It’s been a challenging few years, with a constant stream of new and unique issues to overcome;

  • Home working for both your team and industry decision makers require new forms of engagement
  • How to forecast in a market which has shown strong demand but constrained supply and uncertain client confidence
  • The growth of digitisation requiring product manufacturers to deliver information in new formats
  • New regulations to respond to with the Building Safety Act becoming law this May and new Building Regulations approved documents coming into force in June.

Here are some suggestions to help you respond to the challenges of this.

Home working for both your team and industry decision makers require new forms of engagement

Many organisations have now adopted hybrid working, blending home and office work. This sets two challenges. Firstly ensuring that your team are able to work together and take on the company culture, with new starters able to learn about the business and develop best practice.

Secondly your customers are going through the same process and are now harder for your sales team to access. This takes permission marketing to a new level and requires more marketing content to trigger requests from customers for technical advice, samples and CPD. By creating these calls to action it will open doors for the sales team and make their activity more efficient by ensuring their time is spent with ‘hot leads’.

How the sales team operates needs to be redefined. CPD is a good example as the seminar is changing its format. Our Construction Media Index research shows that both face-to-face and online CPD seminars will be popular with specifiers in the future. There is even talk of the hybrid seminar, being held on the premises of one practice but beamed out to people in other offices around the country. In these instances, one CPD script is definitely not suitable for all circumstances.

How to anticipate a market suffering from so many uncertainties?

It seems that every month we have a new challenge to face; lockdowns, staff shortages, material shortages, spiralling prices, increasing interest rates and uncertainty over government policy. Just how to plan?

It is important to keep close watch on what’s happening. We provide a monthly summary of information in the public domain via our Market Activity Report, but it is also worth purchasing an industry forecast such as Construction Outlook by Hewes & Associates. Probably the best way is to talk to your customers, either directly or via commissioning market research. A research project can find out what’s important to them, the products they are using, how they are going to adapt to changing legislation and many more things. There are a number of ways to gather the information which we explain in our article How to Choose the Construction Market Research that’s Right for You.

The growth of digitisation requiring product manufacturers to deliver information in new formats

Covid acted as a catalyst for the digitisation for construction. The process was already underway, but with many people working from home and the need to plan how the different trades worked on site, its implementation was speeded up. BIM has been around for some time and most product manufacturers now offer BIM content. But this is just the start. The LEXiCON project is enabling a common approach to the format used to deliver construction product information. This open platform which is free to access will provide Product Data Templates (PDTs) for exchange of product information between the construction project team using a cross-industry standard. The PDT is seen as helping the manufacturer to remove the on-going requirement of completing product information requests from consultants and contractors on a project-by-project basis, repeating the task of filling in equipment data sheets in a variety of formats. Eventually it has the potential to be the internal format used to populate all product information, reducing the amount of work required to update communications content and improving accuracy.

At the least, manufacturers need to be aware of this project and to ensure that the templates being developed by their Relevant Authority (probably your trade association) are suitable for their products.

New regulations – are you ready?

The first half of 2022 has seen a string of new regulations introduced. The Building Safety Act gained ascent in April. The Act covers the entire build process from design, through construction to the lifetime of the building in use with a key focus on its occupants and their safety.

In 2021 the National Regulator for Construction Products (NRCP) was established with primary responsibility to ensure homes are constructed using safe materials. Supplementary regulation expected shortly will strengthen regulations for the marketing and supply of construction products on the UK market

New Building Regulations Approved Documents F, L, O and S were also introduced in June 2022.

Product manufacturers need to be aware of these changes and how they might potentially impact on their products and how they are marketed. Although much of this regulation relates to safety in residential buildings and the zero carbon agenda, there can often be side effects with implications for other products. Not only are these changes a threat but also an opportunity to tell specifiers how your products can help them meet the regulations.

There is a lot for the marketing team to do and Competitive Advantage can help in a number of ways; we have published a range of reports and personas, or you can commission bespoke research, we have a series of free data sheets for key marketing activities as well as free webinars. We can provide training, either as in-house programmes for your teams, or as online modules. And our consultants are available to help with project implementation, this might be with CPD programmes, product specifications, NBS Source, CCPI implementation or marketing plans. Why not contact us, we are happy to discuss how we can help you implement your marketing plans.