UK-based marketing consultant Chris Ashworth has published a useful post: Communicating with construction specifiers – choosing your communication channels, which I believe provides some helpful observations about marketing to and through these important individuals in the construction marketing ecosystem.
Specifiers, generally employed at architectural practices; but also within procurement agencies and sometimes working as independent consultants, clearly have a vital role in the marketing process because if a building material or technology is incorporated into the specs at the time the project is developed, it becomes “carved in stone” regardless of which contractor wins the work.
Accordingly, Ashworth’s research report through the Construction Media Index that architects continue to use product directories more than contractors is relevant, as is his observation about the increasing use of social media.
As for media/publications (close to my heart and business), he observes:
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.
He also says contributing/participating in CPD (Continuing Professional Development) programs/seminars is helpful.
There is one other aspect of specifier relationships that is undoubtedly helpful in North America; connection and participation in local Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) or Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) chapters.
I’ve been a member of the Ottawa CSC chapter for 20 years now, and over the years can attribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in business from the relationships built through this organization — and that is even with a major block on my business placed by the national organization, which has engaged in a long-standing strategic alliance with a publisher CSC believes is a competitor to me. (This provision has barred me from the natural progression from local chapter chair to a national directorship within the association.)
Building manufacturer and technical reps find special value in CSC/CSI membership because it opens the door to relationships and communications essential for valuable business development. (Downstream service providers such as contractors also gain early insights into projects and opportunities.)