5 reasons why your building products business might not be ready for digital marketing just yet

I’ve sat in front of many business owners and marketers over the last 7 years in construction both client side and agency side. During this time I’ve learnt a lot about how digital can help a business generate awareness, drive traffic and convert it into leads…..and how it can’t help a business. Yet.

99% of the time most businesses and marketers are shifting from print and PR based marketing to ‘going’ a bit more online. Therefore it’s new and most marketers mindsets are still quite traditional.

Therefore they treat digital in the same way.

So I’m going to share 5 reasons why you might not be ready to go digital just yet……

1. You have this perception that digital marketing is easy

It’s got to be easy right? Just chuck a few messages together and send out emails, tweets, updates, pins…..and keep doing it over and over and over again.


Digital marketing isn’t easy. Those who think it’s easy are the ones who fail 6 months in because they’ve realised it’s bloody difficult.

Moving over from traditional marketing to online marketing requires a different mindset. That requires work in itself.

The traditional marketing approach would be, you brief an agency to bring you the ads, you approve it and they then do the rest. That’s it. You don’t need to really think about anything because you’ve got #RCS to get on with. (#RCS = real company shit. Like cleaning the literature cupboard)

Online, you bring the stories, the content, the messages to the agency and they then help you promote online.

“WHAT! You mean I HAVE to do some work? I can’t just brief you and you go away and do it all for me?”

Doesn’t work like that. You are in a better position to understand the dynamics of your business than a marketing agency. You have to be the voice of your business online. Not the fella who writes your press releases.

2. No dedicated marketing department to take control and take responsibility

Some smaller sized businesses don’t have a marketing department. They may have a co-ordinator or a PA who is responsible for keeping things moving along but there’s no central point. In these circumstances, majority of the control is with agencies and consultants to make things happen.

This is why control and accountability are so important.


Somebody from within the business needs control otherwise nothing will happen. Business owners don’t have time. PA’s are part-time in lots of areas  of the business, specialists in none.

Somebody needs to be accountable for ensuring things happen (content development) and communication between all parties is managed properly.

You can’t pause online marketing. The wheels are constantly turning.

3. You struggle to manage the data you currently have

When I say ‘data’ I don’t mean marketing data. I mean business data. Leads, customers, connections, orders, projects etc. Data which you can then segment and market to.

I found myself talking more and more about CRM recently with many marketers.

Most don’t have one or they have one but it’s not being used properly. Bit of a hack here and there. No real process or quality management.

If you’re speaking to a decent agency or consultant then they’ll already be looking at how you handle leads very early on in your engagement. Going back to my point about accountability,

I’m very much about connecting the dots between web visits, conversions, project creation to quotations.


It’s how you can make yourself accountable right?. Being able to say “This is what I’ve done and here are the outcomes in monetary value”.

But you can’t because you don’t have the systems or processes in place to connect the dots. Therefore you’ll never really understand the true value of your digital marketing efforts.

You’ll continue to make crappy decision based on metrics such as visits and pageviews. Which gets right on my tits (just being honest!).

You’ll continue to send one message to all because you can’t segment by ‘last contact’ or ‘average order values’ or ‘cold leads’.

4. You don’t talk about anything other than your products

You’ve always marketed your products.

Features and benefits. Benefits and features. Features and benefits.

There’s so much noise online – it’s very hard to create impact and get noticed. You need to be different because you and your competitors are all saying the same thing.


The best strategy online is to become helpful. Become a resource. Be trusted. Make it easy for specifiers to specify you.

But that requires a different mindset. A different approach. You have to actually take someone elses thoughts into consideration other than your own. Gosh!

If you are asking yourself right now “So what do I market?” then go away, think about your audiences needs and then learn about them and their problems, pain points. You’ll soon realise it’s not just about your product. There’s a whole heap of stuff you could be teaching them.

Know your audience. I love asking the question “So who actually is your customer?” because it’s not the specifier – they don’t actually order from you do they?

5. It’s harder for you to get sign off for a PPC campaign that it is for a print ad campaign

“We’ve just booked 12 full page ad space in Building Design for £xx,xxx”

And then…..

“WHAT! You mean we have to pay a one time fee of $250 for video analytics? You’re going to have to quantify that spend Pritesh”.

Digital marketing is going to be hard for everyone involved if money is still being spent in areas which can’t be quantified. I’ve often sat in front of business owners who won’t question ad spend but will grill me on PPC spend and yet its a tiny percentage of the annual ad spend.

Yet I always have numbers and outcomes to show them.

But this goes back to mindset and having systems and processes in place that help you evaluate your efforts, spend and outcomes.

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Sometimes, the print ad spend could be better spent on investing in systems and processes to reduce cost of marketing in the future.

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