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Touchplan’s Quest to Make Construction More Efficient

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Averages seldom tell the whole story.

On average, American non-farm labor productivity has soared since 1950. But when we look at the American construction industry in particular, the trend is the exact opposite.

If you want to zoom in even closer, check out the productivity gap between the manufacturing sector and the construction sector since the mid-1990s:

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Via McKinsey & Co.

A figure as stark as that one leaves a single looming question: Why?

The short answer: bad organization, insufficient communication, poor planning, and a startling lack of accountability.

Essentially, we can attribute the decades-long decline in American construction productivity to the absence of a centralized collaboration solution where the people doing the work can make better decisions together.

Allow me to introduce you to Touchplan.

Unlocking Your Full Potential

Dedicated to making construction sites run more smoothly, Touchplan is a completely web-based, fully collaborative software that helps everyone on your team get—and, more importantly, stay—on the same page for the duration of the project at hand.

It all starts with a plan.

When you start a new project within the Touchplan UI, you’re given a customizable schedule. Here, you and the rest of the project team decide on and create digital sticky notes to mark the work needed to complete the project.

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Looking ahead in the plan to see what work is coming up.

Each ticket holds three crucial pieces of information: a task, the people who will complete the task, and how long the task will take to complete. Since the tool is allocated to the entire project, everyone on your team has full access to the schedule at all times.

Already, we can see why Touchplan works wonders for its clients in construction: It vastly improves organization, communication, planning, and accountability by empowering teams to make better decisions.

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Adding a milestone to the larger plan.

The ability to break down the plan into succinct daily and weekly schedules makes short-term collaboration a breeze. Plus, thanks to an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, you can easily update tasks across your plan in real time according to what’s actually happening in the field.

And everyone on your team will see it instantly. Once everyone’s approved the new plan, it’s locked, loaded, and ready to be done.

By preventing the back-breaking mishaps that arise from poor planning and communication, Touchplan enables their customers to work as productively as possible—and to unlock the potential that’s present, even if everyone can’t see it all the time.

Marketing to Skeptics

Jen Nussinow, director of marketing at Touchplan, has a lot going on.

Since joining the Touchplan team in May 2017 as the associate director of marketing, she’s taken on pretty much everything: website development, initial content marketing strategy (working with a fantastic content manager to help produce helpful industry-related pieces), product marketing, lead generation, and local partnerships.

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This is Jen.

Prior to her foray into construction collaboration software, she scaled many a business through social media marketing and advertising while working for Boston-based digital agencies. She even became CMO of adopets, a tech company that helps pet companies find the perfect customers for their animals.

In other words: Jen’s been around the ‘ol digital marketing block a time or two.

Nonetheless, her transition to marketing to the construction sector brought no shortage of unique challenges. She talked to our own Kim Castings, senior customer marketing specialist, about some of the most daunting ones.

“Being a marketer, you get really excited about the glittery, shiny things that are out there—the cutting edge ways that you can promote your product,” says Jen.

Generally speaking, however, the men and women who work in construction are rather unconcerned with all the flashy stuff that (for some reason) gets marketers so amped up.

“The construction sector is old school, and that poses a challenge for us. As marketers, we operate in an entirely digital environment. People often come out and say stuff like ‘Pinterest ads are the next big thing!’ Well, guess what. The men laying concrete and the women putting up drywall don’t really care about Pinterest ads.”

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Some Boston folks talking about stuff that’s more important than Pinterest ads. Via WBUR.

It’s a big enough obstacle to give any marketer pause. How does someone with years of experience in a sector that’s obsessed with change successfully demonstrate value to prospective customers with years of experience in a sector that’s skeptical of change?

Square Peg, Round Hole

One of the ways Jen overcomes that fundamental challenge: content.

“We’re well aware that the men and women in construction don’t want to be sold to,” explains Jen.

A lesser marketer would ignore that sentiment, disregarding the information provided by the market and helplessly pushing a new-school product on people who like to get things done the way they’ve always gotten things done.

Jen knows better, though. She quickly realized that Touchplan could use content to address the biggest pain points across the construction industry (see the introduction), thus initiating a shift in the ways people think about the industry itself.

“I had a strategy in mind—including a tone and a voice that I wanted to execute and some content chops to do it. But, with so many things pulling me in various directions, it was time to hire someone full-time to come aboard and make this vision become a reality. Hiring our content manager, Katie, was crucial to spreading the information and thought leadership we had to share with the world—in a way that hasn’t been done before.”

The goal: warm people up to the idea that there’s a more efficient, more profitable way to approach construction—and it’s pretty easy to get there.

Brilliant.

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Cranking out content like you read about.

As you may have intuited from Jen’s resume, paid and organic social strategies were very much in her wheelhouse when she started at Touchplan. That’s where she’d been thriving for years.

“Paid search,” on the other hand, “was Narnia to me.”

It didn’t help that she was grandfathered into an AdWords Express account that, despite costing Touchplan hundreds of dollars per month, was producing no discernable results.

Naturally, Jen did what any of us would do in that situation: she tried to apply her social marketing expertise to search marketing.

“I was very much trying to fit a square peg in a round hole,” she says.

Fast forward to today. Touchplan has been a WordStream customer for a full year and, as far as paid channels go, they’re advertising exclusively on Google Ads. Although Jen aims to branch out into other channels in 2019 (e.g., Facebook Ads), she’s evidently become proficient enough with Google Ads to keep revenue growing.

A key factor: her experience with our Customer Success team, and with representatives Joy Cheramie and Courtney Charroux in particular.

Jen described her partnership with Courtney (her original CS rep) pretty succinctly: “It was like having an extra person on my marketing team.” It’s that above-and-beyond caliber of support, Jen says, that differentiates WordStream from the other tech companies in her marketing stack.

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Talk about going above and beyond!

Jen and Joy make a damn good team, too. When Jen expressed interest in running a remarketing campaign to serve Display ads to website visitors, she and Joy worked together to create a custom intent audience.

The result: a jump to 75 conversions between Dec. 30, 2018 and Jan. 30, 2019, and an even bigger jump to 265 conversions between Jan. 31, 2019 and Feb. 13, 2019.

“Jen is one of the best clients I’ve ever worked with here at WordStream,” Joy told me. “Our consulting calls are always productive because Jen loves to talk PPC strategy. She always welcomes my advice, even it it’s taking her in a different direction.”

How’s that for collaboration? WordStream may not be a Touchplan customer, but it’s pretty clear that our Boston neighbor is making us a better company nonetheless.

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By | 24 February, 2019 | All