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An introduction to the Construction Marketers’ Toolkit

An introduction to the Construction Marketers’ Toolkit

Throughout 2017, Chris Ashworth provided a series of articles looking at various construction product influencers, including the client, the architect, the contractor and more. Each article was supported by a construction persona template.

For 2018, Chris will create a Construction Marketers’ Toolkit, looking at different marketing tools each month, such as market research, CPD, specification documents, marketing automation and BIM, to give best practice guidance on how to effectively engage with product specifiers.

Feb: Toolkit 1 - Market Research and Forecasts
Mar: Toolkit 2 - Communication Channels (directories, social, trade publications, email)
Apr: Toolkit 3 - Making the most of CPD & Events
May: Toolkit 4 - Technical Support
Jun: Toolkit 5 - Specification Documents (with mention of BIM)
Jul: Toolkit 6 - Website and Marketing Automation
Aug: Toolkit 7 - Case Studies
Sep: Toolkit 8 - Literature
Oct: Toolkit 9 - Product Samples
Nov: Toolkit 10 - BIM

The article below has been provided by Chris Ashworth

Background to the Construction Marketers’ Toolkit
Each product specifier influencer will be looking for different benefits from the products selected, and have varying levels of influence on the final choice made. Specifiers rarely meets as a group and influences are applied at different stages during the RIBA Plan of Works. Consequently, engaging with construction specifiers and influencing specification is a constant challenge for the construction product manufacturer.

Developing personas for your key construction customers is a great way to help sales and marketing teams to understand the people they must influence. With this information you can go on to develop a strategy to engage with them in a focused way.

In this article I look at the tools available to the product manufacturer seeking to engage with product specifiers and influence specification.

Developing an effective specification strategy
When developing an effective specification strategy for your construction product it is important to create demand, and reduce the influence of price by demonstrating relevant benefits. If a decision maker is not aware of the benefits of one product over another they will inevitably select the cheaper product.

There are a number of tools at the disposal of the construction marketer. In the first instance it is important to gain insight into the marketplace, not just via industry forecasts but by understanding the influences on the market and through feedback from your customers and potential customers. This fact gathering enables you to base your strategy on reality, solving client problems. Research provides a benchmark for your efforts, so it is important to conduct this before and after a major campaign, so you can gauge results.

Sales and marketing tools for construction markets
There are a number of sales and marketing tools that are relatively unique to construction. The most important of which is the specification document. Unless you are able to give architects and engineers well written specifications, it is highly likely that your product will be switched by the contractor or distributor.

Standard specification clauses provide a means of saving the specifier time and ensuring that a product is correctly described. With thought, these can also be written to minimise the opportunity for specifications to be switched by including the product features which deliver the benefits you are promoting.

This also encompasses BIM data. Although still evolving, BIM is a real opportunity for the construction marketer when used as part of your communication strategy.

An effective means of engagement, which allows you to explain the features and benefits of your products, is Continuing Professional Development or CPD. Architects, engineers and other professionals within the construction sector are required to complete CPD to stay current. This is often measured as hours of certified training.

CPD presents an opportunity for the manufacturer to engage directly with specifiers, although an overt sales pitch is a definite no. CPD is certainly a great way to present the expertise of your staff and position them as Trusted Advisors.

Identifying the right channels of communication to engage with construction professionals
As a construction product manufacturer it is often hard to know where to start when trying to market your product to specifiers.

The internet is the starting point for most specifiers looking for product information; search engines, publications, social media, product search tools, such as Barbour Product Search, and manufacturer websites all provide data.

Despite an increased choice of online information sources, the Construction Media Index research shows that construction manufacturers’ websites are still the principal gateway for engagement. Construction decision makers also value direct contact at the right time, with the option to email, call and talk with manufacturers.

Construction Marketers' Toolkit
With this in mind, over the coming months I will include more generic marketing tools, such as website, email, case studies, technical literature and product samples to create the Construction Marketers’ Toolkit. Each article will include a complimentary download giving best practice guidance.

Twitter Chats: #SpecStrategy
And as previously, there will be regular Twitter chats throughout the year, using #SpecStrategy, where you are encouraged to ask questions.

The first is planned for April and will cover CPD seminars and events.

A strategy for communicating with specifiers [EVENT]
If you want to learn more and want guidance on developing an effective communication strategy then join our seminar, being held in London on the 8th February.

The course is hosted by Barbour Product Search and presented by myself, Chris Ashworth and my colleague Julie Mould.

It commences with an overview of the construction market and the drivers influencing specifiers. Going on to look at the stages of the specification process, the decision makers involved and how to make effective use of the communication channels available. The seminar concludes by suggesting methodologies for implementing engagement strategies.

Book before 16th January to get the early bird rate of £247 + VAT.
Book online now

Further Information
Promoting your company and building products with Barbour Product Search can help to increase your visibility to the full specification audience. Email [email protected] for more information.

Sign up to the Competitive Advantage newsletter for an overview of construction market activity as well as construction sales and marketing advice.

Chris is a specialist in specification strategy and founder of Competitive Advantage Consultancy which specialises in market research and training for the construction industry. He is a member of the BIM4M2 steering group and Deputy Chair of the organising committee for CIMCIG, the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Industry Group.

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