Construction Monitor is the industry source for accurate, timely and complete building permit information in the United States. Our construction leads include key project data to help building professionals, general contractors, sub contractors and suppliers to better target and reach new customers
Thursday, March 21, 2013
On March 8th we were honored to receive this award from the Utah SBDC for "Client of the Year". Thanks to +Craig Isom for presenting us the award at the Utah State Capitol and for all the advice and assistance over the last couple of years. Also, thanks to State Senator Evan Vickers for taking the time to come help present the award and State Representative John Westwood for spending time with us during lunch.
We are also grateful to the staff at the Cedar City mall Business Development Center for their work on our behalf. We are lucky to have such a resource in our small community.
We all desire to
contribute in a practical way to the social media revolution, but this is obviously easier to envision than to actually accomplish. As I have sifted through what seemed an endless barrage of white papers, tips, and top-ten lists, it was hard to find a definitive source with relevant information on social media.
What the marketing world lacks is pragmatic advice and a comprehensive book on social media. In fact, by the time a
book is published its content is already out-of-date. So, where does one go to
find advice on social media?
And, is the evolving social media landscape impossible to keep up with?
It seems that every other day a new start up is attracting millions of
followers. The frenetic pace can be a bit overwhelming, not to mention that the standard
email is becoming cluttered with icons that taunt us to share, pin, tweet, or
any number of verbs that were recently conjured up by a clever marketing team.
With that said, we can all breathe a thankful sigh of relief
because Brian Solis (the quasi-social sage) has summarized the
social media confusion for all who want a real look at the social world—minus
In his book, fittingly titled,Engage, he doesn’t mince words and cuts through the social fluff,
further affirming that our sociological forefathers knew what they were talking
about: that social media isn’t about technology, it’s about being human. Engage is
concise, easy-to-read, and breaks down the social media world into byte size chunks for easier processing.
Here’s five bits of social wisdom I picked up:
Balance (traditional vs. non-traditional)
First and Foremost, Solis encourages professionals to
maintain a “sustained balance between the pursuit of new influencers and the
incorporation of proven traditional methods”
We all can’t be as avant-garde as Mark Zuckerburg, dropping out of
Harvard in pursuit of a digital utopia. Solis is quick to point out, that although
social media is changing the media landscape, we still need to pay attention to
the lessons we learned from our marketing professors. According to Solis, “social science is no
longer an elective,” and wise social media practitioners should give heed
to the proven methods already established in the fields of social science,
(e.g., anthropology, ethnography, and sociology). After all, the social
web is basically a collection of cultures, or as I like to call them
Which brings us to our second point, Solis shares that: “The
secret to successfully navigating the new landscape of marketing and service is
. . . that social media is less about the technology and more about
anthropology, sociology, and ethnography.”
It’s about understanding culture. We don’t necessarily have to go live with an
indigenous tribe to immerse ourselves into their culture, but we may want to investigate
their nomadic behavior, as they gather in millions of forums, social
networks and blogs. Put simply, we need to look deeply at the collective
behavior of the masses. Where are they gathering and why? Let's leave the
question of how to the technical department.
Third, Solis advises us to really
listen to our customers and stakeholders— to not just
speak at them, expecting them to absorb our messages. He terms this "unmarketing.” In other words, we need to retrain our
marketing sensibilities. The one-to-many bullhorn doesn’t work anymore,
especially when technology enables us to have a more intimate one-on-one
Fourth, Solis proclaims that, “the democratization of
content will only continue to further our global society.” Move over Rupert Murdoch,
the dawn of the little guy has arrived—you know the nerd that hides away in
their bedroom blogging about some esoteric subject. Niche communities are
gathering—and marketers need not be afraid of these communities, but embrace,
investigate, and curate their content. Consumer Generated Media (CGM) and
User-Generated Content (UGC) can actually build proactive bridges between
marketers and their customers. Don’t be
to prideful to take advice from your customer.
Collaborate with them to make your product or service better.
finally, don’t be afraid to be human, throughout the book Solis invites us to
engage with those on the other side of the computer screen; to laugh with our
customer, to celebrate their accomplishments, to reach out to them in genuine
ways. We all relate to the funny post sent out during our
afternoon doldrums. They make us smile. They help us get through the day.
what should we take from Engage? Remember the jumbled picture above
representing the social media landscape? Solis introduces us to a much
more organized picture he calls "The Conversation Prism." He organizes the above social mess and presents a graphic that breaks down the social world into set categories.
so you might be asking: Where is the practical step-by-step instructions,
you know the ones that tell us exactly what to do next? Well, Solis
doesn't fail us, hemeticulously describes the many technical
details involved in various social tools, yet he acknowledges and warns us
that the tools themselves are always evolving and often fade or become
obsolete. What doesn't change is human behavior.
appreciate the attempt to organize the social universe; however, even Solis admits
“that the act of categorizing social networks within a visually rich graphic
would be temporary at best, demanding endless iterations." Where we
can find solace is that we’ve always been social beings and where Engage
really shines is by reminding us that it’s about relationships, and just like
our predecessors, “the only way to evolve is to forge rewarding, long-term
connections with the very people we wish to reach and compel.”
question everyone seems to be asking these days is whether or not direct mail
still works? Is it still worthwhile to send out thousands of postcards to
your prospects, customers, and former customers?
you had asked me this question 5 years ago my answer would’ve been--errr, well,
no. A few years ago email marketing was a much more effective
solution. Yet things are different now and many of us receive countless emails
in our inbox that we either ignore or delete. Let's face it--we're
overwhelmed. Five years ago email may have been the marketing world's
golden child, but now it’s a nuisance; something that we dread having to deal
does this mean for us in marketing? Well, it doesn't mean that we
completely give up on all email marketing--instead, it means we should
reconsider direct mail as a viable option to reach customers directly.
are a few reasons why:
consumer receives 25 pieces of mail in their box each week. Compare this
with the number of advertisements you receive in your personal email
inbox--probably well over 25 a week. Obviously, there is far
less competition in the mail box. (USPS, 2009)
to a recent study 79% of households either read or scan advertising mail
sent to their household. In fact, 37.6% of mailers sent from the services
industry are read immediately by the consumer, 27.7% are seen as
useful, and 5.6% commit to respond. (USPS Diary Study, 2009).
days the new motto is to reach the customer at all preferred places
possible. Businesses need to reach customers at all touch points.
It’s imperative to forge a relationship with the prospect by email, direct
mail, phone, webinar, and even in person. Make sure your
customer can reach you by any method they prefer. It's true: we really do
live in a multichannel world. Now is the time to coordinate all channels--including
direct mail--to reach the customer at the exact moment they're ready to buy.
Everyone is abuzz here at Construction Monitor after CEO,
David Mineer Sr., announced a goal to expand services across the nation by the
end of 2012. “This will be a time of
rapid growth for our company, but with the systems we already have in place,
it’s doable,” Dave confidently reports.
So far his statement has proven to be true. Since the announcement, we’ve experienced
tremendous growth across the nation with over 70,000 permits collected in just
under two months. In addition, we’ve
hired a troop of (30 plus) data collectors, we’ve conquered major, new markets
like Chicago and New York, and doubled our coverage. Not too shabby for a mere eight weeks.
“These are exciting times,” states David Mineer Jr., Chief
Information Officer, and the person behind the day-to-day technical aspects
involved in gathering data in hundreds of jurisdictions. “Often people don’t realize the work put into
each permit to provide the customer with the most accurate and timely building
permit data in the industry,” Dave explains.
Whatever the case, Construction Monitor is excited to be
moving forward full speed ahead.
Our objective: to cover the nation sooner than later. Our mission:
to be the ultimate nationwide source for building permit data.
Over the past year you’ve probably seen the QR code (Quick
Response code) popping up all over the place, perhaps on a tube of toothpaste
when brushing your teeth, or maybe on a billboard during your commute? These trendy two-dimensional bar codes have
infiltrated our living environment in clever and hilarious ways. For instance, a team of English footballers shaved QR codes on their heads to encourage fans to scan and view their stats
online. It really makes one wonder what
they used for the players with no hair, a Sharpie?
The QR code was initially created for the automotive
industry to track cars on the assembly line. The technology was soon adopted by
other industries in a number of creative ways.
In recent years, the rise of the smart phone has made the QR code a
marketer’s new best friend: the gimmick that connects the mobile masses with their
Nonetheless, in spite of all the QR code hoopla, I still
have yet to find a truly creative application within the construction industry.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been several
utilitarian uses of the code. I found a recent example at a Parade of Homes where
they printed the QR code in a brochure and linked it to Google maps to help
guide people on the tour. In another
example, Home Depot has jumped on the bandwagon by putting QR codes on their
plants to give customers some extra gardening tips. A useful idea, but it lacks
originality and creativity and it probably won’t motivate thousands to flock to
their local Home Depot.
The verdict is still out on whether QR codes will find a
place within the construction industry.
In the meantime, now is the time to experiment with the QR code and the
best part is you can generate the QR Code for free.
Here's a list of QR Code ideas (from practical to impractical):
Email newsletter sign ups
Trade show signage
On building permits
On your company newsletter T-shirts for construction crew
Coffee cups For sale signs
On your local waitress
On a porta potty at the construction site
In this fragile housing economy it’s now more
important than ever to keep in touch with building trends in your area. Tracking building activity will help you reach
the right people at exactly the right time. At Construction Monitor we keep a close watch
on building activity by gathering building permit data to help construction
professionals keep on top of their competition.
Building or remodeling your own home is a complex process and often involves hiring a licensed general contractor to help oversee a skilled team for the project. Nonetheless, some brave and creative souls decide to manage the project themselves and often fall below the radar of the manufacturer.
The owner-builder acts as a general contractor, hiring subs, carpenters, and all those necessary to finish the job. There are numerous reasons why a person might choose to embark on a building adventure without hiring a general contractor. It could be they believe that the sweat equity will save them a pretty penny, perhaps they might be a control freak with an innate tendency to micromanage, or they may be wildly creative with their own impeccable taste. Whatever the reason, the owner-builder is a niche market that manufacturers cannot afford to ignore.
Here are 5 good reasons why:
1. Owner-builders will often build more expensive custom projects.
2. Owner-builders shop around more for building materials giving those who reach
them first a strategic advantage.
3. Owner-builders generally don’t have pre-established contracts and relationships
leaving the door open for new products and services.
4. People are, by nature, lazy, and if a manufacturer makes their services easily
available to a prospect it may increase their chances of landing a job.
5.Owner-builders, who serve as their own “GC”, make all the key purchasing decisions.
Market Example: LA County
The Construction Monitor reports that in Los Angeles County, over 7,000 building permits were filed by owner-builders year-to-date. Additionally, over 10,000 owners filed a building permit (owners usually have hired a general contractor, but still make many of the purchasing decisions). This is nearly 20,000 owner-builder or owner leads available in the Los Angeles County alone.
At Construction Monitor we have thousands of up-to-date owner-builder and owner leads just waiting to be contacted. Check out what’s available in your area at
Whew... the housing market may be headed into the black...
In 2009 the market bottomed out, with residential building permits at their lowest in over 50 years. In the mean time, the construction industry has been on the front lines of the economic battlefield, with thousands of businesses struggling to keep in the fight.
Yet… there is hope on the horizon.
After nearly 7 years of recession, construction professionals and industry insiders, report that the market is slowly stabilizing with an (0.6%) increase forecast for 2012. While this number is modest, it does reveal that the industry is finally headed in a positive direction.
Consumer confidence, however, is still on shaky ground. According to recent poll, conducted on Nov 7th, 2011 by the Wall Street Journal, only 25% of the respondents felt the economy would improve in the next 12 months, revealing that consumers are still hesitant to embrace an optimistic outlook. Compare this to a less recent CBS poll conducted on June 8th, 2011, which reported that 44% were optimistic about the economic outlook, and it is apparent that we have our work cut out for us.
What does all of this mean... things may be looking up for 2012!
Here is a market comparison for the four colorado markets we cover and the single family homes that are being permitted so far this year. the report shows the homes by builder for the year and also the details for the month of September.
For more information, statistics or custom reports, see our website...
This month we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of our Puget Sound (Seattle) edition.
This is also a milestone for the two people who have handled the workload for this market over the last 10 years for data collection and data entry; Paul Silva and Ginger Dean.
Just a few facts about what's been accomplished and achieved in the last 10 years by these two:
Number of building permits gathered, edited & published: 283,573 Number of hours worked - each: 20,800 Number of times Paul has driven to and visited a city office: 26,000 Number of miles driven: 208,000 Number of carsworn out and replaced: 3 Number of digital cameras worn out and replaced: 4 Number of computers worn out and replaced: 5 Number of desk chairs worn out and replaced: 5 Number of computer keyboards worn out and replaced: 6 Number of manual keystrokes Ginger made to database the info: 51,043,140
A great big thanks to Paul & Ginger for their efforts and dedication week in and week out over the last 10 years! Our data entry and data collection teams are the best. Nobody does it better than Construction Monitor!