Measure Twice, Cut Once

Alex Greenwood
4 min readNov 30, 2020

Ever heard the old saw (ooh bad pun) “measure twice, cut once”? The basic thrust is that if you measure the board properly and identify exactly where the saw is supposed to go, you won’t be cutting a second time. Sure, “eyeballing” can be faster if you’re a custom home builder with a great eye and are a little lucky, but more often than not most of us would benefit from a little planning.

Many years ago (pre-Internet for all intents and purposes) I was doing a little side marketing consulting with a pal. We signed a client who ran a construction business who wanted to increase his market share in the remodeling sector.

We met with him, identified his strengths, weaknesses, and competition, then advised him that his best course would be a humor-themed, direct-mail campaign to the demographic audiences and zip codes he wanted to reach. We counseled him that one mailer wouldn’t do, though.

“One really great mailer can do it!” he said.

We advised him that even with a coupon or special deal on the mailer, it usually takes more than one mailer to get anyone’s attention. You had to consider too that even if every household read the mailer, only a fraction would be interested in doing any remodeling at that time. The mailer needed to make the company a “front of mind” consideration if/when remodeling was on the agenda for the homeowner.

The client also believed that we should get at least a 10 percent response. Well, the average for a successful campaign back then was between two and four percent. He looked at us like we each had three heads.

“Let us create a campaign for you–say eight to ten mailers over six months,” we said. Conservative, yes, but potentially effective.

He relented and said okay, come back with your ideas. We presented a fun campaign that we thought would make his business stand out. Instead of hard hats and typical construction business clip art, we created a series of pieces that caught attention and built brand awareness.

A favorite was a large postcard mailer with a photo of two aspirin on one side and the headline: “Remodeling your kitchen shouldn’t be a headache.” On the flip side was information about the company and a free estimate offer. We were trying to position the client as a…

Alex Greenwood

PR Consultant, Speaker, Podcast Producer/Host, Editor, and Award-Winning Writer of the John Pilate Mystery Series. Accomplished belly laugher.