In 2024, the UK construction industry is set to enter a transformative phase.
But this isn’t just about the ever-growing importance of sustainability, or significant changes to planning laws, or even the stabilisation (hopefully!) of materials costs and the supply chain.
It’s also about how the role of marketing communications agencies like BCM Agency will become increasingly pivotal in delivering on the challenge of the 12% growth expected from the construction economy this year compared to last.
This is because construction sector businesses are now understanding – from the bitter experiences of the recent past – that retaining share of voice in a crowded market through marketing is critical, but, at the same time, that marketing must deliver greater value relative to spend.
“Segmentation and understanding the customer may sound rather traditional, but they’ll always be the backbone of marketing success – and more so today than ever before.” – Miriam Drahmane, BCM Agency
This is where nimble agencies, armed with agility and innovation, are poised to make a substantial difference to how construction companies approach marketing and communication strategies – and to the results they expect from them.
But for the construction sector company on the lookout for a marketing agency, it’s important to understand that creativity – often, in the past, the grail of marketing agency performance – is just not the decider anymore.
This is because, in the dynamic landscape that is the construction industry, as in many others, the tools and resources that enable creative people to execute creatively are ubiquitous. Creativity is no longer something only agencies can do.
Instead, as we step into 2024, what will be crucial for businesses in the construction sector is working with marketing agencies who can help them stay ahead of emerging trends in the industry – whether it’s sustainability practices, technological advancements, regulatory changes, or whatever else – in order to remain competitive, communicate compellingly, and foster growth.
And agencies that can swiftly adapt strategies to align with this dynamic landscape will be the ones that outperform for their clients.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? But what does it look like in practice?
Research that drives marketing change
Let’s take an example.
At BCM, we set up an insight panel in 2021 named ‘Voices in Construction’, which brings together construction industry specialists every couple of months to discuss hot topics within the sector.
This has proven to be an invaluable event for gauging reactions and opinion on themes impacting the sector, as well as looking at possible solutions to challenges the industry is facing.
The latest insight panel uncovered the growing trend for sustainability to be pushed down the buyer agenda in the current economic climate. This is concerning, as the UK buildings construction sector accounts for 45% of total carbon emissions, and failure to reduce these could result, ultimately, in non-compliance penalties.
In response, BCM will be hosting a conference for specifiers, entitled Specifier Summit 2024, in October this year, to help transition key target audiences’ conversation around sustainable construction products and practices away from cost alone. (You can contact us here for more details.)
Segmentation and targeting: getting the fundamentals right
Voices in Construction and other research among industry peers makes us, as an agency, well placed to help our clients react quickly to emerging issues and opportunities, and adapt their marketing communications strategy to counter or own those themes.
But whilst agility is critical, so is a thorough understanding of – and adherence to – other B2B fundamentals.
Segmentation and understanding the customer may sound rather traditional, but they’ll always be the backbone of marketing success – and more so today than ever before.
Why? Because as B2B buyers become ever more discerning, generic marketing messages are losing their efficacy. In 2024, successful B2B marketing in construction will rely on personalisation and targeted messaging, driven by the segmentation and customer insight mentioned above.
In many senses, it’s great timing. Companies are now leveraging data analytics and customer relationship management (CRM) systems to gather insights into the preferences and behaviours of their clients, and this data-driven approach enables the creation of highly targeted and personalised marketing campaigns that get results, and the ROI the Board will be seeking.
“BCM’s approach aligns data, opportunities and messaging, creating a strategy tailored to prospects’ pain-points and decision-making preferences.” – Simon Green, Green Building Design
However, as B2B buyers’ decision-making units (DMUs) increase in size (there is currently an average of about seven individuals in a B2B DMU, but for big-ticket buying decisions it can often be more) the segmentation and personalisation process becomes more critical, more complex, and more time-consuming – and is best entrusted to an agency, rather than getting in the way of the business’s core activity.
Never lose the human touch
But in the midst of all those variables, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of some other basic B2B marketing truths: that people buy people, and B2B decision-making is based on emotion, not just rational thinking.
If this sounds strange, there’s a great deal of research to support it. A recent study from Google and the CEB Marketing Leadership Council, for example, found that “B2B customers are significantly more emotionally connected to their vendors and service providers than consumers.”
Tapping into customers’ wants as well as needs, understanding what keeps prospects awake at night, and positioning and framing your company’s solution to address these problems, whilst understanding where the prospect sits on the buying timeline, is what will differentiate you from your competition.
In 2024, as the UK construction industry navigates challenges and embraces opportunities, the role of marketing communications agencies cannot be overstated. We’re not just service providers; we’re strategic partners, helping construction companies carve a distinctive identity in a competitive market.
Looking to do B2B marketing properly? We’d love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01525 306369.