Building Product Specification: Understanding the Digital Journey


Building Product Specification: Understanding the Digital Journey


In the world of commercial design, the journey to specify building materials is a detailed and ever-changing process. Design professionals, including architects, engineers, and contractors, are increasingly seeking online methods to find, evaluate, and select building products. This online shift is called the digital journey.

Design professionals have multiple projects that involve specifying hundreds of products. That means they rely on digital tools that can be quick and effective. This provides an opportunity for building product manufacturers to adopt digital tools that help enable that journey.


Why Understanding the Digital Journey is Crucial

Understanding the digital journey is a vital step in a marketing and sales strategy. The digital journey involves exploration, comparison, engagement with detailed specifications, and making well-informed decisions – all within the project framework.

This comprehension allows manufacturers to tailor offerings, streamline interactions, and align marketing and sales strategies with the unique needs of the design community. It’s about building common sense connections that save time and assist in the selection process.


Where are Design Professionals Looking?

The digital journey isn’t confined to one channel. Design professionals use a lot of different resources. Each journey is different by project and person. However, the most consistent resource is the manufacturer’s website. According to a study by the Farnsworth Group, design professionals are turning to multiple avenues during their product research. These were their top resources:

  • Manufacturers Websites
  • National Supplier Websites
  • Google/Search Engines (tied)
  • Local Supplier Websites (tied)

The data presents a compelling opportunity for building product manufacturers to enable that journey.


Key Strategies 

Manufacturers can look at the digital journey in three ways, each with an opportunity to improve the journey. Enhancing that journey creates a better user experience (UX) and increases loyalty and the likelihood that a design professional specifies that manufacturer’s products.


How the design professional finds the manufacturer’s product(s) can be defined as search. Search can mean listing products on a marketplace (E.g. ARCAT, BIM Objects) as well as paid placement (digital ads), print, and search engine optimization (SEO).

Manufacturers should make sure that their product keywords match across all search placements. All links should point to the manufacturer’s website home page or landing page. That is the hub to all of the manufacturer’s customer-focused strategies (sales, marketing, product, customer support).



Once the design professional is on the manufacturer’s site, navigation is the next strategy of focus. Making the navigation personal and centralizing information is important. If a visitor has to click more than 3 times, they are 50% likely to bounce and go to a competitors’ website.

Personalizing the experience takes understanding your customers. A persona-based UX is a good way to designate different experiences for different types of visitors/design professionals. This can be as simple as providing regional pages in different languages for global manufacturers or a journey for different types of design professionals like Architects and Contractors  (e.g. See AEP Span).



Design professionals don’t have very much time. They have to research and specify dozens of products for their projects. Manufacturers should have the right technical documents in the right formats readily available.

Manufacturers typically have different information on different pages (e.g. Sustainability, Warranty, BIM). It’s important to centralize that] information and make sure all of it is accessible with minimal search and clicks. Consider different ways to compare and select products. Make sure that all technical information is not buried at the bottom of a brochure.


Critical Questions

The Farnsworth Group poses critical questions that building product manufacturers must consider in understanding and enhancing the digital journey:

  1. Can they get the information they need in less than 3 clicks?
  2. Can they get to the section of the website page housing the information they need in less than 7 seconds?
  3. Can they even find the product information online at all – through your website and through your dealer and distributor websites?
  4. Is it easy for designers to contact someone if they have follow-up questions?


How Concora Can Help

Concora’s response to these challenges lies in their specialized software, Concora Spec, an industry-first, white-labeled platform that integrates seamlessly into a manufacturer’s website. As a hub for digital tools, content, and analytics, it refines the UX and propels specification and sales.

Understanding the multifaceted journey to building material specification, Concora’s platform centralizes information, minimizes clicks, and saves time with features like category filters and spec compare. By acting as a comprehensive technical document library, Concora Spec provides unparalleled UX, aiding in document management, and integrating with CRM to offer real-time user analytics.

Concora’s Service team, boasting 15 years of expertise with technical documentation specializing in BIM, ensures an effective implementation, filling gaps in specification documentation and prioritizing UX for the design professional.



In the face of the critical questions posed by the Farnsworth Group, Concora emerges as a tailored solution, enhancing the digital journey for building product manufacturers. Through Concora Spec’s innovative design and the dedicated service team’s expertise, Concora positions itself as an invaluable partner in the industry. By addressing the challenges of quick access, ease of navigation, and strategic integration, the Concora Spec platform exemplifies a purpose-built solution, aligning with the ever-evolving needs of the building materials industry.

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