Balancing strategic and tactical marketing – the value of a construction copywriting agency

by Darren Clare

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When faced with external threats to revenue, it’s tempting to use shorter-term marketing tactics and push strategy to the side. But this can make communications inconsistent and confusing – putting brand awareness at risk. We explore how a construction copywriting agency can ensure you can get the balance right.

A sector not without its concerns

Contrary to what the media may say, there are some exciting areas of growth within the construction industry. But uncertainty due to geopolitical tensions, political change and the climate crisis will continue to cast a shadow on the industry for the short-term.

Over the past decade, the global construction sector has seen steady growth, but it’s not been a consistent picture everywhere. For example, the industry in North America is expected to grow just 0.4% from 2019-2020, whereas the Asia-Pacific region is predicted to grow by 4.3% over the same time frame.   

While growth is set to continue as populations increase, the sector (like many others) is facing several threats to profit margins. Geopolitical tensions make financial markets jumpy, which affects the price of materials and labour, and trade tariffs can have large impacts on exporting and importing costs. The focus on the climate crisis continues to put pressure on the industry to find better ways of building. As it stands, greener solutions are typically more expensive, not benefitting from the same economies of scale as standard materials and processes. 

At a macro level, the prospects of lower growth and higher costs have made investors less bullish about the year to come. Economic research consultancy, Capital Economics, went as far as predicting:

 ‘The strength of Chinese construction activity will not be sustained. Further policy loosening is likely, with the PBOC, in particular, acting more aggressively than markets envisage. But this will do no more than help the struggling sectors to stabilize. We expect China’s growth to slow from around 5.2% this year to 4.5% next, which is worse than generally anticipated.’

This lack of confidence may lead to further pressure on global construction companies to quickly boost sales and increase turnover. 

The lure of the low hanging fruit

When facing this type of pressure, the urge for marketing directors to implement short, sharp, tactical projects is strong. And this approach does have merits. 

Creating campaigns with shorter timeframes and tangible KPIs can focus marketing efforts and allow communications to be created in a more agile and effective way. Focusing on conversion allows you to hold a magnifying glass up to your product offering and lets you collect feedback on what is and isn’t working in real-time.

But focusing on short-term goals in lieu of any longer strategic plan isn’t sustainable. It can have an unpleasant knock-on effect for brand reputation, brand awareness and ultimately the long-term growth of your business.

Brand awareness is difficult to earn and easy to lose. If you start to create campaigns that don’t feel consistent it can have a jarring effect on your audience. Customers need to know who you are and what you stand for and changing the way you speak to them too often will leave them confused and less likely to trust what you say. 

You need to maintain a consistent voice across all your touchpoints – from your social media posts all the way through to your contractors on the ground. This level of consistency can only be achieved by keeping an eye on your strategy while implementing your tactical campaigns, which is something a construction copywriting agency can help with.

Balancing both to achieve your objectives

In order to deliver a successful marketing plan for 2020, you’ll need to be able to balance both your strategic and tactical marketing plans to deliver on short-term sales targets without doing lasting damage to your brand. 

Firstly, you’ll want to create a clear strategic plan for the year and continue to evaluate progress against it. It can be easy to view your marketing strategy as less agile than your tactical one. However, it pays to hold regular strategic reviews to make sure you’re still tracking where you should be. In an industry like construction, where the macro environment plays such a crucial role, having a strategy you can pivot will be essential to support long term growth. 

It might be worth completing an audit of your current marketing assets, either in-house or with the help of a specialised construction copywriting agency. This is especially useful if you have several departments using marketing materials, or if you operate across different countries and markets. Once your strategic plan is in place, you can assess your current assets to understand if, when used as part of tactical campaigns, they’re still the right fit for your brand values. For example, if part of your strategy is focused on growth, you can make sure your tone of voice reflects this by using action words as part of your brand vocabulary. 

A longer-term objective could be to organise your marketing team so that they sit in teams specific to either strategic or tactical objectives. For instance, you could have a team focused on high-level brand advertising, and another focused on the shorter conversion-focused marketing campaigns.

This keeps your team focused on specific KPIs and targets, allowing them to develop specialisms in different aspects of the marketing mix. It can increase the risk of teams working in silos, however, so it’s important to foster a culture of continuous knowledge sharing.

Need help? 

Here at Stratton Craig we have a long history of working alongside brands to help them create robust marketing comms plans that align long term goals with shorter-term campaigns. Find out more about our work with one of the UK’s leading construction brands here:

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