This group includes architects, engineers, specialist consultants, design and build organisations, large contractors. In short, the decision makers. Riba Insight defines a specifier as:
Anyone who makes or influences the decision to use a specific building product or service.
The specification process usually follows the following steps: Search, Shortlist, Research, Design, Specify. Specifier marketing refers to any activity that targets the specifier at any stage of this process. For building product manufacturers it is important to influence the specifier early on and convince them that your product is the most suitable for their application, supported by solution-orientated reasons why. This “specifier marketing” could be through direct mail or promotional media, product literature, a CPD or information on a website, CAD or BIM data, depending on which stage they are in their information gathering process.
So what are specifiers looking for from building product manufacturers?
These are often visual people who respond powerfully to aesthetics, so strong design and great photographs of finished sites are important. Successful pieces will engage, inspire and instil confidence in specifiers, so that they choose your product over your competitor’s. Make sure you stand out from the crowd.
Specifiers are short on time, so the ability to get to the required information quickly is paramount. Clear navigation and logical content are critical for ease of accessibility. Consider a product selector which not only lists products, but also their features and benefits (and other criteria such as application, colours or brief technical information). In short, this is an at-a-glance summary where products can be easily compared. Try to sequence the information to match the thought processes a specifier might follow. Put simply, don’t, for example, put ‘installation’ before ‘features and benefits’.
Well thought through, accurate, but interesting illustrations capture and communicate relevant information very quickly. A well executed illustration is worth ‘a thousand words’; a well executed animation is worth ‘a few hundred illustrations’! Either can show normally hidden products embedded in constructions.
Provide solutions by showing how products and systems fit together and interface with other elements, and how they achieve design and performance criteria with the relevant standards and regulations. This can be substantiated by good case history material, giving proof that products work in real life and solve everyday solutions.
Focus on systems, not products and solutions, not ranges. Your specifier marketing material should be honed to fully engage with the their thought processes and project requirements. It should rapidly and memorably deliver the words, images and illustrations that he or she needs to understand that your product is the answer to their problems.