If you are a Marketer new to construction then you may be feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of this challenging market place.
The construction industry is made up of a series of relationships; with architects, designers, engineers, contractors, sub-contractors all working together to meet the needs of the client. There are also a number of drivers influencing product selection, not just performance and appearance but external drivers, some of the more obvious are Planning, Building Regulations and Sustainability.
So how can you make sense of this complex marketplace, select the right marketing messages and importantly get these messages heard?
To be able to influence the specification of a product, it is first necessary to understand what a specification is and how it is created. Then understand how to relate to specifiers and build relationships with those in the ‘decision making unit’.
This blog aims to give you some pointers towards making sense of what is a unique marketplace, so helping you communicate effectively with your target audience.
What is a specification and how is it created?
A specification is used to give a clear written indication to the contractor of which items are required and how they are installed.
“A detailed description of the construction, workmanship, materials, etc., of work done or to be done, prepared by an architect, engineer etc.” Oxford English Dictionary
Preparation & Design:
The Architect will draw up the requirements for the building project based on input from the Client, Specialist Consultants and Engineers.
Main Contractors will bid to win the work.
Remember to identify who is bidding and ensure they, or the specialist subcontractors who will be providing budgetary prices, have quoted based on your product.
It is important to know the alliances between main contractor and specialist contractor.
Once the contract is awarded to the main contractor the specialist contractors will be re-quoting for the project. At this point your specification is most vulnerable. There must be a dialogue with all of the specialist contractors and it may be necessary to decide to support a specific bidder, perhaps offering special prices to secure an order.
Once the specialist contractor is appointed close monitoring must continue to ensure the specification is not changed.
If the specialist contractor is an established user of your products there is a good chance he will tell you if the specification is threatened.
If there is no strong relationship then the specification is more likely to be switched and needs to be more closely monitored.
Use (once the project is completed):
It is time to gather more information.
A good reason to contact each member of the team is to confirm that your company and product met their expectations in terms of customer satisfaction. If not corrective action will need to be taken to avoid the problem in the future.
This contact is also an opportunity to ask which project they will be working on next, hence identifying new opportunities which will require their own action plan and the process can start all over again.
Communicating with construction professionals
The construction market is complex with many influences and drivers. As a product manufacturer it is often hard to know where to start when trying to get your product specified. Getting the right communication channels to focus your efforts on is critical, our report Construction Media Index provides some pointers.
It is also important to remember that specifiers (architects, engineer, interior designers) are short on time and will not respond well to ‘spin’. What specifiers want is technical information and advice, they will be happy to deal with a manufacturer or supplier who can provide good quality, comprehensive information on demand.
Your marketing should use benefits to demonstrate value, it should be backed by technical expertise and significantly provide benefit to your audience. To put it more succinctly: keep it relevant!
I hope this blog has given you a clearer view of the complex construction industry, how the different members of the project team work together and how you can start to communicate with them.
Gain the competitive advantage in Construction Sales & Marketing
Competitive Advantage specialises in providing marketing and sales services for the construction sector.
Our specialist team have all been recruited from sales or marketing roles within the construction sector. Their commercial experience means that we are informed about current issues, familiar with the industry’s language and practices and understand the challenges you and your customers face.
We consider our specialist competencies to be:
We aim to provide high quality information at an affordable cost.
Other blog articles:
- Key Factors for Successful Specification Selling
- Using Benefits to Demonstrate Value
- Communicating with Architects and Interview with Su Butcher