Marketing: 10 ways to make your business distinctive

  • 21 Jun 2016

In his third guest blog post, David Crick from Contractors Marketing Services explores some of the many routes to competitive differentiation in the construction industry.

How to make your business stand out in a crowd

In the last two blog posts, we’ve looked at the ethos of marketing and the need to build long term. In this post we’re going to look at how to make your business distinctive.

Construction is a busy and competitive industry. Every job is fought over, and unless it’s something highly specialised, clients will be able to choose from a broad range of companies. To get ahead in the industry, companies need to find a way to stand out or risk being tagged as an ‘also ran’.

This isn’t necessarily easy, but the good news is that you already have plenty to work with. You don’t need a gimmick. The challenge is to identify what’s great about your company and bring those to the fore. Let others see those strengths too, and build your business around them.

Marketing: 10 ways to be distinctive

  1. First of all, you know for a fact that nobody else has you working for them. You are the unique heart of your business. So your attitude, friendliness, and knowledge are all ways to influence clients in your favour.
  2. If you’ve got the patience to hang in there when jobs go quiet, to keep phoning back, to really work at building those relationships, you’ll get noticed. Don’t be pushy about it or the client will be thinking ‘not them again!’, but your persistence will show that you’re serious, and that you don’t give up easily.
  3. Value your clients. Show your appreciation for the work, thank people for their trust. Take the time to debrief on jobs and ask their opinion. If clients feel valued and respected, you’re more likely to get repeat business.
  4. Be accessible. Make sure you’re easy to get hold of. Don’t let emails go unanswered. Phone back when you miss a call. As we all know, that’s doubly important when something goes wrong.
  5. A quality website. It’s surprising how many firms still don’t have a good website, but it’s well worth the investment. Get it done professionally, make it easy to navigate and provide plenty of evidence of past work.
  6. Ask questions, and demonstrate to your clients that you understand their concerns and take them seriously. Invite feedback. Anyone can do this, but not everyone does. Make it a cornerstone of your customer relations.
  7. Working relationships. If you’re easy to work with, people will want to hire you again, so make sure that relationships on site are positive and non-adversarial. Be the first to apologise if there are any flare-ups, and make sure those principles are held across your whole staff team.
  8. Add value. Always look for ways to help with a project. Can you provide early pricing, comment on procurement or lead-in times, or input into site programme development? Be helpful, constructive, and go the extra mile.
  9. Cost reduction. Obviously clients are always looking for a good price, but be proactive about reducing costs across the whole project. If you can suggest ways to keep costs down at the tender stage, you’ll be showing that you understand the project and are interested in its success.
  10. Corporate identity. Finally, develop a clear and attractive corporate identity, and apply it consistently across your marketing materials, website, vehicles, etc. Make your company recognisable and familiar. There’s an art to this that we will cover in more detail another time.

Does anything in that list jump out? Most of those are things that anyone can do, rather than specialist skills or qualifications. Ultimately, what we’re talking about here is character. It goes beyond branding and policy, and gets to the point of who you are and what it’s like to work with you. And it is those sorts of considerations that will make all the difference as clients make their choice.

Fullscreen capture 21062016 081432Download the CMS Really Useful Guide to Construction Marketing – and if you’re a member of the CIOB, you can read it as part of your continuing professional development.

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