Category

Building Products

Snapshot 2020: Five Trends in Building Materials Marketing

Material samples for building products industry over blueprint

The year 2020 is proving a challenging time for building materials marketing professionals. Yet while the global pandemic has affected every sector of the home building, remodeling, and general construction industry, there are still opportunities for savvy marketers with their eye on today’s trends.

Here are five trends in 2020 that will impact anyone marketing building materials or designing programs around construction content.

Workers with hard hat and face masks

COVID-19 Changes Everything

As the world begins to emerge from this devastating pandemic, building materials marketers are shifting messaging toward managing consumer expectations. The NAHB says 30% of building materials come from China, while large quantities of stone and glass are supplied by Italy—two countries whose supply chains have been greatly impacted in Q1. In early spring, 23% of construction companies had already reported material shortages, and home buying web traffic on sites like Zillow and Redfin had dropped by 40%.

To create a marketing plan for building materials communications in this challenging environment, marketers must quickly pivot to a new consumer dynamic. Keeping loyal customers on top of information related to materials shortages or delays is vital. Likewise, consumers frustrated with supply chain issues may be more open to new suppliers and brands, so marketers need to aggressively target DIYers who are less brand-loyal and more focused on simply getting the building materials they require.

In retail areas, new types of materials—including floor stickers and window clings—can be used to provide new social-distancing guidance for shoppers, while hand sanitizer stations can provide further peace of mind.

young man working from home on his desk

Home Design Tastes Evolve

Even before the pandemic, more people were working from home than ever before. According to home design experts, the focus is on comfortable, connected spaces and more efficient designs for those spending more time at home.

Construction content for home buyers and rehabbers may target the trend of mixing traditional home styles such as a farmhouse or Arts & Craft with modern, industrial influences, and materials like metal or even plastic. Branded merchandise kits can be assembled to appeal to homeowners looking for this eclectic product mix.

Another big focus is on outdoor spaces. Outdoor kitchens, cold-weather fire pits, and other accessories are becoming popular as consumers spend more time in their backyards entertaining or relaxing. Marketing building materials for outdoor projects can help engage these homeowners.

construction worker putting insulation in the house building site

Sustainability Still a Focus

No longer simply a buzzword, sustainability reaches deep into the psyche of today’s home buyers and homeowners. Studies show that people are willing to spend more money on building materials that reduce the carbon footprint and save expenses on utilities. Sustainable materials such as wood and even recycled plastics play a greater role in new home construction.

While not every marketer may sell these in-demand materials, there may still be an opportunity to tie messaging and product development to the concept of sustainability. Wherever possible, construction marketing should highlight wood, plastics, and certain metals as highly sustainable. Insulation, fabric, lighting, and plumbing materials should promote energy savings as well as traditional features like quality and durability.

construction worker on her tablet in the building site

Digital consumers crave construction content

For the vast majority of today’s do-it-yourselfers, the web is the first stop in any project. According to a recent online survey, a full 78% of DIYers start project research online, on sites like YouTube or Pinterest. They’re looking for pricing information, customer reviews, and how-to videos. In fact, the survey showed that 47% of DIYers actually initiated a project after seeing online content; 80% of them view such content from their smartphones.

Building materials marketing and online marketing for contractors must account for a consumer mindset that values strong content more than brand names. Sixty-three percent of DIYers say they don’t care about the brand at all, so savvy building materials companies are now investing in mobile-first content marketing. How-to videos and webinars, engaging customer review forums, and audience-submitted ideas are replacing traditional advertising campaigns.

It’s important that showroom signage and product displays reinforce the messaging in all of these digital communications.

a girl comfortably on a couch with her cat

Comfort Over Prestige

Marie Kondo’s mantra “Spark joy” may have taken root as an organizational concept, but today this influence is found in building materials and floor plans alike. Trend-spotters point toward homes for Millennial and Gen-Z buyers that incorporate more quiet spaces and less grandeur. Lighting, plants, fabrics and other building materials are employed to create peace and calm.

In contrast to a few years ago when the logo on an oven range was meant to be seen, modern homeowners are now actively concealing appliances within cabinetry, opting instead for minimalism, space, and simplicity. Construction content and building materials marketing including in-store signage, that help consumers build human connections with less clutter are in demand.

In a rapidly changing retail environment, NVISION is always ready to help building materials brands elevate their marketing and respond quickly to new trends and the challenges of 2020. Our deep understanding of today’s marketplace gives you an edge in strategizing and executing your marketing plan for building materials communication. Learn more about how NVISION can boost your building materials marketing here.

Subscribe to the Blog

Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

LEARN MORE

The Top Building Materials Trends for 2019

The 2019 NAHB International Builders Show is around the corner and NVISION is gearing up to be there!

S&P Global recently released its Building Materials Industry Top Trends 2019, highlighting some of the key trends, takeaways, and forecasts the building materials industry will be keeping its eye on this year, and especially at IBS 2019.

Based on the trends report, here are our three key takeaways that all building materials industry leaders should know!

steel rods - building materials

Commodity Costs Will Continue to Grow

As the report points out, commodity costs for the building industry in North America rose in 2018 for several reasons, including decreasing unemployment, new tariffs, and increased demand. And S&P Global expects those same factors to continue to drive commodity prices up in 2019.

“So far, most building materials companies have been able to offset the cost increases with higher pricing, but it remains to be seen if companies can continue to maintain higher prices in 2019,” the report says. With S&P Global predicting a 3 percent increase in building materials costs in 2019, the building materials industry will need to look at cutting costs and optimizing their supply chains to offset this increase in prices and maintain their margins without continuing to raise prices.

Increased Prices Could Slow the Building Materials Recovery

As the report states, low inventory, higher home prices, and higher interest rates may be pushing marginally qualified homebuyers out of the North American market. This, S&P Global says, could bring a halt to the building materials recovery. “Existing home sales (a big driver of repair and remodel activity) could slow if values remain high and available inventory low,” the report claims. With fewer pre-existing homes being purchased, fewer old houses will be getting remodeled and repaired by new homeowners, and that means less business for building materials companies.

With building materials companies competing for homeowners with fewer dollars to spend – or with new construction townhomes that don’t need remodeling – they will need to find other ways to protect their margins, including finding ways to cut costs and compete on the customer experience with enhanced agility and responsiveness.

home building site

The Building Materials Market is Healthy, But with Growing Risk

When it comes to the numbers, the S&P Global report predicts modest growth in the North American building materials market. “We expect 2.3 percent real GDP growth, 3.6 percent unemployment, and 1.3 million housing starts. We further expect mid-single-digit growth in repair and remodeling activity, and only 2.8 percent growth in nonresidential construction,” the report states.

As a result, S&P Global is predicting another year of improved sales and earnings for building materials companies. But, the report says, “with much less growth than in 2016 and 2017.”  What’s more, due to the affordability and availability issues of new homes mentioned above, S&P Global warns that housing starts could actually retreat slightly in 2019. To combat this problem, many builders will “attempt to address this by offering more value-based entry-level housing,” which will present an enormous opportunity to building materials companies who are able – thanks to a nimble, efficient supply chain – to offer reduced prices on materials and faster delivery timelines.

*****

The 2019 NAHB International Builders Show promises to be one to remember. With these trends in mind, building materials companies will want to be on the lookout for experienced partners who can help them cut costs and better optimize their supply chain management in order to capitalize on this shifting market.

NVISION will be there, and we hope to see you!

Related blogs:

Subscribe to the Blog

Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

LEARN MORE

Disruption in Building Materials Marketing: A Guide for CMOs

“Disruption” is a hot word right now in marketing. It calls to mind the Ubers, PayPals, and Yelps of the world. Disruption can mean huge profits and slashed costs for companies that pull it off successfully, and a place in the pantheon of revered brands.

But for CMOs, who must try to navigate through this ever-changing sea of disruptions in consumer behaviors, business environments, and new technologies, handling this task, and identifying which opportunities to capitalize on, can be a challenge. That’s why Navigate-the-Channel offers these helpful tips for coming out on top to CMOs riding the wave of disruption.

Explore and Understand New Technology

It wasn’t even five years ago that virtual reality, machine learning, A.I., and the Internet of Things were all pipe dreams. Now, they’re household concepts, and marketers are integrating them into their strategies.

Take Marriott Hotels, for example. It uses VR headsets to allow vacation shoppers to virtually “explore” some of its flagship properties in places like London, Hawaii, and, Thailand, telling its hospitality story better than a pamphlet ever could. VR, and the ability to “walk through” structures has exciting applications for the building materials industry.

As NTC puts it, “these technologies should not be cultivated for their own sake,” but CMOs should seek to understand both their applications and their appeal to consumers.

businessman holding tablet

Use Data to Consider Customers Holistically

Big data has brought big changes to how marketers develop customer personas and ideal customer profiles. In the past, CMOs grouped large swaths of customers into similar “personas” and segmented their marketing efforts at that level.

Now, with the rise of “Big Data” and, more importantly, the machine learning power to analyze, process, and make sense of it, CMOs have an unprecedented opportunity to target their customers at an even more granular level.

As NTC explains, “In a small industry like building materials, everyone knows everyone else. Each person within a sales funnel must be considered fully,” and that includes considering their organization’s challenges, goals, budgets, geographic markets, and more. CMOs should explore investments in big data analysis that can help create these hyper-specific buyer profiles.

Real-Time Responsiveness and Connectivity

The Internet of Things is rapidly redefining traditional marketing “channels.” Now, refrigerators can recommend packaged foods to consumers, and windows can suggest more energy-efficient blinds.

CMOs should take a step back and consider how certain societal and consumer attitudes have already changed regarding styles, materials, and processes. “For instance, certain manufacturing processes that would have been industry standard within building materials might now be considered anti-environment and cause enough of a stir to hinder business,” explains NTC. The use of asbestos in insulation materials is one of the most famous examples.

Smart CMOs should take into consideration which aspects of their business may become the subject of consumer attention in the future, and they should prepare their marking supply chain and marketing operations to be agile and responsive to these changes as they arise.

Subscribe to the Blog

Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

LEARN MORE

NAHB Predicts 2018 Will Be a Big Year: How Can Building Materials Manufacturers Prepare?

home building site

Builder confidence reached an 18-year high at the end of 2017, reaching a record-breaking 74%. That number continues to hold strong into 2018, with the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index predicting another massive year.

That’s according to the NAHB itself, whose Chairman Randy Noel reports that “builders are confident that changes to the tax code will promote the small business sector and boost broader economic growth.”

But, in order to capitalize on this confidence and realize the large revenue influx made possible by it, building materials manufacturers will have to contend with fears of “building material price increases and shortages of labor and lots.”

Single Family Home Growth

The market will be especially hot for residential building materials manufacturers in 2018.

“As the overall economy strengthens, owner-occupied household formation increases and the supply of existing home inventory tightens, we can expect the single-family house market to make further gains this year,” says NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

For materials manufacturers, this underscores the importance of highly optimized marketing operations, specifically a streamlined marketing supply chain. Whether it’s product samples, printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase, direct mail, or promotional items, the expertise to simplify the creation, procurement, fulfillment, and distribution of these materials is key to bringing brand touchpoints to life.

high rise construction site - building materials

Keeping Up With Demand in 2018

“Housing demand should continue to grow in 2018,” says Dietz, and Noel adds, “Our members are excited about the year ahead.”

To seize this opportunity, building materials manufacturers would be extremely wise to take a long, hard look at their marketing operations, focusing their audit on three fundamental tenets:

  • Simplicity: A single view across your marketing operations adds visibility and accountability. Reduce chaos, improve speed, and create efficiency with a dedicated strategic account management team.
  • Cost Efficiency: Visibility into all cost drivers allows you to make more informed buying decisions. Understanding production timelines, specifications, and historical waste allows you to buy smarter and limit wasted spend.
  • Reliability: The right materials at the wrong time are worthless. Your marketing supply chain should deliver on time, on budget, and on-brand, every time.

*****

2018 is poised to be a big year for building materials manufacturers.

A trusted expert, like NVISION, can help bring your brand to life in a consistent, efficient, and timely manner, and can be a steady, agile, and innovative partner you can count on.

Subscribe to the Blog

Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

LEARN MORE

3 Ways Building Materials Manufacturers Can Improve Their Marketing Operations

The building materials industry comes with its own unique marketing challenges. While many traditional strategies work well for building materials manufacturers, the particular demands of customers – both retail and construction – mean there are certain facets of their marketing operations that manufacturers cannot afford to get wrong. That’s according to Whizard Strategy, who explains that there are three key areas building materials manufacturers should focus on to improve their marketing strategy.

Not Being Proactive in Their Marketing

Many building materials companies often don’t react to an industry trend or customer demands until they absolutely have to, and by then, it’s frequently too late. By being proactive to these trends, companies can position themselves not only as thought leaders but, frequently, as the more affordable option. Multichannel coordination between in-store and online, a technology that roots out inefficiencies in your supply chain and finds optimizations, these are ways to stay ahead of the game, ahead of the competition, and in front of your customers.

man working on the roof at the construction site

Lack of Customer Responsiveness

Customer service can mean a lot of things, but in the building materials industry, it especially means responsiveness to the demands of your customers.

Construction and remodeling are very fashionable right now, and trends – and customer desires – change as quickly as a television channel. The manufacturer that can adapt and respond to their customers’ demands with flexibility, agility, and speed will win the day and win more business. Brands should prioritize this responsiveness in their marketing operations, and work with a partner who specializes in agile marketing supply chains.

Not Enough Compelling Visual Assets

As Whizard Strategy points out, the average customer spends eight seconds looking at something. To that end, it is critical to making that first impression count, and to lure customers with visual assets that inspire them to learn more about your brand and its products.

Further, those assets need to be high-quality, and they need to deliver your unique message in a clean, approachable way. So, how do you make that happen, when budgets are tight and visual assets can be costly and time-consuming to produce? Coordinating and optimizing the many moving parts involved in your marketing supply chain is the key. Partnering with an expert who can simplify, consolidate, and expedite your marketing operations means you not only get more assets to market on time, but you get better assets with less waste.

*****

The building materials industry features its own marketing challenges, but by keeping these best practices in mind, manufacturers can not only win more revenue but win greater customer loyalty in the long run, too.

Subscribe to the Blog

Why NVISION?

For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.

LEARN MORE