September 2022 Newsletter

**** The 4specs Perspective

What is Your Marketing Strategy?

Some people I talk with have no understanding of which design firms will specify products they make. They adopt a blunderbus strategy - contact every architect and see where the spaghetti sticks on the wall. This was discussed in last month's newsletter - The 5 Costliest Manufacturer Mistakes

Very few products will be used on the majority of commercial & institutional construction. These frequently used products come to mind - paint, sheet rock, fire stopping, etc. These manufacturers need a very different marketing strategy than most manufacturers with a smaller group of potential architects that will specify their type of products.

The sniper strategy is the opposite - identify the design firms and then the person writing the specifications where you can be a competitive bidder.

First understand just how small the potential design community for your products may be. How Many Architectural Firms was another newsletter discussing the size of design firms. This newsletter discusses why I think there are about 800 full-time specifiers in the US including SCIP members. For your products the number may even be smaller.

One example I use when talking with marketing people is the pull-out bleachers in a high school gym. I estimate that 100-200 design firms do 80% of the high- and jr-high school projects where this product would be used. Your task is to first identify the most likely firms for your products - perhaps using information from projects you quoted or Dodge Reports or ConstructConnects reporting. Ask the reps and distributors you work with for their input to support your marketing campaign.

Then you need to identify the spec writers. A prior 4specs newsletter covered this - Finding the Spec Writers.

LinkedIn had a recent posting asking how to best get architect's attention with a new product. His survey questions were (1) email campaign (2) mailing blind samples (3) in person cold calls (4) Extensive phone campaigns. When I tracked down his website from the company name in his LinkedIn profile, they produced products oriented to horse facilities. This is an ultra-targeted audience.

In looking further at his LinkedIn profile, they had another product more targeted to commercial construction. This product was not found on the first website. Searching for the product name in Google I found a product used in condo and apartment flooring to reduce sound transmission to the level below.

This is a great product for a sniper approach. Identify architects doing these projects. Again 100-200 design firms probably design 80% of wood-framed condos, apartments and offices. Learn which CSI sections cover your products. Understand your potential competitors in the sound isolation category, such as ones in the 4specs section 09 8500 - Sound Transmission Control Materials. Understand your competitive position in the market place - installed cost, ease of installation, effectiveness compared to frequently specified products, and learn how the competitor's products are distributed and locally supported by reps or distributors. Get all of your websites cross linked to feature this product along with design and specification information to Get Specified

Then spend the time to identify the specifiers writing potential specs and start a long-term marketing program (5-10 years may be needed) to be effectively specified in many projects.

While writing this newsletter I received a blog posting with the writer's perspective on getting the fundamental elements correct before rushing ahead. Different problem, and a great perspective about taking the time to sharpen the ax before starting to cut down the tree.

Contact me if you have any questions.



Colin Gilboy
Publisher - 4specs
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