05.25.2012 - Posted By: Todd Yerman - Director of Business Development
Innovation isn’t limited to Silicon Valley. It’s on display every day in the building and construction industry. Whether you’re sitting in the marketing department of a general contractor, construction manager, subcontractor or building products supplier, your project teams no doubt innovate every day – working through things that haven’t been done before, solving problems not yet solved, finding cost efficiencies that didn’t exist yesterday.
The problem is that while the building and construction is excellent at innovating, they’re far less experienced at recognizing and promoting it. And in such a competitive environment, the ability to innovate is a likely tiebreaker for prospective clients as they decide between your company and another. But as a savvy marketer, you can capitalize on this scenario by capturing innovation and selling it as one of your company’s differentiating qualities.
To capture innovation, you must first cultivate an environment that recognizes it and allows it to percolate to the surface. And it’s often up to marketing to create this environment. You’re in a unique position. While project managers are often totally immersed in “getting the job done,” you’re in a position to recognize when innovation – marketable innovation – occurs. You’re often the best qualified to know what will and won’t have marketing legs. You know how to tease out the details in a way that will resonate with the media, prospective clients and other industry stakeholders.
So how do you find innovation? Start by asking questions. Project team brainstorms, sit-downs with your managing director, or weekly (or bi-weekly, or whatever your company favors) project status meetings are the perfect spots for this.
- What was the challenge you needed to overcome?
- How did people traditionally address that challenge?
- How did you do it?
- What led you to that approach?
- Why do you think people didn’t do it that way before?
- How will this improve the position of the client?
Once you can get your team to reflect in this manner, examples of innovation will flow. And then you can use your skills to turn that innovation into marketing gold.
As innovative as your company may be, prospective clients and industry influencers won’t give you any credit for it if you don’t first recognize it yourself, and then promote it through the proper channels. For many in the building and construction industry, this might seem a bigger challenge than building a skyscraper, but it’s one that must be overcome to ensure future marketing success.
What do you think? Is this a familiar story in your company? Have you run into similar challenges? We’d love to hear how you addressed them and transformed them into marketing opportunities.