Incorporating Consumer Trends into Your Marketing Plan

Paying attention to what consumers want isn’t only useful for discovering new markets. It can also help you develop a marketing plan that’s fully in tune with your ideal clients’ needs and interests.

Do Your Research

To get real value from using consumer trends in your marketing, you need to know what the relevant trends are. Your intuition about what’s trending is a good place to start, but make sure you can back it up with hard data before you incorporate it into your marketing. Maybe you’ve heard demand for co-working spaces is booming, but are you sure that’s true for your area? Review the market data, interview suppliers, and hold focus groups to really get to know if a trend you’ve spotted is worth paying attention.

Focus specifically on your target market. Millennials looking to build their first homes set very different trends than older couples who want to remodel their homes for convenience as they age.

Review Your Whole Plan

Every part of your marketing plan can take inspiration from consumer trends. New trends can open up new target markets. For example, you might take advantage of the growing escape room trend by putting together a package detailing how your company can build one. With the ever-increasing concern for environmental sustainability, it’s worth emphasizing your eco-friendly materials and methods in your marketing material.

Look to trends to guide you on where and how to market. Instead of sending postcards with a single marketing message, include a QR code that ties your message into a larger digital campaign. On social media, pay attention to what types of posts are trending.

Trends can also influence your voice. Today’s consumers are generally put off by formal, traditional advertising and drawn to transparency and authenticity, which calls for a more conversational voice. Style trends matter, too. Make sure your website and other marketing material doesn’t look like something from the mid-90s or your prospects might wonder if your construction methods are equally out of date.

Latest Trends in Kitchen and Bath Remodeling

Kitchens and bathrooms are probably the most functional areas of any home. Keeping up with the remodeling trends for these important rooms will give any construction company an edge over its competitors. Here are a few of the kitchen and bath remodeling trends that are driving current home renovation.

  • Simplicity of design: A lot of work is done in kitchens, and a simple, clean design makes it easier to accomplish the cooking and cleaning required in this room. Roomy countertops, flat cabinets, and easily accessible shelves are among the features that make these types of kitchens attractive.
  • Wood: Wood is returning as an appealing design feature in both kitchens and baths. Wood cabinets, especially those made of dark wood or specialty woods, are being used in both kitchens and bathrooms. Newer processes that make wood sturdier and more resistant to the effects of moisture and heat allow wood to be used as an attractive wall covering in bathrooms.
  • Universal design: Design that favors the needs of aging residents is now and will continue to be a popular trend in kitchen and bath remodeling. As the generation of baby boomers continues to age, many will want to stay in their homes, which is known as aging in place. Kitchens and baths will need to be remodeled to accommodate physical restrictions such as limited mobility and reduced eyesight. Remodeling to accommodate wheelchairs is also likely to become more common.
  • Tranquil design: Both kitchens and bathrooms can be busy places, so a recent trend is designing these areas to be as tranquil and calming as possible. This is especially true in bathrooms where some time in a soothing bath can be restorative. Simple designs, muted colors, and practical placement of fixtures contribute to this trend.
  • Open and roomy atmosphere: Open spaces are popular in kitchens and baths, created by freestanding tubs, floating vanities, strategically placed kitchen islands, and open shelving.

Construction Monitor provides up-to-date information on construction trends and current practices. Contact us today for more information on kitchen and bath remodeling trends and what they may mean for your company’s future.

What’s Trending in Landscape Architecture

landscapingModern homeowners continue to demonstrate a growing interest in making the best possible use of all available space, which is reflected by current landscape architecture trends. Information from a survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), cited on the website ProRemodeler, gives an accurate view of where homeowners currently stand on both practical and decorative elements of landscape architecture.

The ASLA survey indicated that many homeowners are interested in landscape architecture features that are sustainable and good for the local environment. These include:

  • Low-maintenance landscaping: Landscaping that requires less maintenance decreases resource usage. Water, electricity and fuel for maintenance equipment can be more easily conserved.
  • Reduced lawn area: Smaller lawns require less care, which contributes to sustainability.
  • Solar-powered lights: Solar-powered lights offer excellent sources of illumination without the need to use electricity. These lights can absorb enough solar energy during the day to allow them to work reliably at night.
  • Compost bins: Composting bins are popular sustainability choices for households that want to put their waste to a practical use.

Concern over water resources and water availability drives a tendency to install landscape features that provide ways to conserve and manage rainwater and wastewater.

  • Rainwater/graywater harvesting: Water conservation and sustainability gets a tremendous boost with landscape architecture features that allow the collection and use of rainwater and graywater.
  • Permeable paving: Permeable paving allows rainwater to more easily penetrate the paving material and enter the ground below. This reduces irrigation demand by allowing more water to enter the ground. It also helps control stormwater runoff by allowing rain to penetrate the paving instead of flowing off it.
  • Drought-tolerant plants: Native and adapted drought-tolerant plants offer landscaping that requires less water. This means that demands on existing water supplies will be lower and that architectural plants can survive with less watering during droughts or periods of low rainfall.

Construction Monitor serves the construction industry with the latest data on trends and developments, including housing starts. Contact us today for more information on landscape architecture trends and how you can incorporate them into your company’s offerings.

5 Green Construction Trends To Look Out For

The big push in green construction throughout 2016 will put an emphasis on creating energy-efficient buildings that have a low-impact on the health of the environment. Sustainability and energy efficiency are becoming more important to business, governments and consumers around the world. This opens up the possibility for new products that are environmentally responsible. Each year, more firms are shifting their focus to green building. In 2008, only 13 percent focused on green buildings. In 2013, the trend increases to 28 percent. 2015 reports showed as high as 51 percent of respondents aimed to include green building practices. Those who watch construction trends will benefit from keeping their eye out on a few key developments.

Sustainable and GreenSingle-Family Home Construction

Green construction is booming, and construction companies that take advantage of green trends will see greater profit margins. Companies are beginning to use more sustainable building materials since consumers are demonstrating that they are willing to pay for efficient buildings. This can include recycled content, easily replenishable resources, locally available materials and salvaged materials. Choosing companies that carefully regulate their resource uses is important to consumers, and it can result in a better outlook for the environment.

Smarter Technology

Homes are beginning to make better use of technology to anticipate the needs of the occupants. In home building, it’s becoming more common to integrate lights that shut off when nobody is in the room and use an economical heating and cooling system that adjusts to occupants. Construction crews are also using advanced technology to create plans and test designs for any issues. Designers can quickly change materials used in the building process to find the most economical and environmentally-friendly option for each project.

Emphasis on Renovations

In the field of construction, there is an increase in the trend toward renovations. This offers a more economical option for upgrading a location, and the process may add new technologies to make the building more environmentally friendly. With renovations. most of the original structure remains intact, but key elements like insulation and electrical systems can be upgraded to provide better energy efficiency. Entire heating and cooling units can be replaced, and the building gains from increased overall efficiency. Remodels are popular when renovating a building, and there are various enhancements that can be used to reduce mold, use durable materials and making the most of energy utility usage.

Multi-Family Housing

Single family homes are expensive to build, and they can have a negative environmental impact. Multi-family homes solve this problem by dividing a home into more than one smaller units. These homes still offer the convenience and privacy of a home, but they take up less room and many of the resources can be shared between homeowners. Green multi-family homes are expected to increase to 79 percent of all multi-family homes that are built by 2018. Customers are willing to pay for green homes, and customers can save even more money when the cost of homeownership is reduced through the selling of multi-family homes.

High-Efficiency Products

Air conditioners, heating systems, electrical systems and alternate fuels can help reduce energy expenditures and make a building green. Consumers have shown an interest in paying for technology that can reduce their environmental impact. As the technology becomes more widespread, it will also become cheaper to produce. By taking advantage of the current interest in high-efficiency products and green construction techniques, construction companies can increase their profits while providing customers with what they need.

The market is continuing to favor green building. Construction companies that don’t take advantage of these trends are going to find themselves left behind as other companies begin to incorporate green technology in their homes and buildings. Buildings that offer renewable energy are on the rise, and the future of green building will require an initial investment in new technology and building techniques. However, the future of green building is bright as consumers continue to demand more energy-efficient building practices.

Are Women Falling Behind in Construction Apprenticeship Positions?

A pervasive stereotype of the construction industry is that it’s a man’s field, where few women are employed and fewer still are welcomed. The unfortunate truth of the matter suggests that this is very much the case: women are significantly underrepresented in construction employment and apprenticeship.

apprenticeshipFalling Behind or Falling Out?

The level of female employment in the construction industry doesn’t specifically show that women are falling behind in employment and apprenticeship positions. Instead, the employment numbers are so low that “falling behind” would almost amount to “falling out.” The daily reality is that women are not making many advancements in the industry, and that female construction employment is not increasing substantially.

This is not the fault of women who are trying to enter the construction trades. In an article in the Washington Post from June 11, 2014, reporter Vickie Elmer noted that construction employment is 97 percent male, a number that has remained unchanged for more than three decades. Elmer based her article on a report from the National Women’s Law Center covering on women’s employment in construction.

When the report was published, women were employed in some 47 percent of all wage and salary jobs in the United States, Elmer noted. In sharp contrast, women accounted for only 2.6 percent of all construction jobs.

Barriers to Employment

The barriers to women’s employment in the industry are significant. On-the-job harassment is a major obstacle that women face in construction. Generalized disrespect or a belief that women are physically unable to handle the rigors of the work is another. Women also face deeply held ideas that the construction industry is simply not a place for women.

In response, many local and national trade organizations are working to provide more opportunities for women in construction, such as the nonprofit Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) and state-level programs such as Minnesota’s Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA).

Construction Monitor provides the most recent and most relevant information on the construction industry. Contact us today for more information on employment and apprenticeship in the construction industry and how your business can expand programs to include more skilled women in the building trades.

New Report: It Costs Twice as Much to Build in NYC

Quality construction materials are never cheap, but in some locations construction material costs will take a bigger bite out of your budget than you might expect. That’s even more likely if you’re planning on building in New York City.

construction material costsAnother Boom Means Growing Costs

The building boom New York City enjoyed before the economic collapse in 2008 saw construction costs rise by as much as 12 percent a year. Over the last few years, the city has entered another building boom. In 2015, there were 53 percent more construction starts than in 2014.

This rate of growth is having a similar effect on construction costs as the previous boom. While current prices aren’t quite as high as they were then, costs have risen by far more than the national average.

The New York City Building Congress reports construction costs have grown by around 5 percent in all parts of the city. That’s nearly double the national average rate of 2.5 to 3 percent increase.

Where the Money’s Going

Construction costs aren’t expected to rise as high as they did during the pre-2008 boom primarily due to labor costs. An increase in nonunion labor on New York City building projects means more workers are available at lower rates.

Construction material costs and other expenses may not rise evenly across all sectors. Although the residential sector is still flourishing, the high-end luxury residential market is cooling off somewhat. Costs are more likely to rise in the commercial and industrial sectors, which are set to grow over the next few years. Development and modernization of the city’s healthcare and educational facilities further fuels demand for construction work and the increasing costs. Government facilities, however, won’t have a major influence on the market.

Brooklyn, in particular, is benefiting from the boom. As the city’s third largest business district, it’s less developed than Midtown and Lower Manhattan. The fresh opportunities Brooklyn offers is attracting an increasing number of developers.

To learn more about where construction material costs could be headed, contact us at Construction Monitor.

Forecast of Trends in the Home Renovation Market

home renovation marketThe home renovation market can be a gold mine for contractors, but its cyclical nature means you need to keep track of the trends if you want to be ready when opportunities arise.

Sales of Existing Homes Set to Increase

The greatest demand for home renovations comes from buyers of existing homes. Not only do buyers want to remodel their homes to suit their preferences, but older homes often require repairs and upgrades.

In 2014, a sluggish economy and hard winter held back sales of existing homes, but the numbers are set to improve in 2015. With the economy and job prospects picking up, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicts the rate of existing home sales should grow by around 7 percent.

Economic Conditions Encourage New Home Sales

News homes also drive the home renovation market and NAR analysis suggest the rate of new home sales could rise by 30 to 40 percent in 2015. Predictions of higher interest rates are helping to fuel this growth. In 2014, analysts predicted mortgage rates would hit 5 percent by the year’s end. Although they rose to only 3.87 percent, the Mortgage Bankers Association found applications for home loans nonetheless increased by 49 percent.

Many analysts still project mortgage rates of 5 percent or more by the end of 2015, which could motivate prospective home buyers to take advantage of relatively low mortgage rates.

As the economy picks up, so does demand for homes, causing prices to rise accordingly. In 2014, home prices rose by some 6.4 percent and the increase is predicted to continue. Rising home prices may encourage some to buy while they can, but decreased affordability could limit the growth in home sales.

The way buyers intend to use their new property is another factor for contractors to consider. The younger generation’s preference for metropolitan areas, where they can’t afford to buy property, has increased demand for rental homes. Rental home owners spend primarily on maintenance, but hesitate to invest in major renovations.

To keep up with trends in the home renovation market, contact us at Construction Monitor.

 

The Latest in Smart Home Technology From the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show

New and innovative products introduced at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show demonstrate that consumers and manufacturers continue to have a keen interest in smart home technology.

The Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas, is a prominent venue for designers, developers and manufacturers to showcase their latest products. The 2015 show makes it clear that smart home technology remains a high priority among manufacturers and that these technologies continue to advance.

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