Market researcher pegs strategies for building sales with brand-driven contractors

Source: Eric Mower + Associates Group (EMA), Syracuse, N.Y.

As brand loyalists, professional contractors purchase building supplies and tools based on names they know and trust, according to national research from the EMA B2B Contractor Specialty Group. Its survey of 500 general contractors and trade specialists also reveals methods of driving contractors to try new products.

“Brand strength isn’t the only factor in determining new product adoption and there are smart strategies marketers can apply to accelerate the path to purchase,” says EMA partner John O’Hara. “When launching new products, marketers should consider product sampling, leveraging word of mouth and developing marketing campaigns that are accessible across all platforms, especially mobile.” Survey results, he adds, point to these factors for accelerating new product adoption:

Shared experiences. When it comes to information on new products, 85 percent of respondents said peer recommendations are important, while 83 percent were likely to recommend a brand they know and trust even if it were higher priced. Early in the new product adoption cycle, producers or manufacturers should capture peer testimonials in videos and develop customer case studies. When possible, quote and partner with key thought leaders and industry influencers in marketing materials.

Trial offers. Contractors said that the most influential reason for switching brands involves product trials, with 55 percent of EMA survey respondents noting such terms would move them to switch brands. Also, 68 percent of contractors would be likely to try a new product introduced by a brand name they’d heard of but never used. Beyond just promising product quality and innovation, marketers should offer contractors the chance to try a product.

Multi-platform marketing. Contractors are obtaining product information from a wide variety of sources and formats, including smartphones (50 percent of EMA survey respondents); laptops with mobile access (49 percent of respondents); and, iPads or other tablets (21 percent of respondents), suggesting more business purchase research and decisions are being conducted online from the jobsite rather than behind a desk. Building materials and tool brands are most important (65 percent) to contractors when they are on the job.

EMA Group B2B’s Contractor Specialty Group includes experts from EMA’s Insight + Analytics, Creative Ideation, Design + Branding, Public Relations, Social Media, and Planning divisions. Additional information on the brand loyalty study can be obtained from John O’Hara, [email protected].