L-r: Mike Rigby, owner of MRA Marketing and Mark Mallinder, marketing director at EH Smith being presented with their award.

‘Proper Builders’ campaign wins CMA award for EH Smith

Published:  13 December, 2013

EH Smith has picked up another award for its ‘Proper Builders’ campaign which has delivered a 30% increase in customer visits to its eight branches across the UK and prompted the opening of a ninth in Olton in the West Midlands.

The firm picked up the award for best Strategic Planning and Management of a campaign at the Construction Marketing Awards (CMA), beating off competition from Lafarge Tarmac and Reynaers at Home.

The award, won jointly with its marketing agency MRA Associates, recognised the campaign’s success in positioning EH Smith on the side of small, independent builders and other trades - highlighting the firm’s move to fixed pricing and the lowering of 15,000 prices on its most popular collected products.

The campaign included digital and social media; direct marketing; radio competitions on Free Radio across the West Midlands; stories in all key regional newspapers, television and radio and a week of events during which customers were invited to hog roasts to visit the £400,000 redevelopment of the Shirley, Solihull site.

Run by the Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Industry Group (CIMCIG), the CMA Awards recognise and celebrate the best and most innovative marketing campaigns in the construction industry.

Mark Mallinder, marketing director of EH Smith said: “After our success at the recent Builders’ Merchants Awards for Excellence, this second award was a great Christmas present and the perfect end to a really cracking year.

“The campaign was designed to embed a genuine cultural change in the way EH Smith interacts with customers by communicating EH Smith’s expanded range, fixed pricing and new facilities - and encourage customers to browse, self-select and collect from site.

We focused our attention on smaller builders and associated trades, positioning ourselves as a ‘proper builders’ merchant for proper builders’ - and it has been gratifying to see a 38% increase in product range purchased by this target group.”

Mike Rigby, of MRA Marketing added: “A lot of marketing is focused on sales promotion and making a campaign look pretty. That’s why it often disappoints. What impressed me was EH Smith had the vision to ask how to achieve a significant and sustainable increase in a small builder’s business and then hold marketing accountable for implementing the plan. Mark and I spent 18 months researching what builders think of their suppliers and what they want; researching best practice, and how much business there was to be had; tracking prices; thinking what would really give EH Smith a competitive edge, and make small builders switch.”

Mr Rigby added: "We used this information to plan a different approach and deliver it by redesigning the branch and changing the product range, merchandising, opening hours and pricing. We used all the marketing tools including social media to reach builders on their smartphones. The improved performance is what we expected and the new approach is being rolled out to other branches. It’s working because it is ‘Proper Marketing’ to ‘Proper Builders’!”

On the back of the rise in customer visits prompted by the campaign, EH Smith’s new branch at Olton Wharf, Solihull opened its doors for collections in November stocking essential building supplies to help meet demand from customers across the West Midlands region.

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