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Why is marketing a dirty word in the construction industry?

Why is marketing a dirty word in the construction industry?

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“My business is just managing to stay afloat. I can’t afford marketing.” “I rely on word-of-mouth referrals and tender opportunities. I don’t need to market my business.”

These are just some of the reasons construction companies, and especially small contractors and sub-contractors, put forward for choosing to place marketing on the back burner and not educate prospective clients on why they should choose their product or service over their competitors. According to Databuild CEO, Morag Evans, this approach is short-sighted and detrimental to the business in the long run.

She said: “The days of simply throwing money at expensive advertising are a distant memory. We have found that working with the sales teams and creating a multifaceted approach at an entry level cost produces the best results.

“Regardless of the size of the construction company, and whether it’s thriving or just managing to keep its head above water, investing in a marketing strategy designed for today’s times is imperative, especially while the construction industry is struggling to recover from the devastating fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to Evans, businesses cannot operate at their full potential without a marketing strategy in place. “Besides building awareness of the company brand and the products and services it offers, marketing enhances the company’s reputation and credibility, which is important for attracting new clients and retaining existing ones. In this landscape, existing business has shrunk, so you need to downsize – or get new business.

“The right marketing activities generate leads that mostly turn into business for the company, which is key to gaining an edge over competitors.”

Essentially, a marketing strategy outlines the actions necessary to achieve the business goals. “Fundamental to the development of a marketing strategy is a thorough understanding of your business and the market in which it operates,” said Evans. “It’s also important to find out what your competitors are doing that’s innovative or better than you, as well as what they’re doing wrong. This will help you identify the type of marketing best suited to your business.”

Evans points to several key elements that should form part of any marketing plan, such as an impactful logo, clear messaging and an understanding of your target audience. “If nothing else, your business must have a website. It’s your face to market.”

Don’t underestimate social media

Construction companies don’t usually opt for social media marketing, believing their target audience is generally averse to it, but the beauty of these platforms is that they offer a variety of techniques that allow businesses to engage with thousands at no cost.

One of the main benefits of social media is that your audience can provide feedback on your content.

Advertise for the long haul (even if it is conservatively)

Whether it’s print or digital, advertising is an invaluable tool, as long as it is done regularly and provides a clear call to action. Research has shown that an ad run over an extended period is far more effective at generating business leads than a once-off placement.

Spread the news

It’s important to regularly publish news from your company in which you educate clients on how to get the most out of your product or service.

Be proactive

Undoubtedly, the best source of new business for suppliers and contractors is project leads, especially in the highly competitive construction industry where the ability to communicate with the right people at the right time is essential in securing a contract.

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