Communicating with Construction Specifiers – Choosing your Communication Channels

As a construction product manufacturer it is often hard to know where to start when trying to market your product, or offers such as CPD, to specifiers. It has always been a challenge how best to reach, inform and influence specifiers, engineers, contractors, housebuilders and merchants. The construction marketer has to understand a number of target personas and their preferred methods of staying informed. This blog has been written referencing our Construction Media Index research into traditional and digital communication channels used by construction industry decision makers.

How do specifiers source construction product information?

The internet is often the starting point for specifiers looking for product information; search engines, publications, social media, product directories and manufacturer websites all provide data. Despite an increased choice of online information sources, the Construction Media Index research shows that construction manufacturers’ websites are still a key point of engagement. Construction decision makers also value direct contact, with the option to email, call and talk with manufacturers.

Are construction product directories still of value when marketing construction products?

The Construction Media Index research shows that on average product directories are used by just over half of construction decision makers, although this does vary across professions. Perhaps this figure is a reflection of the growing number of ways to source product information?

Architects use product directories significantly more than contractors. The construction marketer needs to consider a strategy that takes this into account. With an approach that engages architects but also another that encourages contractors to stay with the specification and not switch.

How do construction professionals use social media? Is it a relevant tool for the construction marketer?

Use of social media by construction decision has seen a marked increase. In general Facebook and LinkedIn are the most popular networks. The Construction Media Index reveals that most construction industry decision makers use more than one social network for work and the social media channels used vary with profession.

Social media is now established and needs to be considered in your marketing mix. It is important to choose the social networks that your key personas are active on. It is also important to listen and engage, not just broadcast.

Are construction trade publications still read? Should I be spending my marketing budget on advertising?

Construction publications in recent years have made a shift from hardcopy to digital. Hardcopy-only readership has dropped to just 10%. The popularity of titles also varies across professions.

With many different channels to reach your target market there are more options than old style advertising. Online magazines allow greater transparency on ROI, particularly with advertorials, with statistics such as page views and clicks. With online there is opportunity for interactive media. It is down to the marketer to determine value and if levels of advertising spend seen in past budgets is continuing to provide ROI.

How can I use construction CPD in my marketing plan?

CPD is an invaluable tool for engaging with specifiers. Across all decision makers 42% attend 1 to 6 seminars in a year, with almost 60% attending at an organised event. This though varies across professions according to CPD requirements.

CPD is a great opportunity to get face to face with the specifier and it should be treated as a marketing tool. Just because CPD is technical does not mean that your seminar should not be well written and presented. And remember that delivering the seminar is not the end of the process but the start. You need to define a series of follow-up actions to ensure that you get the maximum return from the visit.

Further thoughts on communicating with construction specifiers

Well written specifications make it easy to specify and minimise spec switching. BIM and CAD content is a must when marketing construction products. Another tool is customer service: helplines and support, installation guidance/training, order tracking etc. Make full use of online references like YouTube and Barbour Product Search. And don’t underestimate the power of a well-designed website with product information downloads.

Product manufacturers need to have a strategic presence online to get in front of construction decision makers. Manufacturers’ websites and emailing a manufacturer are the most regularly used sources for product information. Our Construction Media Index also shows key decision makers in construction are more likely to read online publications than hardcopy magazines & journals. This online presence though needs to be complemented by real person support.

Further information:

The Construction Media Index 2019

Since this blog was publish The Construction Media Index 2019 research has been completed updating and adding to the research described above to inform your communication strategy, not only for social media but for trade journals, online presence through blogs, newsletters and website. It seeks to help you understand how best provide construction product and technical information. Each Construction Media Index report covers survey results from specific key decision makers in the construction supply chain. The 2019 survey results provide findings for Architects, Main Contractors, Housebuilders, Quantity Surveyors and for the firs time a group of tradesman – Plumbers.

The Construction Media Index is published by Competitive Advantage Consultancy and sponsored by Tangerine, Ridgemount PR and CIB.