Houzz 2017 Report and Marketing Implications

Every January Houzz puts out the HOUZZ STATE OF THE INDUSTRY, U.S. Residential Renovation and Design report.  This report offers insight into the building industry based on real-time consumer behavior. It’s a good read, definitely worth a download.

 

I like to review the report to see what the marketing implications are for each of the following big data points.

 

The 2017 report starts with three big ideas:

  1. FIRMS BULLISH ABOUT 2017

  2. 1 IN 3 DEEMS 2016 AS THE BEST YEAR IN RECENT HISTORY

  3. RISING LABOR AND MATERIAL COSTS HURT THE BOTTOM LINE IN 2016
2014 2015 2016 2017 (Expected)
Architects
9.5%
10.1%
6.7%
6.9%
Interior Designers
12.7%
8.6%
8.0%
11.3%
GCs/Remodelers/Builders
11.5%
10.2%
9.1%
10.3%
Design-Build
12.2%
10.1%
8.3%
10.5%
Speciality - Building & Renovation
10.3%
9.1%
9.5%
10.9%
Speciality - Landscaping & Outdoor
12.0%
10.6%
8.7%
10.0%
Speciality - Decorating
12.3%
8.8%
7.9%
11.6%

Data credit: Houzz

 

The first one is good news for an industry on the rebound, especially those in the residential market. Bullish firms predict a higher growth rate for 2017 than what was realized in 2016. Consumers are expressing financial optimism by increasing spending in home renovation and design. 

 

For manufacturers that have a building product or material that is sold through a contractor or another third party like a designer or even a decorator, it is important to make sure they arm this sales team with the best sales materials possible.  These materials should be different from the materials tailored to the sales specification journey for architects and designers. This is a consumer-focused sales journey. And consumers want more of an editorial feel and less technical information. They want to envision a better version of their lives with your product or material.

 

I worked with a client who made outdoor pavers, the kind used for patios and driveways.  For this building product, it was important to show the pavers in context. We created beautiful patio scenes twinkling with fairy lights and families having the best time socializing over freshly grilled dinners. Homeowners could imagine their family transformed from one made up of real-life squabbling siblings and distant couples caught in a boring daily routine to a vibrant, healthy, happy, high-functioning one. This is not a conscious thought on their part but it is at the core of consumerism—the dream and the wish for a better everything.

 

It’s important to make sure your product is being consistently presented across all platforms:

  • Website
  • Look Book
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Houzz
  • Print

Your competition is set to achieve growth by ramping up their marketing spend.

 

From the 2017 Houzz Report:

Companies across all seven industry groups plan to support growth by focusing on larger-budget projects (50-63%) and investing more in marketing (45-56%).

 

Of all the industries surveyed, 1 in 3 found 2016 to be the best year since the financial crisis of 2009. Nationally, two-thirds of all companies saw revenues grow and profits increased for half. If your company finds sales flat or not keeping up with the industry growth rate, it may be time to take a good look at your marketing plan, digital strategy, sales team or even your product line itself. This research should be a big wake up call to all building products and materials manufacturers. Now is the time for creating a strong brand, sales growth and building a reserve to see you through the next downturn, which is only a matter of time away. Your marketing plan should be leveraged to capitalize on this period of prosperity.

 

Creating growth through increased sales becomes more important as the cost of doing business rises. Every sector is using sales volume as a way to counter increased labor and material costs. Interest rates and inflation are expected to be up in 2017. So what can a company do to grow if sales are lagging? Sometimes the answer is not clear. It’s always easier to see someone else’s problems than it is to see your own. If you find that something isn’t working, maybe it’s time to get an outside perspective. There are several nationally-known consultants to the building products and materials industry. Hiring one has its advantages—good ones are like surgeons, they see what isn’t working quickly and can remedy it for a smaller investment than something like launching a new product line or a marketing plan. If you find your company is in need of a consultant, you can always check out Mark Mitchell. Follow his blog to get a sense of his personal style. If Mark isn’t for you, try doing a search on LinkedIn.

 

So while 2017 bodes well for building material manufacturers, make sure you don’t miss out on opportunities due to a poor marketing strategy. Take a look around and make sure you are using all your marketing resources to help make 2017 a prosperous year for your company.


Want to grow your sales by increasing specifications by architects and designers? Click here to download our guide: HOW ARCHITECTS AND DESIGNERS SPECIFY BUILDING AND ARCHITECTURAL PRODUCTS. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered or to find out more about how Epiphany can help you get specified, give me a call. 804.377.0106