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Monitoring construction markets to inform your specification strategy

Monitoring construction markets to inform your specification strategy

Written by Chris Ashworth, Competitive Advantage

Construction markets over recent times have faced significant challenges: the financial recession, Brexit, the skills gap and regulation scrutiny following the tragedy at Grenfell. As construction markets aim to overcome these challenges, change is required; there have been a series of reports calling for change in construction, the Mark Farmer review: Modernise or Die being the catalyst.

Monitoring construction markets
Monitoring construction influences and understanding industry forecasts can help inform your strategy, making sure you are well placed to make the most of new opportunities. Often you can source information about the marketplace from reports available in the public domain, free or to purchase. These can include industry forecasts, government reports, briefings, magazine articles and papers presented at conferences.

Identifying value in construction markets for your business
Construction industry forecasts, such as market intelligence reports from Barbour ABI, give an idea of the industry’s future, and can be further dissected to help understand the implications for your business. These reports can be used to show the potential value of each construction sector to your business and changes in your market share.

There are two areas that companies need to look at. They should consider which market sectors are growing and also, in sectors that are not growing, the companies increasing market share.

It is important you understand your own business opportunities for each sector - what proportion of projects have a need for your services? For each project, what business value does it represent to you? Combine all of this information and you can start to create a forecast for your own business: a forecast that is much more specific than just overall market activity and will help you to plan your own resources.

This is where monitoring marketplace data can help inform further analysis and research requirements.

Research and analysis to inform specification strategy
Benchmarking your performance against the market is important. Monitoring the competition is also of importance. Gathering market data underpins evidence-based sales and marketing strategies.

Conducting regular construction market research allows you to maintain an up to date picture of the construction market sector you operate in. Having an understanding of how you are perceived by key construction decision makers, in particular against your competitors, allows you to put in place a strategy to differentiate your organisation and make the most of the opportunities available. Conducting regular benchmarking research allows you to track progress and re-check your strategy, identifying if you are on target to achieve KPIs and gain market share over your competitor.

This research can be achieved quickly and at a relatively low cost. For example you could survey your frontline sales team, or conduct an online customer survey, gaining instant responses that can be monitored as they come in. A Net Promoter Survey is one mechanism for gauging perception in the marketplace against your competitors. Conducting construction research on a small budget and to a tight deadline is possible. It just takes some careful consideration.

Market research should not be shelved. It is the foundation block of a good strategy. Market research is about managing risk; the greater the understanding of a market that you plan to exploit, the lower the risk of failure and the higher the chance of success. Investing in research can save you a lot of heart ache and potential expense in the long run.

It is for this reason that we have chosen market research to be the first tool in our construction marketing toolbox. Download our reference sheet that provides information on the benefits of research and the key points that should not be missed when researching construction markets.

Further Information
Promoting your company and building products with Barbour Product Search can help to increase your visibility to the full specification audience. Email [email protected] for more information.

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

Chris is a specialist in specification strategy and founder of Competitive Advantage Consultancy which specialises in market research and training for the construction industry. Chris is also Deputy Chair of the organising committee for CIMCIG, the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Industry Group.

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