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Architects play a vital role in specifying each and every element of their projects, and the potential for building-product manufacturers to benefit from their decision-making power is huge. That said, some brands make common mistakes that impact negatively on their relationships with architecture firms, ultimately costing them valuable commissions. The good news is that, once identified, many of these mistakes can be easily remedied and rejuvenate a manufacturer’s pool of potential customers.
Here, we’ve outlined seven marketing mistakes most often witnessed by architects, and how you can avoid them in order to enhance your business:
1. Bad Product Imagery
Your product might check all the boxes when it comes to performance, cost and lead times for delivery and installation, but if it doesn’t look good, architects are highly likely to reject it out-of-hand. Design professionals are highly visual people, and value aesthetics equally with functionality when making their decisions on building products and materials. Allocate a healthy portion of your marketing budget to professional photographs of your products that show them in the best light possible. Great images are not just attractive to potential customers — they can also help architects understand your product more clearly and assess its potential for a project.
2. A Slow Response Time to Architects
Architects are time-strapped people at the best of times, which means the speed of your response to their enquiry is paramount. Our data shows that manufacturers who respond to architects’ product searches on Architizer within the same day are 2.5 times more likely to be shortlisted than those responding within 3 to 5 days. Ensure you have a member of staff on-hand to deal with incoming opportunities, and have a clear protocol in place for responding in order to begin a fruitful conversation with architects.
3. Too Much Self-Promotional Content
According to a study by The Economist Group, 93 percent of B2B marketers create content purely to promote their own products or services, while 75 percent of their customers desire content that aids research into their own business ideas. There is a clear disconnect here, with too much content by building-product manufacturers coming across as “salesly” — an immediate turnoff for your audience. Take a thought-leadership position with your content, provide insightful guides and resources and help solve specifying challenges to build greater trust between yourself and your customers.
4. Poorly Designed Websites
Architects have long given up old-fashioned binders in favor of online resources when searching for building-products, utilizing tools like Architizer. However, when seeking out further information on a particular material or component, they often go to a brand’s native website — only to be met with a confusing layout, weak search capabilities and a lack of clear information. Make the lives of architects easier with an accessible and good-looking online resource, and you will soon find they return time and again to learn about products through your page.
5. The Wrong Messaging
Make no mistake: The messaging within your marketing content can make or break your relationship with architects and designers. Architects will never specify your product if they disagree with how you have portrayed the profession within your content. Talk to architects about their personal experiences specifying products and undertake constant research into firms, both large and small, to ensure your messaging is respectful of and knowledgeable about your audience, the work architects do and the creative talent they possess.
6. Bad Representation
If the information you provide on your building product is out of date or inaccurate, architects will lose trust in your brand and the chances of earning repeat business with them will diminish. Architects value honesty, integrity and consistency in both building products and the companies that create them. Make sure your messaging perfectly reflects the product or service you can offer, and you will soon find your brand is a trusted resource that architects will specify time and again. Check out this article on “The Architect” Persona to better understand your target audience.
7. Missed Opportunities After a Sale
If all of the above mistakes have been successfully avoided, you should find yourselves with a sale — but the work doesn’t stop there. Too many manufacturers focus so much on acquiring new leads when the easiest success lies in repeat business — all they have to do is follow up with existing customers and make them feel cared for. This can include checking in to ask architects for their feedback on a product selected for a recent project, or — for the happiest clients — asking them for a testimonial to highlight the value you brought to their work. Read this guide to keep on winning with architects, after the sale.
If you are a building-product manufacturer that is currently attempting to get your product selected in major architectural projects, let us know your thoughts. What mistakes have you seen made, and how have you learned from them? What are the greatest challenges you have faced in getting your products selected by the world’s leading firms? Tell us your story by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You might get featured on Architizer!
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Top image via iStock; credit: Sapunkele