The rise and importance of digital has been hugely significant over the last decade and is now adopted universally in all marketing strategies. According to McKinsey, certain sectors such as professional services or media services have well-and-truly integrated digital marketing into their strategies, however the construction sector still lags behind and has been slower in adopting such advances in digital marketing technology.
Having said that, we believe we are on the cusp of disruption. The last few years has seen a rapid adoption of technology in the construction sector including BIM, prefabrication (more-so in the technology used making it more accessible), virtual reality, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, drones and more. With more resources being put into these (including various trade shows and countless seminars) it is an exciting time to be involved within construction.
Why is digital marketing important to the construction industry?
Construction projects are larger and more complex than ever before. Sustainability plays a major factor in how construction companies operate and manufacture. And the shortage of skilled workers is at an all-time high. Something has to change, and organisations require new ways of thinking. A good start is by embracing new technologies and shifting the integration of digital marketing to the forefront of their strategy.
Marketing strategies and tactics have changed over the years from a mass media centric approach to a much more data-driven, digital approach utilising personalisation. Not only that, but the measurability has increased and now marketers are able to justify their work, tactics and direction with tangible return-on-investment, meaning they can compare their impact to strategic business objectives. This increased clarity in ROI gives marketers a much more central and integral role within a business, and will continue to be the case in the future.
The evolution of digital has also increased the effectiveness in communications and the choice of channels available for companies. As mentioned earlier, marketers are now involved in a much more digital, data-driven era, and experts believe which is heading towards a one-to-moment marketing. Empowering marketers to influence the customer experience across all stages of the business activity e.g. product development to after-sales. Building product manufacturers are increasingly adopting digital marketing with a more ‘informative marketing’ approach. It is less of a hard-sell now and instead manufacturers are informing specifiers of their products via digital content podcasts, seminars, CPDs, and videos.
Adopting and integrating a digital marketing strategy will be increasingly crucial for companies within the construction sector. Brand awareness, lead generation, and customer acquisition and engagement are critical for sustained competitive advantage. We recommend the SOSTAC® framework developed by P.R. Smith. It is a widely used model and allows for a clear, effective and structured plan to bring all digital activities together. It is also adaptable for any size of business from small businesses to multi-national organisations. With new ways of thinking and working, businesses can disrupt the construction industry, survive, and thrive, in an ever-changing and complex sector.
On a final note, collaboration is key. Working with and learning from industry peers is imperative. The CIMCIG (Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Industry Group) is an excellent resource for learning marketing best practices within the construction sector and networking/connecting with industry peers. It benefits the whole spectrum of marketing professionals, from marketing newcomers to experienced marketing directors.