This week’s Idea: Pacific Homes is in the news – again. Here’s how they do it.

with Neil Godin

I started writing this in Whistler, BC, a couple of weeks ago. I was there to speak at the annual Global Buyers Mission, an exhibition of wood products hosted by BC Wood Specialties Group, an organization representing people who make (beautiful) things out of wood (things like custom furniture, kitchens, flooring, doors and windows, and more!). As I toured the exhibit floor (along with hundreds of buyers from around the world), I was delighted to encounter Ray Greene, of Pacific Homes, a client of mine on Vancouver Island.  Pacific Homes designs and builds custom homes – sustainably – in their climate-controlled plant, instead of on your building site – a waste-cutting approach that is great for the environment, but, is still associated with old-fashioned “pre-fab” cookie-cutter housing.  So Ray and his team are in the consumer and builder “education” business – doing a multitude of things to build awareness of the benefits of this approach to building, which is clearly the way of the future. (Hey, here in BC we live in a rain forest. Why would anyone want to build their home “on site” where lumber and supplies sit in puddles – when you could have it built in a factory – under environmentally controlled conditions – and have it delivered to your site, ready for assembly in days, instead of weeks or months?) It sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s a huge challenge to change old attitudes and old approaches. So. Ray and company keep sales moving steadily higher by accepting that they’re in the education business.

Hot news about a pink house… 

In their latest “education-based marketing” foray, Pacific Homes (along with their Pacific Truss Division), teamed up with PinkWood – makers of PinkShield, an innovative protective coating applied to wood that is mold, moisture and fire resistant – to host an open house at a home they’re building in nearby Sooke, BC (a home that also features their attention-getting Pacific SmartWall™ system, composed of pre-insulated panels that produce a tested average R-value of R-31). In order to draw attention to the event, Pacific’s GM, Lorne Winship, invited professionals from the local building inspector’s office, and the fire department, and a home inspector, to experience (and talk about) this new approach first hand. Result: CTV is planning to cover the story – and, in the meantime, Pacific Homes has given itself a wealth of new content – photos and details of the event – that they’re now using in their newsletter, blog and social media (and in their exhibit at the Whistler show). And, of course, the event was an ideal way to engage and convince prospective customers. Brilliant. In so many ways.

Your call to action:  

This story reinforces many principles that we repeat often here at MD.  One is that we are all in the “education-based marketing” business. Another is that we all need to attract attention, in order to attract clients, so we are all in the “attraction marketing” business as well. And another is that we all need to use all of the marketing channels available to us, in order to generate business at minimal cost – particularly in this clumsy economy. That means holding events like this one “on land” if appropriate (and/or “on line” if not). It also means using social media (whether you like it or not) to get the word out about your events – and share the details afterward. And you need to go after the media for coverage by inviting third party experts to appear at your events (fire and building inspector representatives in Pacific Homes’ case). Lorne and company at Pacific are a great case in point, because their marketing initiatives go on non-stop. Bottom line: Housing starts are (way) down – but their business is up. (In fact you might say that they’re “in the pink!”).

Have an awesome week!


Ps – Why pink? Never thought you’d ask…  It’s because Blair Nutting and his team at PinkWood have also teamed up with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, with a portion of all PinkShield sales going to that great cause. So.  Watch for more and more pink homes…coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

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