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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.

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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!

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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.

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Gartner: Three Tips for Building an Agile Marketing Culture

The landscape for marketers is changing more rapidly than ever. And for marketing leaders who feel like their teams and resources are already stretched thin, this can be a daunting reality. But, one of the best ways to plan for this reality, and to prepare your organization to maximize marketing resources is to develop a marketing culture around agile thinking.

That’s according to Marc Brown at Gartner, who explains that today’s marketing leaders can cultivate an agile culture – and agile thinking – by focusing their attention on three key areas: Skills, Data, and Operations. So, what does that actually look like for real CMOs and marketing directors?

Let’s dive in.

professional meeting - a woman presenting

Build Your Team with the Skills to Match Your Vision

Nearly every member of your marketing team probably has different skills. From copywriters to designers to marketing automation experts, your marketing department is more than the sum of its parts. But just as each member of your team has different skills, so too does each marketing department have a different overall vision for success. And that vision should shape the skills makeup of your team.

Marketing visions can vary vastly from team to team,” Brown explains. “Assembling a team with a unified vision all starts with the recruiting process.” To this end, Brown recommends taking the time to put down on paper exactly what your team’s vision is – what metrics success will be judged by, what key goals you will hope to achieve, etc. Then, Brown recommends recruiting “T-shaped” team members, or team members who possess a broad breadth of skills while also demonstrating deep expertise in a single specific area. According to Gartner’s 2017 Marketing Organization Survey, 53% of modern marketers are already “T-shaped,” so developing your perfect team is mostly a matter of mapping everyone’s skills to your larger team vision.

Data is the Foundation of Agility

As Brown explains, one of the fundamental characteristics of an agile marketing approach is constant iteration and analysis. What’s working, what isn’t, and how closely are you measuring it? “For a marketing team to break the norm and boost engagement, they must first understand exactly what ‘the norm’ is,” Brown says. “Agile marketing’s iterative approach enables you to incorporate data and insights into your planning on an ongoing basis.”

Gartner specifically recommends using your customer data to create a multichannel 360-degree of your customer’s journey, from Buy to Own to Advocate. “Using this data is key to understanding pain points. You can’t find innovative solutions if you don’t understand the common snags in your systems, customer behavior, and shopping trends,” says Brown. If you want to build an agile marketing team that can respond to new trends at a moment’s notice, you must first establish the data practices to discover them.

Agile Operations Are Not Always Linear

Part of shifting to an agile marketing mindset is adjusting your expectations for your operational workflows. Traditional marketing operations tend to conceptualize these processes as flowing naturally, step-by-step, from something like Strategy to Research, Design, Deploy, and finally, Measure. But as Brown explains, agile marketing operations look very different.

“It’s better to view the process as a loop to continuously facilitate collaboration, ideation, development, execution, and measurement.” This, Brown says, is to account for the fact that no team can ever predict all the ways and areas where optimization has opportunities to improve the process. “Although it may seem like these processes naturally flow from one stage to the next, there’s never a one-size-fits-all formula. Certain stages may be conducted simultaneously in order to view the situation from all angles, or to reevaluate a plan or to pivot and adjust direction.”

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An agile marketing mindset helps marketing teams position themselves for future success in a quickly-changing landscape. But to put themselves in a position to respond with agility, marketing leaders must take steps now to build and establish an agile mindset. By focusing on Skills, Data, and Operations, smart CMOs can do just that, today.

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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