How to get the most from your relationships with architects?
“When I specify products, like everybody I always head first to the product manufacturers and brands I’ve used on previous projects. If I don’t get the response I need, then my next stop is a Google search and social media interaction. It’s important to me that I get a quick, efficient response from a product manufacturer – essentially your product only represents a tiny proportion of my project and I tend not to spend loads of time specifying if I can help it. If I come across a product manufacturer who provides me with straightforward, easy to find information and direct access to technical advice – I’m more likely to return to them for future projects too.”
Philippa Grantham, architect, Studio Klaschka
The window of interaction between product manufacturers and architects during specification is brief. If it’s maximised and architects are left with a positive experience, they’re very likely to return to you in the future… but how can you make best use of this interaction? Evolve it into a ‘relationship’? And ultimately nurture it moving forwards?
Use this checklist to help you get the most from your relationship with architects:
Are you delivering your brand promises?
When architects and specifiers select a new building product they will have certain expectations based upon what they have read, heard from others, or the brand’s reputation. These expectations form the ‘brand promise’, the benchmark by which all your interactions will be measured. A brand promise must:
- convey a compelling and relevant benefit
- be authentic and credible
- it must be kept, every time
Social media has given architects a public platform to discuss their experiences. If they have positive things to say it’s great for brand awareness, on the flip side, it can be damaging for those making empty promises. When architects have had a negative experience with your company or your products did not perform, they use those same platforms to broadcast their experiences.
Are you making best use of your social media channels?
New to Twitter? Thinking of adding it to your marketing mix? Ask yourself these five questions first…
An increasing number of construction companies and industry professionals are joining Twitter and discovering how it can benefit their business. So you set up an account, start following some architects, post a few links from your website… then what?
- Why am I using Twitter, what is my strategy?
- What content do I have which I can share?
- Does my website allow social sharing?
- How am I going to measure success?
- How will I integrate and support my Twitter activities with other marketing tools?
Karen Brimacombe, business development manager at Reed Harris, is thrilled with how social media (particularly Twitter) has helped them to get the most from their relationships with architects:
“I’ve worked with some delightful people who I’ve met directly on Twitter and as a result our tiles have been specified in quite a few of their projects. Twitter is geared towards developing and nurturing relationships, and there is a great community of architects online. It’s important to be yourself and talk to people, don’t bombard them with tweets about your products, there’s nothing more boring than a timeline full of product information! Instead, we’ve found success through engagement, offering advice when they post questions, sharing information that is genuinely useful and most important of all – gaining trust!”
Are you increasing the visibility of your site through Google search?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of enhancing your website to give it the best chance of appearing near the top of search engine rankings. An SEO strategy takes into consideration how and what your prospects are searching for. Optimizing your website primarily involves creating relevant content, identifying your high-traffic keywords and search terms, and improving the site’s structure so that the customer journey highlights key information easily.
Once architects land on your website, are you providing the content they are expecting?
Content marketing is all about educating your target audience using non-selling techniques often referred to as ‘non-interruption marketing’. It’s about delivering content which is of value to your prospects at each stage of the buying process. One of the biggest challenges is knowing which type of content will drive which type of prospect. 90 percent of architects and specifiers use manufacturers websites when writing specifications. Increasingly architects, engineers and specifiers start their research on Google. Publishing regular, relevant content makes information about your products more visible.
10 things a product manufacturer could write about:
- Technical information
- Answering common questions
- Keyword related content
- Industry events you have attended
- ‘How to’ or ‘hints and tips’
- Presentations you have given
- Your opinion on new regulations
- Case studies
- Collaborations with suppliers
Building and nurturing relationships with architects takes time, careful planning, an integrated strategy, and ongoing measurement. If you’re consistently evaluating your successes, you can quickly adjust your tools and tactics when you find things that work. Be brave, get stuck in and we look forward to seeing you online soon!
 RIBA Insight “What specifiers want from product manufacturers”