When it comes to building material sales, effective product marketing is the cornerstone of success.

It’s the voice that educates potential customers. Positions products and services in the market. And ultimately, helps to drive more sales.

But for many residential and commercial building product brands — particularly those with focused resources — the question arises: is it better to build an internal product marketing team? Or outsource those responsibilities to an agency?

The allure of fully in-house teams is undeniable. Offering a sense of control… and the potential for cost containment.

Yet, marketing for building product brands is a complex and ever-evolving discipline. Which requires a wealth of experience. Specialized best-practice skills in building materials marketing. As well as access to innovative technology and cutting-edge tools.

Expertise to Leverage

Building a world-class in-house product marketing team requires a significant talent investment. Calling for individuals with expertise in content creation, Demand generation strategies. And competitive analysis in industry trends. Agencies, deliver a team of specialists who are well-versed in these areas… and stay constantly updated on the latest effectiveness strategies.

Carlisle Wide Plank Floors, a leading provider of artisan-crafted wide plank wood flooring, appointed Kleber & Associates to develop and implement an integrated PR and content marketing program to grow awareness of the brand’s offerings among affluent consumers and A&D influencers. The aspirational flooring brand was seeking to expand its position as an innovator — and as a thought leader — through highly differentiated hardwood flooring solutions.

K&A leveraged relationships with top-tier bloggers in the A&D and building products channel to develop a strategic “influence-the-influencer” program. Our team actively identified and negotiated with aspirational design and remodeling bloggers to secure a series of highly-effective sponsored blog posts and articles. As social media sharing was an integral component of the collaborative program, K&A arranged for the bloggers to feature images from the blog posts on their Pinterest boards and in Instagram stories.

Chris Sy, the President of Carlisle Wide Plank Floors, had this to say,

Through results-driven integrated content marketing and PR programs, Kleber & Associates effectively targeted, and engaged, key influencers and decision-makers to keep the Carlisle brand top of mind. K&A created a core message to guide the audience experience, extended that messaging into multiple media channels, and then creatively mixed their content delivery to successfully move Carlisle’s audiences from one touchpoint to another – helping to grow brand awareness and affinity.

Data-Driven Decisions

After all, marketing thrives on data. Agencies have access to more sophisticated marketing automation tools — and analytics platforms — that provide valuable insights into audience behavior. Campaign performance. And channel trends. To identify which content resonates most with a target audience… and for crafting effective campaigns to reach them. What’s more, the ability to reveal competitor marketing strategies and to better inform competitive positioning.

A Fresh Perspective – The Best of Both Worlds

Internal teams can become potentially entrenched in ways of thinking. And stretched with limited resources. Specialized agencies bring objective perspectives and increased bandwidth in mission-critical launches — that can augment existing momentum — and spark innovative approaches. Their experience working with different companies across the channel allows them to identify larger opportunities. And develop creative solutions to new challenges. Designed to grow more brand awareness.

Consider the success of our partnership with Shaw Floors to develop for them a new website for their Builder + Multifamily division. Of course, Shaw has an in-house marketing department… but knew they needed a fresh perspective to better appeal to their builder market. In the words of Christine Slaughter, Shaw’s National Director of Design and Marketing,

… while we have a dedicated marketing and content team, we were looking for a seasoned subject matter expert who could provide strategic direction that would further distinguish our brand in a very competitive marketplace. From day one, K&A excelled at integrating seamlessly with our in-house team. They were great at communication and truly a pleasure to work with.

Cost-Effectiveness Reconsidered

While the initial perception of the on-boarding required for an agency may appear daunting — compared to empowering an internal team — it’s crucial to consider ROI. Agencies reduce the need for constant talent recruitment. Training on new practices. And constant platform maintenance.

A proven track record in B2B marketing ensures a faster sprint to market… minimizing the time it takes to recognize results.

Furthermore, specialized agencies deliver established relationships to distributed work-force editors and influencers — industry opportunities and marketing technologies — and better rates. As well as access to secure valuable media placements that could be typically out-of-reach.

To maximize the benefits of partnering with a specialized marketing agency, consider these best practices:

  1. Clearly Define Goals: Establish clear and measurable objectives. This allows the agency to develop a strategy tailored to specific needs. And for them to better frame success metrics.
  2. Seek Industry Expertise: Appoint an agency that has a proven track record of relevant success in builder products. And the understanding of an industry’s specific market dynamics. With established “personas” for tracking the buyers’ journeys.
  3. Foster Open Communication: Maintain clear and consistent communication. Share existing brand stories — company objectives — and target audience insights, in a collaborative approach.
  4. Embrace Data-Driven Decision Making: Leverage the agency’s expertise in data analytics. Regularly review campaign performance metrics… and adapt strategies, based on actionable insights.
  5. Measure Results and ROI: Track the effectiveness of all marketing efforts. Monitor and regularly evaluate key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic, lead generation and brand awareness.

If you’d like to explore and frame expectations for how a specialized agency can grow your brand, send an email to Steve at sk@kleberandassociates.com to get the conversation started.