People know what they know and like what they know — which is why they’re reluctant to change what they know, even if something else is obviously better. People get comfortable doing what they do. It’s hard to rewire.

That’s what the brain is called on to do when we learn something different — and that includes learning about new kinds of marketing and new ways to reach potential customers.

Take social media, for instance. Think it’s as simple as you can just be there or not be there? Of course that decision is yours to make. But consider how what analysts call “media consumption” has changed. Research from various sources — ComScore, eMarketer, and Pew International Research — show that Facebook-led social media is redefining communication, that search continues to grow, and that online will take an expanding share of video consumption. Now think about smartphones and tablets and how much you, personally, spend looking at a screen in the course of a day.

Posting as Performance Art
Some marketers get this. Some don’t. I know a guy — let’s call him Company A — who posts every day on Facebook. He takes before and after shots of his company’s jobs and puts them online. He’ll show a picture of a wall opening and ask people if they’d prefer a bow or a bay window. Everyone loves to give opinions. The other day he posted a picture of a kitchen where the walls were painted clay and the question: Are you daring enough to go orange with your kitchen?

His posts always contain images, which pull you right in. He keeps it simple, and he uses a lot of humor. He has built an audience and is influential there. He always has new jobs that he’s posting about.

His approach is different from that of Company B, where the marketing manager professes skepticism about Facebook in particular and social media in general. (“I don’t do Facebook,” he says.) In fact, the last post on the company’s Facebook page is from a customer who was annoyed because he called the company and no one came to give him an estimate. That post is more than six months old.

The marketing manager and the owner of Company B understand that this is media you have to master, but they remain aloof.

Don’t Create Relevance, Be Relevant
Google has gotten so much smarter, and it’s constantly evolving. Five years ago a site loaded with keywords might land you a prominent place in organic search rankings. Today, it’s not just about content; it’s about acreage — your reach. How long you’ve been in business. How long your site has been up. What kind of reputation you have. You can’t just create relevance. You have to be relevant to potential customers. Company A wins attention, and the attention of homeowners is what you’re spending marketing dollars to get.

My question is: Are you interested in a marketing campaign that costs you nothing but where you can make money?

It’s work to be there every day in ways that effectively get attention. But do you really have a choice? This is how we communicate now. And you can’t just dip your toe in the water; you have to be in the pool. —Sales veteran and trainer Mike Damora has been the sales manager at several large home improvement companies. Reach him at