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Inadequate planning and the consequent undercapitalization are two of the biggest challenges facing small construction companies today.
As a construction business owner or manager, you may be good at calculating material and labor costs and creating and executing construction plans, but developing a marketing plan might not be your strong suit.
Without marketing, however, a terrible thing happens. Nothing. Love it or hate it, you have to build a marketing plan if you want to sell more of your services and be competitive in today’s business world.
We’ve compiled the following step-by-step guide to help you create a robust marketing plan as solid as your constructions.
The mission is the reason why your business exists, while the vision relates to your broader strategic view of the business in the context of its environment.
For example, your mission is to become the best renovation company in New Jersey, and your vision is to give back to the community by providing employment opportunities and promoting safe and eco-friendly work practices.
Your vision and mission will determine the overall direction and strategy of your construction company.
Construction companies, like all other businesses, go out of business because they try to sell services or projects for which there are no buyers. You should dedicate time to conducting in-depth market research and analysis if you want to make your project and brand successful.
You don’t have to break the bank to do the research, though. There’s a lot of free information available on open or secondary source of information like construction industry websites. Free tools such as Survey Monkey, Google Forms and Polldaddy can help you gather primary research data from your customers, suppliers, employees, and everyone else who matters for the project’s success. If you need to conduct extensive research for big projects, you can consider can buying syndicated research data from research companies like Reed Construction Data or B2B International.
There’s a lot you can learn from your competitors. Visit their websites and social media pages, review profiles, and dedicate some time to finding out what type of marketing strategies they’re following.
Finding the answers to these and other questions about your competitors allows you to understand their strengths and weaknesses as well as the forces of nature that affect the construction industry.
You don’t need a business degree to benefit from two of the most powerful marketing strategy tools: the SWOT analysis and Porter’s Five Forces analysis.
In the SWOT, you analyze the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats facing your business. Strengths and weaknesses are the inherent characteristics associated with your business. Opportunities and threats are the environmental factors that may impact your business positively or negatively depending on how you respond to them.
For example, a company with a 30-year legacy possesses a strength when compared to a startup company. While a company’s startup status may be considered a weakness being legacy-free can also be considered a strength.
The SWOT analysis enables you to work on cementing your strengths, improving your weak areas, exploiting the opportunities, and shielding against the threats.
Our construction marketing team at JoshMeah.com goes above and beyond to turn weaknesses into strengths and threats into opportunities.
Porter’s Five Forces model is an important strategy formulation tool for construction companies that often have to do business in a complex environment.
The Five Forces model requires a detailed analysis of five broad environmental factors that include competitive industry rivalries, the threat of new entrants, the power of customers, the power of suppliers, and the threat of substitute products.
Let’s take the example of a typical construction company and see how we can (over)simplify the Five Forces model:
The Five Forces analysis helps you understand the forces affecting your business in order to take remedial actions when necessary.
To conduct a Five Forces analysis, reference the diagram above and brainstorm the factors influencing your company. List the factors and their relative strengths in a worksheet like the following:
You can use the plus (+) signs to depict the importance of each factor. Find out which particular forces are the strongest and the steps you need to take to mitigate their influence.
Read more about Porter’s Five Forces analysis.
Positioning describes how your customers should perceive your services. It is a simple statement that factors in the following:
For example, a home renovation company that specializes in roofing may adopt the following positioning:
“Quickest roofing solutions on a budget.”
Remember that the positioning statement is an internal document that drives your external communication strategy. You don’t use your positioning statement directly in advertising, but your advertising and promotion strategy stems from the positioning statement. In the above example, the positioning dictates that your business needs to provide quick service and utilize materials and work practices that help reduce costs.
The positioning statement makes it easy to stay focused and consistent with your marketing strategy. It also helps you choose a marketing mix—the seven Ps of services marketing— that we’ll discuss next.
The services marketing mix consists of seven Ps:
Product: Refine the five levels of your product or service—the core product, generic product, expected product, augmented product, and potential product.
It’s important to apply research data and strategic analysis when determining the seven Ps of your company’s specific marketing mix. This information is necessary for creating and executing the marketing plan.
The steps we have discussed so far pertain to the marketing strategy. This is a long-term plan that could span several years or decades.
To implement the strategy, apply several short-term marketing plans that will bring you closer to the strategic goal.
For example, let’s say the strategic objective is to acquire a 50% share of the local home renovation market within five years. To achieve this goal, you decide to run regular marketing campaigns every year. In this case, you’ll need an annual marketing plan and a separate plan for each individual campaign. Each plan will have its own goals that must align with the annual marketing goals and the overarching strategic objective.
If one of your annual objectives is to generate 1,000 new business leads, you may decide to use PPC (pay-per-click) to generate 100 qualified leads each month in order to hit your PPC goals.
In practice, you’ll be using multiple integrated marketing channels. This requires a comprehensive marketing plan that describes the details about the channels, campaigns, timings, budgets, and target audience.
The budget is the most crucial part of a construction marketing plan. Most construction companies that fail go under because of financial reasons like failing to estimate capital requirements, underpricing, and mismanaging cash flows.
To prepare a marketing budget, perform a deep dive into the research data once again. Examine the media habits of your target customers and determine the budget required to reach them in those channels and achieve your objectives.
If you’ve run marketing campaigns in the past, analyze the historical data to discover the cost-per-acquisition for each channel. This exercise will also reveal the best channels to use in order to stay on budget.
Prepare a detailed document that includes the cost of different marketing activities, the sales or leads you estimate achieving through those activities, the cash inflow and outflow, and the investment needed to implement the plan.
What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get done. It’s important to know the key performance indicators (KPIs) essential for tracking and measuring progress made toward your goals.
The most important KPIs for construction marketing include:
It may not be necessary to measure all of the above KPIs, but some must be measured regularly to track your performance and make adjustments where needed.
The construction marketing plan is a part of your marketing strategy, which is an extension of your vision and mission. It is not something you can throw together over a weekend—not if you want it to work.
Take the time to complete each one of the ten steps discussed here to develop your construction marketing strategy and create integrated plans that drive business growth.
Do not hesitate to contact Josh Meah for a free consultation if you struggle with any of the steps along the way.
The art is building the right marketing campaign which maximizes business growth. The science is in the results.