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Last updateTue, 20 Feb 2024 8am

Futurebuild 2024: marketing can deliver a transformative year for construction

YTIUSlHAs a specialist construction marketing agency, BCM works every day with clients who are at the forefront of sustainable building practices - and our message as we exhibit at Futurebuild this year is that in 2024 the UK construction industry is set to enter a truly transformative phase.

The ever-growing importance of sustainability plays a significant part in this, of course, as the UK Government throws its weight behind 2050 net zero initiatives – everything from changes to planning law to an increased focus on retrofitting – and the industry evolves to comply with them.

But it’s also important to understand that 2024 will be the year in which the role of marketing communications agencies like ours will become increasingly pivotal, as the industry seeks to deliver on the challenge of the 12% growth expected from it compared to last year.

This is a level of uplift that is only achievable if the construction sector learns the dual lessons of the recent past: firstly, that marketing is not discretionary spend when growth is critical, but, at the same time, that marketing must work much harder for the money spent on it. 

“The volatility of recent times has shown that only solid marketing insight into the sector and industry will enable construction companies to remain competitive, communicate compellingly, and deliver growth.” - Miriam Drahmane, BCM Agency

This is where nimble agencies, armed with agility and innovation, are poised to make a substantial difference to how construction companies approach marketing and communication strategies – and to the results they expect from them.

How must construction marketing change in 2024?

But what does that difference look like, and how will construction sector companies on the lookout for a marketing agency know it when they see it?

Well, what it doesn’t look like is creativity. In the dynamic landscape that is the construction industry, as in many others, the tools and resources that enable creative people to execute creatively are ubiquitous. Creativity is no longer something only agencies can do, and it should no longer be a decider for those considering their services.

Far more decisive, in 2024, will be marketing agencies’ ability to operate on a strategic and predictive level, enabling their clients to stay ahead of emerging trends in the industry - whether it's sustainability practices, technological advancements, regulatory changes, or whatever else.

The volatility of recent times has shown that only solid marketing insight into the sector and industry will enable construction companies to remain competitive, communicate compellingly, and deliver growth.

And agencies that can swiftly adapt both strategies and execution to align with this dynamic landscape will be the ones that outperform for their clients.

For many agencies, it’s a complete mindset change – but at BCM it’s simply the way we do things.

Back to basics with segmentation and targeting

Firstly, though, let’s outline some priorities.

We spoke earlier about agility, and the ability for an agency to work quickly across both proactive and reactive activities is certainly critical.

But so too is a thorough understanding of - and adherence to - business-to-business (B2B) fundamentals. Segmentation and understanding the customer may sound a little traditional, but they’ll always be the backbone of measurable marketing success - and more so today than ever before.

Why? Because as B2B buyers become ever more discerning, generic scattergun marketing messages are losing their efficacy. In 2024, successful B2B marketing in construction will rely on personalisation and targeted messaging, driven by the segmentation and customer insight mentioned above.

And what underpins this process? Research.

By leveraging data analytics and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, amongst many other sources of intelligence (including social media), companies can gather insights into the preferences and behaviours of customers.

This data-driven approach enables the creation of highly targeted and personalised marketing campaigns that get results - and the ROI the Board will be seeking.

“BCM’s approach aligns data, opportunities and messaging, creating a strategy tailored to prospects’ pain-points and decision-making preferences.” – Simon Green, Green Building Design

But though many businesses attempt to manage this themselves, it should be borne in mind that each B2B buyer decision-making unit (DMUs) contains an average of about seven individuals (for big-ticket buying decisions it can often be more).

The segmentation and personalisation process thus becomes highly complex, and time-consuming – and, realistically, is best entrusted to an agency, rather than getting in the way of the business’s core activity.

Research in action: talking up sustainability

One example of how thorough research can help discern the issues standing in the way of the industry’s growth, and increase the profile around them, is the Voices in Construction insight panel we set up in 2021.

This brings together construction industry specialists every couple of months to discuss hot topics within the sector.

It has proven to be an invaluable programme for gauging reactions and opinion on themes impacting the sector, as well as looking at possible solutions to challenges the industry is facing.

The latest insight panel, for example, uncovered the growing trend for sustainability to be pushed down the buyer agenda in the current economic climate. This is concerning, as the UK buildings construction sector accounts for 45% of total carbon emissions, and failure to reduce these could result, ultimately, in non-compliance penalties.

In response, BCM will be hosting a conference for specifiers, entitled Specifier Summit 2024, in November this year, to help transition key target audiences’ conversation around sustainable construction products and practices away from cost alone.

You can contact us here for more details, or simply come and chat to us about it (and the next Voices in Construction panel) on the stand.

Emotion: a trick you can’t afford to miss

So, that’s research, strategy, and knowing your customer’s mind all covered – but the other thing marketing agencies must get right to drive growth in the construction sector in 2024 is this: emotion.

It’s sometimes easy to lose sight of this, but B2B buying decisions are not wholly fuelled by rationale and logic. Emotion connection plays a huge part (as the old saying goes, “people buy people”.)

If this sounds ‘fluffy’, not a bit of it. There’s a great deal of research to support it. A recent study from Google and the CEB Marketing Leadership Council, for example, found that “B2B customers are significantly more emotionally connected to their vendors and service providers than consumers.”

Tapping into customers’ wants as well as needs, understanding what keeps prospects awake at night, and positioning and framing your company’s solution to address these problems - whilst understanding where the prospect sits on the buying timeline - is what will differentiate you from your competition.

And that, bluntly, is way beyond the scope of the simple ‘service provider’ model – turning the handle and measuring output, not results - that many marketing communications agencies adopt.

Instead, marketing communications agencies in 2024 need to be strategic partners, helping construction companies carve out a distinctive identity in a competitive market, and going the extra mile to understand the context, the situation, and the necessary outcomes.

And to prove the point, at Futurebuild we’re also offering a limited number of vouchers entitling your business to a free review of your marketing strategy.

Looking to do B2B marketing properly? Catch up with us at Futurebuild on stand D30, 5th – 7th March, at Excel, London, get in touch on  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us on 01525 306369.