The construction sector represents a unique challenge for the marketer. The sector’s Decision Making Unit (DMU) is far more complex than many business-to-business markets. This is because the team responsible for designing, selecting, purchasing and installing products is usually created for a single project, employed by different organisations and then disbanded.
Many of the members of the construction DMU are busy individuals, who are not always office based. Communicating with construction decision makers requires careful consideration. It is important to time your messages to reach the lead specifier and the key influencers, at the appropriate stages of the construction process. In this blog we take a look at some communication methods that are particular to construction markets. Considering how to use these in your integrated communications strategy.
Where do construction professionals source their product information?
With half the world now connected via the internet, it is not possible to consider a marketing strategy without an online presence.
Recent research into the communication channels used by key decision makers in construction, The Construction Media Index, shows that on average product directories are used by just over half of construction decision makers, although this does vary across professions. Product directories are predominantly online and it is important, with the advent of BIM, to maintain a current and accurate listing.
Architects use product directories significantly more than contractors. The construction marketer needs to consider a strategy that takes this into account. With an approach that engages architects but also another that encourages contractors to stay with the specification and not switch.
Search Engine Optimisation
Manufacturer websites also rank as a significant source of product information for specifiers. With The Construction Media Index showing over half (57%) visit known websites directly. This is where marketing need to be familiar with industry terminology, just as much as the technical team. Researching and knowing keywords and long-tail search phrases will help your information to be found, placing you more prominently on search engine listings. Then when found your information needs to be relevant and engaging, tailored to respond to the challenges faced by your target market.
Yet it is important to note that email still plays a role in driving traffic. With, according to The Construction Media Index, newsletter links being the main route to online blogs & articles (65%). Developing a strong eNewsletter membership to drive readership is still an important requirement.
Construction Journal readership
With many different channels to reach your target market there are more options than old style advertising. Online magazines allow greater transparency on ROI, particularly with advertorials, with statistics such as page views and clicks. With online there is opportunity for interactive media. It is down to the marketer to determine if the value of advertising spend seen in past budgets is continuing to provide ROI.
The Construction Media Index research shows that key decision makers in construction are more likely to read online publications than hardcopy magazines & journals. It demonstrates that respondents use hardcopy journals to browse information and online journals as reference.
Delivering Construction CPD
With the online world at our fingertips there is now a desire for live events. In construction markets CPD represents this opportunity. Construction CPD can be a valuable marketing tool.
Just because CPD is technical does not mean that your seminar should not be well written and presented. And remember that delivering the seminar is not the end of the process but the start.
CPD is an invaluable tool for engaging with specifiers. Across all decision makers 42% attend up to 6 seminars in a year, with almost 60% attending at an organised event. This though varies across professions according to CPD requirements. Source: Construction Media Index research
Some points to consider when developing your communications strategy for construction markets:
- BIM and CAD content is a must when marketing construction products. Well written specifications make it easy to specify and minimise spec switching.
- Make full use of online references like YouTube, Barbour Product Search and RIBA Product Selector
- Don’t underestimate the power of a well-designed website with product information downloads.
- CPD seminars are a great opportunity to get face to face with the specifier and it should be treated as a marketing tool.
- It is important to identify the social networks that your key personas are active on. To listen, and respond accordingly.
For further guidance download our reference sheet that provides information and the key points that should not be missed when developing communication strategies for construction markets
This article was written by Chris Ashworth, CEO of Competitive Advantage Consultancy which specialises in helping develop marketing strategy specific to construction. Delivering support via market research, strategy implementation, CPD development, specification writing and training. www.cadvantage.co.uk
Join us at the following events:
TWITTER CHAT: Making the most of CPD – Tuesday 24th April at noon
Hosted by Barbour ABI this chat is your chance to ask the experts at Competitive Advantage how to optimise your CPD programme. With suggestions on how to use CPD as a marketing tool, to engage with specifiers and influence specification. Join by using #SpecStrategy
This event is hosted in partnership with Barbour ABI. Designed for directors and managers with marketing roles, this seminar commences with an overview of the construction market and the drivers influencing industry specifiers. Going on to look in detail at the stages of the specification process, the decision makers involved and how to make effective use of the communication channels available.
The second day is workshop based and provides a chance to develop a persona relevant to your business, as well as explore communication channels and how to develop an automated marketing campaign.