Christmas inevitably turns my thoughts to the new year and what needs to be done to maximise marketing opportunities for construction businesses.

Here’s my advice for thinking ahead and getting organised. Trust me, it’ll save you time in the long run.

Projects

Project milestones form the basis of any construction business’s marketing and communications plan.

Know in advance key dates for planning submissions and decisions, project commencements, topping out and completion. These are just a few examples of milestones, but by being proactive you can make the most of PR opportunities and ensure a steady stream of news into the trade press. Milestones will also remind you to update your project case studies.

Business development priorities

Where is the business focussing its efforts over the next few years? Which clients and sectors? What kinds of projects is it targeting?

Proactive marketing planning will support these objectives, creating greater value and identifiable ROI. Focus your efforts where it will benefit the business. This sounds obvious, but reactive marketing doesn’t do this.

Awards

Linking to business development priorities above, which awards will you be targeting in 2015? Which markets do you wish to be seen as being excellent in? Which companies do you want to be benchmarked against?

Award submissions should always be project-led, so don’t shoehorn an ill-fitting scheme into a desirable category. It will do more harm than good.

If you wish to be associated with certain awards, but haven’t got the right project this year, perhaps consider sponsorship opportunities instead.

Refresh and update your marketing collateral

Collateral used to mean printed marketing materials, such as brochures. In today’s digital world, the definition has expanded to include online materials as well. Within this, there is case studies, CVs, web copy, brochures (on- and offline). Actually the list is endless and basically anything written for marketing and sales purposes is collateral.

Use the first few weeks of the year to review everything and update or refresh where needed. It’s amazing how quickly businesses develop and key messages often need to be tweaked to accurately reflect what’s happening currently.

Take the time to create or update sector credentials brochures. These can be used as a basis for bespoke sales documents throughout the year. They can also be used on their own to be emailed on spec, uploaded to the website or pinned to your Twitter page.

Photography

Is your bank of project photos up to date? Are there any gaps? When are projects scheduled to finish? The best time to take photos is just before PC, before the client takes possession of the building.

Website

While reviewing your collateral and photos, can any new content be added to your website? This is a task which needs to be undertaken periodically through the year, but now’s a good time for an audit and update.

Review and update your submission standard information library

Again, this is something which needs to be done regularly, but schedule time at least once a year to thoroughly review your standard information for submissions, particularly for generic subjects, like H&S and quality. Make sure the evidence is in date.

Do all this and you will have a good foundation for successful construction marketing in 2015.