The line at the deli was 10 deep. So I decided to head over to Starbucks, where I could order my coffee plus my lunch from my phone. When I got there, my order was paid for and sitting on the counter. And it had my name on it.
I don’t recall seeing an advertisement from Starbucks promising to save me time getting lunch. Yet that’s what they are doing. And, in the process they are getting one thing right: they’ve vetted out all the concerns of the target audience. They thought about the friction prospective customers face when going out to get lunch. And they removed much of the friction, making the whole experience easier and faster.
Takeaways for Building Products Manufacturers
Building products manufacturers should take a cue from companies like Starbucks. If each manufacturer took the time to think about what it’s really like to buy their products, from the customer’s perspective, they would discover some valuable audience insights that might change everything about how they’re engaging customers and marketing and selling their products.
Some of the questions building products manufacturers should think about: What’s the buying experience really like from the customer’s point of view? The questions become really important when you realize that time — or saving time — has become the real currency for building products.
Why Time is the New Currency
In the current environment, where the construction industry continues to deal with a persistent lack of skilled labor, this need to preserve time is significantly amplified.
And if that weren’t enough, consider that the expectations of the consumer world have merged into the business world. Take for example the fact that the builder can buy coffee plus lunch without having to stand in line. Why couldn’t they buy construction materials with a similar level of convenience? The expectation becomes more evident in a world where consumer products do this time and time again. And they have to, frankly, to survive, because in most cases it doesn’t matter to the buyer which product they select.
Most B2B marketers aren’t talking about how they’re saving customers time. But many of them, at least on the consumer front, are doing just that. And it’s becoming more important in an industry where every product reaches parity with its competitors. In most cases, it’s not really about the product, but about the entire experience of buying the product and engaging with that brand. So building products manufacturers that want to better understand how they can save customers time and improve the entire buying experience should think about the multiple areas where buyers need to spend time when interacting with that brand. Some examples:
- Product pricing: Is it transparent?
- Are the product use instructions easy to understand?
- Is the order process easy and fast?
- Are deliveries correct, complete and on time?
- Is the invoicing clear and correct?
These are just a few of the many questions manufacturers could ask themselves about the buying experience behind their products, to see where friction exists. Customers might not be consciously dwelling on these things, but they affect buyer opinions of that organization or brand nonetheless. It can be hard to think about and identify friction unless you take the perspective of the buyer, the customer, or the target audience.
This is an area where Point To Point can help. If you’re looking for a strategic and systematic way of deconstructing the building products buying experience from your customer’s point of view, let us know. We can help with a checklist to help pinpoint where friction exists in your customer interactions, and where there are opportunities to remove friction with your most important target audiences.
If you’re interested in a few starting points, we can help with that too. Check next week’s post for two key areas within your organization where your target audiences’ perceptions are likely already apparent.