Every year brings changes. This one won’t be any different. We’ll see growth in some areas, declines in others. For the building industry, some of these shifts are already in motion. Here’s a little sneak peak – a year in advance – into what we’ll be writing about 2014 when 2015 comes rolling in.
What is changing and growing:
Going green isn’t going anywhere.
The move toward energy efficiency has been on the rise in the last few years, that’s no surprise. And it won’t be slowing. In fact, that talk will only be getting louder. Although energy codes have always been around, they are now being enforced by code officials. That means a greater focus on energy efficiency with products like High R-Value insulation or insulated panels, as well as technology being designed to support the green effort. Beyond the push, there is and will continue to be a greater desire by clients for energy efficiency, whether they are looking to build it or looking at buildings to buy. Green isn’t going away.
Content marketing surges.
Content marketing is changing how we talk to our buyers and potential buyers. Even though you may not have realized you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. Content marketing is how the message is getting shared, whether that is through blogs, social media, videos, or other info streams. Content marketing provides usable information to your client base that may not necessarily sell a product. For Star, we launched this year into content marketing as a way to support our builders, and we are excited to see this grow.
Tablet supported apps.
If a mobile application isn’t supported on a tablet then that application is dying. Tablet use is expanding and we will see even greater usage in 2014. This will be a crucial year for tablets. Two years ago, users were excited about what tablets could do. Now, users have expectations of what a tablet must do. We’re past the point of failure. Tablets aren’t something to invest in for the future. Tablets are the investment of today.
Star mobile app 2.0
It just got faster. Our Star mobile app is inline for an upgrade. We’ll be making some major improvements to our revolutionary app, which means it just got cooler. Early this year you’ll have a Star app that’s faster, more connected, and jazzed up with our new logo. For builders, that means more information on your job when you need it: on the job site.
Following this initial update, planned upgrades will allow you to scan RFID tags on any material and instantly pull up the job documentation. You’ll also be able to take pictures of any issues or questions on the job site and send them directly to the Field Services department for solutions. The new app will also allow you to search for jobs by description, not just the job number. And, just to make sure everything is right there at your fingertips, all update notifications will come directly to you via the app. It’s faster, it’s more comprehensive, and it’s coming.
What won’t change:
Technology will never replace service.
Technology, instead, will enhance service. A good conversation with a builder is more important than providing a mobile app. However, at Star, we can do both and are focused on that mission. We value relationships, from those between ourselves and our builders to the relationships between our builders and their clients. We are always looking for ways to support our builders’ client relationships. With the Star mobile app, we are providing information on the spot to our builder so that they can better serve their customer. That’s our definition of technology-supported service.
Social media isn’t going anywhere.
It’s part of our world, now. Part of our personal lives, our business relationships. It’s here for good. There isn’t a major push to get plugged into social media anymore. Nearly everyone is already plugged in communicating through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram. And if you aren’t, you are likely receiving information through these channels from others who are. If there will be any change or shift in social media, it will not be where it is going, it will be how it is being utilized, such as ways to provide greater customer service.
The trade industry will always be in high demand.
No matter how many technological advancements we make, there is no piece of equipment or software that can erect a metal building. People are still needed to deliver that product, to assemble that product, and to provide customer service to the buyer. No matter what technology can do, you still need people. We’re here to stay.