Marketing to architects: how to get in touch with architects and get specified? Which are the best marketing strategies for building material and furniture manufacturers?
For years we have been seeing marketing managers, contract managers and sales managers of building materials and home furnishings manufacturers asking themselves how to better marketing to architects: how to get in touch with architects and get specified? How to communicate the values of their product, services and brands?
Many argue that architects should not be contacted, emails should not be sent, they should not bothered with calls, unless they have requested for it. But architects are continually seeking for information on materials for architecture and home furnishings, technical information on the application of these materials, on new available products on the market… If you’re not visible when they’re searching, this would mean missing an opportunity.
Architects profession has evolved over the years. The architect has become from a simple consultant to an influencer in the client’s choices. Usually, the more the architecture firm or the interior design studio is known, the greater is its influence in their choices, both in the case of designing a house for a private client, and in the case of larger building project. In any case, even the most famous architectural firms feel responsible for the quality of the products they specify.
Architects are a highly sought after target in the furniture and construction materials sector. However, it is often difficult to get in touch with architects and understand which are the right architecture studios to contact, and it is equally difficult to understand which architects to contact within the architecture studios themselves.
How to get in touch with architects and get specified?
What do architects really want from building materials and furnishings manufacturers? What information are they looking for? How and where do they look for information? When and at what stage of the decision-making or planning process are they looking for information? Who and what influences architects? How is it possible to get in touch with architects then?
We answered to all these questions by developing a survey to better understand the architect’s work, understand how to get in touch with architects and what they are especting from building materials and home furnishingsmanufacturers.
Thanks to our visits to the architecture firms throughout Europe and the relationships established in recent years, we had the opportunity to interview architects from the most renowned architecture firms. This has been done to deepen their relationship with building materials and home furnishings manufacturers, how they search new products info and what they really want from manufacturers.
Thanks to the results obtained with the survey, we answered to all these questions and we can better define how to get in touch with architects and which marketing strategy is the best.
Fill out the form and access to the answers of our survey and to the guide “Marketing to architects: how to get in touch with architects and get specified?
Profile of the architects we interviewed
Experience of the architects we interviewed
We interviewed architects working in major architecture firms across Europe: the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, France and Germany. Most of the architects who replied to the survey (64.7%) have more than 10 years of activity, therefore extensive experience and expertise in the field.
Role of the architects we interviewed
They are architects with a lot of influence in their architecture studio being mainly founders of the practices (26.5%) and senior architects (26.5%). The other architects are equally influential as partners, associates or directors. Junior profiles or practicing architects did not participate in the questionnaire.
Specialization of projects carried out by architectural firms
The architectural firms we interviewed mainly carry out large projects (62%) or small/house projects (27%) and interior design (38%), some specialize in both categories. Some architecture firms also specialize in landscape design, urban planning and project management.
Area of activity of the architectural firms we interviewed
The architects we interviewed come from architecture firms known all over the world and work on different geographical scales both nationally (51%) and intercontinentally (42%).
We analyzed what are the main sources of information for architects.
There are different ways to get in touch with architects, from the most discreet to the most direct, and there are many ways in which architects look for information useful for their work: company websites, professional associations, colleagues, fellow architect, trade fairs, design weeks, blogs, paper magazines, social networks (Instagram and Pinterest above all), events held outside and inside the architecture firm.
Often, however, their approach to information is different because the level of knowledge of a building materials and home furnishings manufacturers product or brand is different. Creating a fiduciary relationship with an architect is a long process that cannot only go through the company website. That’s only the first step.
Many architects wish to build a trusted relationship with their suppliers. This occurs initially through more informal channels such as events organized in the studio, events organized outside the studio and common experiences. These informal channels seem far preferred to classic product presentations.
We also asked what content they mostly look for on manufacturers’ websites: photos, videos, case studies, tutorials, brochures, certifications, interactive systems, AutoCad, Revit or 3D files …
How to get a product specified for the first time?
We also asked to the architects what is their number one hesitation when it comes to specifying a new product for the first time: performance, aesthetics, price, trust, availability or durability…
In the end, architects must convince several people (their clients, the contractor and also the senior colleagues within the architecture firm) that the product chosen is the right one for the project, even if they have already used it in the past.
They will have to verify that the product is usable and easy to install by contractors, especially if it is a new or improved product/solution.
At which design stage do you start thinking about products to specify?
Have you ever wondered when architects start looking for information on the products to be specified?
We asked them if they start thinking about which materials and which products to use in the strategic definition phase of a project, or if they think about it during the executive phase or perhaps during the technical design phase. And how do they usually specify a product? Using specification templates, reusing the same usual products or do they start from scratch every time?
We asked what is the best way to create a relationship with architects.
In the end, nobody likes being a “target“, much less architects. What they want is to get in touch with people: digital contact is not enough.
Initially it is necessary to share experiences with them, through events, meetings, visits, activities that give access to the architecture firms and studios. These contacts must differentiate you from others. All architecture firms have a line of potential suppliers who knock on their door.
It is necessary to be distinctive, to propose oneself in peculiar ways. Initially it is not necessarily to approach in a professional way. It is possible to get in touch with architects for the first time even through playful, cultural, culinary or educational moments.
One thing is certain: in the end, if you propose yourself as a problem solver for architects, they will contact you to request your solutions and of course your products.
It is thus possible to become their reference resource by offering information not only about your product but in general about your product category, your industry.
Fill out the form at the top of the page and access to the answers to the questionnaire and to the guide “Marketing to architects: how to get in touch with architects and get specified?”
“Marketing to architects: how to get in touch with architects and get specified?” è disponibile anche in Italiano.
Image courtesy: Liljewall Arkitekter | Graphic: ARCHIVIBE