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Marketing Budgets for Building Materials Companies: Who's Spending Where & Why

Marketing budgets are changing in the building materials industry. Your competition is spending more on digital this year. In fact, building materials companies are spending more in almost every area of digital marketing across the board.

by Beth PopNikolov

If you don't read anything else in this article, you should read this:

Marketing budgets are changing in the building materials industry. Your competition is spending more on digital this year. In fact, building materials companies are spending more in almost every area of digital marketing across the board.

If you haven't scaled up your marketing efforts, now is the time to take the proverbial bull by its horns.

BONUS: Want even more info on how your competition is spending their marketing budget? Download the free report: Digital Trends in Building Materials Marketing Report

We surveyed marketing professionals from building material companies to get a pulse on the state of digital marketing in the building materials industry.

One insight that I found particularly interesting is where companies are planning on spending more and where they are cutting back.

Here's a quick break down:

Spending more:

  • Almost 80% of companies will be spending more on website improvements
  • 68% are spending more on video
  • 60% are spending more on SEO
  • 56% are spending more on email marketing
  • 56% are spending more on content creation (8% are spending less)

Spending less:

  • 14% of companies are spending less on Mobile marketing which is the highest concentration of companies spending less on any one category.
  • Social media is also declining. Most companies are spending the same or less than they did last year on social media.

Overall, building materials companies are choosing to invest more in their digital marketing strategies than they have in previous years. Even in an industry where paper has reigned as king much longer than it has for others, digital is slowly growing into the go-to way to grow your business. Shifting money to back something that's still fairly new can be really scary. Let's look further into why the places they are spending is smart and why it makes sense to cut back on social media and mobile marketing.

Better websites mean better sales

If you aren't planning to invest in your website this year (assuming you also didn't make major changes within the last three years) you're running the risk of losing business.

You're probably right in assuming that your old website won't run you out of business this year. However, it's also not going to help you grow your business. And to be clear, a properly redesigned website with Content Strategy and other important digital strategy pieces will actually help you grow sales.

Your website has an expiration date

Times are changing. Soon (very, very soon), even industries like building materials, who for so long have relied on print, will make a major shift to digital.

I'm not sure the day will ever come where you're 100% paperless. Print brochures will most likely be an asset to your company well into the future, but they're no longer the key selling tool they once were.

If builders are handing your brochures to their clients, I guarantee those homeowners are going to your site for more information.

And if your competitor just got a new site and you haven't gotten around to updating yours yet, you may lose that sale because the homeowner feels more comfortable with the quality they see from your competition.

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Video is one of the fastest growing content trends in the digital world. Experts project that 74% of all internet traffic will be for video by 2017.

88% of DIYers watch videos about how to use products from building materials companies.

Video makes your products, your ideas and your brand's persona easier to digest. If your products accomplish a complicated task, videos can be a seamless way to showcase your process and explain why it's better, simpler or more sophisticated than your competition.

Video removes the guess work between the writer and the reader. A lot of writers for building materials companies are the experts on the products they're writing about. That means they are likely to assume their audience knows a lot more than they actually do.

Experts also tend to skip steps when explaining processes because the process is so second nature to them that they assume the missed step is understood.

Video solves all these problems. It delivers more information more clearly in less time all while taking up less space on the page.

Learn more about the types of videos building materials companies should use, Zach recently wrote a guest post on about that very thing: 3 Types of Marketing Videos Every Building Materials Company Should Have.

Social media was a major bandwagon marketing move a couple of years ago. Companies love it because there's seemingly little monetary investment, which is true for the most part.

But, if social media is your main avenue for getting your name out into the digital world, it's not going to work. Like, at all. Companies are now pulling back on their social media efforts because they're not seeing the ROI they expected.

In our DIY Consumer Marketing Report, 65% of DIYers said they've NEVER purchased a project that they originally saw a building materials brand post on social media even though they follow them.

Social media is social. If you're not socializing with people by engaging in conversations, you're not doing it right.

You know who is seeing an ROI on their social media efforts? Lowe's. Yes, they have a great marketing team and a big budget, but that's not what's making the difference.

Take a glance at Lowe's Twitter and Facebook profiles. They have real people having real conversations with other real people. Making your social media presence into a real, relatable brand that consumers recognize, enjoy and remember is what's going to make your social media efforts turn into dollar signs.

Creating a human-feel can never be handled completely by automated programs like Hootsuite or TweetDeck. While there's nothing wrong with cuing up articles and tweets for the day, you still need a real person who's dedicated to getting in on conversations and getting people interested in your brand by making real connections.

Interestingly, most building materials companies in our survey indicated that they'll be spending less or about the same on mobile marketing this year.

When smart phones first started become widely popular, companies scrambled to create mobile sites, which were essentially an abbreviated version of their regular site with a poorer design, fewer pictures and less information overall.

These days there is practically a 50/50 chance that your potential customers are coming to your website on their phones. Partial information on an old mobile site just isn't going to cut it anymore.

Additionally, unless you have some rather technical reroutes set-up behind the scenes of your website, you're splitting your search engine rankings in half. You're mobile site is actually competing with your regular site for search ranking. That's not good.

Responsive design websites are the answer to your mobile site worries. Having a responsive site means your website will automatically adjust to the size of the device someone uses.

If you're looking for a quick example, our site is responsive. Feel free to shrink the window down to the approximate size of your smart phone, or visit on your phone to see what we mean.

Having a responsive site means your potential customers can always find exactly what they want to know about your products no matter where they are. No one is going to wait until they get home to look something up anymore.

If they can't find what they want on your site, they'll move on to your competitors, and most likely purchase your competitors products instead as well.

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