Digital in construction and manufacturing

9 September 2021

By: Sagittarius

Category: Blogs

This week I caught up with Paul Chandler, Marketing Director (Emerging Businesses) for Marshalls Plc and owner of Blake & Chandler Consulting Ltd. Paul has a combined 30 years of senior marketing and digital experience specifically in manufacturing and construction.

It sounds like an obvious question but how has the last 12+ months been?

Only a select few industries managed to retain a modicum of stability during the commercial mayhem. The Construction and Manufacturing sectors were both recognised and ringfenced as fundamental economic growth enablers (particularly in the UK) and the Government extended a level of protection to ensure the lights remained switched on.

Whilst the industry research experts anticipate continued and accelerated growth in the short and medium-term, the disruption of Covid is only now becoming evidently clear; even in these halo sectors.

Add into the mix the emerging reality of one or two major Brexit implications and now brands in the space are experiencing a plethora of issues; such as supply constraints/delays, volatile material cost fluctuations, undecipherable logistics complexity and driver/labour shortage issues, to name but a few.

So on the flip side are the customers still there?

Customer demand remains strong. Very strong.

However, when it comes to creating an excellent experience and one that converts, a new level of quality control is now essential.

Unlike many other industries, ‘Digital’ in the context of customer experience hasn’t frequently been priority number one. The term ‘Digital’ has often been used in these sectors to denote, for example, a newly automated process, or a new admin system, or an innovative piece of plant technology, etc.

Particularly in the B2B channels of Construction and Manufacturing; the digital customer experience is rapidly becoming recognised as the smart and only way to secure a new level of trust with customers and, frankly, the only way to ever achieve anywhere near the aspirational status of best-in-class.

When compared to the relative simplicity and clarity of the ‘manufacturer – retailer – consumer’ selling model (experienced in many industries), the customer value chain in construction is instead complex, multi-dimensional, changeable and at times even a little unclear.

At Sagittarius, we pride ourselves on using the tech to drive contextual relevance. Is the appetite for this advantage growing within the sector?

Intelligently identifying customers and tailoring the digital brand experience (and therefore content) to their proven needs through web personalisation enables both the customer and the brand owner to get straight to the point – the commercial point – far more effectively.

Your whitepaper, in partnership with Sapio Research, reinforces the need to invest resources and calories in not only digital awareness activity (comms) but far more importantly the resultant web experience that a prospect or customer arrives at. Its here that the total performance of the activity can be measured in real monetary terms which is far more compelling for management teams to prove ROI.

Is the Manufacturing and Construction industry primed to catch up with those leading the way?

Motorway-enabled face-to-face meetings and dusty paper trails may have defined the sectors in the past, but now the disruption of Covid plus Brexit has forced a new level of customer interaction standard; with digital now glueing the value chain together.

As we slowly move from a ‘make-do’ remote working phase into a more permanent state of operating in the new, post-pandemic, Brexit-changed world, the urgency towards digitalisation by some will have to be followed as a minimum. Some brands have been smart enough to move fast and invest now. The first bar has been set but ultimately it will have to be surpassed soon to retain relevance and generate cut through.

A spotlight on digitalised customer experience in the construction and manufacturing sectors was bound to happen sooner or later. Later has just happened much, much sooner.

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