The Construction Marketers Guide to BIM


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There’s a strong argument that the marketing benefits of BIM actually provide the more important discussion for building product manufacturers when it comes to deciding whether or not to go ahead and get ‘BIM ready’.

In this guide we look at the key aspects of BIM that you, the savvy digital marketer, need to know about, including the benefits to the marketing team and how to get started.

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The Construction Marketers Guide to BIM

  2. 2. Contents 1. Introduction 2. BIM 101 3. Marketing with BIM 4. Benefits of BIM as a Marketing Tool 5. Where to Start? 6. BIM Resources 7. BIM BONUS © SpecifiedBy 2014
  3. 3. Unless you are really new to marketing construction products, you will be well aware of Building Information Modelling and its increasing role within the industry. But while the techie’s argue about the best software to use, the best way to deliver data drops and whether IFC is or is not the answer to everything, building product marketers like yourself have a few things to consider too. Sure, this is really important stuff. Stuff that could dramatically revolutionise the industry for the better. But BIM doesn’t work without buy-in from building product manufacturers. And actually, there’s a strong argument that the marketing benefits of BIM actually provide the more important discussion for building product manufacturers when it comes to deciding whether or not to go ahead and get ‘BIM ready’. Yet this is an area that seems to be remarkably light when it comes to articles, discussion or guidance. So our aim here is to give you, the savvy building product marketer, a guide on the key aspects of BIM you need to know about, the benefits to the marketing team and how you can get started. Enjoy. Darren Lester Founder, SpecifiedBy Introduction
  4. 4. BIM 101OK, so let’s start with a really quick overview of what BIM is and why you should care. Feel free to skip this part if you are up to speed. @SpecifiedBy
  5. 5. “ What is BIM? BIM is an acronym for Building Information Modelling, which is a process that involves creating and using an intelligent 3D model to inform and communicate project decisions. The National Building Information Model Standard Project Committee has the following definition: “Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. A BIM is a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle; defined as existing from earliest conception to demolition.” One of the common misconceptions is that BIM is software. But as you can see from this description, BIM is a process, which is enabled by various types of design and data management software. Whilst it is currently the most talked about subject in construction, it is not a new idea. BIM, as a concept, dates back to the 1970’s when it was referred to under various terminologies, such as ‘Virtual Building’ or ‘Integrated Project Models’. But it is only in the last 10 years that BIM has started to gain a much broader audience, and really only over the last 2-3 years has it become such a hot topic. BIM 101 @SpecifiedBy
  6. 6. What is a BIM Object? A BIM object, sometimes referred to as a BIM component, or model, is a 3D representation of a real-life object, in your case, a building product. It is geometrically accurate to the real life version of the product. Critically, for it to be classed as a BIM object, rather than just a 3D CAD model, is that the model contains, or links to, other data and information about the product. This can include information about the manufacturer, performance properties such as U-value or Fire rating, and other data such as cost or lifespan. It is this information that is the really smart and valuable aspect of BIM. Why is This Important for Building Product Companies? As touched on briefly, BIM won’t work without the buy-in of manufacturers. This is because BIM relies on the data or information stored within the 3D objects. And for this to be an accurate representation of real life and actually be useful, it needs manufacturers’ data. And because construction professionals need this information of a project being created using BIM, they are more likely to use a company that has provided them with the BIM object to make their process really simple. BIM 101 @SpecifiedBy
  7. 7. Marketing with BIM So just how do we use BIM as a marketing tool? @SpecifiedBy
  8. 8. Well, in marketing terms, BIM is effectively nothing more than a very technical form of content marketing which is aimed at a very specific market – specifiers who use BIM. It’s what we call an infoproduct. Infoproducts Infoproducts are generally types of long-form, technical content that are great at attracting and converting your target customers. While your blog posts will bring in traffic, relevant to your products or services, infoproducts offer these readers to dig a bit deeper on a particular topic in exchange for a bit of information about them (name, email address, company etc.). You get the details of someone who you know is interested in a particular topic and they get a free copy of a valuable and useful piece of information. Your regular infoproduct would usually be one of the following:  eBooks  Guides  Infographics  Podcasts  Webinars  Slideshows  Useful tools (calculators etc.) Marketing with BIM @SpecifiedBy
  9. 9. This guide you’re reading right now is an infoproduct, designed to help us identify the marketing people within construction companies, who are interested in BIM, so we can start to build a relationship. And that’s the really powerful aspect of infoproducts and in this case, your BIM content. They allow you to target a really specific type of customer and position your company as an educational and valuable resource on a particular topic. Over time, this builds trust and makes it an easier decision for people to use your products. So you need to use your BIM content as you would with any other piece of good quality content marketing and use it to accurately identify quality sales leads. Marketing with BIM @SpecifiedBy
  10. 10. Benefits of BIM as A Marketing Tool Ignoring the demands of Government projects to use BIM, let’s have a look at some of the other benefits of having BIM objects as part of your content marketing arsenal. @SpecifiedBy
  11. 11. #1. Identify Very Specific, Quality Leads As touched on before, your BIM content will attract a very specific type of potential specifier (ie. One using BIM). But perhaps even better than that is that the action of downloading your BIM content shows real intent. Anyone could download your brochure to have a high-level browse through, without any real intention of using your product at this stage, but downloading a BIM object suggests your product is at the very least being very closely looked at. #2. Stand Out from the Crowd Don’t be fooled by all the noise surrounding BIM. We’re still a long way from wide scale adoption, and on the manufacturers side, only a relative handful of manufacturers have BIM content available. If you look at the two main content creation houses in the UK (Bimstore and National BIM Library) they only created content for around 80 companies between them (accurate at the time of writing). But this number is growing all the time. By acting now, you could massively benefit from ‘first-mover’ advantage. #3. Create a PR Storm Building on the previous point, being the first [insert product type] manufacturers to have BIM content created is a newsworthy story. Industry press and journals will pick it up and run with it. And even if you’re not the first in your product vertical, you will still pick up press. Again, there is not as wide scale adoption as the noise can make it seem. Tell people that you’ve got BIM content, and more importantly, why. Benefits of BIM as a Marketing Tool
  12. 12. #4. Demonstrate Technical and Digital Savvy In an increasingly digital environment for sales and marketing (and everything really!) it can only be beneficial to demonstrate that your company is no dinosaur. Show everyone that you are on top of modern technology and that you are willing to invest in staying ahead of the game. This is only going to be more important as the wave of digital construction professionals come to the fore. Benefits of BIM as a Marketing Tool @SpecifiedBy
  13. 13. Where to Start? So let’s assume your company have or have decided that you will get BIM content created. How do we start marketing with them? @SpecifiedBy
  14. 14. Step 1. Get them on Your Website The first thing you need to do is get your BIM content online. You will want to do this in a few places in order to ensure you get the most visibility, but the first place to start is your website. Most companies will have a dedicated BIM area on their website, where specifiers can download BIM objects for all of their products. This is fine, and is a good idea to have, but it’s just as important to have BIM objects available on each individual products page. This is important as many visitors to your site may only land on a specifics products page, so they should be able to find all they need for that product on that page. This also provides a much better user experience than having to navigate different areas of your website, depending on the type of content required. Step 2. Get them on Other Websites Getting your content on your own website will be the first step, but in order to really make the most of your BIM content and reach the widest audience, you need to get it out on other relevant platforms. If you have content created by BIMstore or National BIM Library (NBL), then they will likely provide you with hosting on their respective platforms. These are good for attracting users who are specifically looking for BIM content and already know exactly what they need. But for many specifiers, this is not the case. Where to Start?
  15. 15. They need to find your BIM content in the context of researching your building products, in which case they need more than just your BIM content. At SpecifiedBy we host BIM content from both BIMstore, NBL and content created in-house by manufacturers, but importantly, it is promoted alongside your other vital product information – datasheets, sample specifications, CAD files, case studies etc. allowing specifiers to find and download your BIM content when they need it. Step 3. Collect Leads Your BIM objects are now online, but that’s not enough in itself. This content needs to be generating leads for you to qualify and follow up with, so whether it’s your own website, or any other, you need to be capturing details from the people who are demonstrating their interest in your products, by downloading your BIM content. At the very least, you should be aiming to collect a name and email address, but really you want to be collecting as much information as possible. Who do they work for? What is the project they are working on? When does it start? Etc. etc. To do this on your own website you can either ask for some combination of these details every time someone wants to download a file, which becomes a real pain for the user if they need more than one, or you can create a signup process in which you capture the persons details once, and then track what they download each time they come back and log in. Where to Start?
  16. 16. With third party sites you need to be getting this data as well. Again, at the very least, they should be collecting names and email addresses, but preferably much more. At SpecifiedBy, we capture details of the specifiers projects and a history of products they’ve been interested in or specified. Tip: Making the simple change of asking for people to enter their ‘Work Email’ rather than just their ‘Email’ will see the majority of people use their work email, so you can work out what company they work for. Step 4. Get the Word Out As we touched on earlier, there is still a good story to be told when you have created your BIM content, so push for whatever PR you can when you launch them. The platforms you host them on should help, particularly when it comes to search engines, and then there is plenty you can do yourself.  Create content (guides, blogs etc.) around BIM related keywords that link to your content eg. window bim objects  Attend BIM focused events to meet people who are working with BIM and need BIM content  Create case studies for projects where your BIM objects have been used  Create informational content about the creation of your BIM objects were and the information they contain Where to Start? @SpecifiedBy
  17. 17. Step 5. Keep People Up to Date One of the challenges with BIM is that there will inevitably be regular updates to your objects, either due to general changes needed to improve the BIM object itself, changes to your products, or an update to comply with new software versions. Whatever it is, make sure you let anyone who has downloaded your BIM content know when it has been updated, or even when you have had additional content created that they can now access. It’s a great excuse to get in touch with someone, see how they are getting on and what projects they have coming up and to generally keep your products fresh in their mind. They’ll appreciate you taking the time to make sure they have the most up- to-date version of your content. Where to Start? @SpecifiedBy
  18. 18. BIM Resources To finish, here’s a collection of websites and articles worth visiting to learn more about BIM from a manufacturers perspective. @SpecifiedBy
  19. 19. Websites BIM Task Group – useful website which aims to help deliver the objectives of the Government Construction Strategy BIM4SMEs - working group aimed at helping SMEs to better understand and engage with BIM BIM4SMEs LinkedIn Group - Join in the discussion with other SMEs BIMCrunch – BIM related news and opinion Useful Articles A Q&A with the Cubicle Centre on their BIM Journey Discussion with ASSA ABLOY on their decision to become ‘BIM Ready’ Article from AluK looking at how they justify the costs of BIM Guides Government BIM Report – Outline of the Governments plans to support and encourage BIM Adoption BIM for the Terrified – Technical look at adopting BIM from Construction Products Association Content Creation Bimstore – Space Group / BIM Technologies National BIM Library – RIBA Enterprises / NBS Bimstore Standards and Templates for In-house Creation BIM Resources
  20. 20. As a thank you for downloading and reading this guide, we’ve got a special discount which gives you 20% off the annual cost of our Lead Generation package which comes with unlimited hosting for all your BIM content. That’s a saving of £298 per year!!! Go to, register your company and enter the code below when you are asked to choose between the Listing Only plan or Lead Generation plan. **BIM BONUS** 1798 20% Off 01 06 14
  21. 21. SpecifiedBy for Manufacturers “SpecifiedBy makes it even easier for specifiers to access details about the performance and properties of our product range and compare them with others on the market in order to make an informed decision.” Abby Chandler, Marketing Manager @ Heckmondwike “…a must for manufacturers to be on.” Paul Ogle, Marketing Manager @ Olsen Doors & Windows “Unlike other portals, SpecifiedBy puts us directly in touch with clients who are specifically in need of our particular specialised products and services.” Andrew Guppy, Marketing Manager @ Classic Barns Company "Specifier leads are crucial to our business" Craig Sewell, Marketing Manager, Cubicle Centre © SpecifiedBy 2014