Construction contributes about £90 billion to the UK economy, 6.7% of the total. It provides employment for 2.93 million, representing 10% of total UK employment. The construction pipeline and the Decision Making Unit (DMU) present some unique challenges for the marketer. In this blog we take a look at the elements that make marketing in the construction sector a unique challenge.
1 – Market segmentation – know the construction sector
Construction, which is also known as the Built Environment, presents a complex set of marketing challenges. The demand for product is influenced not just by marketing but by external forces, such as the economy, population demographics, government policy to name a few. In addition the product requirement – the building is often bespoke for each construction project. Also each sector within construction can have different levels of demand and different requirements. Construction presents a complex marketplace for the marketer.
Broadly speaking there are two main market sectors in construction: public sector, projects that are driven by central government and local government, and private sector, projects that are independently financed as well as public projects with private finance. But this is a simplistic view. Within these two sectors there are many different types of project which fall into Health, Residential, Education, Retail, Leisure, Infrastructure etc.
It is important for the construction marketer to understand the construction sector they supply to truly understand demand and optimise opportunities.
Find out more. Read our blog: UK Construction Markets – an introduction to residential, education, healthcare and infrastructure
2 – Construction initiatives – understand market influences
The construction industry has a wealth of acronyms. In fact we have written an eBook on A-Z acronyms! There are also many initiatives within construction. It is important that construction marketers know of the latest initiatives and the acronyms that come with them.
BIM is the hot topic at the moment. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the digitisation of the construction industry. If you are supplying product for the public sector you will be fully aware of the level 2 mandate. BIM can also be used as a marketing tool in the specification process, more on this in the next point.
Another acronym that has been around a little longer is the concept of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). This concept presents building methods that speed construction and reduce cost of delivery. Then there are the environmental building acronyms, BREEAM being the more well know and more recently the concept of a Circular Economy is being adopted.
Many of these construction initiatives, but not all, are driven by government. As a construction marketer it is important to stay informed. Knowing about market drivers will mean you are better placed to promote relevant product benefits that meet the new initiatives and regulations.
Find out more. Read our blog: An introduction to influences on product specification for the construction marketer
3 – BIM – a marketing tool not to be ignored
The latest construction initiative is Building Information Modelling (BIM). This presents a real shift in how project information is shared and used, both during design and construction stages and also during building occupancy. In the last 150 years there have only been a few innovations in construction which have significantly contributed to the efficiency of the building process. BIM has the potential to be one of these.
The potential benefits of BIM for the building product manufacturer are the early confirmation of design intent, greater transparency for the design team about the product’s performance and the perception of a quality company that is using the latest technology.
BIM is a real opportunity for the marketer. But it is important for marketers to engage with sales and technical staff to reap the marketing benefits.
Find out more. Read our blog: Using BIM as a marketing tool
4 – Contract Type – know how it influences construction product specification
The main contract types are Traditional, Design and Build, Management and Public Private Partnership (also known as PFI). It is important for the marketer, not just the specification salesman, to understand these contract types and how they influence specification. This will allow the marketer to get a better understanding of the Decision Making Unit and effective support the specification salesman in targeting key decision makers at as the construction project passes through its stages of development.
Find out more. Read our blog: How Contract Type Affects Construction Product Specification
5 – Communicating with construction specifiers – choosing your communication channels
The internet is often the starting point for specifiers looking for product information; search engines, publications, social media, product directories and manufacturer websites all provide data.
Our recent research, the Construction Media Index, gives insight into how to reach out to key decision makers in the construction sector. It shows that manufacturers’ websites and emailing a manufacturer are the most regularly used sources for product information. Our Construction Media Index also shows key decision makers in construction are more likely to read online publications than hardcopy magazines & journals.
As a construction product manufacturer it is often hard to know where to start when trying to market your product to specifiers. Using published data the marketer can help, providing evidence based guidance on the best channels to use when communicating with key decision makers in construction. The construction marketer has to understand a number of target personas, knowing who the decision makers are and their preferred methods of staying informed.
Find out more. Read our blog: Communicating with construction specifiers – choosing your communication channels
6 – Customer service energiser – knowing your customer
Construction markets can change, expand or contract, new products can enter the market place, all changing the specification landscape. The construction marketer must monitor markets and react to any changes, to ensure they stay in touch with customer demand. It is also important to stay informed about your customer buying patterns and keep one step ahead, answering any changes with innovative supply channels. Customers are becoming more sophisticated with greater levels of service expectation and in construction often have a requirement for tailor made solutions. One answer is to develop new ways of working together with customers, in the form of Key Account Management.
The construction marketer must keep informed about marketplace demand and customer requirements. Providing high levels of customer service means you can stay ahead of the competition.
Find out more. Read our blog: Customer service energiser – knowing your customer
7 – Understanding the construction supply chain – Targeting your marketing messages
The delivery of a construction project involves many different decision makers. Often this group of people are brought together for one project and then disbanded when the project is complete. This is a unique challenge for the marketer. To identify the decision maker and communicate with them at the point when they have the most influence. Often these construction professionals are busy people and gaining their attention will be a challenge.
Understanding the dynamic of the DMU is important, this is where knowledge of the market sector and contract types can be useful. Knowing what the architect wants is also important, but don’t ignore other decision makers, the Engineer, Quantity Surveyor and Contractor for example.