Digital Marketing trends and how they can be applied to the construction industry

Digital Marketing trends and how they can be applied to the construction industry

There is much talk about digital change in the construction industry as Clients, Designers and Contractors are encouraged to go digital with BIM and transform their businesses. But opportunities also exist for construction marketers to change how they do business.

In this article Chris Ashworth of Competitive Advantage considers three digital marketing trends detailing how some of the opportunities can be applied to construction marketing. These are Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Influencer Marketing.

Big Data

As you may know, Big Data refers to the large amount of data that organisations collect. In the consumer environment examples include your Nectar Card and also data collected through regular purchases from retailers like Amazon and Tesco.

Marketing teams should identify the opportunity in analysing this data for insights that lead to better decisions. In the case of building product marketing, Big Data is the opportunity to link all kinds of data, such as information received from your sales team, browsing history of prospects and past purchasing behaviour.

An example being, using website analytics to recommend further suggested content to visitors that have already engaged with your brand.

Artificial Intelligence

Out of Big Data comes Artificial Intelligence, which uses algorithms and machine learning to simplify or build processes. This has many applications, but perhaps the most obvious for construction marketing is ensuring engagement with our customers, decision makers and influencers is more personal and unique. For example, using live chat bots to help website visitors find what they are looking for.

Based on previous experience, it should also be possible to evaluate the likelihood of an enquiry becoming a specification and then a purchase. While this may happen today it is probably an informal process based on a salesperson’s memory. For most sales & marketing departments it is unlikely to progress beyond that until affordable software is available to help them. We are seeing extensions to CRM systems and Marketing Automation systems becoming available, but my experience is that they are either priced at a level which makes it hard to justify or fail to deliver what they promise.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing is an evolution of celebrity endorsement. In the past, companies would strive to get a celebrity to associate with their brand, perhaps wearing a watch or an item of clothing. Today many of these have become Viral Celebrities or Brand Ambassadors, with a large social media following they can influence to purchase a consumer brand.

Influencers do not need to be celebrities, but they do need a large following on social media. However, they are also protective of that following and their reputation. So, they have to see the brands they promote as relevant to their following.

This is starting to happen in construction marketing as some product manufacturers develop engagement with tradesmen such a plumbers, electricians and plasterers. These groups participate in forums on Facebook which provide an opportunity for dialogue as well as via manufacturer’s Facebook pages. But this is a slow process requiring an investment of time by the manufacturer. We are also starting to see this on Twitter and Instagram.

As yet, we do not see this approach in the more formal B2B environment of the specifier and contractor. But most of these decision makers use social media and there could be a potential to develop this approach. Something we are currently researching for our 2019 edition of the Construction Media Index.

Final thoughts…

While large consumer organisations can employ Data Scientists who can spend their time looking at these issues, my experience of marketing departments in construction is that the majority are quite small, with the marketing team required to turn their hand to many skills. It can be a challenge to keep up to date with new digital developments such as new social media trends, or evolving practices in customer engagement.

Learning Events

Two Autumn events which can help keep you informed are a CIMCIG seminar Changing Communications in October and a Competitive Advantage course Communicating with Specifiers in November.

Further Information

Competitive Advantage Consultancy specialises in helping building product manufacturers to be more effective at getting their products selected. Offering more than construction market research, we can work with you to inform and develop your strategy, with a range of sales and marketing tools all designed to help you effectively influence construction product selection.

Sign up to the Competitive Advantage newsletter for an overview of construction market activity as well as construction sales and marketing advice.

Add to Project Board

Create a new project board:

Related Blog Articles