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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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.