Learn about the results of a recent survey conducted by The Farnsworth Group with pros in the building materials industry, including how they use online tools to make business decisions.
Grant Farnsworth joins the show to discuss survey results of different players in the channel to understand how they use online tools to make business decisions.
More About This Show
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 insight on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.
In this episode, Zach and Beth talk to Grant Farnsworth, Business Development Director of The Farnsworth Group, about fresh data on where your audience is spending time and how this impacts your marketing.
As a building material manufacturer, you need to consistently stay in front of your audience in order to be effective with your marketing. A recent study by The Farnsworth Group surveyed four groups of industry customers: home builders, remodelers, designers/architects and specialty tradespeople (like HVAC installers, painters, and plumbers). The study involved 400 people, a sample size large enough to understand areas in which to dig deeper.
Using Multiple Platforms to Succeed
One of the most revealing pieces of data is that online marketing is not just about your website. It’s about how all your different platforms work together, including search engines, social media, paid ads and more.
Consumers have access to all of these components and you’ll lose the battle if you’re dependent on one medium alone. Not only do you need to use multiple platforms, but you also need to be consistent with your information across each type. Repurposing your content for different channels is an essential part of reiterating your company’s brand and story.
The Role of the Manufacturer Website in Purchasing Decisions
The study confirmed just how important the manufacturer’s website is in the research and decision-making processes for all audiences: 31% of respondents use building material manufacturers’ website daily to find the information they’re looking for, while an additional 40% use this source two to three times per week. In fact, only Google beats out the manufacturer as a top source for information.
This trend is on a growth trajectory. Compared to five years ago, 38% of respondents answered that they use the manufacturer’s website “much more” and another 35% use it “slightly more.” Altogether, more than 70% of this sample audience is visiting manufacturers' websites more than they were five years ago.
Out of all the other places someone could go to find out about product and pricing, they still prefer to use you as their primary source of information. The component your website plays is critical. Even if you can’t sell directly, you need to be on point to make the process easier. Otherwise, you’re bound to lose sales.
Meet Your Customers Where They Are: Online
Survey respondents said they regularly use technology for the following tasks:
- Purchasing materials
- Tools for pricing and estimating
- Collaborating with customers
- Researching new vendors
No matter who your audience is, everybody is going online for these things. If you’re a building products company, you need to realize that your customer is looking to you to provide these things. If you don’t, they’ll go somewhere else.
Over 50% of contractors have a tablet and over 80% have a smartphone, demonstrating that this is a tech-savvy audience. This idea that contractors are old school is false. Additionally, they need help with their business and are looking for partners who help lighten the workload. As a manufacturer, you have the opportunity to step in and be that partner by delivering valuable online content and easy processes.
Buying Building Materials Online
The survey also revealed that tech is primarily being used for purchasing in the industry, whether that’s by checking on availability, scheduling on-site delivery, or requesting in-store pick-up. Online purchasing is one of the biggest hang-ups for the building material industry and the best way to use digital for this is still taking shape.
The distribution process has to be part of the strategy, making it easier to either make a purchase or at least get closer to the purchase. Even if you can’t show pricing on your website, you can create a journey that makes it easy for a potential customer to get that information.
External consumer behavior continues to demand 24-hour access, online purchasing, reduced friction and a relatable brand. It’s really causing the industry to look inward at how to improve an outdated distribution strategy. In order to win, you need to figure out how to become a front runner in this space.
Manufacturers that are performing well now are those that are agile and willing to take a risk. A great example is a gutter company called LeafFilter. They’ve seen tremendous growth because they’re leveraging multiple awareness and pad traffic channels to drive online purchases.
This strategy is on par with industry research as well. Over the last three years, using social media to learn about new products has increased 250%. In reality, a truly successful digital marketing strategy is composed of 10% production and 90% promotion.
If you’re looking for one thing to tackle, Grant recommends internal and secondary research to get true insights on your customer, brand, channel, product or your overall market. You need to dig deeper into your customer to see where you fit. From there, you can figure out how to best leverage your digital strategy.
Then, you can better deliver content to bring in leads and drive sales by improving the experience for homeowners or contractors.
To contact Grant, you can email him at [email protected].
Have questions about the data we talked about this week? We’d love to answer them! Send us a line at [email protected] with all your data questions.
Targeting With Online Ads: A Manufacturer's Definitive Gu...
Building materials manufacturers and distributors need to leverage online advertising in 2021 and beyond. Why? Because now, more than ever, building product audiences are relying on the internet to research products. Make purchases. Discover new brands. If your company doesn’t leverage online ads, you may miss out on conversions and fall behind competitors.
How to Revamp Your Newsletter + 3 Building Material Indus...
Newsletters have incredible potential to deliver consistent awareness and actions around your products and services. But if you’re struggling to create consistency with getting your A&D readers to open and click on your newsletter, you’re not alone. Most building materials companies are doing newsletters completely wrong.
How Building Materials Businesses Can Market in a Third-P...
In January 2020, Google announced its plan to phase out support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser. In approximately one year, all major browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari will have blocked third-party cookies.