Tag Archives: Strategy

Millennials Want an Internal Communications Renovation

13 Sep

Effective B2B Marketing Starts from Within

whitney1

Guest Contributor:
Whitney Riker, Account Executive

Let’s face it: the building industry is in a rebuild phase. A shift in workforce demographics and the housing market is forcing even the largest corporations to take a second look at their business strategies to adjust. Marketing is a major player in your business strategy, but building product marketers who want to be effective in their marketing strategies need to take a look within. After all, effective marketing starts inside. Build your toolbox to execute a better plan.

Picture a Different Landscape Before You Break Ground

As a Millennial, I can say in true Gen-Y fashion, that I am sick of hearing about us. Nonetheless, my generation is the largest and the building industry will have to adjust.

  • In 2014, 28 million people entered the workforce
  • Survey says these workers have close to zero interest in LBM
  • Millennials have been assured from early age that their opinions matter (good luck ignoring them)

Is your organization prepared for the changing workforce? Start by building an internal communications plan.

  1. Envision: What do you want internal communications to do for your company?
  2. Strategize: Where does it stand right now, and what needs improvement?
  3. Evaluate: How soon would you like to reach your goals and how will you get there?

Use these questions to start building your strategy—simple or complex—so you can adapt to the changing workforce. Have a plan you can realistically stick to so you can track your progress and re-assess your approach.

Now That You Have a Plan, Fill Your Toolbox

A strategy can’t be executed without the right tools. So take a look inside and see what you have in your toolbox for communicating internally. Are they the right tools for your Gen-Y employees? Consider that Millennials value time and communication to be on their terms. Most of their day-to-day conversations take place digitally and that expectation won’t go away at work. There are many technology platforms that make it simple and easy to improve internal communication with this generation. Don’t be overwhelmed—just pick one and stick to it. Consistency is key here:

  1. Implement company chat software like, Slack, Yammer, or HipChat
  2. Use cloud tools like Google Drive for documents and spreadsheets
  3. Choose one platform where email, calendars, documents, processes can be shared

Ask your team for their feedback. How can we work together to make communicating with each other better? Trust me. This goes a very long way. Without these channels, brilliant ideas and helpful criticisms can go dark and that’s the last thing you need.

The Nuts and Bolts of Millennial Communications

Don’t lose sight of the big picture. If all else fails, remember the golden rule: Treat others how you would like to be treated and…

  • Make your communications engaging and fun
  • Use visuals to make what you’re communicating more entertaining and effective
  • Maintain transparency to establish trust
  • Avoid communication overload

It’s one thing to open effective communication channels internally and use them; in fact, it’s vital to your organization’s success in the changing environment. It’s another thing entirely, however, to really inspire greatness by leading your team. How you walk in the door everyday, how you speak to your employees, your tone…need I go on? All of this is a form of communication. Internal communications should involve, motivate, and inspire. Take a look at how you are communicating that with what you do, not always what you say.

Building Effective Marketing Starts from Within

So, while we’re all sick of the “Millennial talk”, you can’t avoid the effect they’re having on the workforce, and the building industry is not immune. Take this opportunity to renovate your internal communications so you are better equipped to handle a new kind of workforce. Once you have a plan, build up your toolbox and remember: you can’t just talk the talk—inspire leadership by communicating with your actions, too. Building effective marketing always starts from within. Execute a better plan today.

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Building Products Marketers Need Sales to Survive

15 Sep

Sales and Strategy Go Hand In Hand

Business people meeting

What if I told you that all the effort you put into marketing your building products was absolutely useless? What if I told you that no matter how great the creative, how brilliant the strategy, and how alluring the incentive, your approach was doomed to fail?

Because they are—if you fail to incorporate your sales team into your efforts. I’ve written before about how no building products promotion can be effective without buy-in from the sales team. But this applies to more than promotions—it’s your entire marketing strategy and beyond.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review takes that idea to the next level, making an argument I agree with: that sales should be part of every conversation about strategy. All too often, marching orders come down from on high with no real understanding of what is happening to those on the ground pushing the product or services. And the further away the “powers that be” get from customer contact, the more obsolete their strategies can often become.

Here are a few of my favorite takeaways from the article:

  • Communication is key: “People can’t implement what they don’t understand.”
  • It doesn’t matter how many emails you send if you don’t engage your sales team as partners: “The process for introducing and reviewing plans often exacerbates the separation of the strategists from the doers. It typically involves a kickoff sales meeting followed by a string of emails from headquarters and periodic reports back on results. There are too few communications, and most are one-way.”
  • If you don’t explain the big picture, they won’t be able to create it: “Even when sales teams are trained in negotiation and selling tactics, the larger strategic context—especially the implications for target priorities—is often left out.”
  • Whose job it is to partner with sales: “Clarifying strategy is a leadership responsibility.”

Click here to read the full article—it’s full of important information that building products marketers should really take into consideration, especially as many of us start to work out the final details of our 2016 planning.

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Plan Towards Innovation

3 Jun

 Stand out from the crowd

Create a New Future with Innovation-Focused Strategy

As most marketers navigating the building supply channel know, strategy and innovation go hand in hand. I’ve discussed in past articles how creativity can play an important role in innovation, but often overlooked is the strategy that goes into actually implementing the changes necessary to make a creative innovation a reality.

A recent article by Vijay Govindarajan describes this dynamic between innovation and strategy – specifically, how innovation should always inform strategy-making.

Govindarajan suggests that there are four key factors to consider with innovative strategy-making:

  • Know Your Industry – It’s not enough to assume that the same strategies that innovated faster-paced, larger industry will work in a smaller, slower one. Some innovations can take a decade, while others can take ten decades. Don’t confuse the two.
  • Innovation Is Complex – Innovation can be linear or non-linear, which is to say: in line with current business practices or deviating slightly from current business practices. But as Govindarajan points out, these linear or non-linear business practices can also unfold into even more complex layers with incremental or radical innovation: happening over time or overhauling a pre-established system in a sudden, disruptive manner. Whatever the innovation you’re considering, make sure to know the implications.
  • Just Do It – If an idea gets pushed down the table time and time again, it’s a money drain. Plus, the more times it gets pushed down the table, the greater the likelihood that it will eventually fall off the table entirely. You can talk about an idea or even set strategy all you want, but there’s something to be said for actually making it happen.
  • Innovation Isn’t Top Down – Folks at the bottom tend to know customers better – use their knowledge to set strategy that disrupts the status quo. In fact, Govindarajan argues that senior-level employees have often played such a key role in the setting status quo, which makes it difficult for them to consider an innovation that could disrupt past ways of doing things.

For more information, give Govindarajan’s article a read.

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Are you ready for the upcoming building products tradeshows?

28 Sep

How to prepare for the upcoming Remodeling Show and DeckExpo

As a building products CMO, you are well aware that tradeshows offer a huge opportunity to drive sales and gain leads. With the Remodeling Show and DeckExpo quickly approaching, it is important to ensure your business is ready to gain exposure and stand out among the other exhibitors. Make sure your tradeshow team is ready with pre-show, in-booth, and post-show tactics to support your marketing strategy.

Pre-Show Activities

  • Create a tradeshow campaign that drives traffic to your company’s booth to make the most of your investment. Make sure to include a payoff for visiting the booth when creating pre-show emails and direct mail promotions.
  • With current technology, it is possible to research press, prospects, and exhibitors attending the show and meet with them once the show starts. Social media is a great tool for engaging media and attendees before the show by simply using the tradeshow hashtag. In addition, social media can be a beneficial way to promote any in-booth promotions.

During the Show

  • Help your employees interact with booth attendees by providing talking points that keep everyone informed of relevant information. Building credible relationships with prospects can lead to sales and new leads. A register-to-win drawing is a great way to gather contact information to make it easy to follow up after the show.
  • At the show is the best time to connect with building product-specific media to discuss your business and products. Connect with media on social media and stay connected for opportunities in the future. Since it is more beneficial for your employees to concentrate on the booth visitors during the show, utilize a social posting tool like HootSuite or SocialOomph to plan company tweets and posts ahead of time.

 Post-Show Follow Up

  • After a tradeshow, it’s important to follow up with the leads and prospects you met in your booth. A post-show email campaign that highlights your value proposition and reminds prospects of key product points helps set you apart from your competitors and ensures your business is top-of-mind.

While the Remodeling Show and DeckExpo are quickly approaching, it’s important to keep these core tradeshow strategies in mind for future shows. Believe it or not, the International Builders Show will be here before we know it! It’s never too early to start preparing to ensure your optimal ROI.

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