The BLD Blog

A collection of building materials marketing trends and insights focused on helping building product manufacturers BLD their brand.

A Marketing Matrix in Transition

Graphic of pie

Article Date: April 6, 2022

Are Your Budgets Aligned with Today’s Updated Standards?

Flash back for a moment to the year 2000, a mere 21 years ago. Y2K was a nonstarter. Personal computers were clunky with big, bulky monitors and towers that took up quite a bit of space. Smart phones weren’t smart at all, because they did not exist. The internet was in its infancy, and social media had barely gotten off the ground.

As a building materials manufacturer, when you were building your marketing budget around this time, there was a standard industry benchmark. Your spend should equate to between two and five percent of your company’s annual revenue, and the majority if not all of that money went to traditional marketing tactics. Digital marketing barely registered.

More than 20 years later, the world has transformed in ways perhaps not even contemplated back then. From digital apps for brands of every kind, smart phones that are smaller and infinitely more powerful than yesterday’s computers, social media platforms that have grown exponentially, and the absolute dominance of the internet, companies in the building and construction industry are experiencing whiplash. So are their marketing budgets, which are facing new mandates.

Translation: If you’re not talking about levels of engagement, calls to action and click-through rates in every marketing conversation, you’re woefully behind.

Crunching the Numbers

A look at recent trends makes the clear case for a rise in marketing spend overall and a definitive move from traditional to digital marketing strategies for building materials manufacturers. According to the 2020 CMO Study:

  • Marketing spend as a percentage of revenue has experienced a 9% increase in the B2B sector.
  • More recently, the B2B product sector saw marketing spend growth of 9% between 2019 and 2020.
  • Marketing spend as a percentage of total revenue for B2B product manufacturers ranges from 8% to 13%, a significant rise from the traditional 2% to 5% ratio from years ago. The ratio accounts for the cost for everything – marketing teams, tools, and execution of marketing strategies.
  • The shift to digital spend is obvious in the B2B products sector. It went up by more than 13% versus a paltry 3.7% for traditional marketing.

Several distinct tailwinds are driving the shift to digital – scalability, measurability, and customer behavior.

The Pivot to Digital

Planning a marketing program for a building materials manufacturer years ago involved several key tactics – advertising in the appropriate trade media publications to increase awareness of your brand amongst your target audience, investing in and attending trade shows to interact with prospects and customers, and being certain that your sales team was armed with printed sales collateral that highlighted your latest products.

Such tactics are now a rapidly shrinking component of the marketing matrix for discerning building and construction firms that seek to engage architects, builders, developers, specifiers, and building owners. In fact, companies that directly engage their prospects too early in the cultivation process risk losing interest from that potential customer. Today, these prospects are more likely to be digital natives. They want to conduct their own research, do their own homework, and arrive at their own decisions based on what they discover. A lingering global pandemic has only accelerated this trend as people spend more time working remotely and on their digital devices.

Smart building materials manufacturers are seeing these trends, and they realize there is only one solution: Greater investment in the development and constant nurturing of a digital marketing ecosystem. It is an integrated approach engineered to be more agile and versatile. It is also something that can more precisely target key audiences, producing greater return on that increased investment.

A digital marketing ecosystem centers on the company’s key digital assets – a combination of landing pages, a website, and perhaps a digital app. It is fueled by great content and compelling creative messages that entice target audiences to engage the brand on their terms and on their time. It tracks, scores, and cultivates those leads so they move from marketing-qualified leads to sales-qualified leads.

Measurable and trackable. Easily adjusted. Primed for true business development.

Let BLD Marketing show you how to adapt to the new normal so your company’s marketing program is set up for success.


BLD Marketing is a results-based, digitally-focused, full-service strategic marketing firm exclusively serving the commercial and residential building materials category.