Learning Resources for the Inexperienced

Hello, all. I am currently doing graphic design/marketing for a small, family-run manufacturer in the Midwest. I studied ecology in college and I have been doing habitat restoration until recently, when I decided to help my family for a little bit.

The company makes ceramic building materials, and most of my work is designing for print. I am, however, also charged with updating their website. Currently, the company has very little invested in marketing and most of what they have (besides their new logo) is between 10-20 years old. Generally, our customers are architects and building suppliers. We do not usually work directly with consumers.

I am doing my best, and I would like to research as much as I can so that I am more prepared for the tasks at hand. I was wondering if you guys could point me in the direction of some good resources on building a brand identity, web design & development, or literally anything else you guys think could be useful. I have no business, design, or marketing training. Any suggestions on where to find good information (web tutorials, books, etc.) would be much appreciated!

The question I kinda have to ask is, wouldn’t it be better for you to be working at what you do best and perhaps put money toward hiring a professional to update your folk’s business website? I get it if something (like the weather) has side-lined you, but still…

I don’t have any resources for you off the top of my head, but I do have several vendors that are in the same boat as your parents. Basically you are looking at two different marketing campaigns, not one.

  1. You have to market to the architects to get them to specify your product. They are not the ones actually buying the stuff. But if they spec it by name in their build drawings, the builder is far more likely to go with the product spec’d. Especially if a “no substitutions” clause is put in the build contract or bid package. Your website should have a section for either downloading or copy-pasting the product specifications (including anything that makes their product unique) so the architects can do a cut sheet and/or a key spec.

  2. The building suppliers are tougher. They need people to buy your product in order to stock it, so they need a “sell sheet” that appeals to builders looking for a ceramic product like yours. Not knowing what it is, you may consider a sample kit for special orders if they can’t or won’t stock the product in bulk.

In the above situation, I am considered a builder. I either get a direct spec from the architect and, if we haven’t had issues with the product in the past, that is what we go with. Otherwise I might propose a substitution based on what another of my product suppliers offers that might be of better quality, or is a suitable substitute for “value-engineering.” Subs require a lot of paperwork, so a cut sheet or sample package helps sell it. Plus I’m taking the responsibility for making the suggestion, so the alternate product has to have convinced me of its value.

This is the kind of stuff learned through experience working at a high level in the design field. I don’t really think you will find it out there in a book or website/blog.
Others here may chime in if I’m wrong on that.

©2019 Graphic Design Forum | Contact | Legal | Twitter | Facebook