I consider "specified construction product" marketing to be one of the most complex marketing undertakings in business. Some of the complexity:
- Time - perhaps 5-10 years from start of design, to your shipping materials, to turn over of building to the owner
- Number of people involved in the evaluation and decision - architect, engineer, specifier, owner, contractor, sub-contractor, code and fire officials
- Uniqueness of each project
- Cost of the project
- Risk of product decision influencing changes and delays
Specified Product Marketing is divided into 2 phases:
- Design - from start to bidding - The 4specs focus is on the design side.
- Construction - from bidding to turn over and warranty work
This page includes past 4specs newsletters on Getting Specified with some additional introduction notes.
- Things to Ponder About Specifiers -
Specifiers have different mindsets and experience than most architects. From Liz O'Sullivan's blog: "People who read this blog know that I'm a specifier, and therefore pretty technically-minded. But many people don't know that I haven't always been technically-minded. I migrated to the technical side of architecture from a place of relative technical weakness."
- Selling to Architects - For an architect the message on your booth should be more about, let us show you how to solve a problem and less about why our product is better. As they are drawn into your booth and you help them solve a problem, your product will come up in the conversation as a good solution to their problem.
- How Many Architectural Firms - The number of firms is much lower than most manufacturers think. 175 firms - 1% - have 100 or more employees and account for more than one quarter of the profession's total billings - and probably more than 1/4 of the total value of major construction projects.
- Finding the Spec Writers - How do you identify and follow up with the specifiers? Help the specifier become confident about the local installation of your materials before specifying your products on his projects.
- Finding the Specialty Firms and Specifiers - When your products are very specialized (detention hardware as an example) and only used on a small number of projects, the specification process is very different. The number of specialized firms is probably smaller than you expect - perhaps in the 100-200 firm range on a national basis, or less.
- Idealized "Getting Specified" Process - This is a somewhat "tongue in cheek" summary of an idealized process to being specified on larger construction products - and yet very close to best the best way to get specified.
- Getting to Know the Specifier - Commercial construction is all about relationships, and a great relationship between your local rep and the specification community is essential. Consider these points when recruiting a new rep.
Have fun and support the specification community
Feedback, comments and suggestions always appreciated.
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