I’ve watched building materials companies improve their marketing for a while now.
I was proud of this progress. Finally, the industry I devoted my career to was catching up to the other industries.
It wasn’t just the larger companies, either. Their long-term focus on reaching consumers and the channel made them the best marketers. They knew that marketing works, so they invested in it. They put their big budgets behind it and scooped up the most talented people they could find.
The rest of the building materials industry had been struggling to keep up. Over the last few years, it seemed like they were finally making real progress. Digital marketing allowed every company to get measurable results. Even the smallest players were growing,
Those digital tools did more than just superpower their approach to reaching customers, it transformed their entire marketing philosophy. Instead of aiming for anecdotal markers like “the boss likes the new website,” smaller companies could set tangible, concrete targets – and have been hitting them.
I’m an optimist, so I took notice of the companies that were taking big steps toward a better marketing strategy. Unless a company did something really stupid, I didn’t pay too much attention to them. I focused on companies that did things right and what we could learn from them.
Unfortunately, that means I’ve been looking at the industry through rose-colored glasses. There have been real improvements, no doubt about it. But not nearly as much as I had believed.
The most recent Whizard Summit was the reality check I needed. The event itself was great, but what happens after it’s over might not be.
Imagine my disappointment when I learned how many companies still don’t believe in marketing.
Several marketing people who attended the Summit walked out with new skills and insights they won’t even be able to use. Some told me point blank, “these are great ideas, and they could really help our company, but I won’t be allowed to make any of these changes.”
Or my favorite, “I was sent here to learn how to improve what we’re already doing. I was not sent here to learn better ways to grow our sales.”
That sort of thing really takes the wind out of your sails. Here we are equipping marketing professionals with some of the best tools for growing a business, only to find out they’re not even allowed to open the toolbox once they get back to the office.
I’ve done what I can to help building materials marketers, so now I want to address company leaders.
Growing your business is only going to get more difficult. But one thing is for sure: the companies with better marketing will outperform the rest.
If you want your business to continue succeeding, you’ll need to improve your marketing. And the first step to doing that is to admit that you don’t know as much about marketing as you think you do.
The people in your marketing team are the real experts. They know what it takes to grow your business, especially if they continue to improve their skills by attending marketing events and workshops.
One of the best things you can do is to get out of their way. Give them the tools they need to strengthen your brand and reach more customers – and for heaven’s sake, let them actually use those tools.
After that, I highly recommend getting advice from experts outside your company. A great place to start is my Directory of Building Materials Agencies. Contact some of them, tell them about your situation and ask for their advice.
And, of course, you can always ask me. I have a passion for marketing and helping building materials companies grow. Help me get my optimism back. I don’t want to hear more disappointing news from marketers who aren’t empowered to do their jobs.
So if you’re not sure how to improve, get in touch, and I’ll help steer you in the right direction.