Competitor insights are the perfect way to get a leg-up on your competition. Digital marketing has opened up so many opportunities to promote your company that it's often hard to know where to start.

Getting an inside view at what your competition is doing is a big deal for building materials companies. We’ve reviewed the data from our latest survey about digital marketing and building materials companies and have come up with 3 marketing trends that your competitors are likely taking on this year.

Use these competitor insights to measure how your own marketing plans stack up. It's never too late to reprioritize or create a new strategy. Even if the year is more than half over, the right strategy can set you ahead of your competitor in no time.

BONUS: Want even more competitor insights? Download the full report here: 2015 Digital Trends in Building Materials Marketing Report

#1 - They are spending more on their websites

Nearly 80% of marketers in building materials companies said they plan to spend more on website improvements in 2015 than they did in 2014.

The building materials industry has long depended on print, word of mouth and having the right connections to grow sales. And while all of those still have their place in your marketing efforts, they won’t sustain you forever, nor will they offer the same outcomes that they used to.

Consumers are becoming more and more reliant on digital information. Even if a builder recommends your company to his general contractor, the contractor is more than likely going to look you up online.

Homeowners and end consumers are even more likely to do research online since they have less access to resources about your company than other professionals. In fact, 81% of consumers research onlinebefore heading into store to purchase.

If your company is still on the fence about spending money on your website, this is the time to make a move. The day is fast approaching where a high-quality digital presence will be the only acceptable standard, even for the building materials industry.

Your website shouldn’t be a burden. It should be one of your top ways to target new customers and grow your sales. I know websites with a proper design, the right content and maybe even a few videos can seem like a major investment upfront, but if it’s done right your website should be one of your main money makers.

Some building materials companies have mentioned to us that online leads usually just mean a longer sales cycle. But with the right content and digital strategy, you can start speeding those online leads right through your sales funnel. (Yes, really.)

#2 - They are using video to communicate with consumers

Did you know that almost 90% of DIYers watch videos from building materials companies when they’re researching projects?

Even if you don’t target the DIY Consumer, building materials companies are starting to realize the value that video can bring. 70% of marketers from building materials companies say they will spend more on video this year than they did last year.

Video is projected to become one of the main online tools in the next 10 years. Videos help you communicate complicated processed easily. And 82% of companies using video say it had a positive impact on their business.

They increase engagement with your website visitors and as a bonus, they’re easily shareable on social media. Which means that not only can you easily promote them, but your target audience can easily share the helpful information they found from your video with their peers who may also be interested in purchasing from you.

This video actually talks a little more about how and why you should be using videos.

#3 - They are getting help from agencies

Does this sound like a shameless plug? It does, doesn’t it. But it’s true, 80% of building materials companies in our survey use agencies for help with PR, marketing and/or digital marketing.

Most building materials companies are trying to market to at least 4 different channels with approximately 1-5 people on their internal marketing team, if they have one at all. That’s a lot of ground to cover in a small amount of time.

Our research shows that for the most part, marketing agencies are being sought out for the more complex parts of marketing like SEO, websites, online presence, mobile apps and the like.

Digital marketing comes with a lot complexities, and most digital marketing strategies take a lot of time to execute. They take even longer to execute by someone who’s not already an expert in that area.

And if you’re like everyone else in the building materials world, you’ve already got a full plate of work every day. Can you also squeeze in a proper social media strategy, optimizing your website for search engines, enhancing the overall look of your site, researching your target audience and rewriting everything on your site specifically for them?

I’m going to assume not, and that’s ok. Neither can most people. So it’s no wonder agencies are becoming more and more popular among building material companies for help with PR, marketing and digital marketing.

What trends are you seeing in the industry? What new ventures is your company looking into for 2015 to boost your marketing efforts?