The Most Powerful 100 Days of the Year.
Labor Day is the proverbial shotgun of the business calendar year; the 100-day milepost marking the roughly three months left between now and the year’s end. This 100-day sprint is one of the most lucrative times to market building materials and architectural products. The summer holidays are over, and specifiers are back to in the office, focused on finishing up projects and kicking off new ones. Trade show season begins, and specifiers actively look for new products, work on finishing up their credit hours, and network for new business.
100 days of opportunity. Will your existing marketing allow you to take advantage of this time? Answer: Only if it’s based in a specifier’s reality.
So, what in the hell does that mean? Good question. A specifier’s reality is, in essence, the way a specifier sees, experiences, and interacts with the world on daily basis as a result of specific needs, goals, values, and pain points that shape and define his/her professional life. In order to transcend the bounds of the manufacturer mindset and become part of the specifier's reality, your marketing must: (1) Meet specifiers where they are, not where you want them to be; (2) communicate in a way that appeals and makes sense to them—in a language they understand; and (3) be tailored and focused, only including information that is relevant and valuable to them.
While simple to understand, it is in the application of this paradigm where we often see manufacturers fumble. Old habits kick in, and the intent is muddled or lost in the execution. Companies hire another sales rep, pay for SEO/Marketing Automation, or even get a bigger booth at the trade show, materializing their investment rather than hunkering down and trusting the process. The problem with doing this is that it’s simply more, not better. And when it comes to yielding results, better always wins.
There are 7 key steps to specification:
Define your sandbox
Map the specification journey
Target actual potential customers
Create target-specific messaging strategies
Build a marketing plan
Defining your sandbox and mapping the specification journey are pretty easy to achieve. Most companies have a good idea where their ultimate sale is—whether it be residential new construction, adaptive reuse, healthcare, etc.—many products are industry-specific. Likewise, most companies have a general idea about the players involved in the specification journey, even if they’ve never mapped it out. It’s in steps 3, 4 and 5 that people tend to struggle.
So, what do you really know about what specifiers think of your product vs. the competition? Why do they select (or not) your product above the rest? How much do they engage with their sales rep? What do they want from your company before, during and after a tradeshow? What problem are they having and how does your product solve it?
My challenge to you is to take the first 10 days of this 100-day sprint to find the answers to those questions. Not through the lens of your sales reps, not through conclusions made from Google Analytics or from anecdotal evidence. Get out of your comfort zone and off your keister, as my dad used to say. This type of truth-seeking is best done mano y mano—hand-to-hand, face-to-face. Get curious. Listen, don’t lead.
Once you’re in a specifier’s reality, you own the sale. You can then take a look at all of your marketing and cut what is irrelevant, enhance what is working and create what is missing. Now, that’s the confidence that the last 100 days of 2018 needs!