3 Building Product Specification Tactics You Should Retire Immediately

Posted On: 
Oct 22, 2018
3 Building Product Specification Tactics You Should Retire Immediately

Dinosaurs went extinct millions of years ago and so should many of your specification strategies. It’s difficult to admit outdated specification tactics aren’t working until they blow up in your face. If you are receiving poor ROI, negative feedback, and major pushback, then you should consider eliminating the specification strategies we will discuss today.

AIA Online Courses in PDF Format

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, but building product manufacturers who use PDFs as their primary AIA course delivery format are wasting their budgetary dollars and are receiving poor ROI. In our previous blog, How Your Outdated AIA Course is Affecting Your Brand, we discussed how PDF courses hurt a product manufacturer’s brand, lead generation, and specification opportunities.

Nobody wants to read a technical manual about your product for an hour to obtain their AIA CE hour. AIA continuing education courses should be engaging, exciting, and include images, videos, and audio. If an architect has to download a text heavy PDF and read the dry and boring document to obtain theirAIA CEU, then you are doing something wrong.

Surprisingly, a well-known AEC education platform still uses the antiquated PDF format to deliver manufacturer education. Unfortunately, their participation rates are significantly lower than other platforms that utilize video, audio, and 21st century formats. Ditch the PDF format for your AIA course and fire your marketing director if they suggest developing a new course in this format!

Here’s a little secret . . . there is only one course developer in the country developingLEED specific hour courses for building product manufacturers. LEED specific hour courses deliver up to 30% more marketing leads and participation than any other course in the industry. If you want to significantly increase your specification opportunities, you better develop a LEED specific hour course, one of the most sought out CE credits in the AEC industry.

Magazine Ads Don’t Work

I hate beating a dead horse because it can ruin a good shovel but we’ll say it again and again . . . magazine ads don’t work. In another blog, Why Magazine Ads Are Worthless for Product Manufacturers, we discussed why they don’t work. You want to throw your money away? Go to Las Vegas and at least you’ll have fun.

The media world is completely different in 2018. Total print advertising in the United States decreased by over $30 billion between 2011 and 2016. Online ad spending reached $62 billion in 2016. If your company is spending budget dollars on print advertising to reach the decision makers, you better get your head examined.

Will an architect really read a crumpled-up magazine they found on a subway seat in the New York underground? How many architects look at a full-page ad of a bucket of paint in a magazine and decide it’s crucial that they visit the manufacturer’s website? Overall, print advertising is a waste of your precious marketing dollars. Architects, spec writers, engineers, interior designers, contractors, and other design professionals use 21st century devices such as laptops, tablets, and smart phones. Traditional advertising is dying and if your marketing director wants to blow $10,000 on an ad in a glossy magazine with zero ROI then they should find a new job.

Here’s a little secret . . . instead of spending your precious budgetary dollars on worthless magazine ads, use the resources to create programs that can prove their ROI with metrics. Manufacturers must use a quantifiable measurement to track and assess the status of a specific business process. Online CE courses and webinars provide plenty of metrics to determine success such as lead generation, marketplace intel, and custom surveys to determine specification opportunities.

Creating Your Own Health Product Declarations

Health Product Declarations (HPDs) are one of the most requested specification tools in the industry. HPDs provide a standardized way of reporting the material contents of building products, and the health effects associated with these materials. The HPD is developed according to the directions set forth by theHealth Product Declaration Collaborative, and is considered to be complementary to life cycle documentation such as LCA and EPD.

Building product manufacturers can contribute points to LEED v4 projects with a compliant HPD. Unfortunately, more than 50% of the HPDs in circulation are not compliant with LEED v4 and will not contribute points. The LEED v4 MR credit: Building product disclosure and optimization – material ingredients has strict requirements for HPDs. Most manufacturers fail to meet the requirements for the following reasons:

  • Manufacturers do not understand the LEED requirements or HPD Open Standard
  • Manufacturers are too busy putting out fires and doing their daily jobs
  • Manufacturers do not have the scientific background to complete the HPD
  • Manufacturers hate LEED and don’t want to participate
  • Manufacturers don’t understand their supply chain
  • Manufacturers can’t obtain the necessary information from suppliers

Those are a few reasons why manufacturers fail to develop a LEED compliant HPD. I commend any manufacturer who attempts to develop an HPD on their own or with a third-party consultant like Elixir Environmental. However, developing a non-compliant HPD can hurt specification chances and open a job to a competitor. While not always the case, It is crucial that manufacturers develop LEED compliant HPDs when possible.
Here’s a little secret . . . HPDs can be used for other specification opportunities than just LEED. HPDs provide excellent ROI since they can be used for LEED v4, WELL, CHPS, mindful MATERIALS, Transparency Catalog, Google Portico, and other platforms. Building product manufacturers that develop LEED compliant HPDs have a much greater chance at specification than manufacturers who don’t try.

Product manufacturers . . . it’s time to retire the dinosaur specification strategies. Don’t waste precious budgetary dollars in bad PDF AIA courses and worthless magazine ads. Don’t have your forklift operator or janitor develop your Health Product Declaration. Do it right the first time. What specification strategies have you retired? What tactics are you using in 2018 to reach the decision makers?

For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please call Brad Blank at 360-727-3528.