July 2021 Newsletter
How Has "Specified" Product Marketing Changed
Covid-19 has changed how manufacturers direct their marketing to architects and specifiers. In-office visits, CSI dinners and remote working have made face-to-face presentations and interactions difficult. The question is how will you effectively market your "specified products" and new products to architects and engineers as time goes forward?.
- Many specifiers and designers are working remotely.
- Many reps are working from home and not making office visits
- Websites are being redesigned for cellphone access and capturing Google referrals. The web designer has no concept of what an architect or specifier needs to specify their products. After last month's newsletter on Problem Websites I received this email with these comments from a full-time specifier I have known for many years.
"I see you included [XXXX] in your list; they were on my [problem list] as long as I knew them. Unfortunately, our interior designers loved them, and I was forced to write specifications that had no specifics. It was pretty much, "Trust us; we'll do a great job!" I will admit that when they were used, their stuff was good, but the absence of product information ended up making them essentially a sole-source supplier."
"Another favorite was [ZZZ] They really do have some good stuff, but their specs were worthless. For example, one of our architects was convinced we should use [ZZZ's] floor coatings. They offered several products in different quality levels (good, better, best), but there was nothing, other than the name of the system, to indicate the differences between the products."
- Manufacturers are hiring MBA and marketing graduates who are familiar with Search Engine Opimization and click-through advertising on Google and other places, and not familiar with who makes which product decision that end up in the specifications.
- Manufacturers are being purchased by larger European firms. In Europe there are different product decision steps. In Europe most of the the final product decisions are made by the contractor and not constrained by a project specification that does not exist in Europe.
I was thinking about marketing 20 years ago where the Sweets brochure was dominant. The brochure was typically featured in the manufacturer's 3-ring binder. I suspect that Sweets had a heavy hand in developing the brochure so it was useful to the design team and specifier. Many Sweets brochures had a CSI-formatted specification in fine print on the back.
I suggest you read and then send your reps and distributors the link to the 4specs
"Getting Specified" series of newsletters as a way to encourage them to start to understand the process. I also recommend subscribing to Phil Kabza's free email series
CDT One Day at a Time even if you are not planning to take the Construction Specification Institute's Construction Document Technologist certification.
Publisher - 4specs