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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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Five Tips for Choosing the Right Promotional Marketing Distributor

As competition continues to grow in every industry, it’s becoming more and more important for brands to be able to offer their customers and prospects a truly superior, personalized experience. That’s according to the Advertising Specialty Institute, who explains that to really impress your customers with promotional items, it’s absolutely critical to choose a distributor that offers the best service. Your distributor enables your business and their skill and service reflect upon your brand. That’s why ASI has identified five key qualities to look for in a partner.

Let’s take a look!

Low Prices

At the end of the day, nothing talks like money. And whether that’s costs, ROI, or revenue, it’s important to choose a distributor that offers highly competitive pricing for the production and delivery of promotional items. “Rather than slash your profit margins for the sake of winning a sale,” ASI explains, brands should work with a partner to secure affordable, consistent costs from the very beginning. That way, you’ll protect your margins, you’ll be able to save your customers money, and you’ll be able to capitalize on every promotional opportunity without breaking your budget.

Responsiveness and Flexibility

Customer demands are changing faster than ever, and it’s critical to work with a distributor who can respond with speed, agility, and flexibility. Whether you want to capitalize on a rapidly developing promotion (one centered around an event, for example) or just seize the latest trend while it’s still hot (fidget spinners, anyone?), your partner should specialize in fast turnarounds, quick changes, and ultra-responsiveness via a highly optimized supply chain. Don’t just meet your deadlines; exceed them.

man and woman looking at print samples

Attention to Quality

Promotional products may be inexpensive, but that doesn’t mean they can be low-quality. When you place your brand’s name and logo on a promotional giveaway, that product continues to represent your company in the mind of the recipient for weeks and months to come. Each time they use that bottle opener or thumb drive or shopping bag, they will think of you. If that product is low-quality or falls apart…well, that’s the level of quality they’ll associate with your brand.

It’s critically important to partner with a distributor who not only has a proven track-record of delivering high-quality products, but who maintains strict quality control practices as part of their workflow.

Past Reputation

It’s always wise to check any potential distributor’s previous history with customers. In this case, you want to choose one with a very high customer satisfaction rate and with plenty of positive testimonials. If a potential partner comes highly recommended, it generally means that previous customers have been happy with their services and products. Recommendations and testimonials are the ultimate receipt of satisfaction, so steer clear of anyone that can’t demonstrate a long list of happy customers.

Exceptional Customer Service

Customer service is now a core competency for any business worth its salt, and your promotional marketing partner should be no exception. The distributor of your choice should be quick to respond to inquiries and concerns, and should provide you with realistic, accurate timelines for things like production, delivery, and if necessary, returns. Your partner should value your business, because your business is their business. Don’t settle for anything less.

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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

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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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