Digital Information Drive

With many decision makers set to be working from home for some time, and the drive for information will become increasingly digital. This is an opportunity for construction product marketing teams to improve engagement with decision makers.

The ongoing Covid-19 situation means that specifiers of construction products are likely to be working from home for some time and the requirements for digital product data, accessible 24-7, have increased significantly. Not only in terms of data for product idea generation such as case studies, brochures, videos and other inspirational content but also for documents that aid product specification such as detailed technical datasheets, CAD drawings, catalogues, CPDs and product specifications.

Specification software requirements
Unsurprisingly, specification software providers such as NBS Chorus, are reporting large increases in the use of their tools as teams collaborate on projects remotely. Any specification software is reliant on the volume, validity and technical quality of the construction product data within it. NBS Chorus’ requirements for data are fed by its own newly-launched cloud data platform, NBS Source, which hosts manufacturers’ construction product data and links to the available BIM models.

However, although the timing is fortuitous in terms of the pandemic driving demand for both digital data sources and specification software, it does leave construction product marketing teams with some immediate challenges.

Data availability
If a product manufacturer does not currently subscribe to any of the digital product data services that support specification software, they risk their products being overlooked at a time when their usual means to influence specification, such as sales team visits, are being curtailed.  Assuming there is the desire and budget to subscribe, then there is the issue of creating the product datafiles. This is a very time-consuming task requiring comprehensive general and technical data along with associated imagery/diagrams, and if going down the route of BIM models, the necessary content for those as well.

Data validity
When submitting signed off product datafiles there is the assumption from the receiver that this data is accurate and reflects the technical performance of the product on the sign off date.  In the haste to get products added to these online platforms to gain the immediate commercial gains, the step of checking the data’s validity should not be overlooked. In-line with upcoming regulation and supporting the golden thread approach as recommended by the Hackitt Review, the software itself will provide traceability and accountability of this data. Therefore, construction marketing teams must be confident in their internal data production processes and sign off procedures or risk the repercussions should a product not perform as indicated.

Delivering the data
Digital product datafiles for specification software are just one example of the challenges that construction product marketing teams are facing. They may not have the internal skill set to meet these demands or are working with reduced resources. Suppliers of specification software/data platforms may offer extra support services in terms of data input from a manufacturer’s datasheet. However, this is only of use if the product datasheets are themselves current and accurate. Additionally, the software provider’s staff may not have the marketing skills to extract and effectively promote the key USPs of a construction manufacturer’s product. In these situations marketing teams can turn to specialist consultancies such as Competitive Advantage who are experienced in this field and can work with the manufacturer’s technical and marketing teams, whilst interfacing with the specification software provider, to collate or create the required datafiles or product specification documents, whether for use within specification software and/or to stand alone on their own websites. Download our product data checklist or, to discuss how you can get support for your project, contact us.