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By Jody Pellerin
October 30, 2017
The construction industry is famously conservative about new technology, although momentum in adoption is increasing. The next hurdle construction companies face is marketing their new technological capabilities to owners. The secret to marketing and selling technology is to position it as a solution to a problem. How will the technology provide value for owners? What construction problem does it solve? And how is the message successfully sent in an increasingly competitive marketplace?
What Owners Want
Construction continues to grow, but the habits ingrained by the recession still hold sway. Owners demand more return for their investment. Construction companies can expect a more "hands-on” approach with requirements for high levels of transparency, control, and involvement.
Tighter budgets and faster completion times are also on most owners’ wish lists, along with receiving a data-rich 3D model to use for operations and maintenance once construction is complete. Notice that there is nothing said about technology requirements outside of the desire for a copy of a digital 3D model, implying the use of BIM technology.
Market a Solution, Not the Technology
Marketing and selling a complex product, which is certainly the case in construction, requires the ongoing and steady promotion of value. Owners and buyers want to see how offerings add value to the project. They do not want to hear jargon or details about specific technologies. They want to know how the product or service solves their problem.
Considering what owners want, the perceived problems seem to be a lack of transparency during a construction project with a corresponding feeling of a lack of control and involvement. Budgets are tighter; owners need their new buildings to be available for occupation as soon as possible so they can earn back their investment. More stakeholders are involved in the decision-making process; construction companies must prepare for a competitive and complex sales cycle that involves presenting the solution to people with different agendas.
Construction technology marketing is embracing marketing technology. Digital marketing is a crucial tool for attracting buyers and setting their expectations of a construction business’s capabilities. Like other purchasers of products and solutions, many construction decision-makers will start with the Internet.
Websites, Content, and SEO
An effective website shows visitors the services offered, and the way they return value. The foundation of marketing a solution begins here with relevant, easily consumed content that succinctly, yet powerfully illuminates how the business uses technology to improve and enhance its construction capabilities. Through a variety of content types, technology should be shown to offer everything owners are demanding:
Transparency through easy and open communications portals.
Control provided by real-time decision-making.
Involvement using collaboration tools.
Faster completion times delivered with up-to-date scheduling and project management tools.
Digital models that can be used for future maintenance and operation of the resulting structure.
Written and visual content in the form of web copy, case studies, images, and videos educate visitors about the options available to resolve their problems, add value, and increase return. Current SEO best practices ensure every piece of content is optimized for search; that means it is more “findable” by potential buyers. The content must be promoted through other channels, such as social media, paid media, and through venues owners frequent when looking for information.
Content access through the gateway of a form enables lead generation and nurturing. As potential clients have their questions answered, they travel further through their buyer journey, using online information to create a shortlist of potential construction partners.
Once a potential customer makes contact, a dossier of information about the problem to be solved (the structure to be built) is available to marketing and sales to personalize the solution, making it highly relevant to the owner.
Developing a Proposal and Closing the Sale
Information gleaned from all contact with a customer goes into developing a proposal that includes data showing the improvement in efficiency, quality, and cost-savings construction technology contributes. The data will answer questions brought by a broad spectrum of stakeholders who influence the purchase of construction services. The data can also be used to answer comparisons with competitors and objections based on price.
The construction industry is embracing technology, but it still struggles with marketing technology as part of an overall construction solution. If construction technology is treated as just another tool, much like a new crane or backhoe, construction companies can showcase its capability the same way in marketing materials, sales collateral, and RFPs.
Integrate technological tools into the construction process, collect data on how it enhances project management, and streamlines construction time to use in all phases of marketing, from website to RFP.
If you liked this article, here are a few more you may enjoy:
How Construction Technology is Saving Time, Money, and Jobs
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Technology Chargeback in the Construction Industry
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