Best Builders’ Merchant marketing initiative

Published:  22 June, 2009


2006 EH SMITH (BUILDERS’ MERCHANTS) Enderby, Leicester





For many years, EH Smith has been regionally and nationally perceived as ‘the brick expert’. After much research, cataloguing, planning and investment, March 2007 saw the launch of – an online brick specification and selection service, aimed at a variety of industry sectors.

The three primary objectives of launching the site were to provide a selection and information service for the industry; to raise the awareness of EH Smith’s brick services beyond its regional locality, and to generate live enquiries to get a return on investment.

For the project to succeed, a targeted marketing campaign was vital. The following integrated techniques were used: direct mail – individual campaigns, using mailers, targeted key users of the site – architects, contractors and self-builders.

These were sent to specific databases accompanied by a BrickSmith branded architect’s pencil to add brand impact. Among these were:


  • Media campaigns – advertising online and in trade journals, banner advertisements, e-mailers, key directory advertising, click-through links – all promoting ‘the UK’s No.1 Brick Selection Service’ and highlighting the benefits of technical information, the sampling service, matching service, expert advice, etc.
  • Specialist media – targeting architects through RIBA and self-builders through homebuilding and renovating sites.
  • Public relations – press releases were despatched, concentrating on the extent and uniqueness of the free service


EH Smith’s search engine optimisation was aimed at maximising the merchant’s visibility to to internet search engines.

In addition, a ‘pay per click’ campaign through Google selectively generated and tracked site traffic. Search terms have been analysed and honed over the period to enhance the suitability and accuracy of targeted visitors.

This ongoing campaign ensures that BrickSmith is kept at the top of the list for selected key search terms. Internal marketing included widespread promotion at branch level.

Measurement through web based analytical reporting, web tracking goals, web stats and lead logging and tracking meant EH Smith could analyse the precise response and adjust its  promotion methods accordingly.

The site received over 40 000 visitors in its first six months, 500+ enquiries, totalling in excess of two million bricks converted into orders or specifications.






Enderby, Leicester

In December 2005, a number of customers were identified from the EH Smith East Midlands regional database, who were ‘non-spend’ and ‘low-spend’ (£1-£500) customers from the previous six month period.

The two primary objectives were: a letter accompanied by three individual tear-off vouchers sent to each of the 592 relevant customers. The vouchers included offers for free products – no purchase necessary; free merchandise and a money off coupon.

The offers were only available on presentation of the vouchers. Each customer was allocated a unique serial number that was printed on each of their vouchers, allowing the marketing department to analyse the campaign at any point in time.

In the six months following this campaign, results exceeded all expectations. There was a 17% take-up from the ‘non-spend’ customers, generating sales of approximately £62 000.

Results from the ‘low-spend’ campaign showed a 30% take-up, generating a turnover of an additional £222 000 in these six months alone.

“This joint customer segmentation campaign has reinforced that regular communication really does work. “Regular interaction constantly reminds customers of who and where we are.  As a result, in the six months following this one-off specially targeted campaign, EH Smith has generated almost £100 000 profit from customers who had previously been spending little or nothing.”

On the back of this successful marketing initiative, a regular communications plan has now been put into action.


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