Why Building Materials Firms Need to Market in a Boom Cycle

With the passage of the Infrastructure Act and the continuing recovery from the pandemic, construction is poised to continue its quick recovery. The industry is forecast to continue growing throughout the rest of 2022. And output is expected to reach $1.6 trillion by 2026.

With all this growth, project teams will be busier than ever. More projects equal more construction, which requires more building materials. Who has time to think of marketing?

While it’s understandable that marketing may get moved to the back burner when everyone is scrambling to keep up with incoming orders, marketing now is key to staying busy into the future.

Marketing is essential at any time

While it may feel like you don’t have time to market your materials during a busy season, the truth is that marketing is essential no matter what the market looks like. Construction projects are always cycling through design and construction, which means you have a steady supply of potential customers, so there isn’t time for rest.

Your marketing audience (project owners, architects, and contractors) changes throughout a project’s lifecycle. During the design phase, your marketing should be targeting owners and architects who are selecting and specifying the materials that will be used on their projects. During the construction phase, you should provide information for contractors so they can learn about your materials and how to install or use them.

Taking customers from awareness of your products to specification, then through to construction, is a long journey that can take months, or even years for some projects. Your marketing must support your customers along this journey, providing the information they need when they need it, so they can make decisions to keep their projects on schedule and on budget.

The materials market is vulnerable

In today’s economy, the building materials market is particularly vulnerable to threats from various sources.

During design, projects struggling against budget constraints may choose less expensive or lower quality materials to meet allowances or limits. An owner may desire to have your material used in their project but be forced to select another product to meet their budget.

Once a project is bid, in an effort to value engineer a project that is over budget, the specified materials may be substituted for less expensive and/or reduced quality products. This can occur during the bidding process or even at the start of construction. If this happens, you may lose sales that you have been nurturing for months.

These days products are also susceptible to supply chain challenges that lead architects and contractors to select materials that are more readily available to meet their project schedules. If your product requires a long lead time or must be transported a great distance, you may find yourself losing sales to products manufactured domestically or locally.

All of these issues are more likely to occur during a boom economy, when everyone is busy. A boom puts a strain on raw materials extraction, manufacturing, and supply chain resources. These problems often build on each other and force project teams to select alternative materials.

Mitigate these challenges with ongoing marketing

By providing ongoing marketing at every level of the sales funnel, you can nurture these relationships and help your customers complete their projects on budget and on time. Owners, architects, and contractors are looking for resources and information about your products, particularly those that will help them respond to potential budget and schedule issues.

Targeted marketing that addresses the vulnerabilities above will help all project team members address these concerns. Your product will be more attractive if you are able to provide documentation to show how it can overcome budget and schedule challenges.

Instead of waiting until the market softens a bit and you have more time, it’s best to take the time to plan and create resources now. Otherwise, you will have to create information on a spur of the moment to meet your current needs. By planning ahead, you give yourself more time to develop your marketing collateral.

A final reminder

Remember that the end of a project is not the end of your relationship with your customer. Take this time to amplify your message through the new customers you have gained. Use testimonials, referrals, and reviews to help grow your audience.

While working on marketing is a struggle when you are busy, the fruits will pay off when the economy slows. Start looking for gaps in your strategy and fill them with information that will be useful to project teams in specifying, purchasing, and installing your products.

Brian Jones