As we move towards the start of the next business year, building product manufacturer’s thoughts turn to planning and budgets. Here are some suggestions to help you with planning your construction sales and marketing strategy. Looking at how to review construction markets, building publications and use reports and research on the built environment to inform your decision making.

How are your existing construction markets performing?

Brexit has brought an element of uncertainty to our planning. This Summer rather than issuing its standard forecast the Construction Products Association decided to issue three Scenarios, with a 7.5% difference between the best and worst outcome for 2017. So how can you plan when there is such uncertainty? Be more thorough is the answer. Split your market into smaller sub-sectors, take a look at the market data and try to decide how things might change in each sub-sector.

You can get a sense of what to expect from construction markets in the medium term from services like Barbour ABI and Glenigan. These can give a picture of approved planning applications, and projects at main contract awarded stage, allowing you to anticipate market demand.

As well as industry forecasts and project data construction trade press can provide valuable updates. Monitoring the construction press for comments from industry leaders is important. This anecdotal overview, by ‘construction experts’ can provide valuable insight into market trends. Trends that can add the meat on the bones of the statistical data. Our Construction Market Overview blogs and Brexit reports can help you, providing a useful round-up of topical construction news. Sign up to our eNews to get this information direct to your inbox.

Another source for informing your sales and marketing planning are industry reports. Government has a strong influence, through building regulations and standards, as well as implementing construction initiatives such as BIM. See our useful links page for free sources of construction market information. There are also paid for research that can be purchased. Research is an invaluable resource when planning marketing. It means you can base your strategy on fact, rather than guess work. Don’t forget to look out for industry reports such as our many construction market research reports. All of these can provide valuable background information to help with your planning.

What can you expect from your building product competitors in the coming year?

As well as how the market will react, you also need to consider the level of competitive intensity. Think how your competitors will react. Monitor the news and product sections of your competitors websites for announcements which could warn of new developments. When times are tough, companies try to move into new sectors, taking business from competitors and increasing the level of competitive activity – perhaps through price erosion. To keep on top of this you need to conduct competitor research. From this you can learn answers to: Is there product superior? How does it compare on cost? What is the market perception of your competitors’ brand?

What are the opportunities for expanding into new construction markets? Or modifying your construction products?

There may be opportunities for your construction products in new market sectors. During uncertain times, building strength in more market sectors can alleviate risk. Review market sectors you currently do not operate in, or in which you have a minimal presence. Is there potential for you to enter the sector or expand your presence? What about modifying your construction products? Perhaps develop new products to allow you to enter new markets or expand your existing presence? Don’t forget to look out for industry reports such as our Education and Healthcare construction market sector reports. These can inform you of the opportunities available, the procurement channels and the influences on specification. When modifying products our report on how architects are specifying Health & Wellbeing could be useful. Or perhaps some bespoke research is needed to truely understand what the specifier wants from your construction product. And remember pre-launch feasibility research for construction products is wise prior to bringing a new product to market.

Once you have reviewed and researched your target markets you will be able to create a more informed sales and marketing plan. You will know the opportunities and risks and be able to draft your strategy accordingly. You will know if you need to develop new marketing collateral such as a targeted CPD programme or project stories. Using research, such as our Construction Media Index will help you to understand the appropriate channels to use to engage with new customer groups. Any effective sales and marketing plan needs to begin with a comprehensive review of the market place. From this a sales and marketing plan can be drawn up to target key sectors and engage with relevant construction decision makers at each stage of the construction process

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