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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.
Part of our passion at Venveo is to report on trends and concerns in the building industry, and we’re so excited to share what happened at IBS 2022 in Orlando. It gives us an opportunity to connect with others in the industry and get the latest updates on products and trends in building today.
What IBS Looks Like in 2022
Last year’s International Builders’ Show was virtual, so the opportunity to get together again and visit with other pros in the industry was a huge treat for the Venveo team. “I love the excitement of new relationships blossoming, as cheesy as that may sound,” says Steve Coffey, Director of Growth for Venveo. “The establishment of new relationships in the exchange of business is just very exciting.”
“There’s a significant positivity in the air,” added Beth PopNikolov, CEO of Venveo.
We weren’t quite sure what to expect — some people in the industry thought trade shows might disappear entirely after COVID first hit.
But 68,000 builders, architects and other professionals in attendance at IBS 2022 indicates that we’re all pretty eager to connect again, check out the booths and learn more about industry innovations.
4 Takeaways From Conversations With Builders & GCs
Steve and Beth were able to get a sense of what today’s builders and GCs were talking about at the show and interested in. There are a few conversations that stand out when it comes to trends and concerns in construction.
- “The first was availability,” says Steve. While the new products showcased at this year’s event were exciting, issues in the supply chain have made everyone wary of working with a different manufacturer or material.
- Due to lack of supplies, many professionals wound up using new products, anyway, which is great for manufacturers. But this gave rise to other issues, like the challenge of learning new installation methods. “I was talking to one builder, and he said that recently he had an electrical portion of his project go out almost four to five months because three separate electrical teams had COVID,” says Steve. Any kind of delay — especially the necessary time that it takes to learn a new installation method — makes it hard to consider a new product.
- “I think another problem that they have is inflation and pricing,” says Steve. Inflation rates are up, and the impact that this has on the building industry is significant for contractors. “I didn't think they would be asking or be interested in [inflation], but they're talking to the sales reps in the booth about that,” explains Steve.
- And we were surprised to hear about another sentiment among today’s builders. “A common denominator between all the builders was they were looking for innovation, which is something I never heard before,” says Steve. “I think their intent was, ‘I am looking for innovative new products because my clients are asking [for them].’”
For today’s manufacturers and dealers, that’s an invitation to look a little more deeply at your company’s brand and messaging. Putting your product out there can pay off in some big ways, so Steve and Beth gave us a few examples of which manufacturers are doing it right and how they showed up at IBS 2022.
Who’s Winning Big at IBS 2022 This Year?
There were a few manufacturing brands that went all in at this year’s event, and we wanted to find out which companies made the biggest impression at IBS 2022.
One of our favorites was Sherwin Williams. “Their booth was all about problem, solution, problem, solution,” explains Beth. “Their key message that was biggest and boldest says, ‘Ask Sherwin Williams how to exceed homeowner expectations, with every gallon.’”
That kind of messaging offers solutions for professionals, and the opportunity to impress homeowners. “They were starting a conversation calling visitors to action with a solution, not like, ‘Ask us how great we are,’ but ‘How do we solve this?,’” explains Beth.
Steve was drawn in by Trex’s booth. “They had a little campfire set up and a little communal area where you could kind of go and hang out,” he explains. Not every trade show booth needs to feel cozy, but the brands that are able to welcome conversation are capable of doing that across a few platforms — not just in person.
What we weren’t keen on at this year’s event were buzzwords like sustainable or durable. “None of those words mean anything, and they could be applied to any product category,” says Beth. “That's also a chronic issue with booths, in general, is the messaging really falls down. I think people freak out about the amount of space that they have to put text on, and they just can't figure out what's going to be the most impactful.”
What to Expect at Next Year’s IBS
So what’s next for trade shows? Are they going extinct? We asked the team to predict what’s ahead for 2023 and beyond in trade show marketing.
“A really important thing that I walked away from this show with was the fact that companies … may push forward into trade shows. I don't think they're going away,” predicts Steve.
“But companies are going to be focusing and appropriating more budget to the digital experience that they have post trade show,” says Steve. That means for today’s manufacturer and dealer, a strong online marketing strategy is key — and it starts with a solid website.
This might make you scratch your head because, after all, IBS is an in-person event. Why worry about your website? “Builders and pros are now trained,” says Beth. “The number one way that I find information about manufacturers is from your website.”
We talk pretty often about your website being your most important salesperson, and that’s especially true if you exhibit at trade shows. “If your website is confusing and clunky or incomplete or not mobile-friendly, I mean, all of those things are going to hinder your ability to have ROI from a trade show,” says Beth.
Steve explained further. “I think it's going to be really important to make sure that the experiential marketing that you have [at trade shows] — how they're interacting with the product, how they're be becoming a part of the brand when they're in the booth and feeling it and touching it — transfers effectively in the merging of sales and marketing,” he says.
“So the conversation that they have with a sales rep needs to mirror the marketing automation campaign that they’re put into after they walk out of the booth, what that conversation will be post follow up, as well as the interaction that they have with the tools on the website.”
Want Even More Insight?
The pandemic changed the construction industry on multiple levels, including the ways we connect and share information with each other. The International Builders’ Show has been an important part of how many of us do business in the industry — and we don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon.
“I would say this felt like the springboard into next year,” says Beth. “I would expect big things in Vegas next year. I think the companies that were here that saw the desire from the pro-community for trade shows are going to invest even bigger.”
“There was a lot of uncertainty as to what the future of trade shows would be,” says Steve. “This last IBS, however, gives me a lot of confidence that trade shows are here to stick around. I think there's been a new normal that's been established.”
Be sure to listen to the full episode for an inside look at IBS 2022!
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