Did the word evoke wonder or dread – or a bit of both? For most manufacturers, the journey to getting products specified in building projects feels long and perhaps even a little daunting. But it doesn't have to be. Change your mindset and break your pattern with this 10-minute read.
This blog is a breakout piece from our e-book: 7 cases for the business value of BIM. Featured companies include VELUX, Riwal, Kanlux, Electrolux, Roca, L35, and Giuseppe Tortato Architetti Studio.
How to get specified
Let's start with a confession: There is no magic formula that'll guarantee you a 100% success rate. But it's not dark arts, either. If you want to start beating the competition, understand how to position your product correctly, and jump to the top of the specified product list, start by following the six-step process below.
1. Identify and understand audiences
Every journey starts with a bit of direction. You need to understand which types of buildings your products fit into and identify the leading firms that design them. Market to matching segments and talk to specifiers to find out what they need. A thorough understanding of how architects think and work, as well as a deep awareness of what they value, is needed to nudge you into their preferred list.
Precision Ladders is a stellar example of a company that keeps an ear to the ground. When the manufacturing company noticed that an increasing number of professionals usedBIM (Building Information Modeling), the manufacturing company quickly took action to meet the demands. Matt Moore, Sales Manager, explains:
“In 2013-2014, about half of the architects I spoke to said they used Revit. But things changed quickly; a year later, it was 75%. When we saw how the industry was moving, we invested in creating models of our products. Now nearly every architect uses BIM.”
Building relationships is key, but it’s not just about getting a foot in with architects, engineers, and interior designers. Developing connections with entrepreneurs, planners, and sub-contractors is also rising in importance. Even if you convince the architect to use your product, they need to also persuade several people, including the end client, that your product is a perfect fit for the project. Here's why:
The marketing bowtie, funnel, AIDA: as a marketer, you've come across one – if not all – of these models. Regardless of which one you use or favor, they all start with the most essential essential: awareness. So, first thing first: you need to be seen to be considered for their next designs.
By that, we mean that you need to become digitally minded. When specifiers need to find products for their projects, most will explore them online. Sure, 9% of specifiers still search for new products at trade shows, but a whopping 68% of designers use the world wide web as their primary source and medium.
As an effect of the new digital fluency, architects, engineers, and interior designers are flocking to online multi-brand marketplaces such as BIMobject to find what they need – and fast. As Anders Johansen, European Channel Manager at Electrolux, highlights in 7 cases for the business value of BIM:
"Manufacturers need to be digitally present. Architects often say ‘If you don’t use BIM, you are irrelevant to us’. The train is already running. So, getting into BIM is not a matter of ‘if’. It’s about ‘when’ you can hop on that train.”
3. Provide product clarity to your prospects
Okay – so, you’re online and visible. Now you need to promote a strong, clear message and brand. Showcase what types of projects and use cases your products are used for, and don’t forget to highlight how they’ve been successfully used in practice.
When designers hunt for the right product for their projects, they’ll often filter by category, brand, or technical product specifics. If your product states and catalogs all required elements and provides all available options, as well as being kept updated, you're at an advantage.
The Giuseppe Tortato Architetti studio is world-renowned for its work in urban regeneration. Its founder, Giuseppe Tortato, is a strong advocate of the importance of being able to find the right product amongst a sea of available options. He found that by easily finding and homing in on the perfect product elements, opportunities to work with and build new partnerships with previously unknown manufacturers vastly increase. Read the full interview today >
4. Make it easy for designers to select your products
Architects, interior designers, and engineers are infamously time-poor. So, the race towards specification is all about making the product selection and decision-making processes as smooth as humanly possible. But in the end: the architect, interior designer, and engineer need to meet client directives. If the project scope includes an outstanding BREEAM rating, designers need to select components that fit the bill. Miguel Angel Heras, Head of Marketing and Communications at Roca, adds:
“It’s all about having your products readily available to anyone in the world, downloadable in the formats they want.”
To add fuel to the information fire: BIM is moving from a luxury to a must as building projects are getting increasingly complex – L35's design of the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid is a testament to this fact.
Establish and nurture relationships early so specifiers come to you and not the other way around. Key decisions about pricing, technical product descriptions, specification data, and product design aren’t being made at the specification stage – they materialize when projects are in the research and design phases.
Apart from doing your homework and creating your ideal profiles, you need to enrich them with a bit of data-driven truth. Cristina Bosch, Roca's Digital Communications Manager, adds:
"Creating BIM objects and getting on BIMobject allows us to stay close to professionals and align with their needs. But it is unfeasible to manage the data generated from over two million downloads. Streamlining the process will enable us to manage, nurture and qualify leads. This will improve efficiency as well as the overall customer journey.”
You knew it was coming, but we couldn’t leave it off the list.
We took a deep dive into BIM marketing in a previous blog and, more recently, in a webinar with Forbo. But by making a business decision to use BIM and a marketplace such as BIMobject, visibility sharply improves and expands your capacity to stand out amongst your competitors.
We’ve already alluded to the fact that with BIM, the ability to boost your presence to a much wider group of architects and designers across various industries increases. But more importantly, potential customers will also not work with you if you don't have BIM. This is particularly pressing in nations with BIM mandates and a high adoption rate.
Kanlux, a top European lighting company, found this out first-hand. Marta Kachniarz, development and marketing director at Kanlux, explains:
"One of the components of signing contracts with design offices is the fact that you have files on BIMobject. Without it, such cooperation would not be possible. Of course, it works both ways. We also reach customers who do not use BIMobject, but they are then pleasantly surprised with the possibilities and functionality of the platform.”
Kanlux isn't the only one. Martin Let Hansen from VELUX, the global manufacturer of roof windows, also realized that apart from improving brand awareness and expanding reach, BIM simplifies the process and provides opportunities to improve collaboration and ROI on marketing spend:
"Sometimes it’s hard to get strategies into different sales organizations, and if we have to do it over 40 times, it would require a lot of resources. Having everything on one single platform enables us to reach more specifiers with less effort.”
Getting specified is not always an easy process, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It may involve changing how you’ve always done it. It should involve understanding the full pipeline of the decision-making process. And it may need you to embrace technology to reap the benefits.
In today's rapidly evolving construction industry, BIM has become a necessary requirement for an increasing number of building projects. But what are the latest emerging digital trends? And which ones do you need to keep a keen eye on to stay ahead of the game? Get the run-down in this blog
Thinking about investing in BIM but not sure which pain points it solves? Whether to go for Revit or Archicad? Or what you need to bring to the table in the BIM content development process? Let's get it all sorted out with Marta Gutiérrez, Architect and BIM Consultant.
Need a bit of inspiration to guide your 2023 AEC outreach strategy? Look no further! Using insights from 4,798 architecture, engineering, and construction professionals, we'll walk you through some of the essential trends for understanding and influencing behavior in 2023.