I confess that summer is a tough time for me. Year after year we cheerfully bust our butts January through May to create the latest and greatest marketing campaigns and programs for our clients. The energy is absolutely addicting and creates a rush that is second to none. Then summer comes along to deflate the adrenaline balloon. Our clients focus on delivering our work to the field. For anyone else, this type of break is exciting and necessary. For me, it is hell. I cannot sit still and wait for the fall home improvement and planning season. Trust me, I have tried relaxing and recharging the batteries during the summer, but it is not pretty.
A Few New Lessons
This year I decided to spend the summer in the field exercising my restless mind and actively search for what most of our clients and prospects are missing that the industry needs. For a full ninety days, I immersed myself into the nuances of the industry from the field to the offices of our clients’ customers – architects, builders, contractors, designers, developers and remodelers – residential and commercial. I found three opportunities for our clients to fill big voids or missing pieces in the sales and marketing mix.
I started the summer trip of discovery immersing myself in the customer experience of residential and commercial architects, builders, contractors, designers, developers and remodelers to learn when, how and why they make decisions on a project. As you can imagine, this was incredibly enlightening, disappointing and exciting. The CX (customer experience) can absolutely be mapped from awareness to purchase and beyond with product specific detail into the emotions, timing and influences of their decisions. With this direct insight, we know how to access the best path to matching your sales and marketing efforts with the preferred customer experience. We completed this mapping exercise for Walker Zanger and it provided them with detailed CX expectations and deliverables for their sales and marketing efforts. They have the keys to their customers’ actual search and purchase decisions for their business plan.
Hidden New Customers Found
This hands on discovery of the CX led to the second revelation from our summer fieldwork. Hispanic-Latino construction firms are growing while White firms are declining and the growing firms are making significant buying decisions. The idea that Hispanic construction workers are not making product selection and buying is false. I worked with the leaders of the Hispanic Contractors Association, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the trade publication Constru Gia to better understand the CX of the Hispanic construction firm and workers. Here is what I learned:
- According to the US Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners, Hispanic owned construction firms are growing across all age groups at an aggregate rate of 20% while White firms primarily older (age 50+) and in aggregate declining by 11%.
- According to AIA, 15% of licensed architects are Hispanic.
- Hispanic Firms are younger than their White counterparts.
- 33% of Hispanic Firms are from Mexico and 31% from Latin America.
- The Hispanic contractor prefers to communicate in Spanish across platforms.
- Hispanic Firms are greater users of social media and are adopting technology much faster than White contractors.
I was able to map out the entire customer experience for the Hispanic contractor by trade – architect, builder, contractor, designer and remodeler. This map includes all the important touch points, emotions, influences and decisions being made. As a result of our working with the HCA and HCC, we also know whom these firms and professionals are and how to reach them.
The discovery I completed with the Hispanic construction community and the impact of social media introduced me to the power of blogs with customers and trade, white and non-white. Here are a few “Did you know?” facts:
- Blogs are considered highly trustworthy
- Website with a blog are shown to have 434% more indexed pages (think SEO)
- Companies who blog get 97% more links to their websites
- 77% of Internet users read blogs
- Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to have a positive ROI on their efforts
A large part of the success of blogging for a business is to provide quality content that is interesting to the readers delivered consistently. I learned this is also the greatest barrier to businesses not publishing their blog.
What Did You Learn This Summer?
So what did I learn this summer? I found three actionable things I can do to help my clients. I can help them identify and use the customer experience (CX) to better align with their customers and connect with them more efficiently and effectively. As a life-long marketer, I would not take another step without this road map.
Next, I discovered a real opportunity for growth for my clients with the Hispanic-Latino construction community. More importantly, I now have the tools to connect with them in a meaningful and authentic way. With a proper CX map, Spanish language tools and the help of friends to work directly with community, we have the means to add new customers that are making millions of dollars of buying decisions to our client’s portfolio.
Finally, I learned a powerful way to drive traffic to conversion through the development of our blog series for our clients. Our connection with professional journalists to interview internal and external subject matter experts and write blogs every two to four weeks assures the quality and consistency that is required to take full advantage of this incredible tool. Our ability to turnkey a blog series removes the biggest barrier for our clients, their lack of time.
As I look back at this summer, it was one hell of a good time. The work that was done is creating a energy of its own. As we begin the planning session for 2020, we can provide our clients with a map of the CX they can use as a guide for planning, budgeting, execution and measurement. A map that is based on the decision making as outlined by their customers.
The discovery this summer located a very real growth opportunity with new customers plus our ability to identify this new customer and connect with them directly. Based on the category, this has the potential to increase the customer base by 20-25%.
If these two discoveries are not enough, I learned the blogs across audiences are a strong and important investment in the success of connecting with customers. Furthermore, we can overcome time barriers to deliver a professional researched and written blog series with the consistency desired.
As is always the case, the next steps are to put these key insights to work. That’s where you come in. Please let me know if you would like to see how these key insights could deliver for you as you plan for 2020. I assure you they are energizing and addictive.