How to apply marketing automation for engaging with construction decision makers

How to apply marketing automation for engaging with construction decision makers

With half of the world’s population now connected to the internet, digital marketing is the norm. With companies building their online presence beyond their website, with blogs, social media, podcasts, online TV and Apps. This plethora of digital communication channels presents a marketing opportunity, as well as a challenge.

In this world of ‘on-demand’ always now content, the marketer needs to think about how to engage at the right time, meeting the information needs at each stage of the buying process. This is where marketing automation techniques can help fine tune your communications strategy. But how do these techniques apply to B2B marketing and in particular, the construction supply chain?

Developing a communications strategy for construction markets
In the first instance you need to build your content, and then you can consider providing this content as part of an automated workflow. To create content that is timely and relevant you need to do some groundwork, you need to research and understand your customer needs and interests.

For construction markets it is often hard to know where to start when trying to market your building product, or offers such as CPD technical seminars, to construction specifiers. This is because the delivery of a construction project involves many different decision makers. This is where knowledge of your buyers and of the construction sector they operate in will greatly help. A little bit of research can help you:

• Know where they sit in the Decision Making Unit (DMU).
• Understand the sectors they work in (e.g. Residential, Healthcare, Education).

Then you can build on this by developing construction personas . This is a marketing technique where you explore the concerns, needs and challenges of your key customers. Building characters that bring them to life, helping you to develop marketing that speaks to them.

Once you truly understand the construction product specifier you can start to build a communications plan, which provides content that meets their requirements, providing solutions to their challenges.

Finally, using the stages of the construction project as a template, you can consider targeting your messages at different stages of the construction supply chain.

This helpful image acts as a guide:

Applying automation to your construction marketing communications

Once you have developed an understanding of your construction buyer and construction markets you can then start to consider which content is most appropriate for each stage of the decision-making process. Building your content to apply through awareness, evaluation and specification stages.

To be effective you need to tailor your marketing content to be timely and relevant. Guiding your prospect through the decision-making process, from when they first become aware of your brand to the point where they have adopted it. In the early stages it is marketing’s role to nurture interest, doing the groundwork ready for the sales team to take over at a later stage.

For many years CRM systems have been available to help organisations keep track of their customer engagement. Marketing automation software increasingly can be linked to your CRM system, providing one single point of information. By using these software tools in combination, you can automate much of the engagement process from initial contact through to sale and even post-sale, building brand loyalty and positioning yourselves as the Trusted Advisor.

Once you have mapped your content to apply to each stage of the construction buying process, you then need to consider what measures or triggers you use in your automation, to set in place the marketing that will further engage with the specifier. Deciding what these triggers are requires some careful thought. Subsequently building the marketing activity also takes considerable time. Referring back to the personas you have developed can often help when building the stages of your marketing automation. But also consider the following questions:

• How will you first create Awareness leading to Engagement?
• How will you respond to Interest?
• What information will you provide to allow Evaluation and Specification?

Remember content remains king. Developing engaging content is at the heart of good marketing. Providing solutions helps build credibility for your organisation as experts, strengthening brand ethos. Once you have built a series of communications, that are triggered by the completion of a particular action or actions by your customer, you then need to consider the end goal, or action that constitutes the completion of this workflow.

It’s worth bearing in mind that this might not be at the point of purchase. In many instances there are lots of potential benefits of continuing the workflow up to and after the point of installation, if at all possible. One example might be to follow-up and ensure that the supply and installation has gone well or, at a later date, to ensure products are performing as expected. This could be an opportune time to request a customer testimonial or indeed if the project is of suitable size or interest write a press release or case study on it, providing further marketing material to feed back in to the automation system as potential content for future similar customers or projects.

Further reading

Understanding the construction product specifier
Understanding the construction supply chain – Targeting your marketing messages

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.

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This hub offers sales and marketing tools specific to construction markets.

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