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SPECIFICATION MARKETING: 6 Steps to Project-Based Marketing

SPECIFICATION MARKETING: 6 Steps to Project-Based Marketing

Over the past decade, many marketing departments have initiated account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns.

For the unfamiliar, account-based marketing is the process of identifying the key decision makers of your ideal clients, and then running personalised campaigns to those contacts.

However, in specification marketing, you are not targeting accounts, but projects. And on a project, there is more than one account. Each of these accounts will have different priorities. So you should run campaigns to each account associated with a project.

This is project-based marketing.

Let’s look at how to go about this.

1. Identify high-value projects

What is your ideal project type? Run a search in Barbour ABI, or Glenigan, or browse industry news, to find projects that match this description. Then, make sure that your product would be a good fit for this project.

Next, create a list of these high-value projects. This becomes the project-target list for your campaign.

2. Identify decision-makers

There are three parties in the project decision-making unit: clients, designers, and contractors. Clients pay the bills, designers do the designs, and contractors build the building. Together, they represent the golden triangle. If you influence 2/3, then you’re likely to win the work. This is the goal of project-based marketing.

Gather contact information for your contacts. This can be done through construction market intelligence services or through manual research.

You can now segment your contact list into role types.


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3. Consider value propositions for each account

Clients: Typically, clients will be interested in the cost, the visual impact, how it impacts their ability to profit from the building or increase their ability to enjoy it (if they plan on occupying it after it is complete).

Designers: Designers will be interested in aesthetics, how it works with materials adjacent to it, and design insight.

Contractors: Contractors will be interested in price and ease of installation.

It’s best to pick up the phone instead of working from broad generalisations. Talk to some contractors. Try to get a sense of what is going on in their lives, instead of basing your messaging on these generic portraits.

Do you have anyone in your network you could call to get some insight into the common fears, frustrations, hopes, desires, and experiences of the people who hold these roles?

This will help you shape a value proposition that resonates with your audience.

If you do PBM well, you will pave the way for architects to include your product in their specifications. The client and contractor will be familiar with the brand and will have no issues.

If the specifier fails to include your product, then perhaps the client, who has seen your case studies and liked the look of the product, then raises it and asks the architect to consider your product.

You want the contractor to know the great value of your product, and how it is going to help them.

You want to be careful not to try to “go over the head” of the architect since they are the designer. But you want to create a great impression with everyone associated with the project, to minimise friction around the specification.

4. Create campaign assets

Campaign assets include:

  • Emails
  • Social posts
  • Landing pages
  • Guides / eBooks / Whitepapers / Videos
  • Microsites
  • Digital/physical experiences

This is where things get time-intensive and expensive if you want to do things right. You need to create truly valuable content for each of these roles. Perhaps it could be the same, but it may need to be tailored to each. This will become clear as you do your value proposition research. If the roles have overlapping concerns when it comes to your product, then you could use the same asset. But if they are different, then you’d have to create different ones.

Don’t shortcut this step. Your campaign succeeds or fails based on how compelling and seamless each step of this journey is.

You might want to hire an agency to help you create the content.


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5. Set Up Controls

How are you going to track the success of your campaign?

You can UTM tracking codes to links and generate reports this way.

Also, HubSpot’s new campaign feature offers an integrated dashboard with campaign tracking which collates data from email, social, and your website, and then produces reports regarding new contacts, deals created, and revenue.

6. Launch Your PBM Campaign

Upload your lists, set up your email sequences, set up your ad retargeting, build your landing pages, get your controls right, then hit the go button!

Make sure the sales team is ready to follow up leads, and get in touch with contacts who have shown a high degree of interest. This should just be a phone call to see if they need any more information. But this conversation could easily turn into an enquiry.

Once you’ve built the campaign, you can continue to add lists of new contacts to it over time.


Project-based marketing helps to influence the members of the golden triangle.

Project-based marketing helps you create your own destiny. You don’t just work on the jobs that come to you, you work on the jobs you want. You are able to curate a portfolio of really impressive work and position yourself as a more premium brand, which commands a higher price point just through the power of the brand.

These are the benefits of PBM.

However, it does require a significant time investment. Make sure you’re ready to make the commitment to do it right before starting out. Or hire an agency to do it for you.

If you’d like to discuss this in more detail, feel free to get in touch: jack@insynth.co.uk