Monthly Flyover: How to Market and Sell Your Drone Mapping Services

how to use drones in marketing efforts

We spoke with Katie Spear, Vice President of Marketing at Infrastructure and Industrial Contractors USA; a diversified group of heavy-civil and industrial construction companies. After spending her entire career in marketing and the last seven in construction, she discussed how drone mapping has helped her support marketing efforts in the construction business.

Below, you’ll learn how drone mapping benefits internal and external company communications, solve problems, and facilitates a seamless marketing experience to sell your service.

Q: Explain your role at i+iconUSA in the marketing department

A: I am the Vice President of Marketing. Our team focuses on pre-construction efforts which acquire new customers and projects for the operations team to deliver. i+iconUSA is the parent company of two civil construction companies. One is Fay, an i+iconUSA Company, operating out of offices in Pittsburgh and Baltimore and the other is i+iconSOUTHEAST, which operates out of offices in Virginia Beach, Orlando, and Tampa.

On a day to day basis, my role is varied, which is one of the most exciting things about the job. Our marketing efforts include branding, market research, website content creation, social media, project proposals, and presentations for clients.

Q: What was your initial impression of drone mapping and how it could aid your current marketing initiatives?

A: Initially, I didn’t know exactly what applications were possible, but knew there was a way to use drone mapping for our marketing efforts. It wasn’t until I learned more, that I understood how we could use it to help our brand image and better communicate to customers and employees.

Q: Now working with a drone mapping provider for some time, how has drone mapping affected those different initiatives?

A: Our marketing department uses data obtained from drones for internal and external communications. During our employee meetings, it’s a great tool to use for employee education and motivation. We’re able to show them what’s happening on projects through photos, videos, and topographical maps so everyone can see what’s happening on a project, even when sitting in the office. The ability to get a glimpse of what is happening on the projects is much more conducive to understanding than just hearing or reading words about it. Images go a long way to getting the message across.

It also shows employees that we’re a top-notch company at the forefront of technology, which makes them feel proud. So internally it helps us educate and makes people feel good that we’re doing something pretty cool.

From an external standpoint, it’s helped us in many ways, especially in operations. It helps when we reach out to current and future customers who haven’t used drone mapping themselves or have never had construction companies use it on their projects. We’re able to show them what they are missing, show the benefits of the information that we can provide to them, and how we can deliver a solution to them that is a very good fit for solving their problems.

Q: What were the initial responses from customers and new business when it came to drone mapping? What has it done for your relationships with clients?

A: It’s been a great fit for our clients. Some are slow to adapt to new technology, but most of them are understanding the benefit now. Drone mapping has been around for a couple of years– so we have proof of what it does– and they’re seeing the benefits.

It’s also more than just photography. We now have the ability to overlay design plans on top of the drone flight and print that out on a drawing. This helps provide solutions for customers and show them what is going on with the work.

Q: What has subscribing to a drone solution done for company morale and reputation management?

A: I think it’s helped our employees and customers feel good that we have the reputation of being a technology leader. Customers can now come to us with problems we couldn’t help them with before– and with drone data– we’re able to identify and figure out a solution for them. The managed drone subscription allows us to focus on the data and results. We don’t have to worry about the processing, flight planning for optimum quality, or keeping up with the regulations.

Q: Has your company been seen as a pioneer in the business for adopting drone technology?

A: I think we are, particularly within our client base. I am connected with individuals from other construction companies and they’re just now getting into drone adoption and usage– mostly just for photography. When looking at that comparison, we are ahead of some leading companies in construction.

Q: Looking into the future, what do you think this adoption will continue to do for business?

A: I think we need to continue adapting drone technology to stay ahead of the competition and serve our clients’ needs. This has been around for a couple of years and it will continue to change, but very soon using drone data is going to be a standard practice. We won’t be at the leading edge of the pack anymore because everyone will be using it. However, we plan to continue developing and incorporating newer applications to stay at the forefront.

Interested in hearing more from experts and thought leaders in drone mapping? Check out the first installment in the Monthly Flyover series here about drone mapping services, and the second installment here about using drone data for engineering. 


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