How do construction marketers appeal to today’s end users?
| May 24, 2012
By using traditional methods with an eye toward newer avenues, according to an end user generational panel at AEM’s Marketing Council Seminar.
Two father-daughter duos headlined the panel. On stage were Roy Chipley, owner, and daughter Whitney Chipley Meade, consultant, with Chipley Company, a Florence, South Carolina, total site prep contractor. Joining them were Bill Ramsey and his daughter Cheryl Kushman with Riverside Industries, a multi-modal aggregates material producer in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“My laptop lives with me,” says Roy, who took over his father’s firm in the 1990s. Even so, having Whitney on board helps him embrace technology. She manages the firm’s website, producing marketing videos and helping the office run smoothly.
Cheryl says she functions “on all levels,” helping manage the company’s diverse operations, which include Monteagle Sand, R&D Properties and Ramsey Trucking.
So, are the daughters looking at different marketing messages than their fathers? Yes and no. Magazines are the top choice of info for Bill and Roy, and the daughters say magazines are part of their information mix. “I look at a magazine first, and if there’s a trigger there, I’ll look up the website,” Roy says. “I like the magazines,” Bill says, “sometimes just to look at the pictures.”
But both Whitney and Cheryl value Google searches. “I use Google first,” says Whitney. “The information needs to get straight to the point.” She also likes websites that “are not cluttered, easy to navigate, and have great photography.” She feels that videos need to be “professionally produced and no longer than two minutes.”
Cheryl told marketers to realize that equipment web searches are not an everyday thing. “We don’t go on websites on a daily basis because it’s such a big purchase.”
Bill likes videos, “depending on what type of equipment I’m looking for,” but relies on his dealer to fill in the blanks. Roy agrees. “Equipment decisions involve an amount of money that other people spend perhaps once in their life – buying a house,” he says, “so I don’t take it lightly. My relationships with my dealer sales people are critical. They know my business, know their product and they get my trust.” Bill adds: “My dealer is a personal friend. He answers my call at 4 am, knowing it’s important.”
And Whitney addressed social media: “I’m not sure it’s where construction is right now. It’s important to have a presence, though, because we don’t want to get left behind.”
But don’t ignore the ultimate form of social marketing: word of mouth. “If something breaks down,” Bill says, “everyone knows about it.”