Good news the marketing department is no longer belittled as the ‘colouring-in department’. Marketing is being aligned with business success, as it is becoming easier to demonstrate ROI and direct lead generation, establishing marketing’s impact on the bottom line.
This though means the construction marketing department needs to demonstrate the value of everything they do.
It is a new financial year and you’ve drafted your marketing strategy, got budget sign off and are ready to put plans into action. So where to begin? Have you based your plans on what you did before? What worked well? Have you researched your construction market? Do you truly know what your customers, the specifiers’ want?
Market research is essential to avoid the dangers of assumptions and can inspire changes in business practice that make a real difference. But what if you need answers now, not later? In this blog we take a look at how to turn around research quickly to get immediate answers. The answers you need now to guide your strategy and demonstrate the value of your marketing.
What are you seeking to understand?
First of all it is important to be specific, don’t try to answer everything in one market research project. Consider what you already know and what information you need to gather. Identify one objective and stick to it. Competitive Advantage has a handy briefing template to help you process your thoughts. A clearly thought out brief will speed your research, avoiding pitfalls.
Choosing your construction research partner:
If you already have a research partner you are happy with then great. An existing relationship with a research consultant is always an advantage when conducting research, if you don’t, then what should you consider?
The Construction Industry is unique, so it is advisable to use research experts that have an understanding of construction dynamics and key decision makers, and a familiarity with industry language.
Another thing to consider is chemistry, will the relationship work? Communication is key when completing a project accurately and to a tight deadline. Having a written brief is of importance, but also how easy is it to get hold of your chosen research partner, to check project progress and make changes?
Small to medium size agencies often are not only experts in their field but are more familiar with achieving good results with small budgets. They can be flexible and more responsive, if resource allows. And a company keen for your business should be able to work with you to value-engineer the proposal without compromising your objective.
Another consideration is if the research consultant completed a similar project, that they can draw experience from. Ask for examples.
Try to avoid comparing proposals on cost alone. Base your decision rather on who has the best grasp of your construction research objective and can clearly demonstrate how they will extract the information.
This is of particular relevance if you are looking for speed when it comes to your research project.
Some cost-effective construction research ideas
There are a number of quick research wins, to inform and navigate your marketing strategy. Here are some ideas:
1 – Survey 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. Making the survey responses anonymous is also a good idea. This type of research can give marketing insight into influences on specification, tools required by the sales team, insight into customer satisfaction and much more.
2 – Desk research is a great way of conducting a quick informative piece of research. This is particularly applicable when researching market size and identifying market opportunity. Asking an expert to complete, means your time is freed up to get on with those all-consuming marketing tasks preventing the project from becoming one of those jobs that always has to wait until tomorrow. The expert can also draw meaning and conclusion from the findings, findings that you can apply directly to your strategy.
3 – Online surveys are fabulous for gaining instant responses that can be monitored as they come in. Providing an incentive to gain responses, such as vouchers or a prize draw, speeds results. Perhaps conduct a short sharp NPS survey prior to a communications programme, and again following the comms campaign? If time is really pressing then responses can be verified with telephone research to chosen key contacts.
Conducting construction research on a small budget and to a tight deadline is possible. It just takes some careful consideration. Having a well thought out brief is paramount. And a good relationship with your research partner will help.
Conducting a quick piece of research now can always inform a more in-depth research project when time and budget allows, when you can expand on initial findings. The initial findings can also inform the objectives for a larger piece of research, such as a customer satisfaction survey, or perception study.
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. Nobody wants to be labelled as the ‘colouring-in department’.