Competition is fierce in building products, with many manufacturers vying for the attention of customers. In order to increase sales, it’s not enough to have an innovative product or an attractive price point. The most successful building products manufacturers are capitalizing on specific marketing trends to best support their sales. These companies are setting an example for others in the industry to follow.
Building product specifications are an important point for buyers, and they seek detailed information before making a purchase. A manufacturer’s website is often the first place the customer goes to for that information, and that’s why organizations put so much effort into their web pages.
GCP Applied Technologies recognizes this and has tailored their website accordingly. At the top of their home page there is strong and clear messaging designed to help a prospective buyer quickly pinpoint information on the exact solution or product needed. As that buyer digs in deeper, they find high levels of detail in product specifications and components. GCP has even gone so far as creating a free concrete calculator app to help buyers determine exactly what products they require.
CertainTeed is another building products manufacturer that understands the power of their website. They have an entire section dedicated to learning, full of how-to articles FAQs, webinars, and courses geared toward different segments of buyers. Studies show that 92% of customers enjoy using live chat functions, so CertainTeed includes that functionality as an additional source of information. Finally, both CertainTeed and GCP understand the power of an excellent case study. By offering case studies on their websites, these companies showcase real-world proof of what they’ve done, and that gives buyers some of the best information of all.
Successful building product manufacturers recognize that a key aspect of the customer experience, and marketing their products, is in fostering positive interactions between potential buyers and the products themselves. This trend creates a strong connection that keeps the products top-of-mind for customers, and is carried out in a number of ways.
CertainTeed again excels in this area by offering in-person demonstrations of their products for potential customers. Georgia-Pacific takes that mentality a step further by providing onsite training and support programs for the products they sell. Trade shows are another common practice among the leading manufacturers, allowing their customers the chance to put their hands on the physical products. These and other in-person activities ensure that customers come away with a positive feeling.
There are cases where facilitating a physical interaction with a product is not realistic, and that’s where testimonials from previous customers are important. Potential buyers use the perspective of a peer to understand the product better and anticipate how the product will work in their environment. Joseph Wong, Senior Architect and Building Envelope Specialist of the Tamlyn building products company, sums it up nicely: “Customer testimonials are essential and build credibility.” His words back up the notion that today’s B2B buyers in building products are acting more like B2C customers by relying on third-party reviews when making their purchasing decision.
Another critical marketing trend in building products is articulated by Architect Magazine. This trusted resource for industry buyers points out that 2020 is a turning point for transparency, where the idea that building products will come with a “nutrition label” of disclosures will be the norm. This is a significant shift as prospective buyers focus more on sustainability and health. They want to see things like a Health Product Declaration (HPD) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), both of which help projects become LEED certified.
Similarly, the American Institute of Architects has parts of their website dedicated to transparency in building products, underscoring its importance. This movement is spurred by companies like renowned architecture design firm Perkins & Will. They publish materials that encourage transparency and even showcase a lengthy list of precautionary materials for the industry (and buyers) to avoid.
Great manufacturers are making sure that this push for transparency in building products extends to every touch point in the customer journey. For example, BASF put access to their annual report at the very top of their home page. That means website visitors are encouraged to access a 301-page document focused not just on BASF’s financial performance, but their environmental and societal impact as well. Arauco, a leader in manufacturing wood panel building products, has incredibly in-depth safety data sheets for each of its products.
Lastly, LinkedIn has quickly gained importance for building product companies in search of ways to improve transparency. The platform works as a companion to a manufacturer’s website and allows for real-time news and updates that reach customers instantly. The manufacturers leading the pack in this area include Huntsman, Avery Dennison, Carlisle, and Georgia-Pacific.
While there is no one-size-fits-all marketing approach for manufacturers of building products, there are clear trends that successful companies in this space use to improve their sales. By focusing on providing information, encouraging product interaction, and increasing transparency, an organization can accurately showcase its products’ features and capture the interest of larger groups of customers.