PFMI Update: Reaching target audiences, expanding the market

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The Post-Frame Market Initiative, now in its fifth year, continues to produce results and promote post frame as the construction method of choice for light-commercial construction.

Following are some updates on the program, as well as ways that you can contribute to and benefit from the program.

Lunch-and-Learn sessions reach target audiences
PFMI has been working to expand the use of post-frame construction by targeting architects, engineers and building owners with high-impact marketing and education programs. PFMI recently introduced a program to offer in-person lunch-and-learn sessions to key target audiences and the early returns have been impressive.

This past spring PFMI representatives presented two educational programs — “Introduction to Post-Frame Building Systems” and “Structural Design of Post-Frame Building Systems for Engineers” — to an audience of engineers and architects at the Virginia branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The sessions were well received and the attendees expressed interest in using post frame for some of their designs for deployment facilities that would be packaged in the United States and shipped overseas.

Positive feedback from that session opened the door for PFMI staff members to meet with the Fort Worth chapter of USACE in August. The post-frame sessions were again well received and the chief engineer recommended that PFMI reach out to USACE offices in eight additional locations to educate their architects and engineers about the benefits of the post-frame building system.

NFBA is excited about this development and continues to leverage the PFMI program to educate key target audiences about the benefits of using post frame over other construction methods, including steel frame, concrete and brick.

The experience with USACE is a great example of uncovering a new target audience and using educational seminars to open doors and influence decisions about construction methods.

Fund raising continues to gather momentum
PFMI relies on contributions from NFBA members and other organizations to fund its initiatives. This summer, PFMI staff members hosted two educational and fund-raising sessions with members at NFBA headquarters in Glenview, Ill. Feedback and support have been positive and additional meetings may be hosted in other locations in the fall.

In July and August, PFMI presented a funding proposal to the American Iron and Steel Institute — an organization that has supported the PFMI program in the past. Preliminary feedback from the meeting has been positive and a decision on funding from AISI is expected later in 2012.

Finally, the PFMI staff presented a 12-month cycle funding request to the Softwood Lumber Board (formerly the Binational Softwood Lumber Council) in Chicago on October 24, 2012. Funding from the Softwood Lumber Board will likely support our educational programs targeted at the design and engineering communities as well as key research projects that will help promote the benefits of post frame.

We value our strong relationship with the Softwood Lumber Board and appreciate the generous support it provides to PFMI.

Looking ahead to 2013
The energy the PFMI staff and NFBA volunteers have put into fund raising this year is expected to lead to increased funding for the PFMI program. As the program progresses and grows, its goal remains the same: to expand the market for post frame by increasing the use of post-frame construction in the light commercial market.

Outreach efforts will focus on architects, engineers and building owners, and emphasis will be placed in the following areas:

  • Education — PFMI has had much success with educating architects and engineers via webinars, in-person lunch-and-learn sessions and online training modules administered through postframeadvantage.com. In 2013, PFMI is planning to refresh current offerings and add new modules to the program. Feedback has indicated that code officials present a significant barrier for expanding post frame in new markets, so educating this audience will be a priority.
  • Marketing — Postframeadvantage.com will continue to be a priority as we work to become the resource for architects, engineers and building owners. Postframeadvantage.com is the hub of everything we do, including webinars, trades shows, public relations and more. In 2012 the “Ask the Experts” forum was added, and in 2013 the staff will continue to build content with case studies, articles and blog entries. PFMI initiatives will continue to be promoted via advertising in key publications in 2013, but with an added emphasis on online media. Social media and interactive marketing will become more prevalent in PFMI’s efforts to reach its audiences, as architects and designers continue to consume more and more digital media.
  • Research — Key technical and research initiatives will continue to be funded through PFMI in 2013. Priorities include projects that will enhance the ability for post frame to further penetrate the light-commercial construction market.
  • Metrics — PFMI will continue to measure and forecast the size and health of the post-frame construction industry — as well as the impact of the PFMI program — through metrics. NFBA’s recently commissioned “Post-Frame Market Sizing Model Report,” which identifies key industry trends and drivers and evaluates growth trends, has been a central part of PFMI’s marketing and fund-raising initiatives and will be refined in 2013.

 

Other ways to support PFMI

The support of NFBA members and other contributing organizations is greatly appreciated and will contribute to building the success of PFMI in years to come.

If you have a commercial, institutional or residential project that you think is exemplary and innovative, please send us an e-mail. The PFMI staff is always looking for projects to highlight in case studies, web articles, and public relations efforts. Contact John Ryan, NFBA’s director of market development, at jryan@nfba.org.

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