by Emma Jones, guest blogger
Discover the sheer value of digital marketing in the construction industry, from leveraging automation to enhancing branding and more.
While digital marketing holds different values for different industries, there are arguably no industries that don’t benefit from it. It’s rightly a staple of the digital age, helping modernize and augment traditional marketing strategies. In many cases, it can also specifically cater to the unique, inherent, or persistent challenges of select sectors or industries. Such is the case for the construction industry in B2B and market-focused B2T settings. To illustrate this, let us explore the demonstrable value of digital marketing in the construction industry.
Construction industry challenges
Given the global pandemic, the construction industry does face immense challenges – as Deloitte notes. Our audiences are likely well aware of them, so here we may briefly outline the three main ones:
- Supply chain disruptions. In the second half of 2020, supply chain vulnerabilities started appearing. While some stabilization has come, there has been no full recovery to pre-pandemic levels.
- Sourcing challenges. In turn, supply shortages persist, accompanied by price inflations and delivery delays. In combination, “supply chain disruptions and volatility are expected to be among the biggest challenges in 2022.”
- Labor shortages. Finally, like other industries, construction struggles with labor shortages and a lack of qualified candidates.
Still, InEight’s Global Capital Projects Outlook finds general, if cautious, optimism among North American capital project and construction professionals:
Digital transformation does seem to drive much of this optimism, as Construction Dive reports. Most (95%) of surveyed professionals are willing to embrace digital tools and digitization. And yet, despite the intent, the groundwork for it is scarce:
“Despite the hunger for digital transformation, construction lags behind other industries. Only 15% of respondents have implemented a digital transformation strategy, and 38% of respondents said that they haven’t built out a strategy or that it’s not a priority[.]”
In this context, digital marketing could unveil new opportunities and reinvigorate the industry. Yet, as we’ve covered before, digital marketing in the construction industry faces distinct challenges of its own. A lack of in-house talent, given little skillset overlap, lagging applications of automation, and other factors are persistently present.
In addition, the industry does not generally lend itself to content marketing to the degree others do. The complexity of its offers, coupled with less exciting visuals to elevate marketing, necessarily hold it back. The scrutiny of B2B decision-makers also leaves little room for emotionally-driven, bombastic marketing, which would perform in B2C settings.
The value of digital marketing in the construction industry
Nonetheless, digital marketing does begin to see considerable use in the construction industry. It can’t directly help overcome hands-on challenges like supply chain disruptions, of course, but it can offer sustainability through operation optimizations, enhanced marketing reach, and so on. It can do so in many ways by ultimately driving revenue, but four specific applications deserve due note.
#1 Leveraging automation and increasing traffic
Perhaps most notably, digital marketing entails considerable marketing automation. This comes with an array of inherent benefits, including the universal boon of effectively growing one’s customer base. In fact, among the four key benefits of marketing automation Pedalix identifies, three directly address this need – allowing construction marketers to boost efficiency with this asset in hand:
Unfortunately, only 1 in 5 marketers are using marketing automation tools to their fullest. This is due to a few different barriers, including lack of training and resources, lack of budget, and slow onboarding. Still, the sheer benefit as regards time efficiency and valuable lead generation alone should make automation a worthy goal.
These aside, marketing automation lends itself perfectly to optimizing email marketing, social media management, and paid ads, making for a broader holistic improvement to marketing reach. Although most B2B marketers will rightly rely more on targeted marketing, as we’ll cover below, few would solely rely on it – if any. Indeed, they will rightly find less value in marketing to broader audiences, but there’s value in it nonetheless. SEO and content marketing will at all times help generate and acquire leads, which no marketer should overlook.
#2 Augmenting traditional marketing
For that matter, there is ample room for digital marketing in the construction industry as regards expanding marketing channels. It’s very common for the industry to rely more on hands-on, traditional marketing, and outbound marketing tactics. This will, of course, vary, but a degree of need for digitalization seems evident in the research above.
In this regard, construction marketers can combine traditional and digital, instead of needlessly leaning on one excessively. They can, for example, continue to attend networking events and offer business cards, but they can also incorporate business information into email signatures. They can maintain outbound marketing spendings, such as billboards and print ads, but also invest in inbound marketing like SEO and PPC to give audiences agency and entice them visually. The power of video is well-established, even in the industry’s uniquely demanding B2B marketing settings.
#3 Solidifying and humanizing a brand
As a product of the above and a standalone benefit, digital marketing also helps construction marketers’ branding efforts. Branding is not a B2C endeavor, as it directly enhances customer trust – which B2B self-evidently thrives on.
In this regard, digital marketing offers a wealth of platforms, channels, and content forms for marketers to solidify branding truly. It directly enhances some of the most substantive brand image factors and signals, as Oberlo identifies them:
- First impressions
- Values alignment
Among them, brand consistency is particularly notable, as they also find it directly enhances revenue:
It’s no exaggeration to say that brand consistency is among the most crucial trust signals in B2B settings. Construction marketers can use digital marketing to stand out among their peers and build trust with key prospects. How they choose to do so will naturally vary, but brand consistency should be a staple quality in their efforts.
#4 Targeted B2B marketing
Finally, where the above might find universal appeal, targeted B2B marketing is likely uniquely appealing to the industry. Construction marketers typically target specific decision-makers as marketing prospects, which traditional marketing can only achieve with limited efficiency. It’s in this regard that digital marketing can truly shine, especially through its social media subset.
Indeed, social media platforms are undeniably effective B2B marketing tools. As we’ve covered in the past, LinkedIn has become a B2B juggernaut, in no small part due to its built-in targeting tools. It allows marketers to focus on specific audiences, including ones in key companies and positions, crafting ideal, information-rich customer journeys. Facebook does so as well, cementing the value of digital marketing in the construction industry, as the two platforms, in combination, can drastically expand one’s potential audience.
In closing, there is demonstrable value in digital marketing in the construction industry. It is not a panacea for all of the industry’s persisting challenges, nor is it effortless. It is, however, an invaluable asset in times of “cautious optimism.” Combining the above advantages, it can help marketers tap into vast new audiences, solidify branding, and attract valuable B2B prospects. And with enormous, ever-expanding applications for automation, it can do so with notable convenience – a welcome perk for an industry that embraces it somewhat slowly and reservedly.