PFMI: Ambitious goal? You bet!

NFBA has embarked upon the most aggressive program ever conceived for the post-frame building industry — the Post-Frame Market Initiative (PFMI).

The post-frame building market is comprised of a total building sales volume in excess of $12 billion each year. Post-frame originated in the agricultural building market, but has grown into commercial, industrial, institutional and residential market segments.  NFBA’s goal is to grow the entire post-frame market by 25 percent over  five years to the size of $15 billion.

The post-frame industry seeks to significantly increase its market share through a broad-based educational and promotional program specifically targeted to commercial, industrial and institutional building owners and experts they often consult with, to increase the use of post-frame design. This program, along with a comprehensive plan to influence architects, designers, consultants and building owners, was developed to meet the challenge. NFBA will also educate its members about the unique demands of the commercial building market so they are capable and equipped to satisfy the results of the initiative.

NFBA is completing crucial final steps and has already begun the process for placing advertisements online and in industry publications identified by our research. A new web site,, has been developed for this initiative.
Print advertising and search engine keyword advertising programs have been developed to drive people to the new web site, with the promise of receiving a free copy of a new hard-bound book called The Post-Frame Advantage.  The web site and book extol the virtues of post-frame, and direct people to find a builder, supplier or design professional using our customized online membership search engine.

NFBA will automatically track activity to record and report to each member the number of potential business referrals their listings get in the form of web site hits, emails and phone/address look-ups.

The PFMI marketing program is based on sound market research. NFBA hired two marketing companies, Market Directions and OnTarget Interactive, to assist in conducting market research to form a sound strategy and to provide a professional implementation.
NFBA also conducts industry surveys to determine the size and scope of the post-frame industry. Results are available to NFBA members only. To download industry statistical reports, visit the “NFBA Surveys” section of “Members Only Downloads” (you must be logged in as an NFBA member to access reports).

NFBA conducts a Quarterly Post-Frame Industry Forecast Survey. Results of this survey are available to anyone.  Then click for more information about the Quarterly Post-Frame Industry Forecast Survey.

Frequently asked questions about the PFMI

What is the Post-Frame Market Initiative (PFMI)?
• The Post-Frame Market Initiative is the most far reaching marketing effort ever conceived of for the post-frame construction industry. It’s all about telling the post-frame story to what we’re referring to as the “gatekeepers” to industry growth, the architects, engineers, developers, educators, building purchasers and other design professionals that so often influence the decision as to what type of construction will be utilized for a wide variety of “commercial” construction projects.
Who is involved?
• PFMI is an initiative in which the entire industry is — and should be — involved.  Whether you are a post-frame contractor, a component manufacturer, a building material supplier or a design professional yourself, you owe it to yourself to find out more about the Post-Frame Marketing Initiative. All that NFBA is doing via this initiative is designed to grow the industry AND your individual business. The only way to truly be a part of PFMI is to be involved!

What is the objective?
• The objective is to significantly increase its market share for post-frame construction through a broad-based educational and promotional program specifically targeted to commercial, industrial, residential and institutional building owners and experts they often consult with, to increase the use of post-frame design. This program, along with a comprehensive plan to influence architects, designers, consultants and building owners, was developed to meet the challenge.  NFBA will also educate its members about the unique demands of the commercial building market so they are capable and equipped to satisfy the results of the initiative.

How much money is being spent?
• NFBA’s initial funding goal was $1,000,000, to be raised over a five-year period. That goal, however, has now been raised as it has already been exceeded. The budget is now to spend a minimum of $2,000,000 on the PFMI.  You should know that that figure too, is now well within reach. The more money we can raise, the more far-reaching the PFMI can be. We urge you to get involved. The more people/companies participating, the more benefit everyone will derive!

Where did the money come from?
• The money to fund the PFMI has come from a variety of sources.  First, NFBA committed $50,000 per year for five years from “reserve” funds. NFBA Supplier Division members stepped up and have already created a fund in excess of $50,000 for the first year. They expect to top this figure next year. Affiliated industry groups, like the American Iron & Steel Institute and Alternative Foundation Alliance have contributed $40,000. A consortium of lumber producers, both from the U.S. and Canada, have committed a minimum of $200,000 per year for five years. NFBA Chapters, members and individuals have contributed the balance.

How is the money being spent?
• There are nine categories where PFMI funds will be allocated.  They are:
1. Print Advertising. In major publications reaching our target audience
2. Search Engine Marketing. Today most people go to “Google” and enter a “key word” (i.e. building, post-frame construction, commercial structures, etc.), to find information on virtually any subject. The post-frame industry will be well represented.
3. Direct Mail.  PFMI will be in direct contact with our targeted audience via direct mail with specially designed pieces to tell the post-frame story.
4. Website.  A new website,, will be the focal point for anyone interested in learning more about post-frame construction.
5. Email Marketing.  Both purchased and currently owned email lists will be used to take our story to architects, engineers, potential building purchasers and more on a monthly basis.
6. Trade Show Participation.  Wood Solutions Fairs are currently being conducted in various locations across the country.  These events attract architects, engineers, builders, building designers, building officials, building designers, specifiers, students and professors.  Fairs combine topical seminars with relevant trade booths to deliver a comprehensive educational experience for individuals considering or using wood in non-residential structures.  NFBA will participate both in the development and delivery of educational programming on post-frame, and also with a booth on the trade show floor.
7. Education & Public Relations.  NFBA is developing educational materials not only for architect and engineers, but also for educators and builders as well. Post-frame design simply is not taught at the university level any longer.  We must reverse this trend. Education is the key to long-term market stability and future growth. NFBA intends to fulfill its obligation to develop educational programming as a large part of the PFMI.
8. Handbook Development.  “The Post-Frame Advantage” is the name of a new hard cover book written and published by NFBA and is the backbone of the Post-Frame Market Initiative.  Anyone and everyone responding to our message about the benefits of post-frame construction, and visiting the post-frame advantage website, will be able to obtain a copy of this book FREE!  Because the book is high quality and hard bound, it should remain on bookshelves as a valuable reference for years to come.
9. Market Metrics & Research.  How can you measure what you’ve achieved, if you don’t know where you began?  Obviously, knowing the size of the market, and measuring growth is key to sustaining the PFMI, expanding funding and more aggressively marketing the industry in the years ahead.  A portion of PFMI funds will be used to quantify our success in each of the areas itemized above, as well as market growth.

When does the PFMI begin?
• The initial phase of the PFMI began in 2008, and will run through 2012. It’s a safe bet, however, that this initiative will grow and expand further in the future. You can help us expand the industry and your individual business by being in involved and supporting the National Frame Building Association.

What’s behind the PFMI? Why do it?
• Building owners, whether individuals or corporations, may hold prejudiced beliefs in favor of or against specific kinds of buildings. A major impediment to the growth of the post-frame building industry is a widespread public opinion that post-frame is used only for temporary buildings, and best suited for agricultural applications, sheds and garages.  What far too few people realize is that post-frame is often the best choice for a wide variety of building types.

What are PFMI’s desired outcomes?
• The overall objective for the program is to expanded post-frame growth in commercial building segments, which our research indicates are prime areas for post-frame market penetration. Throughout the course of the five-year plan, the primary targets will be design professionals first and foremost, and secondarily professional building owner groups. Desired outcomes also include:
a) Positioning post-frame as the best value for commercial applications.
b) Convincing as many people as possible that post-frame provides excellent performance and quality with competitive installed costs, best life-cycle value and lowest long-term maintenance costs.
c) Changing public misconceptions by demonstrating that post-frame buildings are durable, may feature various exterior finish options and meet the highest aesthetic standards – from metal cladding that provides beauty and design flexibility to other siding products to match a particular owner’s preference for wood siding, stucco, brick, stone or other finishes.

What are the specific objectives of the PFMI?
• The primary objective has two main components:
a) Increase revenues for the entire post-frame industry by 25 percent over the course of five years; and
b) Increase sales of post-frame buildings for members and supporters of the Post-Frame Market Initiative by more than 25 percent.

How do you define the potential market for post-frame?
• The best prospective building targets for post-frame design are less than 100’ wide and two stories or less, with no basement.  The best potential target market for this effort as non-residential, single story, less than 20,000 square feet.  Our research indicates that the light commercial, retail and strip mall segments hold the best promise for overall growth in coming years.

Is post-frame expansion in the commercial market PFMI’s sole objective?
• No.  PFMI will also support the growth of traditional markets for post-frame, so people who are searching for a “Pole Barn,” “Pole Building,” “Metal Building,” “Machinery Storage/Workshop,” “Horse Barn,” etc. will be directed to theNFBA web site to find a builder, supplier or design professional member.

What research has been done to target this initiative?
• NFBA has selected appropriate marketing agencies for this effort.  Market Directions, Inc. has conducted a thorough market evaluation and report.  On Target, Inc. has formulated strategies for market program implementation.  NFBA Staff will coordinate all third-party efforts to provide effective representation and interaction within the industry. 

What is the potential for growth?
• According to NFBA market surveys, our most conservative estimate of the size of the post-frame market in 2007 was at least $12 billion.  If we grow the post-frame market by 5 percent and other factors do not mitigate our estimates (such as radical price fluctuations in cost of vital post-frame products such as wood and steel), we expect to see 5 percent sales growth for most or all NFBA members and other post-frame marketing program supporters.  Because sales leads generated by our marketing efforts will go to members, it is reasonable to expect that members will see growth in excess of 5 percent, all other economic factors being equal.

What are the benefits to participants?
• Member companies who sign on to the program will receive benefits as either active or passive participants. This marketing program will reach and influence thousands of owners, architects and other building professionals each month. Those targets of our effort, who will be directed to will be referred to “Find a Supplier,” “Find a Designer” or “Find a Builder” from the web site. When people “Find a Builder” from among our membership, products offered by NFBA supplier members will be sold. Activity on the web site will be monitored and reported to members, including reports of how many visitors looked up their phone number, sent them an email, and went to their web site from the NFBA site.

What does industry growth mean to me?
• Increased Sales: Industry growth of 25 percent will mean similar, if not greater, growth for your own company.

Tom Knight is the president of the NFBA.

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