Construction Business Management

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Is Fear of Sharing Information Costing Your Company Sales?

AN ARTICLE FROM:
The RCD SWOT Team monitors trends in the AEC sector to provide targeted information about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that may impact your business.

Then:

Once upon a time in the land of B2B marketing communications, the effort to create brand recognition and generate sales leads required that building product manufacturers do one or more of the following:

  • Annually pay for the privilege of being included somewhere within a multi-volume set of at least one printed and bound business directory
  • Cleverly disguise product brochures as newsletters and mail them to prospective and existing clients
  • Purchase advertising space in as many trade magazines as possible
  • Send press releases and 8 1/2 × 11 glossy product photos to editors of every conceivably relevant industry trade publication in the hope that at least one release will be published
  • Attend a minimum of 1 - 3 major tradeshows per year

These are just a few of the B2B marketing techniques used not so long ago, and yes, a few of these techniques remain in use and can still be effective today.

However, the idea THEN was to provide just enough information to entice prospective clients into contacting the manufacturer. To provide too much information was risky and made the job of an industrial spy that much easier.


Now:

Enter 2011. The world has changed. Web 2.0 has taken off over the past decade, so anything and everything is available by voice command or with just a few keystrokes.

Smartphones are fairly hot items these days too. In fact, it is predicted that “more than 2 billion people around the globe will own a smartphone in 2015,” according to The Independent.


How is this relevant?

Technology allows information to be obtained almost instantly, but only if it is electronically available. Unfortunately, many building product manufacturers still choose – at their peril – not to share critical information in electronic formats about the very products they wish to sell.

To illustrate, consider this scenario:

A very busy architect or engineer needs to specify an unfamiliar widget for a new building project. This will require product research, which is but one of multitudes of other tasks that must be accomplished in order to prepare bid documents. Time is precious.

Who do you think will have the competitive advantage? The manufacturer with data sheets, specifications, drawings, BIM objects, test data, approvals, MSDS, etc., readily available online or via a smartphone app? Or, the manufacturer who has a very pretty product brochure and wants to be CALLED for more information?

Hmmm …

This is not to suggest that trade secrets should be published online for the world to see.

However, as Andrea Johnson writes in the B2B Lead Roundtable BLOG, “One of the foremost challenges for any marketer is identifying what audiences want to know at each stage of the buying cycle and then giving them that.”

In this new world of instant gratification when one click can mean the difference between a potential hello and a split-second goodbye, withholding information of value to your market can ensure that your company – not your information - becomes the big secret.


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