Marketing Building Materials – Will Your Company be a Disrupter

Posted by on May 15, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Marketing Building Materials – Will Your Company be a Disrupter

Innovation is Disruptive Marketing

Innovate to Disrupt


What is “disruptive marketing”? Why is it important for any manufacturer of building materials products to be successful moving forward? Will your company be a disrupter in the building materials industry?

At its core, disruptive marketing is a return to the personal with an online twist. It shakes things up by changing customer perceptions about not just the company—but the industry as a whole. Some say that disruptive marketing doesn’t have a concrete meaning because it is always based on the context of the surrounding world.

Are companies in the building materials industry prepared to radically change the way they develop and market their products? In a 2015 study discussed in Forbes Magazine, twenty-five companies were considered to be at the top of the list of marketing disrupters. Not one of them was part of the building materials industry or any other part of the construction industry!

The construction industry is inefficient compared to most other parts of our economy. Late in the last century while many American manufacturers were adopting lean manufacturing methods, the construction industry, by and large, continued to construct buildings as they had for decades. Some innovative products were introduced, and some new construction methods were adopted; however, none of them were truly disruptive. The article “Is Disruptive Innovation Possible in the Construction Industry” presents an Australian view on this subject.

Looking at a concrete example, the digital age brought disruption to the photographic industry. Kodak, however, did not change. In twenty years, they went from the fourth most valuable brand in the world to bankruptcy. As another example, in the 1980s and 1990s, the personal computer put a stop to Digital Equipment Corporation, Wang Laboratories, and other minicomputer makers.

There is good news. Disruptive products and disruptive marketing are still in their infancy in most U.S. industries. Companies that continue to market and do business-as-usual are not that far behind yet, but they will fall behind or go out of business soon if they do not begin thinking how they can be disrupters.


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Is your company a leader or a follower? Are you prepared for digital disruption or are you planning to be a disrupter?

Developing close personal relationships with a high degree of transparency with customers is one of the most important aspects of disruptive marketing. Building material manufacturers must carefully listen to their key customers to learn what these customers need to innovate in their market and quickly develop products or services to satisfy those needs. What manufacturers hear from customers may mean scrapping products that have been a core, profitable part of a manufacturer’s business over the years but will soon become obsolete, if the manufacturer does not act quickly. Customers can not only help manufacturers develop disruptive products; they can also help market these products through shared positive experiences using social media.

In a recent Mckinsey & Company study, Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, said, “Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.” For another thought-provoking Mckinsey Consulting article, see “An Incumbents Guide to Digital Disruption.”

To gain a clearer understanding of what it takes for a company in the building materials industry to become a true “disrupter,” the article 10 Disruptive Marketing Trends All Marketers Should Consider is another good place to start. Of the many insights included, it suggests mobile might just be the place to be to collaborate with customers. How many building material manufacturers are even thinking about mobile? There is a lot to consider, but continuing to develop and market products as we have in the past is not an option.


BIM technology and drones are two examples of how the construction industry can be made more efficient, but these changes are more the normal linear type than truly disruptive. On the other hand, Google’s Project Tango Development Kit could truly disrupt the construction industry.

Business disruption is the new normal in all industries including building materials and other parts of construction. Will your company be a disrupter?

If you have already been listening to your customers and are developing products or services that might be truly disruptive and need another pair of eyes and ears to create a disruptive marketing campaign, call or connect with Scott Lau Consulting. I may be able to help you.