If you work as a marketer for a building product manufacturer, you likely know it’s crucial to have a solid marketing plan for your products. Even if you have a decent plan, are you just repeating the same things you’ve done before? Sure, keep what’s working, but be willing to adjust what you’re doing with the things which are not performing well.
So what should you be thinking about as you develop or refine your plan?
Start with the Products
Early in my career, I worked at a company that had a basic thought process when it came to product messaging. Our marketing leader made us answer three “big questions” about each product:
- What Is It?
- What Does it Do?
- Why Should I Care?
While that might seem pedantic, it’s a great place to start. You might want to have a brainstorming session where this is fleshed out by a team, or you might opt to have each team member offer up their take, and then discuss that.
No matter the process, if you can answer these three questions for each one of the commercial building products in your portfolio, that will help to inform much of what follows.
Consider the Competition
The building materials space is crowded, so your customers have a lot of options. Therefore, you should be looking for unique attributes that can make your product(s) a “category of one”. If you’re not sure how or why to do this, you would do well to get a copy of Joe Calloway’s book, “Becoming a Category of One: How Extraordinary Companies Transcend Commodity and Defy Comparison”.
Define Your Targets
While it easy to say that your targeted customers are architects, engineers, or construction contractors (AEC), that’s probably too broad. Maybe your products are a good match for those developing projects where LEED is the goal. Defining a subset of those AECs who focus on sustainable projects would be a great place to start.
Beyond that, consider the different types of buyers who might be interested in your products. Developing Buyer Personas by interviewing your customers, will help you to learn about them. Listen to the way they describe things, and incorporate that into your targeted messaging.
Focus On Pain Points
Before you begin developing your messaging, it’s wise to focus on your customer’s pain points, and then offer meaningful solutions to those problems. If you’re looking to rank well on search engines, think about what your customers are searching for, and provide answers to what they are looking for on Google or Bing.
This means that if all you write about is how great your products are, or if you focus on the features/benefits, you’re not likely to rank well. Yes, there is a place for that kind of content, but start with their pain, and provide relevant, useful, and actionable content.
Not only does that help with SEO, but you’ll also be building trust and credibility with your targets.
Consider Your Resources
If you develop a plan that costs more than you can allocate, you won’t be successful. Try to determine a budget allocation that is something your company can afford, and then determine the best methods to allocate those funds.
While you might desire a flashy presence at an industry event (online or otherwise), it could be cost-prohibitive. You might instead opt for targeted paid search on Google or Bing, or PPC on a social media channel like LinkedIn.
Whatever you plan, be sure it is something you can realistically roll out.
Conduct a SWOT Analysis
As you talk to customers, conduct research, and consider the competitive landscape, it’s a good idea to conduct a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
The end result of your SWOT analysis will vary, but it helps to proactively identify areas of risk, as well as opportunities to exploit a competitor’s weaknesses. For example, if your products are commonly used in the design and construction of commercial projects, a SWOT analysis might show that your competitors are making it easy for their customers to access BIM or other digital assets, while your website does not. As the AEC community moves to digital workflows, not offering BIM puts you behind the eightball.
There’s much more to creating a comprehensive marketing plan, but we hope that this post helps to point you in the right direction.
What about your plan? Are there pieces that you’ve included in your plan that you feel are worth sharing? If so, please post your thoughts in the comments section.