. What I have seen a lot is ready-fire! We both agree the "aim" part is most often neglected.

Anonymous said...

I'm the little piggy that stayed home because I'm no longer selling modular homes for the factory that closed this year. We all have to thank Obama for not helping the new home industry in this country.
If it weren't for floods, fires in Texas, hurricanes and tornados, there wouldn't be any new houses going up.

Haddad said...

@ "Anonymous said" about Obama being to blame...

If the modular home industry was only 5% as good at marketing as Obama, there would only be modular homes being built.

Blame Obama, but he had a great marketing organization, how many factories have a marketing person let alone a marketing organization?