Specification marketing, what’s it all about?
In simple terms specification marketing is a focused marketing strategy to ensure your product or service gets specified on a building project.
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 of this awareness and demand marketing is towards those ‘specifiers’ involved in the initial stage of a project, for example Clients, Developers, Engineers, Architects, Design Managers, Quantity Surveyors, Consultants, and Interior Designers.
It’s worth highlighting that specifiers undertake numerous tasks, regarded as plate spinners looking at several aspects of a project or build. They 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.
Like any good marketing strategy your building specification marketing requires a plan.
Define your audience
As described ‘Specifier’ is a broad term covering numerous professions, we can consolidate this to 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. The specification dynamic is ever changing, in years gone by Architects specified the lion’s share of products via the traditional build process whilst today the process is multi-faceted, incorporating several professions and processes to create a building specification.
Architects are often seen as the detail people, focusing on data and performance. Innovation is also a key driver. Whilst designers may seek influential brands, sustainable products and be led by aesthetically pleasing products. Historically contractors are seen as cost cutters, caring about efficiency and seeking a product to be practical over anything else. Clearly these points are generalisations, however they highlight the importance of knowing your audience and ensuring your product solution and marketing is synonymous with the range of ‘specifier’ needs.
Create a plan
Today 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. Ref: https://cybercrew.uk/blog/social-media-statistics-uk/
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 provide the following key benefits:
- 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
- Build relationships
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
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 Google (and Bing) 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, especially if the competition is.
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. For more information on SEO please read our blog: https://time54.co.uk/3-digital-marketing-trends/
Great content is key, whether a case study write up, a trend or innovation-based article or a company focused piece highlighting your unique selling points. Getting your content online is essential whether in written format in blogs, upon social media platforms or via video. A great tool to help increase specification is CPD.
What is a CPD?
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.
Why Is CPD Important For Architects?
According to RIBA, CPD is to 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 (Royal Institute of British Architects) membership.
What benefit is a CPD to my business?
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. Your CPD needs to communicate the unique elements of your offering, ensuring you highlight and explain these benefits is of key importance in ‘cementing’ the specification, for example its far more difficult to drop your product from the specification if it offers unique benefits that can’t be matched by competitors.
We hope you have enjoyed and taken value from our article, 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.
We are a specialist building and interiors marketing agency and help brands create a strong digital presence to enhance their reputation with Architects, Contractors, Developers and designers alike.
If you are interested in how we can help your business grow with specification led marketing, get in touch to organise a Power Hour zoom meeting.
This is a one hour zoom meeting where we listen to your plans and ambitions to understand your products, services and route to market. It is aimed at directors, marketing managers and business owners within the interiors sector who are looking to raise awareness of their business, generate leads and improve sales.
The Power Hour is free to all building and interiors based businesses looking increase awareness, leads and sales through effective, long term marketing strategies with experienced building and interior marketing specialists Time54.
Just contact us by clicking this link to set up the zoom call, and we will be happy to talk to you about using digital marketing to grow your business.