4 min read

How to Beat Bigger Brands with Modern CPD Strategy

How to Beat Bigger Brands with Modern CPD Strategy

Many businesses don't understand the full potential of CPD.

They have KPI’s for their sales team to deliver x number of CPD’s per year. Or they have a goal to get RIBA approval. Or they have a series of slideshows hosted on their website.

But most companies don't have a CPD educational program delivered over multiple channels despite the fact that this has massive potential to drive sales.

CPD is the format specifiers prefer for learning about new products. And they specify based on what they learn in those sessions.

This article explores the reasons why many businesses don’t develop a CPD strategy, the opportunity it presents, and a future-state picture of what this could look like for your company.

First, let’s understand why CPD is generally under-invested in.

Why the lack of focus on CPD?

If there is one thing that modern marketers want to be able to do it is to measure the success of their campaigns. Google Analytics and CRM’s like HubSpot allow us to see how much traffic a campaign is driving, how many new leads it creates, how many opportunities it generates, and how much revenue we can attribute to a specific campaign or channel.

However, specification wrecks this measurable, data-driven vision of marketing perfection. Because the person who specifies your product is not the one who buys it. Therefore, you can’t attribute sales to specifications. So although CPD is great at driving specifications, there isn’t much emphasis on it from marketing because they can’t measure their success by it. And marketing constantly feels the pressure to prove their effectiveness to the rest of the team.

CPD Whitepaper CTA (Updated 2023)

So instead, specification sales teams own this. They know that specifications result in sales and don’t care where the orders come from. So they do what they can with a dusty slide deck and outdated delivery methods.

What’s the opportunity?

Research shows that CPD is the best way to connect with specifiers.

The Construction Media Index (CMI) polled specifiers and found that 48% of them attended CPD because it related to a project they were working on. This means that almost 50% of CPD attendees are in-market for a product or solution from the company that they are taking the CPD from.

Construct UK carried out research and found that 64% of specifiers specify one or more of a supplier’s products after taking their CPD (a 15% rise since the same survey carried out in 2017). This bears out the research conducted by CMI and indicates that a CPD, properly delivered, will result in specifications and orders.

A client of Insynth Marketing, Intelligent Membranes, had us create a digital CPD to host on YouTube and RIBA. After it went live, Managing Director Adam White didn’t think much of it. Yet it racked up views. A year later it had 20,000 views and they had daily specifications since it went live.

Adam even considered the CPD to be quite boring. It covered a certain section of airtightness regulations. Not the type of video you enjoy with popcorn. Yet it appealed to his audience because it was educational, it had technical depth and it provided a solution for achieving the airtightness they were looking for.

Construction CPD GIF

Based on the research and case study above, CPD represents an opportunity to dominate the market, because no one else is investing heavily in this very effective marketing channel.

How you can take advantage of this opportunity

The market educator is the market leader. People follow the teacher. The guide who helps them achieve their goals. And very few brands are setting themselves as educators through CPD. Just have a browse of the CPD offered by the biggest brands on RIBA and you will see how poor the CPD video offerings are.

Richard Rumelt says in Good Strategy, Bad Strategy,

“Strategy is using your relative strength against your competitor’s relative weakness”.

This is what allowed David to kill Goliath.

Usually, it’s the biggest brand that wins. But in this case, a small brand has an unfair advantage. They have the capacity to create educational content that reaches more specifiers, increases specifications, and drives sales more quickly. But heritage brands need many levels of sign-off for any creative work. This is a relative strength verse a relative weakness.

If specifiers prefer to learn through CPD, and they specify based on those sessions, then technical, engaging, educational CPD sessions from a small brand are going to help that brand quickly steal market share from a large traditional brand that doesn’t offer the same type of program.

So the relative strength here is the agile nature of small brands versus large brands that require multiple levels of sign-off for the radically new approach to CPD production and distribution that we’re proposing.

CPD Whitepaper CTA (Updated 2023)

What Your Modern CPD Offering Could Look Like

Here’s how you could go about this. You could create professionally designed slide decks that your sales team can use that engage your audience with animations, quizzes, and insightful research.

Then you can digitise these presentations by recording a speaker delivering them and then offering this online.

You could splice in footage from projects, hire experts to provide subject matter expertise and produce CPD videos similar to documentaries.

Then, you can host these on a learning management system. These systems are familiar to anyone who has done online learning. They provide users with an excellent, interactive viewing experience, and allow you to gain insights about who is watching and using your content.

With your CPD being delivered in person, through third-party CPD providers, and your own academy, you have maximised your presence in the place where your audience prefers to learn about new products. This is key for creating demand for your products.



Research shows that CPD provides a unique opportunity for companies to increase product sales through specification. However, most businesses don't invest in their CPD material or delivery. A modern CPD strategy, tailored to your customer needs and that combines elements of both online and traditional methods, is the key to successfully competing with bigger brands and driving increased product sales. The first movers here are pulling ahead of their competitors.

Download our whitepaper today to learn more about implementing a successful Specification Marketing strategy.

Modernise Your CPD Blog CTA (1)