I have learned how important it is to get everyone on the same page at the beginning of a marketing project. Because it’s so obvious to you, it’s easy to assume everyone else sees it the way you do.This process may seem very basic.
Without following it, or your own version, there’s a good chance that time and money will be wasted because someone on your team misunderstood the situation. It might be your agency or a key internal person and it almost always happens with a new person. They make incorrect assumptions and when you see their initial marketing solutions, you wonder how they got it so wrong and have to start over again.
Here’s the decision tree for building material marketing that I follow.
1. What’s the product? Who uses it and why?
2. Is it residential or commercial? (Even if it’s both, you should map this out for each market)
3. Is it new construction or repair/remodel? (If it’s both, once again map it out each way.)
4. How does it get to the end user? (Map out all the ways it moves through the channel. Does it go to a one or two-step distributor, to a dealer, contractor and then to a home or building owner or a builder? And what about big boxes?)
5. Identify who is the gatekeeper. There is always one person who controls what products get used. You need to really think this through; it’s easy to assume that the end user is the key decision maker. For example, if you sell a product to the DIY market, you could assume that the consumer is the most important person and you’d probably be wrong. If he buys this product at a big box and the big box doesn’t carry your product, then he will probably buy the product that is on the shelf. In this instance, they big box buyer is the gatekeeper.
6. What is the current situation and objective?
7. What is the primary motivation of the gatekeeper and how does your product better meet that motivation than a competitor or an alternative solution? Here’s another area where people make assumptions that are frequently wrong. For example, it’s easy to assume that more profit or sales are the motivation for everyone, and you’d be wrong. You can find a list of the primary motivations here and advice on how to frame your message here.
8. Now, with this information, you and your team are ready to develop an effective strategy that has a much better chance of achieving your objectives. If you follow this eight-step building material marketing decision tree, you’ll get more effective solutions sooner, and probably for less cost.
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