Mike Rigby, MD of MRA Marketing says:

We’ve become so used to arriving on time, where we planned to be, that it’s hard to imagine travel before satnav. It’s just as hard to imagine planning integrated marketing without good readership research.

MRA MarketingMarketing can do more and be more effective than ever. But it’s also more complicated, fragmented and difficult than it was 20 years ago. Much like driving without dynamic satnav, it’s easy to go wrong if you don’t plan your route and keep it updated.

Communication channels have multiplied and fragmented. Digital is expanding rapidly and threatening print. At least that’s the common perception. Established names sail on, but new online and print magazines spring up all the time. Video, podcasts, webinars, social media in all its many forms, blogs, comment sections and letter columns are flourishing.

But while the places and ways to spend marketing budgets have multiplied, budgets have not. There is more focus on demonstrating value and measuring ROI. Which is as it should be, for marketing is an investment in tomorrow.

It has always been a challenge how best to reach, inform and influence specifiers, engineers, contractors, housebuilders and merchants. Often marketers have had to back their judgement and experience to tell them where to invest because good readership research has been scarce.

When markets and readership are stable there is less risk of missing the target. But when what audiences read, where they read it and how they read are visibly changing, we need something more reliable and fresh.

If your budget is big enough you can throw money at the media, hoping enough of your message gets through, but very few companies have that kind of budget. You can back your experience, but if everything is in flux, you’re stretching your luck without fresh facts to back your judgement.

Cue Competitive Advantage with a raft of fresh facts from its Construction Media Index September 2015. MRA Marketing has sponsored it again, because it provides detailed and accurate insight into what the industry reads and where it gets its information. It helps us decide where to spend our customers’ money to achieve their objectives. More than that, it helps us understand how markets are changing – different sectors at different rates – and the differential impact of digital media and mobile devices. In places the Index confirms expectations, in many places there were surprises.

Dipping in to the reports at random, we’ve become used to hearing about the rapid growth of smartphones and the trend to online: print media is on borrowed time. But it’s a mixed picture. 42% of merchant respondents read hardcopy magazines and journals, but almost three quarters of hardcopy readers browsed and read the magazines in depth. So engagement is high. 86% have increased their use of social media in the past 12 months; 42% use social media networks for work, mostly LinkedIn and Twitter. How often do they access social networks by age? When do merchants use their smartphones, tablets or PCs to access social networks? It’s all in the report.

73% of architects read hardcopy magazines and journals, 55% browsing or reading in depth. 83% use leading product directories. Which, and how do they use them? CPD and technical seminars? To what extent are they still using traditional routes to get information? It’s all here, in depth, all the questions you can think of. And it’s clear and easy to read and understand.

If you want help, planning and shaping your communications so they hit their target and achieve your objectives, this is a pretty useful report. Once you’ve seen it, it’s hard to imagine deciding where and how much to spend customers’ money without using it. The Construction Media Index is construction marketing’s dynamic media satnav.

Further information

The Construction Media Index 2015 provides  impartial research on traditional and digital communication channels. Research from 478 construction professionals:

  • Architects,
  • Engineers
  • Housebuilders
  • Merchants
  • Contractors

Presents how key decision makers in construction gather information to inform their product and design decisions.



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