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A collection of building materials marketing trends and insights focused on helping building product manufacturers BLD their brand.

The Manufacturer's Mindset: Filling the Gap

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Article Date: November 15, 2021

Smarter Synergies for Building Materials Companies

Think about your approach to product development as a building materials manufacturer (BMM). Chances are it involves a host of methodical steps.

You start by assessing your expertise as an organization, and you match this with an analysis of how you are positioned in your industry against competitors. Where do your strengths lie? Where is your “sweet spot?”

Then, you identify an unmet or growing need that would enable you to respond to marketplace forces and generate additional revenue. Through research and qualification, you design a new product that takes everything you have learned into account, a product that helps answer the challenges of long-term energy performance, durability, aesthetic versatility, and more.

Next, you crunch the numbers, determine your anticipated profit margin, and begin making revenue forecasts based on all your due diligence. You usher the product through testing and verification to ensure it meets or exceeds industry standards, establishing a source of authority that puts the stamp of approval on your new offering. You perfect the manufacturing process to ensure quality and reliability, training your people on how to get this new product off the assembly line and into customers' hands.

As you prepare to go to market, you develop sales collateral that touts the product’s features and benefits, and you educate your sales force on the product. It is now time to unleash your team into the marketplace armed with this new product and direct them to start driving sales.

Simply stated, it’s the “manufacturer’s mindset,” and most BMMs excel at executing this formula.

What’s missing?

Market Research and Testing

Ask yourself this question of your organization: Are you ensuring that market research is part of your product development strategy? If it is not, you are missing out on critical intelligence before engineering begins to put pen to paper. Time to plug marketing into the matrix at a much earlier stage.

Start by tracking customer data and identifying the inquiry gaps you are seeing based on current product offerings. Invest time and resources into customer/market research so you have a head start on planning for the right kind of innovations. Consider developing a customer council so you get real-time feedback and analysis from people who are already buying your product. They may end up delivering revelations that you had not even considered.

You might even conduct test marketing of certain concepts that are not yet fully baked. Car companies do it all the time. They give consumers a glimpse into the ride of the future before full engineering plans are in place. The car may not be ready to hit the assembly line, but the kernel of an idea is there and is tangible to the buying public. Think through how you can apply this concept  to see how the marketplace responds to your latest innovation. 

Fix the Lost Connection

Once you have settled on a product, you need to address a long-standing challenge for building products companies: Sales and marketing exist on separate islands, rarely connecting or collaborating on a meaningful level. Each has a separate budget, and often, the two disciplines are using separate tools that may not even speak the same language.

Customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation tools can help to bridge these divides, generating valuable insight and creating certainty that can drive smart decisions. Unfortunately, this only works when both marketing and sales share the same operating principles. The key is to properly invest in systems and processes that are geared toward understanding and engaging the most important target audiences for the enterprise.

Check yourself on this front. Do you have a solid understanding of what your audience seeks and the challenges they face?

Architects, specifiers, contractors, developers, home builders and remodelers, and building owners face a variety of challenges on each project, whether it is a high-rise commercial building or a home remodel. They need to coordinate the selection of multiple products that will meet the requirements of the project on a host of fronts – durability, versatility, aesthetics, performance, sustainability, cost, installation, workforce availability, and more.

These same construction stakeholders almost always begin their due diligence online when it comes to product selection. They want to search for and learn about products on their own time and in their own way.

Has your sales process taken this into account? What about your marketing program? Are the two connected so you can transform passive “window shoppers” into active customers who want to specify and buy your product?

The Starter Kit

Developing a marketing program that is synergistic with your sales efforts takes substantial planning and methodical execution to truly have an impact on your business.

Consider this starter kit to help you organize your thinking:

  • Connect the Dots: Start by ensuring there is seamless connectivity among marketing, sales, and channel. Settle on objectives and goals for these disciplines, and ensure all three agree on how to measure success.
  • Use the Tools: Ensure your organization is fully utilizing the functionality of CRM and marketing automation tools so that your company receives real-time intelligence on interaction with customers and prospects. In this way, you can properly react to the needs of your audience.
  • Build in Trusted Advisement: Make sure your organization is poised to offer the kind of trusted and informed counsel to prospects and customers when it comes to product selection and specification. Rather than a sales function, this is more of a consultative role. Be certain your organization has the bandwidth and expertise to offer advice and counsel at every stage of the process – product review, design development, specification, and installation.
  • Go Digital: Embrace the notion that product specification begins online and is a self-guided journey. Develop a digital marketing ecosystem for your company that takes your customer’s anticipated journey into account, and build systems and process that nurture them once they begin the discovery process.

An integrated marketing program primed to drive leads and conversions requires investment and constant cultivation. Getting sales and marketing to talk to each other, to embrace the new rules of engagement, and to move forward as partners is the first step toward generating the kind of success that raises the bottom line. 


BLD Marketing is a results-based, digitally-focused, full-service strategic marketing firm exclusively serving the commercial and residential building materials category.