Last week, our CRO Jack Meisinger attended UK Construction Week 2022. Taking place at the NEC, in its 6th edition, UK Construction Week (UKCW) brought together all sectors within the built environment, allowing for the industry to have a new opportunity for networking, much needed after the COVID-19 pandemic. With over 23,900 visitors and 300 expert speaker line-up, we had been looking forward to this for a while.
UKCW is known as the largest event dedicated the construction industry, where professionals across the UK are able to discover, develop, discuss new trends and topic within the built environment. With that in mind, we were not surprised as we say the entire built environment headed to Birmingham, eager to discover the latest innovations! Data-driven, we like seeing these events as research opportunities...
So, we took the time to speak to several exhibitors and attendees on the second day of the show to discover what their thoughts are when looking at the upcoming year.
Higher Standards When It Comes To Exhibitions
UKCW was a clear example of how exhibitions are coming back post-COVID as visitor numbers went up by 19% on last year. Despite digital events still playing an important role in the way the construction industry networks, face-to-face events attract thousands of attendees. Yet, expectations are at an all-time high! Almost 3 out of every 5 attendees thought the exhibition was worse than expected...
A significant proportion considered exhibitions a key part of their marketing strategy and had clear thoughts on the elements they expected from physical events going forwards. As digital events maintain their popularity, face-to-face events need to include that extra element that can get a large number of attendees commuting to be part of something special. And that is not that easy to find!
Is Face-To-Face back?
Construction professionals are keen on seeing each other, on sharing their ideas for the new year, and on feeling part of a wider community. Yet, they understand that things are not quite what they were and 2 out of every 5 attendees say that, since the COVID-19 pandemic, the way they understand exhibitions has changed. This is a higher number than last year, as people understand that the "new normal" is quite new!
And this was quite clear when we asked them how much they were investing in face-to-face marketing activities compared to digital marketing activities. Almost 60% of the respondents considered digital marketing a priority and, whilst they still had physical events in mind, digital marketing was essential for their future marketing plans. .
The Future Of Construction Marketing
The prioritisation for digital led to 71.43% of our respondents to increase their digital marketing activities for 2023. Their intention was to not necessarily move resources from face-to-face to digital, but rather try and optimise their current digital assets and try and repurpose them, making the most of them. Some attendees were doing this in-house, whilst a majority was outsourcing at least part of their marketing activity.
Almost a third of the attendees, however, were not completely sure about their marketing activities for the next year and did not have a defined plan for their marketing activities during 2023. Most respondents in this position were expecting UKCW to help them make those decisions but found that there were still a few unknowns. They were considering different options for their future marketing strategy.
What About You?
As Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, mentioned during the event, “There is so much happening in the construction industry right now [...]. There is a real sense of momentum now as we plan the next UKCW, especially on meeting our net zero targets and creating long-lasting culture change.”
Thanks to the UKCW team for having organised such a wonderful event, helping construction professionals across the UK meet and share insights and connect. We are already looking forward to attending next year's UKCW.