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The Future of Automation in Construction Marketing

by Peter Chesters

This month we spoke to Kate Perrin, Marketing Director at Barbour ABI. Kate has been with Barbour ABI for just over one year and oversees the marketing for the entire Barbour ABI family of brands, including AMA Research and Barbour Product Search. Here, Kate discusses the present state of construction marketing and how businesses can innovate and automate to help meet their overall sales and strategy goals.

Is the construction industry behind the times in terms of digital marketing? If so, how can the industry catch up to give sales teams the best chance to convert leads and win work?

Before I started at Barbour ABI, I had read a lot of articles online about how the construction industry was behind in terms of marketing approaches. Like any sweeping statement, I am sure there are examples of this in what is a very broad and varied industry, but I have also been privy to some genius campaigns, making use of some of the most cutting-edge digital tools out there. My background is as a SaaS (software as a service) B2B marketer. I am used to fast-paced, innovative environments, but I am dazzled by the sheer velocity and magnitude of the UK construction industry right now. The pandemic has of course accelerated the shift to digital marketing, and in many ways has forced for any laggards to adopt digital when once it may have relied on more traditional methods. So we now have some positive forces at work: encouraging construction businesses to ensure they are not just keeping up with their competitors, but that they are trailblazing techniques to successfully win work and ensure that their collaborators maintain engagement throughout the life of the project and beyond.

The key to this is a simple one, and the marketing team at Barbour ABI group companies will most certainly have heard this more than twice:

“Meet them where they are at, and greet them with something they want to know in a tone that resonates with them”

In other words, send relevant, personalised communications using a channel they value. There is no excuse for broadcasting generic messages As one of my colleagues so rightly put it “nuisance marketing is so 1990s!”.

People may think of marketing automation and assume spam or irrelevant content is involved. In what ways are automation processes smarter than this?

I wish in a way that marketing automation was called something else, as, for some reason there are so many negative connotations associated with the term ‘automation’. Many people see it as a blunt instrument, something impersonal and untargeted. And, if you Google the definition of marketing automation you get something like this as a search result:
“What marketing automation platforms allow you to do can be defined as a process where technology is used to automate several repetitive tasks that are undertaken on a regular basis.” (Wikipedia).

But, used in the right way, for me, terms like ‘repetitive’ and ‘regular’ couldn’t be further than the truth in describing the experiences for prospects and outcomes you can expect from using marketing automation. Of course, allowing you to perform automated processes in essence frees resource up from delivering the lower order marketing tasks, buying you back more time to think of and implement prospect journeys that are personalised ideally according to persona. And let’s face it, that’s where we should be spending our time – in creating journeys and experiences that capture the attention of our addressable market, hold their attention and urge them to act. These are processes that will allow you to generate better awareness, more leads and ultimately better quality leads that should convert at a much higher rate.

It sounds like a silver bullet, right? But, like any martech, marketing automation needs a strategy, defined goals and proper implementation – so you can embed these processes into your day to day marketing outreach.

Budgets and availability of content vary massively across the industry. How can a business with a small marketing team/budget have their product marketing seen by new contacts across the widest audience?

Web 2.0 shifted the goalposts massively for marketers. No longer are we able to tell our consumers how to feel about our brand or tell them about what to think about our products and expect to simply be believed. Social, review platforms and simply better sharing of information within industries (and across) has meant a few things:

  1. 1. 3rd party referencing or social proof is key. Businesses want to hear how other ‘like’ businesses have used your products and what their experiences have been before making a decision. This means that testimonials and case studies are important but so are dynamic review platforms such as Trust Pilot. It takes a great service but not such a lot of marketing resource to get someone to rate you and what you do.
  2. 2. Content is king, queen and every other royal title going. Building on the above, getting respected people in your industry to advocate your work on your behalf is going to win you friends and influence, way more than a feature/benefits led sales brochure. If you want to learn about how you can do more, effective content marketing that gets you results then watch the webinar the team and I did in partnership with the Construction Marketing Awards.
  3. 3. Post original and often. What does this mean? Well, LinkedIn is in its ‘Golden Age’, with Twitter you need to be part of the conversation, and as for Instagram, you need to stand out with sharp imagery. I am a fan of the ‘Gary Vee’ reverse pyramid content model. This is a model which allows you to take one piece of macro content and turn it into at least 60 pieces of micro content with very little effort or creative expertise at all. Gary is a big proponent of the ‘show up and show often’ approach and his results, and the results of the businesses that follow his model say it all.

What tools are available to construction businesses specifically to automate their marketing processes?

There are loads of tools and platforms out there – HubSpot, Eloqua, Marketo, to name a few. We recognise how marketing automation could take your Barbour ABI construction leads to the next level. We also know that you want to fire your own sales and marketing expertise at the warmest of leads, to help improve your return on investment and get even more out of your Barbour ABI platform.

That’s why we have partnered with construction marketing automation experts Project Prospecta. Unlike generic platforms, the Project Prospecta service is construction specific and plugs seamlessly into your Barbour ABI account so you don’t need to worry about the data. And, as well as providing the automation tools ready to go they will also create the campaigns for you – segmented, personalised and beautifully crafted.

About the author

Picture of Peter Chesters

Peter Chesters

Head of Demand Generation at Barbour ABI

Peter has worked for Barbour ABI since March 2019. Beginning in the Barbour Product Search editorial team, he then moved into the Barbour ABI Marketing team in late 2019, mainly focusing on writing and content creation. In 2021 Peter began to head up the Barbour Product Search editorial team.

As Head of Demand Generation, Peter now works across Barbour ABI, Barbour Product Search and AMA Research, focusing on new business marketing strategy and content creation across the Barbour ABI Group.

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