26th December // Dmitry Dmitriev, Marketing Director of Saint-Gobain, Gyproc

Construction Sector: How focused communications increase brand awareness.

  • Dmitry Dmitriev
    Marketing Director of Saint-Gobain, Gyproc
    16 years in marketing;
    From 2014 to 2017 the companie's low price image indicator increased from 27 to 54%.

What is the name of the industry you work in?
— I have been working in marketing for 16 years. It so happened that the last 5 and a half years — this is the construction industry. Do it yourself, let's call it. Prior to that, he worked in electronics for 11 years.
What is included in your industry?
— There are Russian and foreign manufacturers, a system of distributors-wholesalers who supply building materials and tools to retail chains, smaller outlets, wholesale markets or online stores. Large networks work with producers of resources. Next come hypermarkets — they now dominate the market. In the first place — Leroy Merlin, in the second (by a wide margin) — "Petrovich". There are also wholesale bases that are alive because of shopping habits and foremen. They "draw" checks and earn extra money from customers.

Leroy Merlin strengthened its competitive edge by opening new hypermarkets, acquiring and relaunching K-Rauta stores, and expanding omnichannel commerce. The company's turnover, according to data published on Finmarket for 2017, amounted to 226.69 billion, which significantly exceeds the turnover of Petrovich (37 billion), Castorama (32 billion) and OBI (18.3 billion).

In 2018, a record number of loans for the purchase of housing was issued, which will inevitably lead to their renovation in the future and the growth of the market in the future. Although an increasing number of homes are rented already finished and saving buyers do not repair everything at once, they stretch this process.
Soon most of the tools will become digital, we will not separate them.
Is digital developed in the construction sector?
— I do not single out digital separately, because it is only a marketing tool. Soon most of the tools will become digital, we will not separate them. The construction industry is conservative. Foremen guarantee quality when working with familiar materials. On the other hand, the age of consumers is important. When you buy an apartment and are ripe for a major renovation, you are already under 30, and maybe 40 or 50. And then there are gardeners. They use digital tools less. This makes the industry less advanced than, for example, FMCG, which involves the customer from an early age. Therefore, traditional tools are used here, such as sponsorship of the "Housing Problem", TV advertising is effective for a DIY audience. But TV does not exclude digital tools — the right media mix is important.
You said that the average age of Central Asia is people over 30. And what to do with the younger generation Z, which in its ideology generally refuses its own housing, does not understand why to equip an apartment. They care about travel. If such a generation grows up, what will be the state of the construction market?
— They like to buy online. Everyone just goes in this direction, because they understand that they need to have time to build their own digital, otherwise all online players will win. And then all offline stores, where huge investments have been made, will be unclaimed. Generation Y has informational power but no financial power, and Gen Z has neither yet. When they grow up, I think the sharing economy will be closer for them. They will use uber and car sharing without thinking about technical inspections. But one way or another they will need their coal. Our ancestors needed a cave to feel safe. But will rented housing give us security? We will feel uncomfortable, because at any moment we can be asked to leave.

This generation will be able to significantly influence, maybe only in 15-20 years. And now our business in the construction industry is still doing generation X. We are preparing more convenient online shopping, services, deliveries for Y. If we think about Z , we will start investing in those areas in which there is no money yet.

It may, of course, happen that they need to repair rented housing. Then there will be other requirements for materials — they must be cheap and practical, standardized enough, which will compress the product line. On the other hand, even among Z there are wealthy people, and they are unlikely to want to live in a simple way. They will build mansions and mansions, because they grew up on this, such was and is the circle of their communication. Therefore, there is always a place for the construction industry.
Should a marketing director be an ace in the field in which he works?
— Not necessary. Even with a conservative audience, you can make a breakthrough. When you know the right tools and how to use them, you will cultivate those niches where there are not even competitors.
So you would even recommend hiring marketing directors from outside the industry?
– Yes, I think this is correct. This is fresh blood. If we take the side of the manufacturer, not the seller, then there are very specific technical regulations. For example, if a marketing director from FMCG comes and says: "Now we will teach everyone to work here!". But if he disperses the team with technical specialists who are involved in certification, then he may have problems. It is necessary to bring something useful, but not destroy what the market is based on.
Не будут ли в будущем ТВ или «наружка» – частью digital?
But why take people from the same area? Because they know the market, key players, they have connections. You need to know specific things and the market in general, how you can advance on it, and how you can't, which cases were good and which were bad. If you move with new knowledge, for example, from FMCG to the construction industry, then you know a lot in terms of marketing, but are less aware of this market. And it takes time to study.
— Everything happens quite simply and naturally. At least that's how it was for me. In 2013 I joined Leroy Merlin and the main budget was regional TV and billboards. For digital, there were some crumbs. Then we headed for the digitalization of marketing, because the consumer went there. Everything has changed in 3 years. I can't say that the budget was completely changed, after all, television occupied a significant part, like billboards. But every year the digital budget increases by 100%. New opportunities emerged. There are no restrictions or barriers.There must be knowledge. If a traditional person works in this area, and he uses proven tools, and is afraid to use new ones, this is most likely a problem. Then it is better to look for another person.
Let's talk about digital and television. Who will dominate the future — TV or digital?
— I look more at the consumer. Television understands that the budget is gradually flowing into digital, so they began to control digital channels. Globally, TV will still lose its positions. Now, few people are sitting at home – we are more likely to consume content on the go.
What would you recommend to a specialist who works on TV — to stay there or go digital?
— Definitely master digital! The knowledge that he has today will be less valuable every year. We don't have 100% Internet penetration yet. The first channel can still reach some villages where few people have heard of WI-FI. Are there many areas where only TV is distributed? Businessmen and marketers must look to see if there is a buying audience in order to conduct business.

The breakthrough will be when we finally learn how to work with BigData, it will lead us to full-fledged digitalization. We must give a personalized offer at the right time.
And in how many years will we master BigData?
— We now have a problem with professionals who can develop in this. We need specialists who deal with BigData on the part of providers and clients in order to understand what kind of request and how to formulate it correctly. Now they are not. If they are taught en masse, it will take 5 years. I think that BigData will not flourish earlier than in 6 years.
What digital tools are especially suitable for the construction industry?
— Trite, context. Because if a person here and now is looking for something, then this is a very simple advertising tool. The second would be, probably, the video. In different formats. Because now thinking is so fragmented that with the help of video you can catch much more.
Share the most successful case from your experience.
— When we started working at LeroyMerlin in 2013, the budgets were much lower than those of OBI or IKEA, for example. At that time, everyone had 20 hypermarkets. The decision was made to focus. We repeated the chosen slogan "Undeniably low prices" from year to year, and all our communications were aimed at putting this message in the head of the consumer. Due to the fact that competitors changed their message every year or two, but ours did not, we managed to make it so that in 2013 27% of customers had this knowledge. And in 2017 it increased to 54%.
Персонализация - глобальный бренд
It turns out that in 4 years of focused communication, hitting one point, we have doubled our faith in Leroy Merlin.
What advice would you give to marketing directors? Where do you need to pump to be "on the wave"? What is your secret of success?
— Probably now tomatoes will fly at me, but I'm not in favor of learning all the time. I am for relearning and forgetting past experience. Now there are marketers on the market with 15-25 years of experience, and the baggage of past knowledge can be dragged down, because then it worked well, but it has already passed, and we need to forget it. Digital marketing has introduced other rules.
How to do it? It sounds easy.
— Let's go point by point.

1. Do not hold on to old knowledge and learn something new. To do this, I recommend Coursera to everyone, and especially the Learning How to Learn course. They tell how the brain works, how to learn to memorize, etc. It helped me a lot to understand how to better absorb knowledge in order to perceive it easier. If people learn and understand that it is not so difficult, it will be easier for them to communicate with those who are doing marketing now. If you are 40-50, communicate with those who are 30. You will learn from them. And they will hear you.

2. Invest in relationships. Often when a marketing director talks to agencies, there are no partnerships, there are deals. For those who understand that they need to invest in relationships, it pays off doubly. I had a story when, just like that, without any fees, I helped develop an SMM strategy for a startup with my friends. We just invested our time. When people start doing something in sympathy and giving something away, everything comes back.

3. Pay decently. When a person begins to judge only by price, it means that he does not have the competence to evaluate the difference in quality. When you know what level of quality you need, regardless of the price, you quickly understand which agency you need to work with. Understanding the quality, you pump yourself.

4. Share experience with the team. You don't have to say anything about your industry. You will become stronger after that.

5. Do not lie to partners. When I communicate with different agencies, partners do not finish something. Yes, competition, but you work in different conditions. If a competitor learns something, then he may not have such purchasing power or something else. If this is a leader, then he will not look at you at all.

6. Learn to say "no" to all those who control your life. Do what you want to do, do what you love. Sometimes this may require changing the industry, it can be scary, but this skill can save. If you don't like the agency, refuse so they don't waste resources. It's open, honest — everything.

7. Engage in personal development, do not put it off until later. You have to take care of your mind and body. And life goes on, and even then somehow lazily develops. If you start changing yourself, your habits, you will see that even your work, your marketing, will begin to change.
Lubov Zhenina, Commercial Director rta: