We have helped companies grow across the construction, building materials and home improvement sectors. Read more in our selection of case studies about some of the customers we have worked with and the campaigns we have driven.
CPA Building Safely Campaign
Marketing, Digital & PR
The Construction Products Association (CPA) was tasked by government to tackle the shortcomings in product testing and information found in the Hackitt report into the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. Over two years, the CPA’s Marketing Integrity Group conducted debates, and focus groups and a ‘Call for Evidence’ survey in 2019 which resulted in the new Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI).
In February 2021, the Construction Products Association (CPA) launched an industry-wide consultation into a new Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI). The Code was developed by the CPA in response to the issues raised in Dame Judith Hackitt’s report ‘Building A Safer Future’, following the Grenfell Tower fire. Specifically, the CCPI tackles shortcomings in product information. The Construction Products Association (CPA) engaged MRA Marketing to promote the consultation for the new Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI).
MRA Marketing was tasked to build awareness and understanding of the Code itself, as well as encouraging industry participation in the consultation.
MRA Research was commissioned to conduct and report on the survey. Extensive and integrated marketing activity followed, resulting in in-depth responses from across the industry.
MRA Marketing was to conduct an awareness campaign to promote the Code and the survey, and MRA Research was to design the surveys, run the consultation and compile the findings. The consultation on the Code, and the campaign to promote it.
The initial timetable for the survey and the campaign to promote it was 1st February 2021 to 31st March 2021. The budget for the awareness campaign was £10,700. The task, however, was much larger and, eventually, much more was delivered.
Reaching all construction via usual channels in a short timescale would normally be a difficult – and expensive – task. Since Grenfell, construction has also kept its head down, so MRA had to galvanise a suddenly shy industry to participate.
MRA suggested using CPA members to share assets in their own marketing, to amplify reach and engagement. MRA used its own channels too, such as the Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI), which has an extensive reach in construction.
This highly publicised campaign was hugely successful and achieved outstanding results. The marketing activity drove extensive
support of the Code and consultation and high levels of traffic to the website.
The consultation response allowed the CPA’s Marketing Integrity Group to finalise the Code with confidence before transferring it to Construction Product Information (CPI). The Code was published on the 21st September 2021 and can be found at www.cpicode.org.uk where the industry can now monitor next steps.
Download the full case study here.
press appearances from the launch
visits to the campaign website
downloads of the code
Strategy & Business Models
When MRA Marketing began working with PVC-U window system company, Deceuninck UK, in 2013, we set out to take it from brink-of closure to a top-of-mind, leading brand.
MRA Research reviewed the market and identified a powerful trend among a growing group of mortgage-lite/free homeowners aged over-50, who had the desire and money to spend on home improvements. Aside from energy efficiency, they wanted their homes to look beautiful – and they loved colour. Deceuninck was known for ‘pretty’ windows and sold more colour than others, but the windows market was set up to supply white, and that’s what most manufacturers and installers sold.
Key challenges were to:
Make colour the story, the key to growth.
Educate the market.
Installers won’t sell colour unless they know their supplier can supply in the same timescale as white.
Position Deceuninck and its supply chain as #ColourEnabled – competing more effectively than rivals for this growing, profitable market.
Encourage happy customers to shout out and become advocates for the brand.
MRA Marketing spearheaded an integrated programme that included advertising, direct marketing, digital and social media as well as POS and livery.
When MRA Marketing first started working with Deceuninck, PVC-U colour windows were unusual, thought of as a problem rather than an opportunity to upsell. Colour windows had to be made to order, on significantly longer lead times than standard white. Installers were reluctant to wait that long when customers wanted them ‘now’.
Deceuninck decided to commit and invest in stock, to break this chain. It was major change of approach, a bold and costly move: the company had to keep 26 times as much window profiles in stock with all the matching trims, ancillaries and components.
Deceuninck needed a vast warehouse to carry the extra £4.5m of stock, more extruders to make it, more foiling machines and technicians, better ordering systems, new marketing collateral. But Deceuninck – and MRA – also had to change the way the market thought. Most fabricators thought homeowners wanted white – because that’s what installers ordered. But installers sold white because customers wouldn’t wait for weeks (or then, months) for colour. The #ThinkColour campaign had to convince the market that homeowners would buy colour if installers offered it.
Competitors thought the cost would kill the company when Deceuninck switched from making to order to colour from stock. But the investment has paid off as most people now get the #ColourEnabled story. As a USP, the difference is stark. Delivery from stock typically takes 3 days, made-to-order over 3 weeks.
It took a year or two for early adopters to absorb and understand the message – but when the rest of the market saw that those who embraced colour were growing much more strongly, Deceuninck attracted a queue of fabricators wanting to switch. And they’re continuing to switch, as most systems companies still don’t offer colour from stock because of the investment required to finance it.
Downloaded full case study here.
in sales in 2019
in 2020 colour sales vs market average 25-28%
positive press appearances a year
Strategy & Business Models
SWISSPACER, a Saint-Gobain company, is a manufacturer and distributor of warm edge spacer bars. SWISSPACER’s ‘warm edge’ technology is used in double or triple glazing units instead of aluminium bars, significantly improving the insulation properties or thermal performance of windows – and their energy ratings. But when we first started working with SWISSPACER, although it supplied spacer bars to glazing and sealed unit manufacturers across Europe, it didn’t even have a UK sales rep!
MRA Marketing approached SWISSPACER’s head office in Switzerland in 2007, with a proposal to launch and firmly establish the brand in the UK and Ireland.
Our experience and research in the UK glazing markets demonstrated a huge opportunity, and we were able to outline – and then implement – a strategy to take advantage of this
With no sales office or representatives in the UK or Ireland for SWISSPACER, MRA Marketing managed all leads and enquiries in the first year, generating them and liaising with the Sales Director in Switzerland.
Within 12 months, SWISSPACER had established a sales rep based in the UK. A base in the UK and national distribution a year later. Within three years SWISSPACER was a market leader.
When we first approached SWISSPACER, changes to Building Regulations had started driving demand for much better energy efficient homes. With a significant amount of heat lost through doors and windows, improving thermal performance was a core part of the changes.
Sealed unit manufacturers, window fabricators and their installer customers could sell higher rated/better thermally performing windows and doors at a premium – and more of them too.
Homeowners wanted to upgrade their original windows (or first replacements) for better insulated ones and the Government was heavily promoting the benefits: lower fuel bills, a more comfortable home and fewer carbon emissions to help combat climate change.
SWISSPACER had the best performing, premium priced Warm edge spacer bar in the market but no presence in the UK or Ireland. At the time, the other significant player in the market that had launched a ‘flexible’ energy efficient spacer bar for windows. It was growing fast but its product required significant investment from glass unit manufacturers in special machinery.
There was a gap in a growing market to not only launch a better solution – SWISSPACER’s rigid spacer bar was proven to achieve the lowest U-value (and best thermal performance) – but also one that required no investment in special machinery. It was the quickest, easiest warm edge solution ‘right out of the box’ for the best Window Energy Ratings.
With a steady stream of press releases, articles, adverts, direct mail, and events, we quickly built ‘top of mind’ awareness and understanding of the benefits of the brand and its products. We generated leads and enquiries and initially managed them too, feeding back directly to head office in Switzerland.
Within 12 months, SWISSPACER had established a sales rep in the UK, and a distributor base there the following year. MRA continued to work with SWISSPACER to build on this success, helping establish a UK distribution warehouse a few years later, and launching new products and initiatives into the market to maintain momentum. We cemented its reputation and built pull-through demand by targeting window fabricators, installers, and systems companies.
In 2011, just three years after MRA began working with SWISSPACER the UK and Ireland market was number one brand.
Download the full case study here.
in UK and Ireland warm edge spacer market by 2011
of Passivhaus certified windows and façades used SWISSPACER
UK and Ireland grew to be SWISSPACER’s largest global market by 2011
Acheson & Glover
Strategy & Business Models
Acheson & Glover is a hard landscaping manufacturer based in Northern Ireland. In 2011 the financial crisis and the downturn in Ireland had impacted sales significantly, and the business had to establish new markets quickly to survive.
Great Britain (GB) was an obvious target market, but despite its dominance of hard landscaping in Ireland, A&G’s brand was virtually unknown elsewhere. Moreover, the hard landscaping market in GB operates in a fundamentally different way.
With more than 20 (now 30!) years’ experience in the construction sector, MRA Marketing and MRA Research brought in-depth understanding of the hard landscaping market to this project. We knew the buying groups and who controlled access to the builders’ merchants A&G was targeting, and when crucial supply decisions were made.
With the large national merchants locked into long-term deals with the three major suppliers, independent merchants were the main target. Merchants wanted suppliers who would be flexible, put their needs first and help them grow their businesses in a difficult economy. MRA Marketing developed a two-pronged strategy that focused on highlighting a merchant-friendly service, and an ‘Outside Rooms’ concept to inspire the end-consumer.
MRA proposed and implemented a fully integrated marketing plan including advertising, branding, digital, direct mail, exhibitions, PR, and even personal introductions and tenders to the buying groups
We developed this merchant-friendly approach into a high-profile campaign: ‘Making it personal’. Within it we identified 11 distinct points where the business could stand out from the competition, including 24 hour deliveries, same-day product sample dispatch, no extra charges for mixed lorry loads, pallets designed to match merchants’ offloading capacity, landscape design training and more.
Advertising, direct mail and the website was fronted by the Commercial Director, Stuart Cook. Putting a face to the brand and encouraging merchants to ‘Talk to Stuart’ was an important part of the campaign and built awareness and understanding.
Selling ideas helps merchants avoid getting stuck in margin-destroying ‘product at a price’ discussions. Outside Rooms was based on identifying the need for more living space. It enabled merchants and their builder customers to help consumers increase their home’s usable space by seeing their outdoor area as an extension of their living room. Merchants could offer a landscaping design service supported by displays, a lifestyle brochure (rather than a product catalogue) and a dedicated website. This helped pull through incremental high-margin sales for merchants and generated additional cross selling opportunities.
Branding tweaks, advertising, direct mail, PR, exhibitions, POS support and sponsorship were crucial parts of the marketing strategy. But it was just as important that MRA Marketing was leveraging personal contacts and our own name in the industry to identify and generate tender opportunities for A&G with the buying groups.
These key groups controlled access to more than 80% of sales through independent merchants. We knew how the buying groups worked, what they were looking for, and who the decision makers were. A targeted direct mail programme boosted the impact of personal introductions, and memorable presentations that said the right things to the right people. A&G was invited to pitch to three of the four buying groups. It won one deal just 10 months from its launch into GB. A year later it won a second deal.
A&G has continued to grow and develop strongly in GB and is now a firm brand in the hard landscaping market across domestic and commercial sectors. The Outside Rooms concept remains a core part of the business strategy. In 2018, A&G was awarded the Supplier of the Year by the National Buying Group within its ‘Civils & Landscaping’ category.
Download the full case study here.
increase in in GB landscaping sales by the end of 2011 vs 2010
increase in merchant brand awareness in 2012 from 0% in 2011
Trading agreements secured in 2011 and 2012 with key buying groups