• Tom Janssens

Essential self-service or automated marketing tools for construction and manufacturing


An excerpt from Charlie Chaplin - modern Times, where he is being fed by a robotic table
I'd assume we don't want to force-feed our prospect?

As I have written before in my article about lead magnets, the internet changed the way marketing works: marketing used to be all about being the loudest, noisiest or most remarkable, but over the last decade the trend has slowly shifted. Now you need to be the most informative, helpfull and consultative brand in order to stand out.


Informing your customers takes a lot of time, and that is where self-service marketing tools can help you to decimate costs, while still being top of mind for your potential customers.


This is a tiny list describing the major self-service or automated marketing tools in the construction and manufacturing industries that you can leverage to your advantage.


☑ Your website

If you are targetting a large audience, you cannot do without a website today. At the very least, your website needs to contain a few basic items: who you are, what problems you solve, how you solve them, and some contact data.


Platforms for these start with minimal website builders like like Carrd.co, but differentiate over platforms like Wordpress.com to fullly custom developed solutions.


☑ Content hubs

Content hubs are not exactly a necessity, but they tend to help a lot. Content hubs offer a centralized place to manage and distribute all your content to your (potential) customers, albeit via a web portal, social media, email, ... The stereotypical example of this is Hubspot.com, but there are many others like this.


These content hubs allow your (potential) customer to gather access to your (potentially gated) information, and subscribe to any news updates according to his preference.


☑ Self-service portals

Self-service portals are portals where (potential) customers can get automated answers to questions that occur frequently. These portals can be as simple as a list of frequently asked questions and their responses, but can go all the way to fully guided customer journey, that guides your customer from scope to quote, referred to as BTO (Build-To-Order) in the industry.

Intermezzo: about standardizing your processes One big requirement for self-service portals, is that it requires you to have a lot of process maturity: when everything you do is a one-off, it does not make a lot of sense to automate it. A lot of people are against standard processes, as they want to provide the best service possible. To them I'd like to propose a simple thought experiment: what makes you unique: why do your customers come to you? Is it because you have a geographical advantage, offer a certain kind of service/product you cannot get anywhere else, are you a price breaker, or is it your excellent customer experience? Once you figure out why your customers come to you, you can start thinking about standardizing anything that is not part of that what makes you unique. If you are looking for ways to improve your process maturity, I would suggest you to take a look at CMMI for inspiration.
The 5 levels of process maturity in CMMI

Several tools come to mind - somewhat ordered according to complexity and scope, starting with the most basic:

  • A list of frequently asked questions and their answers;

  • A contact form;

  • A form to request more info about a product or service;

  • A tool that allows your prospect to book a meeting with you at a certain point in time;

  • A wizard to guide your prospect intro his product or service choice;

  • A product configurator;

  • An tool that allows build-to-order, integrated with your back-end (respecting timings, deadlines, availability, your whole production and supply chain);

  • Clever AI chatbots;

  • ... The sky is the limit ...


☑ Remarketing tools

Just because a potential customer is looking for information does not imply that he needs your product or service right now. That is why it is important to stay top of mind if a prospect has not yet made a purchase.


Remarketing tools are in essence tools that track your customer's behavior or derive his profile, and try to provide any information to them that is relevant in an automated way, exactly when he needs it.


This is a huge field requiring specialized knowledge that I am not well versed in, so I suggest to do your own research here. I simply decided to outsource this to a marketing agency


In closing

This is a short list of self-service or automated marketing tools that can help you to make your business stand out if you are in construction or manufacturing.


I hope this list will inspire you, and allow you to finetune your marketing effort.


Am I missing anything obvious here, or would you like a clarification? Let me know in the comments below.


Tom