We recently carried out our annual Construction Marketing survey, in order to provide you with a range of key insights into the views of other construction marketers (you can view the results here).
Our lucky iPad winner Jane Spashett, selected at random from the survey results, kindly took the time to talk to us about their business and to share her thoughts on the insights gained…
So first of all, can you give us a little insight into your company?
LFI is a family business that has been has been manufacturing and supplying a huge selection of the finest ladders, steps, and access equipment for around 75 years. We’re one of the few companies that still manufacture ladders and access equipment within the UK.
Do you have a separate marketing team inhouse that manage your strategy?
We have an in-house sales and marketing team who choose the strategies most relevant to our business and make the decision as to whether these are outsourced. On the whole, we aim to do the majority of our marketing in-house, particularly when it comes to training as this is a significant focus of ours. ‘On the job training’ is a separate form of our access equipment manufacturing division, which is supported through our installation video content and blog area. A full time training manager is available 5 or 6 days a week to carry out training on site.
How effective do you find the use of video content?
Video marketing is a great tool for both providing an overview of our company and sharing digestible information about how to install key products. In order to capture the attention of our audience these are all less than a minute long, and prove useful for sharing across other social media channels. The use of video content enables us to provide that ‘added value’ to our audience, and demonstrates that we aren’t just about selling access equipment. As a business – quality, durability and safety play a significant role in the services we provide, as shown in our video here.
What are your thoughts on our annual survey results?
I wasn’t surprised to find that ‘resource and time management‘ were key barriers to achieving business goals – there are never enough hours in the day! I think there’s always a fine balance between the cost of implementing marketing tactics and actually proving their success. Every strategy put in place must warrant the time and cost involved – and with many businesses, they don’t realise how long certain marketing tactics can take to start building momentum and showcasing positive results.
I’m surprised to see how well cold calling scored for being one of the most used marketing tactics. However, I have heard of more businesses implementing ‘targeted’ cold calling. With email marketing, it can be easy to ignore the email whereas if you’re persistent enough with cold calling, it may be effective in some cases. I personally find it a difficult route to go down and it can impact how your business is perceived if not done correctly.
In terms of paid media being the highest performing marketing tactic, I’m not entirely surprised there. Although in my opinion – as I’m sure other businesses will agree with – paid media requires hiring experts to merit a good response. I think it’s an area growing in popularity but can appear very complicated to put into practise.
Currently, face-to-face events and email marketing are working well for you…why do you think this is?
As a business, we typically use regional meetings as a networking opportunity and to meet our customers and prospects. In my opinion, especially in the construction industry, face-to-face events work better than phoning or sending an email. While email marketing is effective, I think this requires a face-to-face follow up in order to reap the real benefits. After all, people buy into people, not businesses, so showcasing your brand’s personality is crucial.
Social media, as shown in our survey, is one of the worst performing marketing tactics. Why, in your opinion, do you think this is?
I think with most businesses, it’s a case of knowing which social media platform is most relevant to their audience. Some platforms, like Facebook, are seen as an effective tool for showcasing the personality of your brand, but what are you actually gaining from this and do your Facebook audience even care? It’s definitely an area where further advice is required to understand how to manage your social media long-term.
Also, if businesses assume they’ll receive direct leads from social media, then maybe it’s a case of managing your expectations and setting a definition for ‘what does success look like’ when it comes to the world of social.
For those companies facing increased competition when it comes to marketing their building products, what advice could you give them?
I personally feel that it’s more about being aware of who your target audience are and tackling that specific corner of the market. For example, we know that as a family-run business, it’s not worth competing with the retail market – but instead it’s about focusing on our niche and what makes us different, such as our passion for safety and meeting the latest manufacturing standards. It’s important to remain aware of what your direct competition is (and isn’t) doing on a regular basis, and reacting to this as soon as possible.
Most importantly, we can’t learn and grow as a business if we aren’t willing to open our eyes and take a look at the latest changes in construction marketing – we can’t expect success to be handed to us if we’re using traditional tactics that are no longer as effective as they once were.
What area of content marketing would your business like to know more about?
I think as the survey showed, brand awareness is a huge area and one which we all know content marketing can support. I’d like to know more about the different content options available both online and offline – particularly in the form of case studies, guides, and different blogging techniques. It’s so easy to let your marketing choices work in silos rather than being able to connect the dots between them.