How much should you measure and plan your construction marketing?

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There are some common themes that reverberate through the architectural, engineering and construction marketing world. They are undoubtedly more complex than they seem at first sight, and often appear to be contradictory.

So:

You need to measure what you are doing; you need to be sure you are measuring something useful (and you need to be careful that the measuring process doesn’t cause unwelcome irritation).

or

You need to plan your marketing carefully, and stick to your plan; but if your plan is “off” should you not change — and how do you know when to take advantage of opportunities that can be fleeting, indeed?

I see these contradictions everyday. “Measuring” is something I’ve spent much time researching, and generally left the story dissatisfied. The reason: Most of us (other than some contractors in the residential markets; and perhaps some larger building products manufacturers) generally are dealing in a client universe that defies statistical analysis.  Simply put, our sample sizes are not large enough to easily extrapolate previous results from future expectations within our own business.

We can of course use data from the broader market to compare ourselves, and use our own experiences/records to draw some conclusions. But micro-measuring really doesn’t provide much worthy data.

As well, of course, it is good to plan, budget, and co-ordinate our marketing, especially because we have complex products/services and the client acquisition cost (especially if we are rushing proposals for unqualified purchasers) can be huge.

How do you resolve these contradictions. I would advocate a middle road. Measure the key things — your client acquisition cost, your retention rate, and if you don’t force it with artificial surveys, your client satisfaction. And certainly plan and budget your marketing; but ask yourself the question: Could we do things for a lot less, to the point that detailed budgeting is not so necessary?

I’m not advocating for an anything-goes, nose-to-the-ground approach to marketing. But I’m wary of anyone who says things should be planned, structured and measured so deeply that you can’t seize opportunities or ditch problem areas without overly detailed analysis.

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