What type of Architect are you marketing to? Part 1 of 3

It’s a good question huh? Do you really know what type of Architect or Specifier you are marketing to and how they consume information? I recently read a fantastic blog post written by a marketing and business consultant a few weeks back. He works with printed catalogue mail order companies to help them increase sales and profits in a slow dying sector (dying to online by the way), but most importantly, understanding the changing landscape into how specifiers specify and what type of information they require. This then got me thinking about the types of Architects building product marketers are marketing to. So in this case, how Architects and Specifiers source, consume information and refer business your way. How effective is your marketing strategy at targeting the right Architect in the right way? Are you marketing by channel or type of customer? Is the business adapting to the various types of customers you may have?

If 80% of the Architects who always specify your products are now active on Twitter then should you, your Technical Manager or your company be on Twitter? And if Architects are your preferred target market then do you know the number of Architects who specified your product in 2010 against the number in 2011? Has the number of Architects specifying your product increased or decreased? Why is that?

I’ll be introducing 3 characters, the traditionalist 56 year old Architect, the transitionalist 43 year old Architect and the transformationalist 32 year old Architect, over the course of this week who I believe you can all relate to in some shape or form after profiling your existing Architects database. After the introductions we’ll look at answering some marketing related questions to help develop your marketing strategy.

More often than not, customer segmentation is done by revenue or frequency or even by geographical location. Should marketers segment by communication channel preference? Should marketers from building product manufacturers spend more time surveying and getting to know the Architect rather than assuming that all Architects prefer to be communicated by email so end up doing lots of email blasts (I hate the word ‘blast’ by the way).

Let’s meet our first character.

The Traditionalist: John

johnMeet John.

John is 56 years old and is a well known guy in the Architectural industry. His practice is known for working on some of the biggest projects in the UK and throughout Europe. He subscribes to the print version of Architects Journal, Building Design and RIBA Journal and has done so for the past 20 years, purely to find out what is happening in the industry and also find out about new products which may be of interest on any future projects. If he sees a product of interest then John prefers to call the manufacturer directly to request some more information and for hard copy brochures to be sent by post as first choice.

John attends lots of events & exhibitions, he loves meeting new people and for networking opportunities. He buys the newspaper everyday without fail on the way to the office and this is his main way of consuming information about what’s happening in the world. He occasionally reads his email on his mobile phone but tends to wait until he gets home, which is usually pretty late at night or waits until he gets into the office after spending a day on site with a client and contractor. John prefers to not distribute lots of information digitally unless he absolutely has to. He dislikes reading lots of content online, John would much rather print things out and give them a good read. He may make notes , stick bookmark stickers on key pages and circle things in manuals or brochures. John has a Hotmail account but one which he hasn’t used in a while, it could be inactive.

John loves talking to people over the phone, he has forged some strong relationships over time with many product manufacturers but he has a select few who he really gets along with and always specifies their products as he knows they are reliable and comply. If you have a CPD event coming up in his area he prefers to be called, not emailed. He regularly calls product manufacturers and asks for the latest set of brochures so that he can keep his hard copy library up to date. John has memorised exactly where every brochure is in his library. John doesn’t read blogs nor does he know exactly what Twitter is, he doesn’t have a Facebook profile although he knows some of his other colleagues use it but social media is not something that interests him. He simply thinks it’s all noise however he does recognises that networking with the right people is key to building a reputable business. He just doesn’t get the whole ‘online’ thing of networking.

When John is presenting information to a client it’s usually on paper, printed visuals, printed 3D renderings, printed datasheets and lots of printed technical drawings/blueprint.

You know this: From surveying your database of Architects you have realised that 80% of them are like John. They specify your product EVERY single time when the project is right and they work damn hard at trying to keep your product on the spec.

Think about this: John is your ideal Architect who hopes you don’t spend more money on mobile apps, online advertising to promote a new product, SEO to get the right product in front of him, microsites for him to visit, blogging with product content and social media to inform of an upcoming event. In other words ‘don’t try to get him online’.

Tomorrow we’ll meet Geoff, the Transitionalist who consumes a mix of online and offline channels. In the meantime go and download the RIBA Insight report ‘What do specifiers want from product manufactures?

About Stuart Dinnie

Stuart has worked in the world of digital marketing for over 15 years. With his measured and planned approach, he has delivered robust digital strategies for construction companies to achieve real business growth. He now heads up the team at Pauley Creative as Managing Director and is leading his team & clients towards digital marketing excellence. He’s worked with over 100 construction clients; helping them on their digital transformation journey, providing sustainable strategies that return year on year incremental growth, delivering award-winning websites and adding value from board level to marketing assistant.

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