By STEPHANIE WOODCOCK
What’s free but priceless, something we want more of but can never get enough?
We’ve heard the mantras: Time is money. Making up for lost time. Time is a luxury we don’t have.
Time takes on a unique dimension in construction. There are various tangible construction realities that revolve around bid due dates, construction completion dates, limited time constraints in complex environments, labor shortages and time and material. It’s easy to lose sight of the true value of time.
What priorities in your marketing strategy are you giving your time to?
Because it shows.
So much tangibly relies on operational, backward-facing tasks that take time. We can lose the intangible value of spending time on our forward-facing marketing.
The key is shifting our focus from spending time to investing it.
Invest in your marketing.
Marketing is your very first deliverable to your clients and prospects.
Customers notice when you invest your time in them. When you invest time in your website, communications, messaging, brand and identity, they take note.
If time is our most precious commodity, why not spend it on something the customer sees first? Why not spend it on retaining existing clients, gaining new ones and appreciating loyal ones?
There are no shortcuts. I have had clients who understandably only had time for operations. Marketing demanded a luxury of time that they did not have. Then business stalled or a significant crossroads of change occurred, and they shifted to spend time on marketing to fix the problem.
An effective marketing strategy is more difficult to achieve when the focus is on a problem and not on a desired result. We shouldn’t be scrambling for time when it comes to our marketing. We should plan, process and prioritize.
When marketing is not a priority, we can miss important opportunities such as being in front of our client base at events, sponsoring a customer-rich association meeting, posting a milestone or achievement on LinkedIn or writing an article for an industry magazine to position ourselves as a thought leader in our industry.
When we don’t invest in our marketing, we can find ourselves trying to recoup lost business, struggle for market share or simply missing opportunities to connect our marketing with our sales.
Without an effective marketing strategy, we are out of sight and out of mind.
Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies are known for making big splashes with first impressions on branding. We can learn a few things from them. First impressions are important.
Top marketing channels for business-to-business (B2B) companies are websites, video marketing, social media and email marketing. Seventy percent of business buyers find content directly on the company’s website. In 2022, 35 percent of marketers reported that they planned to use video in their marketing strategy for the first time. Content marketing was the most popular B2B marketing strategy in 2020 and continues to rise. LinkedIn, a popular form of content marketing, is the most effective platform for B2B lead generation (source: Hubspot).
Have a plan for a first impression with each of these channels.
If you are a St. Louis-based company in the construction industry, you can also benefit from traditional marketing such as engagement with industry events, association involvement, hosting customer events and advertising in an industry magazine.
Face-to-face marketing works well because we are a tight-knit community, word travels fast and we all care about St. Louis construction and growth. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in the rich pool of the St. Louis building community, maximize your marketing by using a mix of digital and traditional. Find the pools where your customers live and make a big splash.
I see an important trend for 2023. Event participation and taking the time to network will become even more important than ever before in marketing awareness.
Online content is becoming oversaturated. Especially in an industry where everyone knows everyone, word-of-mouth marketing holds extra value. This does not replace digital marketing. A good website and strong messaging through digital platforms is necessary, if not mandatory. But information is abundant and cheap. Time is expensive. People are overwhelmed with research, data and facts. First impressions are even more important. Word-of-mouth and networking become vital to a marketing plan.
Time is becoming an even more valuable and rare commodity for people who are good at what they do. Taking the time to attend a networking event and meeting with clients face-to-face is even more vital.
It’s a first impression and a lasting impression.
For a lasting impression, invest in consistent marketing for the long haul – such as regular press releases and industry news posted to LinkedIn – rather than a quick hit lead generation grab like pay-for-click advertising to get clicks on your website.
Long-term marketing strategies such as content writing, blogs, website updates, LinkedIn updates, event promotions and a consistent presence in associations work best.
Don’t spend your time. Invest it. In this rich, unique St. Louis building community, it pays dividends. It’s a smaller pool with a well-educated audience that is paying attention to St. Louis news, development projects, industry news, new hires, promotions, association events, awards and to you.
Marketing as old as time is new again. Traditional marketing in a digital world. Do you spend your time or invest it?
Time will tell.
Stephanie Woodcock is president of Too Creative, a St. Louis-based marketing and creative design firm for businesses in the building industry. Contact her at Stephanie@toocreativestl.com or (314) 753-1148.