Recession-Busting Strategies for Construction Pros -Part 2: Your Top 10 Marketing Investments

April 28, 2009
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Now is the perfect time to rebalance your marketing efforts.

In my last blog we looked at how your competitors are out-promoting you (click to read). This week we unveil how much success is derived from each type of marketing investment.

Clear Seas Research asked this question to our Building Materials Panelists: “How important are each of these techniques to the success of your business?”*

We gave survey respondents 10 techniques to rank on a five-point scale. With so few resources available, it appears that construction and maintenance pros are focusing on four key techniques--two in particular--that provide the most value.

Marketing Investments #8 - #10

Let’s start at the bottom. Because most construction pros operate locally, it would seem natural that local radio, TV/cable and telemarketing would produce strong results.

No so, according to those we surveyed.

Radio ads (#10) are considered the least important marketing technique to our panelists’ success, with only 29% of the respondents indicating a positive result (somewhat important, important, or very important). Cable TV/local ads (#9) were a hair stronger at 33% positive impact. Telemarketing (#8), long a go-to marketing strategy, generated just 37% positive importance.

Why so low? Apparently, even though these local media deliver good geographical reach, they still are too broad for our pros, especially if their companies lean commercially. The Do Not Call Registry, caller identification, and the loss of landlines in favor of personal cell phones have hurt telemarketing.

Marketing Investments #5 - #7

This next group of marketing techniques includes two traditional methods and one newer one. Direct mail (#7, 50% positive impact) has been a standard marketing tool, but my mailbox has been far emptier than ever before. With the USPS raising rates again while possibly ending Saturday delivery, look for mailings to suffer.

I expected respondents to give Email marketing (#6, 52% positive impact) a stronger ranking. I guess Lord Spam-A-Lot and his cronies have tarnished this great marketing option. Unfortunately, we don’t trust Email marketing because so much of it reeks.

Yellow Page ads (#5) used to be the first choice for construction pros with any type of home service niche. But with just a 52% positive impact rank, Yellow Pages are dropping like a stone as buyers turn to Internet searches to find goods and services.

Marketing Investments #3 - #4

According to our respondents, Internet ads (#4, 65% positive impact) and Print ads (#3, 66% positive impact) are considered foundational to construction pros’ success. As we discussed last week, savvy companies are advertising to gain a competitive advantage.

If you are building your company’s brand, trustworthiness, or sales leads, a balanced Print and Internet ad program is hard to beat.

Marketing Investments #1 - #2

The top two marketing techniques considered by respondents as the most important to their success scored significantly higher than #3 - #4, and immensely higher than those at the bottom.

Enhanced customer retention programs (#2) was given a 79% positive impact score. The #2 ranking was not a surprise as Customer retention programs were #1 in last week’s blog on competitive advantages.

The #1 marketing technique contributing to our respondents’ success is Launched/enhanced company Website with an 81% positive impact score.

That these two marketing methods came in at the top was less of a surprise than by how much.

Let’s compare Enhanced Websites vs. long-time standard Yellow Page ads. Not only did Websites beat Yellow Page ads 81% to 52% in positive impact, but those indicating “Very Important” (the strongest positive answer) for Websites outnumbered Yellow Page ads 36% to 16%. That’s a blowout.

To summarize, the four marketing techniques respondents said most contribute to their companies’ success are:

1. Launched/enhance company Website
2. Enhanced customer retention programs
3. Print advertising
4. Internet advertising

You rebalance your personal finances. How about rebalancing your marketing investments?


Next blog - Part 3: How Business Groups Help Construction Pros Succeed

*To obtain a copy of the survey results, contact Kelly Clinton at clintonk@clearseasresearch. The Building Materials Panel is comprised of readers of BNP Media construction-related magazines, e-newsletters and Web sites. Results from this study are copyright @ 2009 by Clear Seas Research. All rights reserved.

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