How You Can Make Big Changes Despite Small Changes Ahead 

So what should building products marketers do during 2012 to weather the flat forecast? Spend! And BusinessWeek agrees. Research from the 1981–82 recession showed that companies that increased advertising during the downturn saw a 250% increase in sales just a few years later.

It appears that 2012 won’t feel much different from 2011 for the building product industry, but that shouldn’t mean another year of waiting. The report conducted by McGraw-Hill suggests 2012 construction starts will be $412 billion—that after a 4% decline in 2011 to approximately $410 billion.

Some of the report’s highlights for the coming year:

  • A moderate 10% increase in construction dollars and a 7% increase in units (435,000)
  • An excess supply of homes due to foreclosures continues to depress the market
  • For multifamily housing, look for an 18% increase in dollars and 17% in units, continuing a modest an upward trend
  • Commercial building is anticipated to grow 8%
  • The downturn in institution building continues with a 2% decrease
  • Manufacturing buildings should increase 4%, adding to the 35% gain in 2011, thanks to a weakened U.S. dollar and increased exports

While certainly not the best news we could get, after years of witnessing steady—if not dramatic— decline, even a hint of stability or that “the worst is behind us” is welcome. And for those across the building products industry working with compressed 2012 budgets, anticipating at least levelized sales is an important step.

Some suggestions to maximize your brand awareness with a minimized budget:

  1. Strengthen “Social Marketing”—Customer engagement efforts have the ability to build awareness and buzz around your brand like no other marketing tool. Thanks to sites like Facebook, you can turn your customers into your greatest advocate.
  2. Boost Your Search Marketing— Search Engines are vastly becoming the means by which people find goods and services they need, as well as recommendations and reviews. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads can definitely provide an ROI for leads.
  3. Go Viral — A video is at least 50 times more likely to show up on the first page of a Google results than text only. It doesn’t have to be a Hollywood production to be worth viewing. Keeping it relevant and engaging is the real key.

Rather than looking at a flat year as another weak one, take advantage of the stability it’s likely to provide, shoring up the weak points the past few years have highlighted in your marketing and pushing your brands ahead while your competitors continue to keep their heads down.

Sources 

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