A guest blog post by Chris Ashworth
We can all see how our own working lives have evolved over recent years, with remote access and mobile working common practice. In the US mobile access to the internet is on average 2.8hrs a day, while desktop or laptop access just below this figure at 2.4hrs a day. Here in the U.K. we have seen a comparative shift and with 44.7million UK user recently accessing the internet, according to figures from the ONS, online product information is a must have for any construction product manufacturer.
The advent of the ‘digital age’ has also affected trade press. With most titles diversifying into online publications, a change potentially accelerated by the recession. In a recent blog for Pinnacle consulting, Andy Costin of Professional Builder Magazine debates the future of trade press in the construction industry. He reflects how online now has to work with the printed magazine. “Our electronic communications are designed to enhance the experience for our readers and provide them with more detailed information and resources than is possible in the magazine.”
Is there still a place for hardcopy literature? A recent blog by Construct UK looks at this point, in which CDP, a literature design agency argue that hardcopy literature “has more weight (literally and metaphorically) and less disposability than its on-line incarnations.” The last version of our own research, The Construction Media Index, showed PDF was used by just under 80% of respondents, while hardcopy was used by more than half. Yet when asked if there was still a role for hardcopy literature the response came back a resounding, ”yes” from all groups bar interior designers, where only just over half concurred.
Company websites and digital literature are not the only sources of online product information. Now, with social media and information sites such as YouTube, there are more places to go to get answers to construction design challenges. Pauley Creative report on social media use in construction saying “70% of construction companies are starting to engage with followers compared to 55% in 2014” and note “95% of construction companies are on YouTube and 70% are regularly posting video content.” LinkedIn remains popular with construction professionals, there are also discussion forums, as well as industry specific social sites such as Build.talk.com.
With marketing budgets predicted to grow 62% according to the recent ‘State of the Industry’ construction barometer, how should product manufacturers provide information? Should they provide printed material? Should they deliver advice beyond their website, dispensing advice via social media, forums and information portals? Our Construction Media Index research hopes to provide this guidance. This is your chance to give your point of view, telling us want you want from construction product manufacturers.
Chris is founder of Competitive Advantage Consultancy which specialises in market research and training for the construction industry. He is a specialist in specification strategy. He is a member of the BIM4M2 working groups and serves on the organising committee for CIMCIG, the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Industry Group.
The Construction Media Index
Researching its 4th edition, The Construction Media Index is the largest independent research into the different communication channels used by the construction industry. In appreciation of your participation you will be entered into a draw for a £100 Amazon voucher! There will be one winner for every 200 completed entries. You can also request a free summary of the research findings from Competitive Advantage Consultancy.
It takes just 15 minutes to contribute your views to construction’s largest independent communications research programme.