How To Sell To Architects and Designers: Understanding & Developing The Architect Persona


When Developing Marketing Initiatives for Your Architectural Product or Building Material, It’s Important to Know Exactly Who Your Target Is.

Specifiers have unique personas that influence their decisions, and their traits extend well beyond their position and title. Building a persona is a useful exercise that creates a three-dimensional view of your prospect. It helps define what stake they have in the sale, what their influences are, and how they think.

We created an example of an architect persona to help get into the mindset of a target. The example is based on a combination of real data and educated speculation about client demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. You likely have all the information you need to try this on your own.

Ethan is a Millennial, a child of Google and information on demand. This generation uses technology to build their relationship with each other and the world around them. Before they will ask a rep a question or order a sample, Millennials will go online to see if they can find the information or order it there first. They trust testimonials, ratings, and product reviews. They want to see images of the product in situation to give them context. They have to fully understand the benefits of a product or material before they can sell it to their client. The profession demands that they become lifelong learners, so they are always looking to be educated by the companies whose products and materials they specify.

Millennials are said to be the most creative generation to have ever lived and one way they show it is by combining business with doing good. They are passionate and respond to brands that deliver on something greater than the product itself. Socially conscious favorites include TOMS Shoes, which donates one pair to a child in need for every pair sold, and Warby Parker, which pledges that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need. This mindset is in step with The 2030 Challenge, created by the nonprofit Architecture 2030, to have all new buildings, developments, and significant renovations carbon-neutral by that date. Ethan feels confident that he can help his industry achieve this goal by specifying products in line with this mission.

Millennials are driven to success; Ethan has his eyes on becoming a partner in the firm. In order to get on and stay on the path to partnership, Ethan must be an architect and a salesperson. It has become Ethan’s responsibility to help grow the firm. Most new clients come from seeing existing work and wanting something similar. It is important that Ethan help build a strong portfolio of smart projects that do not have product failures.


Meet Ethan, Architect



  • Exhibited a strong interest in how things were made since early childhood

  • Likes systems and order

  • Introvert

  • Problem-solver

  • Strong believer that God is in the details

  • He plans for eventual partnership. Client recruitment and retention are increasingly becoming his responsibilities.

  • Design focused on sustainability


  • To create and shape the world

  • To become an industry name and make partner

  • Grow firm revenue by designing press-worthy properties that elevate reputation

  • Avoid mistakes that will damage the firm’s reputation or even lead to a lawsuit

  • Meet The 2030 Challenge to become carbon-neutral


  • 38 year old, white male

  • Pratt Graduate

  • Annual income $75K

  • Married with two kids


  • Visionary

  • Strong-willed

  • Both right- and left-brained

  • Hates asking questions, wants to figure it out for himself


  • Clients who think they are architects

  • Value engineering

  • Fear of failure

How does your product or material help?

Take a look at the benefits your product has to offer and see if you can find ways that it helps our architect persona succeed by aligning values. Use this as the basis of how you communicate with your persona.

Common objections:

Can you list your persona’s most common objections to specifying your product? If not, ask your reps for their insight. Being aware of common objections will help you craft your messaging materials to overcome them.

Real quotes:

We always include real quotes in our personas because they shed light on how prospects describe the intersection where your product and their lives meet. It’s also a great way to set the copy tone for your materials. If you don’t have any quotes, ask us. We’d be happy to run your product by a potential target and let you know what they think – in their own words.

Before creating marketing materials or even deciding on which ones to do in the first place, try developing a persona for each influencer on the sales specification journey. Understanding what problems they have allows you to tailor your materials to better meet their needs.


Want to Hear Your Persona in Their Own Words? Check out Our Featured Architect Video with Danny MacNelly.

Architect Danny MacNelly of ARCHITECTUREFIRM speaks about what you need to specify a product.



A Virtual Lunch and Learn



Susan Milne

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered or would like find out more about how Epiphany can help you get specified, give me a call: 804.377.0106.