Building materials manufacturers run a complex business, but we are here to help you plan for the future. Whether you are launching a new product, rebuilding a brand, trying to get thoughtful communication strategies in place or everything in between. Here on Constructing Brands, we will be talking with leading experts in construction, architecture, engineering, marketing, and manufacturing to help make your building materials company stronger and more profitable. With 15 plus years of experience, helping building materials, companies succeed and grow your host, Eric Lanel.
Good morning, and welcome to Constructing Brands. Today, we’re going to do a solo cast. This is where I spend a few 10 minutes with you to share some key insights. Our focus today, who is your real target? When I ask my clients this question, usually I hear, our targets, architects, designers, facility managers, developers, GC, builder. Sometimes I hear our sales come from the lumberyards, our distributor. Well, that’s all true, but when we really break it down, I like you all to do this exercise, it’ll cost you nothing but about 5 minutes of your time. So on a piece of paper, write down who your target is. You know, who’s the person who will either spec your product or buy your product. It could be an architect. It could be a developer yard. Any one of those is fine. Just write down, who are the people responsible for purchasing your product? Now I want you to write down who will be the user of your product. Is it a business person? Is it a homeowner? Is it a young family? Is it a nurse doctor, a physician, a scientist who is the end user of your product?
Okay, next question. What are you doing to let that end user know that you exist? How are you sharing with them, that you have a point of difference? If it’s durability, have you shared that? Do they know that? Do they know your name? Do they know why you exist? Do they know why you were specked? What traits your product has and what do they need to know about your product? Now, why is this important? Well, let’s face it, there’s a lot of industries that we could look at that have already walked this walk and I think they’ve done a pretty decent job sharing with us why it is important. That little company, Intel, for instance, I don’t know about you guys. I don’t buy chips. I don’t know about microchips. I’ve done some photo shoots in some of these clean labs and clean rooms. But as far as what goes into making an Intel chip, I have no idea, but I do know that when I buy a computer on the box, when it says Intel, there’s a point of difference there. There’s something that I know inherently that the computers can be worth a little bit more money because it’s going to be a little bit more powerful. So there’s a great example I think of a product born and built with the point of difference that really has never purchased by an end end user. But the end end user recognizes, me in this case, that there’s a value proposition there. So getting back to the original question that I had for us all, what are you doing to get in front of your end end user, your real, real target, the person who’s enjoying your product, the one you developed it for, what are you doing to let them know you exist? And how are you presenting your point of differentiation? Well, if you’re in charge of the success of a business that manufacturers building materials or let’s face it, anything else you need to understand what it is that you need to say to help drive your point of difference to connect to your target and their target. Because by doing that, you’re going to now be creating content, creating information that your target audience is going to be able to share with their end user. You’re going to put a little pressure, maybe even on your channels of distribution to carry your product, all these things, they help drive the success of your sales, which ultimately is going to drive the success of your business. At least one aspect of it.
So as we’re getting on with our day, and we’re getting super busy with figuring out how we’re going to drive our business, drive our sales, keep our costs in line. I want you to think about what it is that you are doing to get in front of your target audience, what materials you’re providing that end end user and your target to provide to the end end user. How are you creating that story? What content are you developing, where you presenting it? In this day and age, it’s, to not think about these channels online, to not think about creating a YouTube channel, to not utilize your Facebook, your Instagram, is missing a whole opportunity to get in front of your audience. Now I’ve had clients who say the liability or as a manufacturer, I really don’t want to get involved with that. My distributors do that. Well you’re giving an incredible amount of responsibility to folks who are not manufacturing your product, who are not responsible for your product. And even if you have long contracts with them and you think the world of them, I need to tell you that as a manufacturer, one of your jobs is to develop a product that has a point of difference. And I think another job is to make sure you’re creating content and providing information, not only to that point of distribution, but also positioning and information and assets to the end end user that can be utilized by your points of distribution.
It brings me back to a company outside the industry. The company name is Blendtec. Now Blendtec manufacturers blenders out in Arizona, if I’m not mistaken. We’re doing a lot of online campaigns back a bunch of years ago. And at the time the guy who ran my online division said, you have to check this out. This is a great example of online being used the right way. Now Blendtec you couldn’t buy, if I’m not mistaken, couldn’t buy it in the store. It was sold through kind of a different channel distribution. It was sold online and it was sold through different groups, buying groups. Well, if I understand the story correctly, the owner was walking by the lunch room one day and he happened to notice. Couple of guys, the factory guys were throwing stuff in the blender and kind of seeing if it blended and when the owner popped his head back kind of amused, amazed, and maybe a little concerned at what he was looking at, turned out the guys fessed up and said, we play this game at lunch all the time we call it, Will it Blend?
And basically we throw all sorts of stuff in our blender here to see what happens when we blend it. Now, the owner, I guess, could have gotten upset and fired these guys for, you know, trying to wreck his blender. I don’t know, instead what he said is that this sounds like a great idea. Let’s record it. So I think he grabbed a camera and he started recording and he created the series, Will it Blend? And if, and I recall right when the iPhone came out, so we’re going back a little bit. The guy actually bought one of the first iPhones and he put it into his Blendtec blender. Sure enough, it worked. He was able to destroy that iPhone and turn it into iPhone powder. I was so taken by this, not only because what a great way to have fun with your brand to present your brand to an end end user, to utilize online, to create content, video that engaged and educated, which every good piece of content needs to do. But he put that through these channels of distribution in a way that me, someone who likes to cook, I saw it. So I was engaged. I was educated. And quite frankly, what did it tell me about the key attributes of that blender? That’s a durable blender that could do just about anything. I ended up buying one. I still have it to this day. The only reason I have it, it’s not because I’m part of a buying group. It’s not because I happened upon it because I was searching for the best blender. It’s because an engaging piece of content came my way. It educated me, it engaged me, it informed me. And quite frankly, it amused me too. And it got me interested in the product.
What are you doing to get in front of your customer? The end end user, the person who’s going to be touching that product, or if you’re a product that’s in between the walls, what do you need to tell that end end user about that product that you’re creating, that’s going to make your home, your building, your business a little bit warmer, a little bit cooler. It’s going to keep that wall a little bit more flush. It’s going to do, what is it going to do that’s going to help make the end end user’s life just a little bit better? Because I’m guaranteeing it, if they know that they might even share that with the person who’s the architect or the designer you heard last week, I had on an architect who was sharing with me that one of the things he loves most is when his customers, his clients, let him know about a product that they’ve heard about because that gives him the opportunity to A, either learn more about a product he doesn’t know about or B, it gives him license to recommend a product, knowing that the client is going to be happy with that recommendation. So couple examples, I think we all get it. Look at your checklist. Look at what you wrote down and start thinking about what are you doing to connect with that end end user. I’m Eric Lanel, this is Constructing Brands until next week.
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