Imagine being a market leader when your company emerged; you held 10% of market share. A couple of years later, that number grew to 20%! But you decided that you didn’t need to evolve. You stuck to what always worked. You thought that the innovations coming out were quirky. You thought they would quickly fail because of design flaws. You had such a following of dedicated customers that you thought, “I don’t need to invest in strategic, creative marketing.”
Meanwhile, your two top competitors put millions into research. One became known for being the leader in new and exciting technologies. They developed their flaws away, vied for market share, found fun new ways to market their products, and this company nurtured “super-fans,” to quote Meredith Oliver.
Moreover, you don’t even think that some projects they are working on are real. Why would you invest in replicating innovations like that?
Some of you may already recognize this cautionary tale. This is the story of Blackberry and iPhone.
What Blackberry never learned that Mac, Steve Jobs, and iPhone did is how to pivot. Home builders could learn from Apple’s clever moves. The company not only entered a market that wasn’t their primary market. They moved away from computers and iPods and into the cell phone market. Then, they continued to pivot away from being a product company to a service company. Their phones are only secondary to the apps and services sold through their various platforms.
What does all of this have to do with the title of this blog? Well, the answer is everything. Trade shows and summits bring together top industry partners and competitors. They put research and innovation all under one roof. If your research shows that your number one competitor is blowing you out of the water regarding sales and wait lists, go to a summit they are attending. You may have a chance to discuss strategy with them or at least overhear it. Maybe they won’t be there, but some of the services they use in their digital marketing strategy will be. These events are your chance to casually talk to vendors and experts in one place. They provide the opportunity to talk to other builders using those same products and see how the services have helped them succeed.
Are there holes in your online presence? You are bound to find a solution to digital brand equity. One thing we learned at a recent summit is that Google reviews are the new word of mouth. The difference is that word of mouth disappears; online reviews live on forever. You could learn how to get that 3-star review to a 4-star.
Wait a minute, you say you aren’t using Google to maximize your online marketing yet? Do you know exactly how much revenue should be attributed to your email marketing campaign? To that last Google Ad you ran? There is going to be a speaker who addresses that. You might overhear that a sponsor there offers those services. Google is at the center of sales and marketing these days. Every company needs to know how Google reviews help their company’s Google marketing plan. Google Analytics is the place to understand those metrics. If your company isn’t using Analytics, they should be. If you don’t have staff that understands Analytics, there is a speaker to help you get started. There are also companies to run those numbers for you. Industry events give your company a place to start.
Summits and trade shows aren’t just excellent places to find solutions and to keep up with industry innovations in a competitive market. They are also a fantastic place to take new employees to train them. Did you poach a brand new OSC or sales team from another industry? They know a lot about sales but not in the home building industry. Here is where you can throw them into the deep end. They will train with you, but that new OSC will learn a lot from networking with others in the industry. They will learn about technologies. They will hear stories about what others have done wrong and what they have done right. This strategy doesn’t only work for OSCs and sales teams. Your marketing team and many other employees can benefit from summits, expos, and trade shows as well. We live in the digital age, and your marketing team needs to know how to utilize their marketing budget to bring your sales teams the best leads.
One upcoming event that offers a deep dive into home builder online marketing and sales is the Home Builder Digital Marketing Summit. Taking place September 21-22, 2022, in Phoenix AZ, full details are available here.
Tabitha Warren was an Income Tax Accountant for 15+ years. In the first months of the pandemic, she took a chance and re-careered to freelance in Marketing. She currently, and very happily, works with video and photo editing, social media marketing, and now blog writing.