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Is 2010 the year for marketing?

Earlier in the month I wrote about the possibility that the end of the recession in the construction industry is in sight but will take time to fully recover. I also advised caution over marketing spend. This week I’d like to advocate marketing investment.

A new budget year will be soon on us for the many companies that work to the calendar year. It’s going to be a really tough one to plan for though. Actual growth in sales probably won’t start until the 2nd half of the year but getting ready for that needs to start well ahead of then.

And this requires investment – not in capital or plant but people: marketing people in particular.

Not necessarily the creative people, although they are needed, but the type that deals with strategy: Brand position and identity (if this needs to be changed or re-enforced), identification of customers needs, who the customers actually are and what they actually want (product or service offering).

A lot of companies have shed the staff that are good this. Many of those same companies look to the sales team to identify where the future opportunities are on the basis that they talk to customers. But these are not jobs for the sales team. Salesmen sell and tend to work to the current years targets. They tend not to be very good at marketing strategy to work out where the business should be in a year or two.  

New products and services take time to develop. Campaigns take time to plan. And none of that can really start until we know what the customer actually wants.

So if we truly believe that H2 2010 will be the turning point for the construction industry we need to be investing in marketing right now.

CIMCIG’s own conference on December 2 – Strategy 2010 – is all about being ready for what the new year may bring. At a time when many of you are looking to the future. 

Ian Exall is the Operational Marketing Manager at insulation manufacturer Rockwool and a committee member of CIMCIG, the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s construction industry group.