One size doesn’t fit all when targeting the right audience.
This common marketing mantra of knowing and targeting your market, distilling and clarifying your message and delivering it in the right media is a sound bedrock for many companies, but this gets complex for manufacturers and suppliers of building products.
Why? Because the purchasing and influencing chain for products used in construction and building projects is far more complex as there is simply not a single market, message or media. One size won’t fit all in this extended purchasing chain.
That’s why it is important for building products manufacturers to work with a specialist building products marketing agency which understands this complexity and the demands of a diverse purchasing chain and other influencers. It needs a specialist building products marketing agency which knows that one size does not fit all.
If we look at the chain starting with architect then moving on through specifier, buyer, main contractor, sub-contractor, developer, installer, and down to end-users such as a homeowner or building owner, facilities manager or estates manager, it’s easy to spot the difficulty.
This diverse target audience has distinct and different specifying and purchasing criteria, so a single ‘generic’ message about a product or service is highly unlikely to be successful. Added to this, the diverse audience will take its communication from media that is as diverse as they are. Architects and specifiers will read and engage with media that talks to them in their language about subjects that interest them such as product performance, aesthetics, architectural projects of note. Contractors and developers likewise, and homeowners will have their own preferences for receiving ‘sales’ messages. Add the choice of media platform into this mix and some will prefer to receive communication digitally, some react well to video, press articles are popular with many, homeowners are still buying magazines in their thousands and so it goes on. Some need a quick overview; others need a deeper dive into the subject.
Manufacturers of building products and their agencies frequently use a one-size-fits-all template for marketing, with multiple messages, multiple benefits shared on multiple platforms which results in a confused audience which almost certainly won’t pick out the messages that apply to them. They simply won’t be bothered and will turn to communication that addresses their needs and issues and provides the answers they are looking for. They will respond to marketing that understands and addresses their specific needs, not a generalisation.
Building Products. Who specifies What and Why?
Architects looking for building products
Manufacturers and suppliers in this sector need to clearly communicate the benefits of their products that are of interest and concern to the Architect. Generally, this will be the performance of the product, and if applicable the aesthetics which will complement or be sympathetic with their project. Quality of manufacture will most likely be high on the list as will durability and longevity. Highlight your accreditations and standards early on in your communication, together with relevant environmental credentials – these are hugely important factors within the industry, so people early in the specification chain need to know right away that they are dealing with a supplier which holds all the necessary certification and accreditation.
Specifiers with a reputation to build or maintain
Specifiers will have a similar criterion to the Architect, but they will also look more closely at availability, supply and cost. This audience may also look into the reputation and financial standing of the company producing or supplying the goods. The last thing a Specifier wants is to put his or her name to a company that can’t deliver.
Contractors and Developers
Contractors and Developers will usually be happy that both Architect and Specifier have done their jobs, so they will look at price – and often this is where a specification is broken if a Contractor can buy a ‘similar’ product at a cheaper price. So, if a product is premium priced, it’s really important to communicate to this audience the added value and benefits this product provides.
Installation and Service
If a product needs installation or on-going service and maintenance, it’s important to let these people know just how easy and trouble-free installation will be, and that on-going maintenance or repair is rarely needed or simple to carry out.
Beware of the Buyer
If you have a Buyer or purchasing department in this mix, then these will be the ones responsible for buying at the best possible price, ensuring supply and deliveries, and this audience also has the power to break a specification if they can find something ‘similar’ elsewhere.
Building Owners and Homeowners
Owners of commercial buildings, public sector buildings, leisure, hospitality and even domestic homeowners all need reassurance and peace of mind that product X is the best in terms of looks, performance and value for money. It’s easy to assume that at the end of the chain won’t be as influential as those at the start of the process, but one bad experience and one bad review can do untold and lasting damage to a product and the reputation of its manufacturer or supplier.
Getting market, message and media right
If you get your communication spot on to these diverse audiences, you will win business! You will win repeat business. And you will build a reputation as a company that understands the needs of these influencers and purchasers, and importantly, provides the right solution.
Work with a marketing agency which understands this sector and you will reap the rewards of their expertise, experience and skill.
Work with The Lunn Agency and benefit from the many years’ experience the team has working with market-leading names in building products and services from landscaping, commercial and domestic flooring, interior, exterior and security doors and windows, construction products, soft furnishings and ecologically sound building products. We also work with a number of trade federations and associations in the building products industry such as Builders Merchants Federation, British Woodworking Federation and Fire Protection Association.
Get in touch and ask us how we can promote your building products and services in a better way.