‘Content Marketing’ is an increasingly popular phrase in construction product marketing, but what is it and why is it important? In advance of her content marketing workshop on 1st March, Su Butcher sets out the arguments.
1. Specifiers are looking for information
Information is the stock in trade of specifiers. Whether they are working on new build, historic or refurbishment projects, residential or commercial, seeking out information is an intrinsic part of their work. Information about products is just a part of this, but I discovered when I worked in practice myself; finding good quality product information is surprisingly difficult. When you think about how much is spent on marketing to specifiers every year, you would have thought that we could have made the process of selecting products easy by now. Why is it so difficult? I’ve got some ideas about that.
2. There is too much information
Today we are all publishers. These days I work for product companies, and know that whilst we still purchase visibility in front of our audience from print and online directories or magazines, much of the material we produce about our products is made by ourselves in house, or by our agencies. And there is just too much of it.
The CPA represents over 20,000 construction product companies that trade in the UK and many of them are looking to attract the attention of specifiers. The traditional methods of doing this have meant that companies have to shout louder and louder to make themselves heard amidst the noise. And in the meantime, we might just be shouting the wrong things.
3. Specifiers are not interested in your products
Get out your current set of marketing materials, and put them all on the table. Yes, the apps as well). Now ask yourself, what percentage of these materials are about your products, and what percentage are about the specifiers’ needs? How much marketing budget do you spend on materials that simply talk about your products and how great they are?
If you work for a company, you’re probably interested in their products, and you’re likely to be an expert in them. But architects are not interested in your products; they are primarily interested in their problems. If your materials do not address their problems in a clear, concise and accessible way, then you are wasting your money producing said materials, because (trust me) they will not get looked at.
4. Specifiers don’t want your products (at least, not now)
For much of my career I worked as the practice manager of three very different architects practices. Whilst all were different sizes and operated in different sectors, I had a key role in each one; to keep the product sales and marketing people and their materials, away from the fee earners. This is because the design team would be dealing with several projects at once, each with dozens of products to specify. They simply do not have the time to receive your content on a day-to-day basis. Some of them will need it, of course. It’s just that they will need it when they are ready.
On a practical level, the result of this need to ‘get on with the job’, is that much of our marketing efforts go to waste. Unsolicited calls get blocked, appointments do not get kept, emails go in the spam folder and direct mail (including your glossy, unsolicited catalogue) goes in the bin. We do not know which specifiers will want our products, or when they will want them, so we send them out anyway, because we have to. What a waste.
5. Good content sells you 24/7
Now I’m not saying that making marketing materials is a waste of time. The problem is, what materials, and how should they be produced, disseminated and targeted? Of course the solution to the problems I describe above is in part, not to contact the specifier, but to let the specifier contact you. It is not to pitch your products, but demonstrate your expertise. It is not to make things about how great your products are, but about how problems can be solved. We do this by good quality, relevant content, that specifiers can access whenever they like.
That is what good content marketing is.
How can we make good Content? We need to
The regular content marketing workshop we run (next on 27th September 2016) will introduce you to the five key elements of good content marketing:
If you’re already creating content, the workshop will help you evaluate your own content by these indicators. If you’re a beginner or a seasoned marketer, the session will help you develop a strategy that enables you to produce good, efficient content, use it well and drive traffic, leads and sales.
Su Butcher works with construction companies to enable them to integrate social tools and other Internet activity for business benefits. Trained in Architecture at the University of Liverpool, she has extensive experience working with architects in business. Su is currently working with The Building Centre to deliver a series of Training Workshops.