Worker shortages continue to hamstring builders and contractors: A few statistics bear this out: While employment in the construction sector has increased since 2011, according to U.S. Labor Bureau statistics, the number of construction sector employees is still below pre-Recession levels: around 7.1 million in January of 2018, compared with 7.7 million in April 2006. Industry unemployment also continues to run lean: The current measure of around 7 percent is almost four times lower than the 2010 high.
Why should the extended shortage of workers be important to building products marketers? In our view, the shortage of labor is about a shortage of time. Builders and contractors still don’t have enough hours in the day to get their work done.
The opportunity for building products brands
Manufacturers of building products in search of winning strategies can benefit by considering this knowledge and offering products, services, and support to help their buyers — builders, contractors, and specifiers — make the most of their time. We’re not just talking about products developed to save builders time. It’s also about the marketing, sales and technical support behind those products and how they add efficiency.
To do this, organizations should look for ways to reduce hassles for buyers. Manufacturers that are able to smooth out the process of buying, managing and using building products will be able to help builders and specifiers make the most of every hour on the jobsite. Which leads to increased sales and long-term loyalty.
Remove the hassles
How do you begin to remove the friction inherent in buying, selling, and using building products? It might be adding a quick re-order and delivery option for a bundle of commonly used materials. Introducing a lighter, easier to carry product or packaging option. Hosting a series of webinars or workshops on how to order, measure, or install the product.
The ideas vary widely in how simple or complicated they can be. But all have one thing in common: They reduce the friction that exists with builders, contractors, and specifiers when they consider building products.
To get started, take a look across your organization for opportunities to reduce hassles and burdens. Analyze everything from your product portfolio, to your marketing efforts, to your sales strategies, to technical support. Are there opportunities to reduce the level of friction that builders, contractors and specifiers feel in each of these areas?
If you’re not immediately sure where the friction exists, there’s no need to sweat it. Because there’s likely a host of resources right under your nose with clues to this information. Consider your sales people, technical representatives, and internal marketing experts. These colleagues are bound to have a wealth of information, and tapping into their insights will help.
More resources to ease their burdens
Another source is outside organizations like Point To Point. We understand the importance of speaking to buyers’ concerns, and can help when it comes to understanding buyer motivations, aligning brand promises, and creating compelling messages that connect the two.
In the next post, we’ll share details on how to ease buyers’ time-related concerns about building products. Because while the labor shortage continues, time is at a premium for your buyers. If you continue to look for ways to assist buyers to save time and start conversations about it, you’ll certainly create a buzz.
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