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The Ideal Customer for Your Building Materials Brand

fingers picking up a wooden block from Pareto principle

Article Date: January 10, 2024

Top Tips for Finding the Perfect Prospects in 2024

By Dave Sladack, president, BLD Marketing

At a recent business lunch, I was asked a thoughtful question by a former colleague, who is also president of her marketing agency. She wanted to know which brand in the building materials category I would love to work on as a client at BLD Marketing.

Initially, I thought I’d rattle off a few brands who are well-known leaders in the category and who have built great brand reputations. Then I paused. That may have been how I would have answered that question 10 years ago. Instead, my response centered on not just a brand, but rather the type of brand that would be a great fit for the agency to have as a client.

Like any relationship, the ideal agency-client collaboration involves partners who are a great match. That requires strong chemistry and shared values and goals.

As a building materials brand, how do you go about identifying your ideal customer? Who fits best with your organization’s DNA and philosophy on how to do business?

Identifying Your Best Customer

Developing the profile of an ideal customer begins with performing data analytics on your customer database.

  1. Use The Pareto Principal – the 80/20 Rule

    The Pareto principle says that 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes. The same is true for business, where a general rule is that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customer base. Identifying the customers who sit in that top 20% is a natural starting point. Begin with total average sales over the last three to four years as the initial data point. Come as close to 20% as possible, but it’s acceptable if it is 10 points higher or lower.

  2. Find Commonalities

    Once you have that list compiled, find commonalities for what makes those customers desirable. This involves an analysis of purchase behavior and demographics – company size, structure, segments, innovation capabilities, etc. Combine these efforts with discussions with salespeople to determine the more qualitative attributes – pain points, what they value in the relationship, etc. - that make these customers attractive.

  3. Develop the Customer Profile

    Explore all these commonalities and put them into a profile. It should include descriptors such as company revenue size, ideal segments, geography, their business structure, and expected sales revenue in years one to three. The profile should also include considerations around the decision maker. Is there a particular job title that is common with the top current customers? Is there a departmental structure that is common among current customers whereby your brand offering adds value? You may even find it helpful at this stage to interview a few current customers within this profile to ascertain the deeper reasons why they remain strong and loyal.

  4. Consider 20% of 20% = 4%

    Once a 20% profile is established, it can also be helpful to further define the “best of the best” customers. Do this by taking 20% of the 20% of your best customers to get to 4%. This then clearly identifies your top-tier customer base. Depending on your business, this might provide insight into a priority prospect to pursue. It is acceptable if the percentage ends up being slightly higher, but 4% should be the goal.

Finding and Winning Like-Minded Prospect Brands

Now that you have a determined what your dream customer looks like, how do you use this profile to build your business and win productive, mutually beneficial partnerships for the enterprise?

  1. Articulate Your Value Proposition

    Take everything you’ve learned from your current customer profiling, and restate or refine your value proposition specifically to this audience profile. Highlight the most attractive brand value you provide to this profile segment. Is it your area of specialization? Your approach to customer service? Your breadth and depth of expertise? Your agility? Is it a combination of these drivers?

  2. Create a Targeted Marketing Campaign

    Develop a marketing campaign to reach this target prospect via an impactful content marketing program. It should include a mix of email marketing, social media, paid media, and media relations. Create a campaign landing page speaking to this segment based on the value proposition. On that landing page, provide case studies and examples of success with this type of customer.

  3. Create a Targeted Sales Program

    Create and refine sales tools and presentations for your building materials brand geared toward this prioritized profile, emphasizing the new value proposition. Get your sales team aligned with targeting this prospect profile. Consider incentivizing efforts to ensure the focus remains there. Consider developing additional product and service features that you know are important to this ideal profile, and add it to the value proposition (even of existing customers fitting this profile).

  4. Track Performance

    Organize the sales and marketing efforts in a way to foster accountability. Measure marketing efforts on a monthly basis with clear KPIs for reaching, engaging, and creating qualified marketing leads with this target prospect. Hold the sales team accountable with reporting on KPIs such as appointments, presentations, opportunities, and wins.

Keep Building Your Customer Dream Team

There is more work to be done even after the sale. Once you start growing a segment of dream customers, nurturing and cultivating them is critical. Consider occasional refinements to the prospect profiles. Maintain a level of communication and input with your dream customers via regular satisfaction surveys, interviews, and even a more formal customer council to continue to hone the value proposition that is most meaningful to them.

And remember, a well-matched customer with your brand is a powerful win-win.

Here’s to realizing your dream customers in 2024.

About the Author

Dave Sladack is president of BLD Marketing, An award-winning, results-focused marketing professional with more than three decades of experience, Sladack oversees all agency disciplines at BLD Marketing to achieve optimal profitability, growth, and operational excellence. He leads the agency’s efforts on behalf of clients to help them create a digital marketing ecosystem for their building materials brand, all engineered to drive engagement and conversion that leads to business growth.

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