An intriguing European press-release from www.arch-vision/eu provides some clues to the question about “what works” for building products and services manufacturers and reps in achieving specification success?
The quarterly survey of 1,600 European architects indicates the most valuable element you can provide is “detailed technical information,” followed by (in most countries) “engineering/technical advice.”
Other significant factors include “innovative/new alternatives/solutions” and “sustainable alternatives”.
“Inspiring” comes dead last. There are national differences in most of the categories, indicating that indeed national identity is a significant variation in marketing — so U.S. marketers and Canadian marketers should take this data with a few grains of salt. (Also, the sample size, while probably statistically valid, would indicate the potential for a high error margin, and I believe all business-to-business surveys these days have a high risk of ‘survey fatigue’ — that is, responsible decision-makers simply refuse to answer any survey questions as a matter of time/policy, and so the results are inherently skewed.)
Nevertheless, this information suggests that the most important thing anyone hoping for specifications success can offer is practical, fact-based and technical data, especially if it can be applied effectively. However, you don’t need (yet) to get too far ahead of yourself with Building Information Modelling (BIM), because that comes second-last in the survey.