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Beyond Brand Name: How to Get Contractors to Adopt New Products

Professional contractors are brand loyalists who purchase tools and building supplies based on brands they know and trust, according to national research from Eric Mower + Associates Group B2B’s Contractor Specialty Group. EMA’s research also shows there are strategies marketers can effectively use to drive 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,” said John O’Hara, partner and leader of EMA’s Contractor Specialty Group. “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.”

A national research study of 500 general contractors, electricians, plumbers and HVAC specialists conducted by EMA found insights marketers can use to accelerate new product adoption.

Shared Experiences
When it comes to information on new products, 85% of respondents said peer recommendations are important, while 83% were likely to recommend a brand they know and trust even if it were higher priced. Early in the new product adoption cycle, manufacturers should capture peer testimonials in videos and develop customer case studies, which can be used in the marketing mix. It is also a smart strategy, when possible, to quote and partner with key thought leaders and industry influencers in marketing materials.

Offer Trials
Contractors said that the most influential reason for switching brands is because of free product trials. According to EMA’s study, 55% of respondents said that product trial would move them to switch brands. And 68% 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 before purchasing.

Multi-Platform Marketing
Contractors are getting new product information from a wide variety of locations and formats.
According to EMA’s study, 50% of contractors use a smartphone, 49 percent use a laptop with mobile web access, and 21% use an iPad or other tablet for their jobs, suggesting more business purchase research and decisions are being conducted online from the jobsite rather than behind a desk. Tool and building materials 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. The group’s client list of leading brands includes LENOX, Charlotte Pipe and Foundry, Bosch, TimberTech, Legrand/Pass & Seymour and Southwire.

To learn more about EMA’s Contractor study, please contact John O’Hara at johara@mower.com.

About Mower

Mower is a digitally integrated independent marketing, advertising and public relations agency with professionals in New York City, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, N.C., Cincinnati, and Buffalo, Rochester, Albany and Syracuse, N.Y. Mower delivers strategic insights and counsel, digital solutions, smart creative and award-winning results to clients in a wide range of industries and service sectors. It has earned top industry accolades from Clio, Cannes and ANA B2 awards and is the only full-service agency ranked in Ad Age, B2B Marketing, PRWeek and Chief Marketer. Mower is part of two global agency networks—thenetworkone and IPREX—as well as the 4A’s.