The pace of change in our personal lives and in the building materials industry can be overwhelming. Every day, it seems like the things we could count on yesterday are no longer relevant.
The needs of contractors, architects, builders, dealers, and distributors keep changing.
There are always new direct and indirect competitors who want our customers.
There is constant pressure to be faster and less expensive.
There is less loyalty and relationships count for less.
One of the biggest challenges for building materials companies has been the dizzying pace of change in our communication methods.
Printed ads and literature worked well for so many years. They gave a real advantage to the larger companies that could afford to spend more on them.
Then came the great equalizer: the internet. Websites, content marketing, emails, marketing automation, CRM, social media and SEO all played a major role in leveling the playing field for smaller companies.
Smaller Building Product Companies Have The Advantage
Smaller companies can run circles around larger companies. They are agile and nimble; they can try something, learn from that experiment and make their product better overnight.
Larger companies are more like large ships – once they set a course, they can’t change it quickly or easily. Their solution is usually just to go full speed ahead – spend more – when what they really need is smarter thinking.
The challenge has been that marketing has been changing at a faster pace than most of us can absorb. Just when we think we finally understand what it means to have a great website, some smart kid from Stanford or MIT invents something that changes the game and makes you look outdated and out of touch.
Many companies have wisely decided to stop chasing after the next bright shiny online object and let things settle down. In fact, just this morning I read Seth Godin’s daily newsletter and he explained why, for the moment, things have calmed down and now is the time to act.
We will continue to see new ideas come and go, like new social media sites, as Seth points out, the basic rules of online marketing are now established and probably won’t change for a while.
A Moment in Time for Building Materials
“In many ways, the most disruptive parts of the marketing revolution have slowed down. Email is a constant, text is a constant, online comments, ubiquitous video, so much for free, all the time…
It used to be that you’d pick up a copy of Wired or Fast Company (back when we used to pick up a magazine) and the latest shift in the marketing ecosystem was enough to set you back on your heels. We’ve seen the rise of online shopping, of smartphones and most of all, of everything on, all the time.
It was easier to wait just a little bit longer. No real point in learning stuff now if it was just going to change…
But now we’ve reached a moment of calm, where the new ways are now the standard ways.
What a perfect moment to take a deep breath and figure it out. Now, when we have some firm footing when we can see what’s happened and make some smart guesses about what’s going to happen next.
Most of all, though, it’s worth learning because your work is too important to let languish.”
– Seth Godin
If you’ve been slow to fully take advantage of all the ways you can use online tools to give your sales a boost, now is the time to make the shift.
Building Materials Digital Marketing Benefits:
1. Digital media is free. It costs money to run a print ad or exhibit at a trade show, but you can put something on the internet for free.
2. It has a long life. When you run an ad, it has limited shelf life. No one will be reading the January issue of a magazine in March. When you post something on the internet it stays there forever.
I have blog posts that I published on my site over four years ago. Many of them still have as many readers today as they did when I first posted them. Those readers come to my website, and a number of them then become clients. But new readers wouldn’t keep coming if I was publishing in print.
3. Everything is measurable. Most marketing is too subjective. The measure of success for a trade show booth is too often that the boss liked it. Other expenditures are justified by “It’s for the brand,” which is a convenient way of saying “It can’t be measured.” As your use of online marketing grows, so does your ability to measure the ROI on your marketing expenses.
4. You can learn a lot more about your customers. Not only can you measure how many people visit your website, but you can also find out who they are and what part of the site interested them.
You can also know who opened which email, so you can quickly find out what offer or message is the most effective with your customers.
And More – A Lot More.