Is Your Product’s Positioning Aligned Properly with Its Anticipated Journey?
Article Date: April 7, 2020
By Kevin Mayer, CEO at BLD Marketing
Understanding the Rules of Engagement Makes All the Difference
In today’s marketplace, there are a wide variety of resources available to help building materials manufacturers understand how and where their product fits into the project journey. This includes a litany of research studies, information on audience personas, consumption habits and documented buyer journeys.
Despite this kind of market intelligence, many building materials manufacturers overlook very important details of the journey as it relates to how their products are actually positioned. These oversights can cause gaps, misaligned strategies, misperceptions of actual progress and fragmented returns on sales and marketing investments.
In general, building materials or products fall into two general categories based on their functionality and value proposition to an overall project:
– Commodities are used regularly in the construction of buildings. They are, in essence, “baked into” the process as a must-have item and include metal studs, drywall, flooring, concrete, structural steel, lighting, finishes, ceiling systems, wiring, piping, fixtures, glass and more.
– Specialty/design products occupy a different space and are often project specific. These include products that affect the design appeal and feel of the building or products and systems designed to meet energy codes. They can also be products that are designed and specified specific to an individual project’s needs.
A product can migrate from one category to the other. Typically, it’s when something customarily considered a commodity stands out for a specific reason and offers additional benefit. In these situations, that product moves to the specialty/design category.
Regardless of their classification, all products that are being considered for a project can deliver one or more of the following attributes:
– Value-Added Offering: The product demonstrates additional benefit from a design, build, or use perspective.
– Performance-Based Offering: The product impacts the building’s overall performance in terms of maintenance, energy usage, health, user experience or additional productivity for the building’s eventual occupants.
– Aesthetics-Based Offering: This is where curb appeal or overall visual impact come into play. These attributes may align directly with user experience but may also align more directly with corporate branding and image.
Understanding and properly positioning your product requires a better understanding of the workflow conducted by architectural firms.
Consider that a commodity product’s positioning would likely place it in the master specification document, which is a template used by firms and very often the starting point for any new project. As specification work on a new project begins, architects will list and source products already factored into the template, which creates efficiency and saves time. If your product is not currently included in these master specifications, seeking inclusion requires a product journey and associated positioning much different than that for a specialty/design product.
Specialty/design products provide the building materials manufacturer an opportunity to align the product journey and positioning such that the product attributes and the effort to learn more about them are more detailed and robust. This means aligning the journey and associated positioning so that audiences are compelled to qualify, research and engage the building materials manufacturer for support on a current project.
Commodity products need to align their journey and positioning for inclusion in master specifications. This requires strategies that more precisely target the lead specification writers, senior project architects and design leads. To get incorporated into the specifications, manufacturers need to incentivize these key stakeholders so they make a definitive move to update their template. In most cases, unless code changes dictate master specification updates, inclusion will require a properly staged initiative that requires smart collaboration between marketing and sales efforts.
Product positioning for products living within or moving between both categories (commodity versus specialty/design) requires specific strategies for each effort. Moreover, the journeys that are aligned with those strategies will differ, impacting target audience focus, messaging, the journey of discovery, assets, tools and support offered by the building material manufacturer.
If you feel your product positioning is not aligned with the right journey, it’s time to change up so you can maximize returns. Contact BLD Marketing. We can assess your current journey and work collaboratively with you to realign it so you are optimizing the return on your sales and marketing investments.
BLD Marketing is a results-based, digitally-focused, full-service strategic marketing firm exclusively serving the commercial and residential building materials category.