A few years ago, the big buzz term was “Millennial Marketing.” Those pesky Millennials were changing the way we marketed and we had to find new ways to reach this audience on their own terms. This audience was strange. They didn’t watch cable television or listen to the FM radio- they listened to streaming services and they were watching this thing called “Netflix.” And most concerning- they didn’t even trust advertisements! We invested in new areas of marketing like influencer marketing and social media campaigns to reach them on their own terms.
We thought we’d finally figured out those Millennials, and we thought we had even figured out Gen Z (kind of like Millennials, but with SnapChat and TikTok). They like avocado toast, they take jobs like Social Media Marketer or Barista, and they spend all of their money on clothes/travels so they can take selfies “for the ‘Gram.” They think they’re too good for jobs in construction, and they aren’t grounded enough to become doctors or attorneys. Right?
And now for my confession: I let my own “Millennial Bias” get in the way of where I thought a construction brand’s core audience would be found online. If you’re marketing construction products, you engage their audiences on mostly email, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, paid search ads, and in forms of traditional media. Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest – probably not used by many in the construction industry, right?!
After some research, I learned quickly that there was a HUGE audience of construction workers using Instagram as a way of learning new techniques and sharing knowledge. Our client had a robust Instagram following with very little content. They are still “doing it for the ‘Gram” but with construction sites. They’re showing off their new “tools on the job” and “tool skills.” MIND. BLOWN.
Not only did we find out that they were all over IG, we also found them all over TikTok! TIK TOK. CONSTRUCTION WORKERS… ON TIKTOK? SHOWING OFF SKILLS ON THE JOB? AND JOB SITES? Noticeably absent from these channels was a strong showing of this construction product company’s competitors, giving us a huge advantage in marketing to them.
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Lesson learned: you may not know an audience as well as you think you do, and you can’t underestimate your biases. Check your assumptions at the door, and look around to find your audience. Most of the time, YOU are not your audience, stop thinking you know them until you do the research, get to know them, and engage with them on their terms.