Essential Qualities of Successful Building Product Manufacturers

Posted On: 
May 5, 2017
Essential Qualities of Successful Building Product Manufacturers

Building product manufacturers need to be fierce to succeed. In Jeffrey Fox’s book How To Be A Fierce Competitor, he states that companies must never stop selling, reaching out, and communicating to their markets. Successful building product manufacturers train, execute, reduce waste, and play to win. “Fierce competitor companies have peerless customer service, amazing innovation, price leadership, highest quality image, strong market share position, and great brand names; they are most admired by industry followers, and they make money,” says Fox. Ultimately, these qualities are essential for highly successful building product manufacturers.

Product Specs

How do you get your products specified? In previous blog we discussed one of the most significant mistakes that building product manufacturers make when trying to get specified. Many manufacturers don’t know how to market to architects, specifiers, and designers who evaluate and specify building products. The project manual and specifications are legal documents that require the contractor to select from the final list provided, or have a substitution reviewed and approved by the A/E. Building product manufacturers not on the original list can lose out on jobs, create more work for the architect and contractor, and are many times judged brutally because they delay the process. From an ROI perspective, direct intervention from a product rep to request a substitution is the most expensive and ineffective way to influence the specification process. It is crucial that building product manufacturers focus on their customers and competitors to understand the specification process and succeed.

For example, if you are a roofing materials supplier, you better be aware of your competition. If the competition is rolling out a new line of roofing shingles, built-up roof (BUR) membranes, single-ply roofing, or membrane roofing products, your team better know everything about them. If a competitor is doing something that appeals to architects, spec writers, and contractors, you better know more about the competitor’s products than even their own employees do. Reviewing a competitor’s website, product brochures, and social media campaigns on an on-going basis can help you anticipate what they will likely do next. Gather customer stories, supplier intel, and review who they are hiring to keep tabs on the competition.

Brand Awareness and Market Position

“Don’t hide from the customers. Don’t hunker down in a hole. Don’t go dark in the market. Call one more customer. Pay one percent more. Add one more hour to your day. Send one more email. Take a chance,” says Fox. Manufacturers need to be in the trenches every day, meeting architects and contractors, shaking hands, answering questions, and acting as an important industry resource. It is difficult to change an architect’s mind, especially if they have a strong reaction to a building product due to success or failure. Marketing to architects and specifiers can be a slow process. It’s like planting seeds and watching them grow.

How do building product manufacturers increase brand awareness and market position? Effective marketing is changing or reinforcing an architect’s perceptions. If an architect assumes your roofing membrane product is the best in the industry, but contractors consider it the most expensive, then issues can arise from these perceptions. If a building product manufacturer’s product gets defined as a poorly designed, problem ridden piece of crap, then it will be an uphill battle to change that perception in the industry. Brand awareness and market position are crucial. AIA continuing education has proven to be one of the most effective methods to reach architects, spec writers, engineers, interior designers, and contractors.

Free AIA Online Courses

Education = Specification. If an architect does not understand the benefits, applications, and limitations associated with a building product, they will never specify it. Education is a crucial component to any successful marketing strategy by a building product manufacturer. AIA online courses offer manufacturers a significant opportunity to reach designers and educate them about building products.

Most states require continuing education for architects. For example, California requires that architects have 5 Continuing Education (CE) Hours on Disability Access Requirements within a 2 year cycle. The state of Florida requires architects to complete 22 HSW hours and 2 Florida Building Code courses during their renewal cycle. This offers a tremendous opportunity for manufacturers to invest in education and increase product specifications. AIA continuing education builds powerful relationships with architects, engineers, interior designers, and other professionals. By becoming their industry expert, architects will contact you when they need assistance with your types of building products.

Ultimately, building product manufacturers need to make a concerted effort to reach out to their customers and markets, build brand awareness, improve market position, and increase product specifications. How does your company build brand awareness and educate architects?

For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank