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Do Building Materials Manufacturers Really Need Marketing?

Have you ever thought that you don’t need marketing to be successful? If so, then this episode is for you. Beth and Zach talk about the importance of marketing, even for manufacturers who are “too big to fail” — because the truth is, you’re not.

July 24th, 2023

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More About This Episode

The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insights on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.

This week, Beth and Zach discuss the most common answer Beth gets from manufacturers when she asks them about marketing.

“I don’t need marketing.”

When talking to manufacturers, Beth always asks what they do for marketing. The most common response that she’s heard hundreds of times is: “I don’t need marketing.”

While astounding to Beth and Zach as marketing evangelists, Beth says she can understand that viewpoint to a degree. “What I hear when they say that is like, ‘Hey, we're a successful company, and we don't currently invest in marketing. It's hard to feel like I should take money from my bottom line and put that towards something that I don't necessarily know if I need. I don't know if I believe in.’”

After all, the building materials industry hasn’t marketed much as a whole. In fact, marketing can be considered deprioritized in our industry. Beth, however, says this is a logical fallacy. Marketing doesn’t mean printing more brochures or doing more billboards.

Beth usually tells manufacturers who say they don’t need marketing, “You're right. You probably will not feel the effects of not having marketing maybe for the next five years.”

However, avoiding marketing can be detrimental in the long run. “To think that your company doesn't have to answer the questions that consumers have about your products in the places that they spend the most time doesn't make a lot of sense in the long term. There's a good number of ‘too big to fail’ companies that absolutely did fail because of that exact issue.”

Zach brings up another point — you’re marketing even if you’re not trying to. Warren Buffet’s website hasn’t changed since 1994, but you probably aren’t going to his website. You’re watching him in interviews, drinking Coke or eating McDonald’s — marketing two companies he owns significant shares in.

“You are marketing whether or not you know it. It's just your viewpoint on how you're leveraging it, and you're probably confusing marketing with advertising,” explains Zach. You’re marketing by the way your product is positioned, its price and how you sell it. What many manufacturers really mean is that they don’t want or need content, social or ads to drive demand.

This may be true for now, but that’s quickly changing. “The ability for other companies to disrupt proven set-in-place markets is also increasing with the amount of technology at play,” says Zach. You may have a good distributor and dealer network and 90 percent of market share, but not marketing means you can’t push your network out further — increase your moat — and give new products a better, stronger launching pad.

Peter Drucker said, “There's only two things that create value in a business. One is technology and one is marketing.” Getting in front of your audience with marketing allows you to:

  • Get in front of your audience

  • Create a new narrative

  • Reinforce why they buy from you

  • Keep your competitors at bay

If you look at how you are making the sales you are now, you’ll find it’s because it’s what the market wanted at that time. Today’s market is doing all the same things you’re used to doing — having sales conversations, developing product roadmaps and training customer service teams — but doing them online.

It’s about meeting your customers where they are now.

When the manufacturers with 90 percent market share ask why they should invest in marketing, Beth tells them it’s because they are wide open for disruption and threat. “If I was doing a SWOT analysis of that manufacturer's company, not marketing and having zero digital footprint would be in the threat box because all it takes is for somebody to have $10,000 a month to spend on advertising for 12 months straight, and I can wipe out a significant percentage of your footprint because people are highly influenced by what they see repeatedly.”

Manufacturers have two options: building a moat or creating an opportunity for disruption. As one of our guests said once, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. It’s time to ask yourself:

  • How do I reduce my threat?

  • How do I create my moat to be even bigger?

  • How do I ensure that I'm not disrupted?

Sales & Marketing Should Operate as a Single Unit

Sales and marketing operating as a single unit is absolutely pivotal to success in our industry,” says Beth. Many manufacturers have a hard time getting behind marketing because it can be difficult to measure.

“However, we don't question the benefit of a sales call. You don't question the benefit of shooting a prospect or an existing customer a text message to check in on them and see how they're doing. We don't consider those to be wasted. We do consider marketing to be difficult to measure, and I think it's because we're not giving it the same pointed conversation and pointed value that we give to sales,” explains Beth.

Marketing doesn’t have to mean a cute jingle or fluffy headline. Instead, consider it a hard-hitting fact explaining what problems your product solves — the same conversation that your sales team comes in with.

Don’t save the fluff and beauty shots for marketing. Align your sales and marketing to ensure that your marketing has the same impact as the sales guy who’s been there for 15 years and knows what he’s doing. When they have the same weight and message, you’ll see that marketing has the same effect as the extra call from your salesperson.

Want Even More Insight?

Don’t ask yourself, “Why do I need to get buy-in on marketing?” Ask yourself, “What is the risk if I don’t?”

To learn more about the importance of marketing, listen to the entire episode here. You can reach out to Beth on LinkedIn or Instagram, and Zach on LinkedIn and Instagram as well.

Remember to like and subscribe to Smarter Building Materials Marketing wherever you get your podcasts.

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