April 9, 2020

Marketing for the New Normal in the Building Materials Category

Digital Marketing

For companies and industries of all kinds, a sudden paradigm shift has occurred. In a matter of just a few weeks, America’s businesses big and small have abruptly been forced to change everything they do. It’s a new normal, and that includes how building materials manufacturers (BMMs) are conducting marketing efforts in what can only be described as unprecedented times.

Marketing Investments are Leaning into Digital

Based on state regulations concerning social distancing, organizers of tradeshows and other events are cancelling or postponing those events that were originally scheduled to occur over the next several months. Print magazines with ads targeting audiences such as architects and building owners are being delivered to vacant office buildings since those people are now working from home. Simultaneously, those same target audiences are now spending much more time online and in front of a computer screen as they work remotely.

As a result, BLD Marketing has driven its clients to shift upcoming Q2 marketing dollars from events and print advertising to digital efforts. Our firm’s research shows that architects, designers and specifiers are using this time at home – away from meetings and travel – to research new products and ideas online. This is a strong opportunity for a hyper-targeted, cost-efficient digital ad campaign or a virtual seminar. Such initiatives are much more trackable.

Assessing the Situation While Keeping the Marketing Investment Steady

Along with the shift to a more digital approach, BLD Marketing is advising BPMs to maintain a robust marketing presence at a lesser cost. Shifting Q2 investments from more expensive print commitments to digital activity reduces the overall investment short-term, while increasing the ability to measure results. These larger marketing investments can be re-invested later in the year when the market rebounds and the data points to a greater opportunity to capture greater demand. Much like what happened during the Great Recession and other crises that have challenged marketing spends, brands that maintain a smart presence during difficult times come out ahead in the end.

A Good Time to Conduct Virtual Training for Sales, Service and Distribution Teams

The sales force, like other staff, is off the road. Distribution partners are experiencing workflow disruption as well. Now is the time to train or retrain these groups, because you will likely have their undivided attention. The world is becoming smaller and even more accessible with technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, empowering even the most strident opponent of such advancements to join in and participate remotely. Now is the time to develop virtual training and deliver it to your teams. In this way, BPMs can send better, more informed salespersons into the field when the economy recovers.

Brands and the Building Products Community are Taking a Stance

From Ford Motor Company working with 3M and GE to make respirators out of the fans used in Ford F-150s to Anheuser-Busch shifting production from beer to hand sanitizer, brands are doing what they can to answer the COVID-19 crisis in meaningful ways.

In Pittsburgh, a group is soliciting assistance from members of the building products category to join a task force in developing and deploying an innovative housing solution. The goal is to lessen the short-term burden on hospitals when the virus peaks and then convert those facilities into affordable, “aging-in-place” housing for extended usage. A quick LinkedIn message to local industry leaders resulted in creating a quick assemblance of talent to begin focusing on the task.

Rethinking the Norm to Uncover Opportunity

If you’re a BPM that has postponed a product launch because of COVID-19, a little rethinking might uncover an opportunity to move forward with modified plans and build momentum early. BLD Marketing is advising one of our clients in such a situation. A spring product launch is now scheduled for mid-year. Our team developed a solution to launch a digital-heavy teaser campaign that will build anticipation leading into the actual launch date and extend the reach of the product launch message.

Be Smart, But Be Bold

Few foresaw the true impact COVID-19 would have on our daily lives and how that would cascade to critical marketing decisions for BPMs. From BLD Marketing’s perspective, resourcefulness and ingenuity can translate into momentum and greater rewards in the end. To quote Virgil, “Fortune Favours the Bold.”

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