Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell – Seth Godin

Picture of Alison Relf

Alison Relf

Managing Director, Taylor Alden

The world of marketing is an exciting one which offers exciting opportunities to talk about you! Communication channels and marketing techniques have become busier and more refined during the pandemic as people around the world have looked at new ways to promote, research and purchase products and services.

The challenging part is developing a bespoke plan for your individual organisation while respecting time, budget and resource. Of course, you also need to ensure that someone can respond to all the amazing enquiries you will receive!

You may have millions to spend, you may have 100 people in your marketing department, and you may have ten specialist agencies – or, perhaps not!  So I would suggest you take it slow, plan well, and go forth in a realistic, priority-led manner.  

The go-to hub for anyone wanting to know more is your website. It’s important to get the design and workings of the website just right. Branding, information, SEO, population, photography, videos…. the list is endless. In the home, interior design and architecture industries, the best websites are those which are image- and project-led. Of course, ease of ordering and efficient financial facilities are equally important. Residential and commercial visitors want to see, quickly and easily, which projects you have worked on, what your specialities are and how you work. A good website designer, in partnership with a strong SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or digital agency, is a good start. Even if you have an existing website, it’s good to do a health check on it before you do anything else. It’s also advisable to look at what your contemporaries are up to.

When looking at your website, and general branding and messaging, always have your target customer/s in mind. How do they look and how do they get information? Who are they? It may be that you conduct a research project just to find out, from your existing contacts, what they like to see and want to know. Are you targeting the self-build market, the architect, the homeowner, or the retailer/merchant – or all? In this desk research, you may want to initiate the development of a list of key contacts – who do you want to work with?

A blog/news section, populated by a variety of key people in your company as well as “guests”, is helpful as is a section on project studies with quotes from happy clients and endorsements from other companies you work with. Mutual PR is important as you are then tapping into a multitude of different audiences. Retailers or housebuilders, for example, may have a greater following than you. By sharing and conversing, you are spreading your message further. Of course, here we are talking social media. Key for design companies today are LinkedIn and Instagram as they, in simple terms, are business and image-led respectively.

You may want to appoint an outside PR/media agency to produce the content, case studies, thought-leadership articles, and this great mix of stories can be used for the media, social media and website pages as a start.

It’s not just about getting your name in the printed and digital media although that is obviously important. It’s also that, by getting to know key journalists, you are asking them to independently endorse your work and share your stories.  Your key media could comprise national, local, commercial and home-interest titles and each article needs to be carefully targeted.  Project case studies and thought-leadership articles are really important here. It is widely known that home, and kitchen and bathroom titles are holding up in the printed world too – as well as trade publications.  The reader likes that the piece is independent and that they do not have to “wade through the internet” looking for a good kitchen sink or bathroom suite. They are looking for inspiration or to see the latest projects that have happened in your industry. All good publications produce a PDF flip page version.

Finally, a useful, popular way of making your mark is through awards and competitions. You only have to search for design or product awards and you can look for a list that best suits your work.