Creative marketing tips for construction companies
When you work with large clients who are in charge of outsourcing construction work for big projects, you need to find interesting and innovative ways to reach and engage them. Your brand image, values and costs are all very important but you’ll need to stand out from the competition before any of that matters. Here are some creative marketing tips to help you do just that.
One of the best ways to get your name out there as an expert in your field is through content marketing. Not only will you be able to reach huge amounts of potential new customers through content on blogs and websites, but you’ll be able to show exactly what you know and where your expertise lies.
If you have the means, video content tends to go down well too, even in a B2B environment. This kind of content is very shareable and can help to extend your reach on social media.
If you have clients you’ve worked with in the past, you’ll be able to strengthen your relationship with them if you can send business their way. Simply putting them in touch with companies they could work with will make them remember you.
Take some time on a regular basis to make introductions on LinkedIn, send out introductory emails and to point businesses in the direction of new suppliers. If you can get a name for being the company that builds bridges, you’ll be more likely to have people repaying the favour down the line.
Hospitality and events
Your relationships with your clients need to be nurtured. If you can look after the decision makers and do something memorable, you’re more likely to get repeat business. Hospitality at sporting events is always a good choice and can cost as much or as little as you want it to, but do bear in mind that the experience should be more than they could get from that event if they were to book tickets themselves.
Perhaps hire a private box at a football match, or take your clients for a VIP experience at the races.
If you’d rather be more involved with your clients, invite them on corporate day. A track day is always a good bet as it’s an exciting experience they’re not likely to get elsewhere. You could have cars branded with your logo, space in a pit garage for a presentation and ample opportunity to network with your guests.
Parties surrounding special events are also a great chance to meet clients and talk in a relaxed environment about future projects.
Set yourself apart from the competition
Look at what others are doing in your industry and try and take it one step further. You might do this by adding a free service to everything you do. You might offer an environmental report to clients to help make their projects greener, or you might simply offer a level of customer service that your competitors just can’t provide.
Find a niche
While it can be good to cover a lot of bases, if you can be known for a niche, it’s easier to establish your company as the go-to name for that type of construction.
Set aside time for regular brainstorming sessions with key players in your team to establish ways of reaching new customers and developing relationships with your existing client base.
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Why engineers must always consider human-induced vibration
Human induced vibration, or more accurately vibrations caused by human footfall, often conjures images of Millennium Bridge-style swaying or collapsing buildings.
But in reality, the ‘damage’ caused by human-induced vibrations is less likely to ruin a structure and more likely to cause discomfort in people. Though not as dramatic as a structural failure, any good engineer wants to make sure the people using their structures, be it bridges or buildings or anything in between, can do so safely and comfortably. This is why human-induced vibration must be considered within the design process.
Resonance v Impulse
There are two ways that human-induced vibrations affect structures: resonant, and impulse or transient response. Put simply, resonance occurs when Object A vibrates at the same natural frequency as Object B.
Object B resonates and begins to vibrate too. Think singing to break a wine glass! Although the person singing isn’t touching the glass, the vibrations of their voice are resonating with the glass’s natural frequency, causing this vibration to get stronger and stronger and eventually, break the glass. In the case of a structure, resonance occurs when the pedestrian’s feet land in time with the vibration.
On the other hand, impulse or transient vibration responses can be a problem on structures where its natural frequencies are too high for resonance to occur, such as where the structure is light or stiff. Here the discomfort is caused by the initial “bounce” of the structure caused by the footstep and is a concern on light or stiff structures.
Engineers must, of course, design to reduce the vibration effects caused by either impulse or resonance.
Potential impacts from human induced vibration
Human induced vibration can lead to a number of effects upon the structure and its users. These include:
- Interfering with sensitive equipment Depending on the building’s purpose, what it houses can be affected by the vibrations of people using the building. Universities and laboratories, for example, may have sensitive equipment whose accuracy and performance could be damaged by vibrations. Even in ordinary offices the footfall vibration can wobble computer screens, upsetting the workers.
- Swaying bridges One of the most famous examples of human-induced resonance impacting a structure occurred with the Millennium Bridge. As people walked across the bridge, the footsteps caused the bridge to sway, and everybody had to walk in time with the sway because it was difficult not to. Thankfully, this feedback can only occur with horizontal vibrations so building floors are safe from it, but footbridges need careful checking to prevent it.
- Human discomfort According to research, vibrations in buildings and structures can cause depression and even motion sickness in inhabitants. Tall buildings sway in the wind and footsteps can be felt, even subconsciously by the occupants. It has been argued that modern efficient designs featuring thinner floor slabs and wider spacing in column design mean that these new builds are not as effective at dampening vibrations as older buildings are.
- Jeopardising structural integrity The build-up of constant vibrations on a structure can, eventually, lead to structural integrity being compromised. A worse-case scenario would be the complete collapse of the structure and is the reason some bridges insist that marching troops break step before crossing. Crowds jumping in time to music or in response to a goal in a stadium are also dynamic loads that might damage an under-designed structure.
How to avoid it
As mentioned, modern designs that favour thinner slabs and wider column spacing are particularly susceptible to all forms of vibration, human-induced or otherwise, but short spans can also suffer due to their low mass. Using sophisticated structural engineering software is an effective method for engineers to test for and mitigate footfall and other vibrations at the design stage.