Architects don’t want to be sold to, they want to be involved in a meaningful conversation. As a result, your brand can make an instant impact simply by changing the way you think about your sales and marketing approaches. Starting right now, transform your “It’s about Me, Me, Me!” approach into a “How can I help you achieve the vision of your building?” approach.
A switch as simple as your initial contact tactics will make a big difference in your end results. Combined with the tips below — which are developed directly out of our conversations with architects at the 2017 AIA conference and our research — you can increase the effectiveness and return on investment of your marketing efforts.
Let’s get started. Here’s how architects define effective marketing.
Traditional publications are still important
“We still like to read things on our terms.”
While there is a definite push to digital, especially with younger professionals, many architects still appreciate flipping through the pages of a traditional publication. The greatest way to reach them is through inspiration and education first, product promotion second.
Introduce them to the problems your product can solve through an editorial or advertisement, that just so happens to feature your product. They will appreciate the focus on their needs over your blatant product-first promotions.
Show, don’t tell
Sticking with importance of the education theme, your brand shouldn’t resort to traditional beauty shots and sales pitches. To put it simply, you don’t always have to show your product on display in a finished building.
“We like to know how systems go together. This gives us additional ideas about the structure overall.”
Think about your marketing efforts as an opportunity to get in front of architects and educate them on your product. Show them how it works in the overall built environment. Show them how it contributes to the bigger picture. This approach can help them come to a quicker understanding of how your product can benefit their process and, in turn, encourage them to specify you over another brand.
A common message among architects at AIA was that they’re sick of the boring, sea-of-sameness messaging that they see in every publication and digital ad.
“We page quickly past the sameness. Be original. Get our attention with an unexpected approach and more dynamic use of your product.”
It’s time to get creative and showcase your brand in a way that stands out from the crowd. Striking imagery and messaging may do the trick. Or maybe it’s a unique call to action that really grabs an architect’s attention. Escape the sea-of-sameness to get noticed and make a lasting impact.
Keep it simple
Architects are turned off by extensive messaging and highfalutin marketing speak. Clearly articulate your message with a clean, concise and simple approach that states your message without all the fluff. Don’t have too much copy or try to tell the whole story – its not a piece of literature.
“Give logical direction for what we should do next in the process. For example, excite us, then lead us to a specific place on your website that helps us further understand your product.”
Tell a story with your images
“We are interested in the story behind the visuals you show.”
Don’t settle on stock images to get the job done. You have one shot to get in front of an architect and tell a story that resonates with them. Make that one shot worth it. Explain the logistics of the building you’re showing. Tell them where it’s located. Talk about the rationale of the design and how your product helped achieve the vision.
Tell a story that inspires them. If they’re inspired by your story, they will then be more willing to explore your products and specify them.
Case studies increase confidence
Case studies are nothing new. Many brands take the time to share case studies on their website or as a separate printed piece integrated with their marketing collateral. If your brand isn’t sharing case studies or isn’t sharing them often, develop a plan to increase your efforts around this critical marketing element. But don’t treat case studies as boring, traditional technical papers – case studies still need to inspire.
“While we will use our own vision of your product in our individual project, it’s interesting to know how others used your products. Knowing how and why others used it to create a visual impact and outstanding performance will help make us more confident to specify your product in our projects.”
Be bold and memorable
Architects are hit with hundreds of products in any given week. As a result, you need to ensure that your brand and products stand out – but always remember to be relevant to the architect’s world. A quick way to get noticed is through the use of bold headlines and visuals.
“Bold works, but don’t get too cute attempting to get noticed. That will cause you to lose credibility.”
Find a balance between memorable messaging and imagery and practicality. Clear, to-the-point and differentiated messages will be much more effective than gimmicks and cheesy headlines.
Point out your differentiator
“It’s important to understand what makes your product different than other solutions. Tell us or we will assume you are the same as all the others.”
During your sales and marketing efforts, focus on the clear benefits — especially those that give you a competitive edge or make you unique. And make sure it is based in knowledge about the architect’s design and build approach.
In short, architects will specify products that inspire them. Ones they trust, recognize and respect. Your brand can achieve a positive reputation through effective sales and marketing efforts that clearly connect to the vision of their project. Make personal connections with architects through education and simple messages. Get to the point, be relevant and leave an impression to secure your brand’s spot in architects’ go-to list of preferred products.