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How Manufacturers Can Meet the Needs of Facilities Managers

Discover the untapped potential of marketing to facility managers, one of the most sought-after audiences in the building materials industry. Uncover how to target and create meaningful connections with this influential group.

Photo of Zach Williams
Photo of Beth PopNikolov
by Zach Williams and Beth PopNikolov

In this episode of the Smarter Building Materials Marketing Podcast, Zach and Beth are joined by Ginny Peeples, a community manager at Townside Community Management, to talk about the unique needs of facilities managers and how manufacturers can better cater to their requirements.

Episode Rundown

02:23 - How contractors are offering new product options to facility managers
04:00 - How to effectively reach facilities managers
07:09 - How facility managers are finding specific products for unique projects
10:08 - How student housing and rental units are in high demand

Meet Ginny Peeples

Ginny Peeples, the Community Manager at Townside Community Management, where she oversees a diverse portfolio of properties, including student housing, luxury condominiums, single-family homes, townhome neighborhoods and an RV park.

With over five years of industry experience, Ginny emphasizes the importance of strong partnerships with vendors and contractors in her role.

Ginny highlights that Townside Community Management manages approximately 65 associations in the Greater New River Valley of Virginia. This includes around 700 rental properties, primarily catering to student housing, and 65 different types of condominium or homeowners associations.

The Role of a Facilities Manager

Facilities managers like Ginny are responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of properties and often work closely with vendors and contractors. Ginny emphasizes the importance of facilities managers being informed about the latest building materials and products available to meet the needs of their properties.

Understanding the role of a facilities manager and their influence in selecting building materials is essential for suppliers and manufacturers looking to market their products effectively in the industry.

Approaching New Building Materials Products

Regarding building materials and products, Ginny explains that they are often approached by contractors with new products or solutions.

Relationships are what funnel those leads to me, and then, I'll pick up the phone and call them and say, "Hey, you might be a great fit for a project we're looking at.” — Ginny Peeples

For example, she mentions a case where a liquid material was introduced to extend the life of asphalt shingles. Ginny's role involves evaluating these products and sharing relevant information with the board of directors for decision-making. Additionally, she and her team proactively seek out information on the latest features and advancements in various areas such as shingles, asphalt pavement and home appliances.

Zach highlights the importance of understanding the specific needs of each project and how new products can address those needs. Ginny emphasizes the value of seeing physical examples or completed projects before making a decision.

Effective and Ineffective Ways To Reach Out

Ginny reveals that she dislikes receiving generic, mass email blasts that lack personalization and relevance to her region or specific needs.

I'm going to start with what I don't like because I see it so often — [it] is what appears to be some type of computer-generated message being blasted to me. It's not personal or relevant to maybe the region I'm working in.” — Ginny Peeples

In particular, she points out emails from companies that are unable to service their area, which shows a lack of familiarity with their market.

However, genuine recommendations from trusted contacts or relationships cultivated by manufacturers have a positive impact on Ginny. She appreciates direct calls that introduce contractors or suppliers who have been highly recommended by others in the industry.

The Power of Relationships

Ginny explains that her preferred approach for finding new suppliers or contractors is to rely on the recommendations of trusted contacts. These relationships provide her valuable insights and the confidence to engage with new partners.

She emphasizes the importance of references and tangible examples, such as samples or seeing completed projects in person, to assess the quality of work. Ginny's focus is on building a strong rapport and trust with suppliers.

Beth notes that Ginny primarily relies on conversations with builders, contractors and installers rather than conducting online research when seeking recommendations or advice for projects, maintenance or routine tasks.

I have almost a Rolodex in my head of folks I've worked with that have proven tried and true. And then, in some cases, I am going to sites to look at specific products that fit into the project that I have coming up.”— Ginny Peeples

Ginny affirms this approach but notes that for unique needs, such as requirements for steel components, she widens her search to find suitable suppliers.

What This Means for Building Materials Manufacturers

For building materials manufacturers, Ginny's perspective provides important takeaways and advice for you to effectively market and sell products to facility managers.

Here are four takeaways to improve your marketing strategies and establish meaningful partnerships within the property management industry:

  1. Personalize your approach: Tailor your outreach to the specific needs and regions of facilities managers. Show that you understand their challenges and are committed to meeting their requirements.

  2. Build relationships within the industry: Cultivate relationships with industry professionals who can recommend your products or services. Word-of-mouth referrals carry significant weight and can open doors to new opportunities.

  3. Provide references and samples: Offer facilities managers references from satisfied customers and tangible samples of your work. This gives them the confidence and evidence they need to consider your product or service.

Consider local partnerships: If possible, establish local partnerships or ensure you have the capability to service remote areas effectively. Being able to provide timely and reliable support enhances your appeal to facilities managers.

Want Even More Insight?

Zach asks Ginny about the current state of the economy and what she is seeing in terms of demand and market trends. Ginny explains that their region, due to the university climate, has not experienced a slowdown in sales like other regions.

Ginny mentions that there was a peak in sales in 2022, particularly in single-family homes and condominiums. However, she notes that with rising interest rates, there have been slightly fewer sales in single-family homes this year compared to last year.

Ginny shares that even in the student housing market, there is high demand, as parents are eager to buy condominiums for their children to confirm housing at a lower rate than the traditional rental market. She also mentions that the rental market is nearly 100% leased, which is quite impressive for the volume of rental units in their area.

Ginny observes that there is a strong and competitive market where condominiums offer value, and she sees retirees and empty nesters showing interest in these properties as well. She receives calls from people asking to be notified of any listings in certain neighborhoods.

Ginny's expertise sheds light on the preferences and needs of facility managers, offering actionable advice for building materials manufacturers and suppliers. To learn more about Ginny and her work at Townside Community Management, connect with her via their HOA division at [email protected]

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts on this topic, feel free to email us at [email protected]. Don't forget to like and subscribe to the podcast on your preferred platform for more valuable insights.

More About The Show

The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insights on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.