Over the last few months we have provided guidance on construction personas, looking at the Client, Architect and Main Contractor. Creating construction personas helps understand the motivation behind buyer decisions, giving an understanding of the challenges and goals faced by the decision maker. Providing valuable insight into why construction professionals are specifying your product, or why they are choosing your competitor. Taking time to understand each customer type is also a great way to inform your communications strategy. In this blog we explore simple ways to use research to inform your persona marketing.
Developing construction personas
Much of the information needed for creating your construction personas will be on hand, other information may take a little more effort, requiring meetings between sales, marketing and technical support. Our persona templates are designed to give you a head start in developing your own construction personas, with each member of the construction decision making unit to be covered over the year. Each template provides some desk research, which sets the scene, followed by guidance on which information to gather to personalise your persona.
Completing this exercise is a great starting point for any marketing strategy. It clarifies who you are developing your marketing for and provides ideas on what challenges you want to help them with. As with anytime spent strategizing often a number of questions are raised were no immediate answer is known. Often it is tempting to assume the answer, thinking you know your customer best. This can lead to ill-informed decisions, causing your strategy to be fundamentally flawed, so undermining your hard work.
Don’t guess what construction professionals think of your building product
Naturally we advocate the practice of regularly researching your customer base. Conducting a simple and quick piece of research can often answer the most fundamental of questions construction marketers ask themselves.
Research can help answer questions such as:
- What motivates customers to use my product?
- What do customers understand about my company and its products?
- What do customers value in terms of service, as well as product development?
- How can I create appropriate and engaging content?
Research can be turned around quickly and doesn’t need to cost the earth. Online surveys are fabulous for gaining instant responses that can be monitored as they come in. This method also keeps costs down.
There are many methods that can be used to inform your construction persona, and understand specification. Such as surveying your frontline sales team. Using a third party to conduct this research means you are more likely to get responses that are not sugar coated or biased. Or conducting brand strength analysis to track brand performance, comparing it against communication initiatives by you and your competitors, gauging changes in attitude.
A great starting point when researching your customer base is measuring decision maker’s perceptions. The market’s perception of a company will impact on what choices people make, the value they perceive and hence the prices they are prepared to pay for its construction products and services. Perception studies shed light on what specifiers like about your construction product or organisation, what they do not like and, of equal importance, their areas of ignorance.
Informing persona marketing via perception research
A perception study is a great starting point, as it will give you an understanding of what your identified marketing personas truly think of your company. Invaluable information when developing a tailored marketing communications plan to drive specification.
Measuring perceptions should extend beyond your customers to include target customers, influencers and suppliers. This will give you an understanding of what decision makers and those who influence decision makers see as your strengths, your weaknesses and their areas of ignorance.
The perception survey should comprise of four core elements:
- Identifying the key factors that really matter to your customer
- Measuring perceptions of how your organisation performs against these
- Measure perceptions of your competitors as a benchmark
- Awareness of recent promotional activity
Put simply a perception study is a great way to understand what customers like about your company and why, benchmarking you against your competitors. It allows you greater insight into the specification process for your own product. Meaning that you can develop a comprehensive set of personas for a fully informed communications strategy, that answers specifiers needs.
By regularly conducting customer research you can chart progress in the implementation of your business strategy and your communications plan and make modifications to strategy to keep it on target.
Research is the foundation of good marketing. Professional research that provides clear results that are easy to interpret and are applied to your strategy will not be a waste. Remember that a fully informed marketing strategy that has demonstrable ROI is a business asset.
Don’t just guess what your customer wants, use research to deliver what they truly want.