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Top 5 Smarter Building Materials Marketing Podcast Episodes of 2021

From lumber prices to eCommerce to TikTok trends, Beth and Zach talked about what matters most to the building materials industry. Here are our five most popular podcast episodes — and a couple of bonuses for you to check out.

Photo of Zach Williams
Photo of Beth PopNikolov
by Zach Williams and Beth PopNikolov

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.

We had the honor of talking to a number of industry experts this year, and packed a ton of great content into the last twelve months. Beth and Zach revisit our most listened-to episodes, with a few of our favorite clips included.

#5 - Episode 131: 3 Tips for Building Manufacturers to Increase Specifications

Eric Zuziak is with JZMK Partners, a residential architectural firm that specializes in urban planning. “We went in a totally different direction on that episode than I anticipated,” says Zach.

Eric breaks down what actually matters to architects in the specification process, and we loved his straightforward way of telling manufacturers how they can support architects and firms in that process.

“We are on deadlines and we've got to perform quickly,” Eric explains. “Those manufacturers, it's really good when we can call them up and say, ‘Hey, can you come in and do a lunch-and-learn for us?’”

That kind of support (and availability) will appeal to architects. “Bring in a lunch. Show us your product. And show us what it can do. And also, make sure that we can get AIA continuing education credits for your manufacturer's presentation of your product to us," suggests Eric. “That's going to put them to the front of the line of the other manufacturer's reps who are asking to give presentations.”

Check out the whole episode for more.

#4 - Episode 114: Three Building Materials Manufacturers Whose Selling Strategies Are Winning New Customers

This past year brought so many changes to our industry, and we were thrilled to get the perspective of one industry professional, Brett Thorne of Thorne Lumber. “One of the things that really stands out about Brett is that he's a pro. He has his own podcast,” says Beth. “Can I call him an influencer in the lumber dealer space?”

Brett reminisced with Zach and Beth about the value of trade shows, many of which were canceled or rescheduled in 2021. Industry conferences and networking events offer a host of opportunities to construction professionals. “That was a great time to go out and talk to the manufacturers, find out what's new, what they're doing, what they've got in the works, where now those guys don't have the ability to do that traditionally like they did,” Brett said. “They're going to have to connect with them a different way.”

Cultivating better communication, with customers and partners in the industry, is going to be key. “Communication is so critical right now, because of all the supply chain issues and everything that's going on, that really staying on top of things, being in front of the problems and communicating that,” Brett said. “Taking advantage of Zoom, FaceTime, all of that. Using every resource you can to be proactive in your projects and to stay ahead of the issues that everybody's facing.”

Want to hear more? Sure you do.

#3 - Episode 111: What Architects Want From Manufacturers in 2021

In our episode with David Weber of Architizer, we asked him what’s already on everyone’s minds: how manufacturers need to sell to today’s architects.

“He's so, so smart when it comes to what architects want and need. But he breaks down, just really plainly, this is how, because they have to sell the architects, too,” says Zach. It was an exceptional episode this year because of how well David understands the architect’s mindset.

“I think that architects are very thoughtful. They're very creative,” said David. “[And] they have a lot of weight and responsibility on their shoulders to create a healthful, positive, effective space that meets the needs of those users and the environment surrounding it. So I think that there's a lot manufacturers can do to help architects in that mindset and to give them the information they need, to help create a successful space.”

Architects want to work with products that fit into that space, and manufacturers can support that. “The most effective products, I think, for architects are products that present themselves within the context of a larger entity within the projects,” says David.

Check out more of the conversation here.

#2 - Episode 112: The Uneducated Economist

Zach had the opportunity to nerd out about economics (and the Federal Reserve) with Simon Caron of The Uneducated Economist. Simon brought some amazing insights to our conversation about the current state of the housing market and what demand might look like in the future.

On the Fed:

“If it's at a bottom, it's going to go up. If it's at a top, it's going to come down. Now, as far as what the Fed is doing, interest rates, going into the future, if the Federal Reserve can maintain a low interest rate environment, which they say they're going to attempt to do, and is able to maintain that throughout the next couple of years, then yes, you're going to be able to continue to have this exorbitant housing market on account that the interest rates are low.”

On extremes in the market:

“Honestly, anytime I ever see things get to the extreme, I'm thinking, ‘Okay, you just got to wait for the tide to turn,’” says Simon. “This is like when you're shaking your head and saying, "This is unbelievable to me," then most likely you're probably in some sort of cycle or bubble where things are going to change.”

On mortgages:

“[O]nce that market changes, then you're going to have a completely new environment. And that people are going to have to figure out how it is that they're going to be able to buy a house without being able to acquire the loan at the level that it is,” says Simon.

If there’s one guarantee about the market, it’s that there’s change ahead. Check out the full episode for more insights.

#1 - Episode 125: Will Soaring Lumber Prices be the New Normal?

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Stinson Dean has a fantastic Twitter account where he talks all about lumber pricing, and we were thrilled that he agreed to join us. “He lives a whole world that we don't really touch with from a marketing perspective, but is ever-present in the minds and backgrounds of the people that we do market to, if that makes sense,” says Zach.

Stinson’s perspective just drives home the fact that we’re going through significant challenges and changes right now with lumber prices swinging in unexpected ways.

“So it makes risk taking much more difficult,” says Stinson, but he suggests something important: “I think the floor of prices is permanently raised. And we could slow down. Housing could slow down.”

Stinson believes we’re still “grossly under built” in housing. “But to me, the big shift is going to be how the industry manages risk.

Check out the full episode.

Beth’s Favorite: Episode 129: How Cameron Ashley Successfully Launched Their eCommerce Website

The topic of eCommerce is inescapable, and if you sell any kind of product, you’re probably having that conversation often. This episode is an honorable mention, and was a favorite of Beth’s, because we brought on Katie Schilling with Cameron Ashley, who helped the nationwide distributor set up their eCommerce platform.

Her experience (while challenging) proved to be priceless, but she points out that eCommerce is an investment. “This is not something that you just throw some money towards and you walk away from, I mean, it is a true investment,” says Katie. “So do it because you care about your customer. You want them to have a better experience, you want them to buy the products from you whenever, wherever.”

A successfully built eCommerce site can help to further establish brands in the minds of their customers. “And it's been revolutionary for us and unexpected. So I mean, I think that I would definitely say this is not a money saver, but it changes the game, it changes the way your customers think about you,” says Katie.

Learn more about navigating the world of eCommerce.

Zach’s Favorite: Episode 152: TikTok Strategies for Building Materials Manufacturers

Our two episodes with Ashley Stevenson, Venveo’s Social Media Manager, are some of the most talked-about shows. “So for me, that was really cool,” says Zach. “Ashley's incredibly smart.”

She’s also incredibly savvy when it comes to TikTok and how professionals and brands in the building industry might leverage this new technology trend. While it’s not for everyone, Ashley gives listeners a few examples of who’s using TikTok to their advantage.

  • Stay on Top of Social Trends: “I love the idea anytime an account has a very specific niche that they try to either attract or associate it to something happening from a social perspective. So for example, the Met Gala. Everybody watches it,” Ashley explains, “There was a faucet and fixtures company that is based in California and they literally just have faucets and plumbing fixtures. And they created an entire TikTok video comparing the faucets and fixtures to Met Gala outfits.”
  • Behind the Scenes: “There's other examples of doing before and after transformations,” she says, “A lot of times when we're in this B2B space or we're doing building projects and we're talking about products, the average person end user doesn't know how they all work together. They see them as individual components and pieces and they become overwhelmed. So showing them the example of this is where we started. And then this is where we're ending.”
  • Keep It Simple and Straightforward: “It's just taking your cell phone and walking through a door of a project that you did. Or taking your phone and recording the assembly line in the manufacturing facility. It's not something where you need an entire production company to come in,” says Ashley.

So what’s next in social media marketing? “I think to say that I know what's going to come next in the world and universe of social media, I mean, that's just saying a lot. I think there's only potential,” says Beth.

Give the whole episode a listen for more ideas.

Want Even More Insight?

We’d love to hear your predictions for 2022 and what’s worked for you this past year in marketing. We’re always looking for ideas for our episodes and would love to connect. Reach out at [email protected].