A Shift to Real Marketing in Construction

The past few years, I’ve seen a shift locally with construction companies hiring marketing people for the first time. In the past, these companies had done good work, maintained relationships, and been profitable. The market has changed and the recession has made everyone work harder, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Although some desperate companies will do anything for nearly nothing, they are educating clients that you get what you pay for and bids are transitioning to best value. Best value requires marketing.

This past month, I’ve fielded calls from three construction companies in different markets all transitioning to a proactive marketing. I ask prospects what changed to make them call us today and not before or not later. All three marketers that I spoke to were fairly new and now that the fires have been extinguished, they’re moving to more long-term goals. One of the marketers had been a proposal coordinator and was underutilized. She and the CEO are transitioning the company to proactively attract prospects and actually do marketing.

The amazing thing to anyone outside of the construction industry is that each of these companies make well over $100 million a year and rank in ENR’s Top 400 Construction Companies annually and they do not know their brand’s personality or their company’s differentiation. These are highly successful companies and they’re missing some of the core fundamentals of branding. The good news, they realize it and are doing something about it.

Best value proposals and negotiated require construction companies to differentiate and sell value instead of low bid and the days of being a client’s only contractor are probably gone unless you have a highly vertical niche and no one else does that kind of work. Even then, you probably have other contractors doing the work that is not in your niche.

What is your company’s personality? How do you differ from your competitors? Do you need to transition your business model or offerings to be unique? (We did, hence a sub-brand, Brand Constructors being a division of our parent company.)