Walking the aisles at Ecobuild earlier this month it seemed that eco has now been almost entirely replaced by offsite. In fact, you were hard pushed to spot anything environmental about the show, its exhibitors and their products. There was of course the odd exception but with Explore Offsite returning to Ecobuild in 2018, it doesn’t look like the balance will shift any time soon.
Having listened to many seminars and discussions, the offsite proposition is compelling. Those who have been working with offsite products for many years must be amazed that all their developments and arguments are finally becoming mainstream!
Go back six or seven years and eco and sustainability were the buzz words that dominated the marketing channels. Then a few years ago that shifted to renewable energies, mainly solar. Now offsite is the word on everyone’s lips, thanks in part to the Government’s efforts to sort out the housing crisis.
So, does that mean eco and solar have disappeared? No, they have just had their day as the vogue topic just as I am sure offsite will eventually. But for now, we need to embrace the offsite trend. Manufacturers need to offer the right products and information; contractors, the right service and trades, the right skills to truly take advantage of this growing demand for off-site solutions.
The Future of Housebuilding
As marketers, we must keep up to date with the latest, or even predict the future trends of the industry. I personally believe that offsite is the future of housebuilding. Yet it isn’t just down to UK housebuilders and contractors to embrace this sea change, building product manufacturers need to address their product offerings, lead-times and service levels to stay relevant in this age of fast-paced construction methods.
Get in on the Action
When eco was the ‘in’ thing (ok, we realise it hasn’t gone away) products were re-positioned to reflect their eco credentials. The same can be said for offsite, show how your products can be adapted, remanufactured or simply steered towards offsite specifiers.
Invest in a Crystal Ball!
Also, I would invest in a crystal ball. Seriously.
To maximise the market potential, consider where we are now and look at the challenges that our industry and nation faces. Digital developments dominate the consumer market, (think wearables) so consider how you can relate your product or service to this trend. Wearables will inevitably join mobile devices in linking to buildings and household goods and their usage for example. With 3D printers being used in design and technology departments in schools, we need to embrace these modern methods of R&D and manufacturing before we are set aside by the next generation. The building and construction industry is at an exciting stage, and with the right investment it can be very lucrative but you need to be ahead or at the very least in vogue to take advantage of the opportunities.