Until recently, building material manufacturers had their marketing communication in perfect order. There was an own strategy, the channels were known and the processes were fixed. However, the emergence of new media puts these traditional methods under pressure. Marketing communication is changing. We probably won’t even recognize it again in about 10 years! But what is changing? And what does this mean?

For manufacturers in the construction, the brewing of marketing communication starts and ends with one essential ingredient: insight into the customer’s viewing and purchasing behavior. After all, the business is all about reaching customers as effectively as possible. The biggest driver of the change in marketing communication therefore also starts there. Architects, contractors, installers: under the influence of new technologies and media, they choose products and no longer brand the way they did about ten years ago.


Knowing that change is taking place is one thing. But you cannot adjust your strategy without knowing what changes and to what extent. Our new Communication Monitor 2013 was recently published. In it, we look at how parties in the construction and installation sector orient themselves on products and brands, which sources they use, and how important these are in their final choice. We already conducted this survey in 2011. What has changed in the meantime?

Just as in the consumer market, the growth of the Internet is still not over in construction. In 2011, these were the most frequently used information sources:

The growth of the Internet is still not over in construction

  • Browsing the Internet in general
  • Colleagues and word of mouth
  • Trade magazines
  • Supplier sites
  • Documentation folders

And what’s on top in 2013? General Internet browsing and purposefully visiting supplier sites. Only at a distance from this is advice from sellers and traders, fairs and trade magazines.


I also increasingly search online for products and brands, and because of this, I have not looked at a folder in a long time. This is also the case in construction more often and other orientation channels are feeling the effect of this online dominance. For example, the jump up that fairs made in 2013 in our list of most used information sources is not so much because fairs are visited more often. Rather, the reason is that other information sources disappear into the background. This is probably also the reason why peer advice and word of mouth are sinking into the charts. This way of orienting is also increasingly shifting towards the net.


I myself have now put a NO / NO sticker on the letterbox at home. In construction, of course, it is still far from that. Traditional media are still excellent information channels today. For example, customers today still often read a trade magazine. This also applies to advise from sellers and traders and (digital) documentation folders.

However, these traditional media are mainly consulted, it turns out, for innovations, trends, and developments and to a much lesser extent for ‘hard information’, such as product and price information. Traditional media are therefore less effective than, for example, online media.

What does this mean? That traditional media can certainly continue to be used in marketing activities, but more with the aim of remaining visible in the market. For specific product information needed to make choices, people are more likely to search via the internet.

Traditional media can certainly continue to be used in marketing activities, but more with the aim of remaining visible in the market


And finally, what about the latest addition to the marketer’s toolbox, social media? Viewed in the stages of innovation, we have not yet passed the early majority phase in the construction sector. In fact, some social media (including Twitter, YouTube / Flickr, and blogs) are currently only food for early adopters. These have not yet outgrown the phase ‘we have to do something with it’. Internet forums and business network sites (LinkedIn), on the other hand, can no longer be ignored, not even in construction.

Compared to 2011, the use of social media is on average increasing. I consciously speak of average here, because of course there is a big difference between certain market parties and within a market party itself. An architect is not a handyman and a self-employed person is not a multinational company.


I expect the upward trend of social media to continue in the coming years. Even if only because of the rapid advance of smartphones and the many applications for it. I certainly recommend suppliers in the construction sector to embrace and use social media to create exposure and reach target groups.

Internet forums are already well suited for this, but this can also be done effectively via LinkedIn and Facebook. In addition, don’t forget about the odds of video . A YouTube channel with instructional videos and promotional materials can make a world of difference. At the moment, social media is still often used among the parties questioned for the purpose of networking and promoting their own company. But as social media will become more and more interwoven in the daily routine, it will not take long before this channel is also a fully-fledged source of information