Successful specification marketing

By Chris Pepper, Time54.

Construction, or building specification, marketing is about creating awareness and demand so that your product has a fighting chance of being specified early in the building process and remains specified as alternative products are touted by competitors.

The primary focus is those specifiers involved in the initial stage of a project, for example: architects, designers and contractors. Each of these professions has an influence on a building specification, and they are not all looking for the same requirements.

Specifiers review thousands of products, and they’re inundated with marketing information, so getting their attention isn’t easy. A building product solution that fits their needs and aligns with their values will save them time searching, and they’re likely to stay with it for more than one project.

Architects are often seen as the detail people, focusing on data and performance, and innovation is also a key driver. Designers may seek influential brands, sustainable products, and be led by aesthetically pleasing products. And, historically, contractors are seen as cost cutters, caring about efficiency and seeking a product to be practical over anything else.

One of the most effective tools in your armoury for specification marketing is digital marketing and three core elements: content, SEO and social media.

Social media is a key element of most specification marketing strategies because of its reach and customer engagement potential, and its relatively low cost and effective return on investment. 80% of UK internet users were actively engaged in social media at least once per month in 2020.

It has no geographical limits, nor is it restricted by normal working hours. You have an audience of millions and the opportunity to influence, network and engage with your customers and prospects. A successful social media strategy will: increase brand awareness and loyalty; generate higher converting leads; provide rich customer experiences; increase website traffic and search engine optimisation (SEO); networking and knowledge; share content faster and easier; and build relationships.

The benefits of SEO for business are virtually limitless,and taking advantage of them can improve your businesses success in the marketplace, especially in regard to specification.

Increasing your website’s search engine rankings is an excellent way to increase your website leads. The great thing about SEO, and making sure your website can be found in internet searches, is that a user who visits your website is generally interested in what your company has to offer.

SEO also builds trust and credibility. Sites that rank highly on search engines are generally considered high quality and trustworthy by search engines, which in turn increases credibility. Its highly likely that your competitors will be investing in SEO, which means you should too. Those who devote time and effort into their SEO often outrank the competition in search engine results and gain market share. Results on the first page of a Google search get over 90% of traffic; you can’t afford not to be there.

Then it’s up to your website to convert them from a visitor into a customer. But how do you do that?

The best thing we can suggest here is new content. Write blog posts on key trends in your industry or a case study write-up to tell your audience how you’ve helped a client. The idea is to educate and inform your prospective customer. This will then position you as an expert in your industry and someone who your audience will turn to.

CPD stands for continuing professional development, and is the term used to describe the ongoing professional learning activities available to develop their learning. In many professions regular training is necessary to maintain their status or industry memberships.

According to Riba, CPDs help architects “stay up to date, competent, professional, capable and resilient while also enabling them to learn new skills and specialisms”.

Architects are required to complete ongoing training to maintain competence for ARB status (Architects Registration Board). All architects must be registered with the ARB so they can legally call themselves an architect. Architects also need at least 35 hours of relevant learning each year to maintain Riba membership.

As a building product or service provider, knowledge and understanding is essential for building relationships with specifiers. Technical understanding of your product or service is a crucial reason for a specifier to engage and develop a relationship with you and your business. CPD seminars provide a great platform to introduce your building product solution or service, engage with specifiers, and communicate your brand.

It’s important your CPD is engaging, factual and informative, it shouldn’t be a sales pitch.

When done correctly a CPD provides the opportunity to build your brand awareness and increase recognition, potentially transforming your relationship from product manufacturer to trusted advisor in your field. A CPD gives you the opportunity to reach out to a new audience and communicate the benefits of your solution in person.

Time54 works with and has helped many building and interiors companies raise their awareness in the marketplace and increase their specification inclusion on numerous projects. Email to organise a Power Hour Zoom meeting.