"Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does."
Stuart Henderson Britt
Last autumn a group representing the high and mighty of the UK timber industry met in London to consider the future of 'Wood for Good'. For those readers unfamiliar with this campaign have a look at the web site www.woodforgood.com . In brief, it's an excellent generic promotion of timber, sponsored by contributions from across the industry. I am pleased to say that in spite of the downturn it was enthusiastically agreed to continue to fund the campaign.
In my daily work I never cease to be amazed by the lack of marketing and advertising in the timber industry. I see some great businesses with tremendous products completely failing to inform their markets about what they actually do. Conversely, and equally incredibly, I see some pretty poor products that sell remarkably well simply because the manufacturers know the marketing game so well.
'Wood for Good' is all about informing the public about the great benefits of using timber. It's a generic campaign so no single type of timber is specially promoted. Indeed, I would argue that for ordinary punters wood is just wood, so if your average consumer sees an advert promoting the stuff they get an important message irrespective of whether the imagery illustrates hardwood, softwood or veneer. If it looks good and performs well that's enough to stimulate interest.
If we in the timber industry don't shout about the benefits no one else will do it for us, though trust me we will never run short of noisy detractors.
I know that national media campaigns are expensive but it costs even more to sustain our businesses on limited sales because too few customers know about or understand what we do. We have to rally together and promote ourselves and accept that, as Lord Leverhulme once famously said "Half the money I (we) spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I (we) don't know which half."
It's of enormous credit to the industry that we see through our competitive urges to unite behind a common cause. It just has to be good for wood.