With the pressure to cut marketing budgets only likely to increase, now is the time to take a fresh look at where your money might best be spent. While the adoption of online methods exploiting new technologies has become increasingly widespread it doesn’t negate the need to present appropriate information in an easy-to-access format. A recent report by Competitive Advantage Consultancy provides an overview of key communication channels available to those wishing to target architects and specifiers.

The Internet is now the principal form of communication used by us all, delivering vast amounts of information at the click of a mouse. Unsurprisingly, Google is the principal route to obtaining information, even where a website address is already known. Product data is available via a number of online directories. Many Google enquiries will then point to these.

The emergence of online journals and websites has seen Building develop a very comprehensive website and Construction News offering daily email briefings. Their readers have a greater requirement for up-to-the-minute news stories than ever before, in turn providing those wanting to target architects and specifiers with a ready-made outlet through which to publicise their business, products and services. Expect a steady expansion of web services, online CPD, webinars and virtual exhibitions.

Magazines, although suffering from a decline in readership, remain an important source of ideas and information – especially via project case studies and technical articles. Be careful when advertising in journals though – architects read different journals to other professionals.

This research shows that hard copy literature remains important to specifiers because it makes comparing products easy and because it provides them with an audit trail and source of future reference. Ironically, the ease with which information can now be obtained online means that a request for literature, or a download from your web site, can be interpreted as a buying signal.

As the professional body for architects, the RIBA, and its commercial arm RIBA Enterprises, offers a range of services. They’re often the first port of call for those seeking authoritative information, whether it be via their journals, product information, CPD or specification selection services. NBS Building, for example, is used by 96 per cent of the UK’s top 100 architectural practices.

CPD is probably one of the most effective means of building relationships with architects. When well-delivered it gives credibility to the presenter, the company and its products. Interestingly, while a high proportion of architects are happy to attend seminars in their own offices (about once a month) some will only attend events that have been organised by their professional body. Be aware of both groups’ needs when structuring your message.

It’s always expensive to participate in exhibitions and conferences. Architects are noted for their unwillingness to leave the office to attend anyway. Again, the research revealed that while a reasonable proportion viewed such events as beneficial, only a small percentage had actually taken the time to visit an exhibition or conference within the last 12 months. Before deciding whether or not you should become involved in an event ask yourself how many prospects are within easy travelling distance of the venue. They’re much less likely to travel two hours than they are 45 minutes down the road.

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