Why Fabricators and Specialty Contractors Should Market Directly to Architects
Fabricators and specialty contractors are companies that have a high-degree of competence and skill – typically in a narrow, but critical area of specialization (i.e. roofing, glass, steel, etc.) Through years of experience and investment, these companies usually possess a portfolio of tested and proven solutions for a wide range of building applications, yet a vast majority of these companies target their marketing at General Contractors – the companies who ultimately hire them for a project – and not to Architects. This tendency is a big mistake, as it has cascading consequences that affect not only the growth and profitability of fabricators/speciality contractors, but the overall cost and schedule of a given project.
Because so many fabricators and specialty contractors do not actively promote their solutions and capabilities to Architects, the architectural community remains largely unaware of the proven materials and methods for achieving a given design and/or performance challenge and, more importantly, the company with the solution. Consequently, an architect continues down a path, unenlightened, developing drawings and specifications to the best of their abilities, never knowing a viable solution already exists that could save them and their clients enormous amounts of time and money.
Eventually, these drawings and specifications land with a fabricator/speciality contractor who, upon review, determines the system is unvalidated or even unbuildable within a given timeframe or budget. At this point, they’re faced with taking one of three less than desirable courses of action:
- Convince the GC and Architect to rework the drawings to reflect a validated system, already proven by the fabricator/specialty contractor;
- Bid on the project “as is” and hope that the system will pass all required performance testing and that money will be made on the job, or;
- Refuse the bid and move on.
The scenario described above is commonplace. Yet, if the fabricator/specialty contractor had an effective marketing program in place, directed squarely at Architects, the scenario would have played out far differently.
The fabricator/specialty contractor would brand their solution, complete with example photography, drawings and specifications, and actively market their solution to Architects. In turn, the Architect would use the fabricator/specialty contractor’s solution as the basis of design on a project. The fabricator/specialty contractor would likely have a seat at the table along with the Architect, Owner, and GC, far earlier in the project. Competing fabricator/speciality contractors would face an enormous disadvantage in their bid as they would have to build mock-ups for validation and testing in order to compete. The project would more likely be completed on-time, within budget, and look and perform exactly as expected.
There are several fabricator/specialty contractors who have adopted this strategy and are reaping the rewards for their wise decision. As Integrated Project Delivery contracting continues to gain traction, these fabricator/special contractors are becoming even more influential earlier in the design, specification, and construction process. They are brought on-board early for valuable consultation, delivering significant value and efficiency to the cost and quality of the end product.
If you’re a fabricator or specialty contractor looking for increased growth and stability, one of the most effective and affordable ways to do so is by leveraging your brand, your unique solutions, and your expertise with architects.
LarsonO’Brien provides strategic, integrated marketing and consultative services for companies desiring to increase revenue and grow market share in the building design and construction industry. LarsonO’Brien’s ten-member executive team combines more than 250 years of real-world leadership within the construction industry; in business development, sales, marketing, and R&D. For more than a decade, LarsonO'Brien’s proven strategic planning methodologies, industry insights, creativity and expert execution have consistently produced transformational and revenue-generating results for our clients.
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