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It’s that time of year again. You’ve started a diet, bought a new gym membership and finally put away your iPhone so you can read an actual book this week. Kudos to you — new year’s resolutions are a good excuse to break out of old habits and get healthy, looking to the next 12 months with a renewed sense of purpose. So, you’ve set your personal goals — but what about your business? Are there some changes your brand could make to better connect with architects, polish up your marketing strategy and grow your sales this year?
The good news is, there are some simple yet highly effective things that building-product manufacturers can do to transform their prospects during the coming months. Take up the challenge with our 10 new year’s resolutions below, and become every architect’s favorite brand this year … good luck, and happy 2018!
1. Make H2H your new B2B
According to Bryan Kramer, there is no more B2B, or even B2C for that matter — there is only H2H, which stands for Human to Human. “We all need to think like the consumers we are,” explains Kramer, “putting ourselves in the mindset of the buyer instead of trying to speak such an intensely sophisticated language full of acronyms and big words.” While securing business with big architecture firms is the name of the game in 2018, success starts with making a connection with individual architects, each of whom will have their own peculiarities. Break free from the big-picture B2B mindset and focus on building trust-based, “human” relationships with your customers this year.
2. Take on the “one-day response” challenge
Make it your mission to respond to architects’ searches on Architizer within 24 hours this year. Why? Because the data shows timeliness is key to success. Manufacturers that respond to architects on the same day as they make their search are 86% more likely to be shortlisted than those responding the following day. Speed certainly matters, but consistency is arguably even more valuable — keep front of mind with architects by responding to their queries on a daily basis, and you will find your prospects of a sale rising.
3. Mix up your marketing mediums
Beautiful project images and tactile material samples have long been the go-to mediums for marketing building-products, but you can go a lot further with a little creativity. Video content is currently given preferential treatment by Facebook’s algorithms. Ask an architect if you can conduct a simple walkthrough video of a recently completed project that features your building-product. It could even be streamed live! This type of broadcast — a relatively cheap and quick marketing tactic — can give your product newfound prominence and enter the newsfeeds of countless architects. Read on for more social media tips especially written for building-product manufacturers.
4. Become a pricing guru
Pricing is a sensitive subject in the construction industry, and it takes courage for manufacturers to take the lead in discussing it openly and honestly with major clients. The good news is that, if you are transparent and informative on pricing with architects, their trust in you can result in a long-lasting business relationship. Take charge of the pricing conversation, highlight the long and short-term value of your products, and provide architects with different options to suit their budgets. This is arguably the number one way to reduce specifying headaches for design professionals, they’ll be forever grateful to you for that.
5. Become a master of code-compliance
Conduct a thorough investigation into the latest building regulations across the region you are selling to, whether that be codes specific to city, state or country. Code compliance is one of the few “must-haves” for architects when specifying building-products, and with regulations across the world evolving frequently, it is vital to stay abreast of changes that could affect your sector. Become an expert in this area, and you can even advise architects on which codes they need to consider — the added value you bring in this fashion will make you an increasingly indispensable resource for them.
6. Go green
Take resolution no.5 a step further and surpass energy requirements to become a leader in sustainability. Every building-product in existence contains embodied energy and affects the environment in some way during its lifecycle, factors that will be of increasing concern to both architects and their clients in 2018. Utilize your specialist knowledge to advise on green construction and help architects achieve the best possible LEED rating. Positioning yourself as a leader in this field will boost your brand’s reputation within the AEC industry — oh, and it helps save the planet, too. Everybody wins!
7. Give architects more face time
Despite their questionable ROI, it could be well worth your time to go to a trade show in 2018 — not as a booth owner, but simply as an attendee. After all, it helps to see things from the architects’ perspective. Walk the floor and simply talk to design professionals who are there. Don’t promote your products with them in this context — unsolicited sales pitches will go down like a lead balloon — but rather ask them about their own projects. Ask what hopes and concerns they have for their firm and the architectural profession at large. You will surprised how much you learn.
8. Be brave with new building-products
Introducing a new building-product to the market is one of the biggest challenges a manufacturer can take on. The process requires a lot of time, a lot of investment and a lot of belief, and even then, the chances of failure are high. That said, there is compelling evidence that architects value product innovation more than almost any other profession. If you can successfully identify a need, create a product that fills that need and then communicate its value in the right way, you can change the industry. In the words of marketing expert Mark Mitchell, “new products are hard work. New products are risky. New products are essential.” Make it your mission to create one in 2018.
9. Become a leading online resource
We recently talked about the growing potential of offering your building-products to architects in the “Amazon Age”. No doubt your brand already has a website, but is it the better than that of all competitors in your sector? Do you have great testimonials, clear technical information and rich media throughout? Are you offering a research and purchasing experience more akin to a B2C marketplace? If not, there are countless opportunities to make yourself an indispensable online resource. Your website can work in unison with your Member Profile to provide everything an architect needs to select the right product for their project. Put an action plan in place to perfect it this year.
10. Share your knowledge
If you’re reading this article, chances are high that you have plenty of industry knowledge to offer. If you are interested in being a thought leader for the building-product industry in 2018, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your best sales and marketing tactics — you might get yourself and your brand featured!
Feature image via iStock; credit: flavijus
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