June 9, 2022

Exceeding Expectations: Knowing What Your Target Audience Wants

Strategic Planning


Ways for Building Materials Brands to Meaningfully Deliver on Their Marketing Efforts

Marketing in the building and construction industry involves many different strategies, ideas, and tactics. Today, much of it focuses on a brand’s digital marketing ecosystem and how an intended audience experiences a building materials brand within this ecosystem.

Regardless of the tactic, the biggest impact a building materials brand can have with their intended audience is by first achieving a deeper understanding of what that person is looking for when they intersect with your marketing efforts.

The Customer Journey: Match Needs with Brand Experience

As consumers, we all go through a customer decision process, no matter if you are a DIYer looking for ideas on a new backyard deck or an architect searching for new design ideas for the next project. We are all customers at some point. Building product brands need to understand this mindset and plot their messaging and activities differently based upon the stage in the decision-making process where the marketer is attempting to intersect with the customer. Most often, these opportunities are with digital marketing.

STAGE 1: Need Trigger

At this stage, the prospective customer has a need triggered, likely for a new project or to repair or replace an item. In this stage, the marketer’s job is to generate brand awareness and be there when that need is recognized. This might be in the form of hyper-targeted digital ads or a streaming TV spot on Hulu to reach the intended audience and pique their curiosity to interact with them. To make the ads more effective and meaningful, ensure the ads have clear messages that pertain to the needs of the intended target. These clear messages need to be delivered in an impactful way to stand out. For example, just featuring the brand’s product or a product in use isn’t always the most impactful way to pique curiosity.  A strong creative idea can make a world of difference with the click-through rate. And, with digital media today, you can micro-target your audience based on a strong audience profile.

Stage 1 Marketer’s Objective: Build awareness. Capture their attention and pique curiosity, motivating the intended target to want to learn more and click the ad or look up the brand. Measure impressions, click-through rates, and volume and source of website traffic.

STAGE 2: The Search

The customer begins to learn more about the type of product solutions that are available. During this stage, the customer is searching online and is relying on personal influences such as peers or industry influencers to better understand the possibilities. At this stage, it is important to provide an easy user experience on a brand website and/or landing page. The more focused, the better, as it is the initial introduction to your brand. This digital experience should clearly tell a compelling story about your brand and what relevant needs it solves. This experience should provide an easy journey for the visitor to navigate to the next level of content to learn more. The type of content at this level of the experience should highlight high-level product overviews, differentiating brand claims, and short-form case studies or testimonials to showcase a quick, favorable brand story.

Stage 2 Marketer’s Objective: Educate and engage. Provide an inviting experience to educate, engage, and provide a reason for visitors to stay on the site. Measure time spent, pages viewed, and number of pages viewed. There are also digital tools available such as heat mapping to track the most popular spots on the website where content is most consumed.

STAGE 3: Evaluation

At this stage, the customer is reducing the consideration set and evaluating each brand alternative for purchase and/or specification. Your brand has made it to the final consideration set. Likely, the prosect is returning to your website to explore more. This is the moment when the prospect switches to an evaluation mindset. Providing content such as competitive comparisons and ways your product/service is differentiated from your competitors provides a rewarding user experience at this stage. Displaying performance data in a provocative way helps to create beliefs in your brand and separates you from competitors.

Stage 3 Marketer’s Objective: Build conviction. Be transparent at this stage, and build belief in your brand. Provide persuasive content like competitive comparisons, downloadable performance data, testimonials, third-party certifications, and warranty details. Simultaneously, measure visits to these pages and downloads of content.

STAGE 4: Selection

At this point in the journey, the customer has integrated everything and is ready to take the next step. It could be a purchase, or a decision to unveil their intent to purchase or specify your brand. Be cognizant of the customer’s needs at this stage. Keep the website contact form simple – name, email, and a simple “How can we help you” prompt. This will give you just enough contact information to follow up and begin the conversation that addresses their specific needs. And if they aren’t quite ready to buy, the email address is all you need to add the prospect to your database for further nurturing.

Stage 4 Marketer’s Objective: Motivate action. Provide a prompt follow up with a needs-based approach. Be ready to answer specific needs and listen further. Avoid having your salesperson dive directly into a capabilities presentation. Be prepared, but guide the conversation to overcome any remaining objections and make it easier to close the sale. Measurement at this stage is the number of leads, summaries of calls, and, of course, sales.

STAGE 5: Experience

The customer has now purchased or specified your product and is now experiencing it for the first time. Brands are won and lost at this stage more than any other. Providing content like “how-to” videos, product FAQs, and clear access to technical assistance and customer service on the website help to ensure a favorable first impression.

Stage 5 Marketer’s Objective: Ensure satisfaction. Encourage an online warranty registration to capture the customer and purchase details and ensure a smooth experience in the event there are future problems. If it was a more complex product sale, have the salesperson follow up with training and check-ins. Require the salesperson or dealer to complete the warranty registration. Assign a separate technical expert to the customer for quick access to assistance.

STAGE 6: Sentiment

When a prospect has turned into a customer and is now immersed in a brand experience, that customer begins to formulate longer-lasting impressions of your company. First impressions are everything. If the experience lives up to the customer’s expectations, an immediate favorable impression of the brand is established. If not, the brand will be on the defensive. Regardless of the experience, it is critical to provide the customer with an easy avenue for feedback. The brand’s website should encourage a rating and review. Provide a follow-up satisfaction survey – perhaps leading first with a quick 2-3 questions to gauge sentiment. If there’s a negative response, follow up with a larger survey along with a personal call from customer service or the sales rep.

Stage 6 Marketer’s Objective: Create brand loyalty. The marketer’s objective here is to give the customer attention. All too often, brands rely only on the customer’s experience with the product. Once the product is sold, another influential facet of the brand is the service side. Following up with a survey or a personal call builds loyalty and demonstrates personal touch. Encouraging a rating and review on the brand’s website or social media begins to build brand advocacy and amplifies the credibility of the brand. When the brand can follow up with the customer to offer the development of a case study or feature on the customer’s experience, this builds even greater loyalty, deepening the relationship.

At BLD Marketing, we utilize a series of planning tools that take our customers through a strategic planning process. It analyzes their specific brand’s process and provides strategy, tactics, and desired measurement, all to intersect, influence. and track our clients’ target audiences at every stage of their buying journey.

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