manufacturer resources

Fixing Your Lunch and Learn Strategy for Better ROI

Beth Hayden / Acelab Team

For years, lunch & learns have been the go-to method for manufacturers looking to educate architects about their products. Providing a free meal and a quick presentation seemed like a surefire way to get your foot in the door and generate leads.

However, many manufacturers are finding that traditional lunch & learns often fail to deliver high-quality leads. Architects may show up for the free food, but they're not always the key decision-makers, and they may not be working on projects that are a good fit for your products.

In this post, we'll explore the four main drawbacks of traditional lunch & learns and introduce a more effective alternative: targeted workshops through Acelab. By the end, you'll see how these workshops can help you overcome the challenges of lunch & learns and connect with architects who are actively seeking products like yours for their current projects.

The Biggest Disadvantages of Traditional Lunch & Learns (and How to Solve Them to Get Better Leads)

1. Timing misalignment

When you host a lunch & learn, the architects in attendance might not be actively specifying products for their current projects. Your presentation may not align with their immediate needs, and if you don’t stay on their radar, they may forget about your products when the right opportunity arises.

Solution: Acelab matches you with firms that have expressed an interest in your products for their active projects. This ensures that your workshops reach architects at the perfect time in their specification process.

2. Engaging the wrong audience

Decision-makers at architectural firms often skip lunch & learns and send junior staff instead. Even when key decision-makers attend, it can be tough to capture their full attention amidst the distractions of a casual lunch setting.

Solution: Targeted workshops through Acelab allow you to connect with the right people at the right time. By focusing on firms actively seeking your products, you can engage decision-makers and key designers more effectively in a webinar setting.

3. Difficulty staying top of mind

Architects are busy professionals, and your lunch & learn presentation may quickly fade from their memory as they return to their daily tasks. Maintaining a strong presence and building lasting relationships can be challenging without regular follow up.

Solution: Acelab's team conducts regular check-ins with participating firms, monitoring project progress and identifying opportunities for continued support. This ongoing engagement keeps your products top of mind and positions you as a valuable resource.

4. The hidden costs add up

While providing a free meal might seem like a small expense, the costs of traditional lunch & learns can accumulate quickly. When you factor in the average food cost per person and the time and travel expenses for your representatives, a single lunch & learn can easily cost $850 or more.

Multiply that by the number of lunch & learns you host throughout the year, and it's clear that this approach can put a significant strain on your marketing budget. Manufacturers we've spoken with have reported spending anywhere from $150,000 to $450,000 or more on lunch & learns each year.

Solution: Acelab's targeted workshops offer a more cost-effective alternative to traditional lunch & learns. By hosting a single, focused event that attracts hundreds of engaged architects, you can generate more qualified leads and achieve a far better return on your investment. Plus, Acelab handles all of the promotion and logistics, so you can focus on delivering a compelling presentation and building relationships with potential customers.

Product Concierge: The Best Tool for Getting Better Leads from Lunch & Learns

Acelab’s Product Concierge program matches architects with targeted educational opportunities, so they get the information they need, and you get a higher number of qualified leads.

We continually work with new firms and get familiar with their active projects — so there are ongoing opportunities for you to present more workshops. We have over 10,000 firms actively specifying projects on our platform, so you’ve got more reach than you would normally have with traditional lunch & learns (at a fraction of the cost).

Acelab has an in-depth knowledge of firms' material needs so manufacturer workshops are highly targeted to their current work.

You can also stay in touch through Acelab’s centralized platform, where architects can access up-to-date product information and easily add your products to their projects and firm libraries. Architects don't have to keep track of your product website, because Acelab organizes the information so it’s easily accessible for them.

In our tailored workshops, we typically have:

  • 300+ registrants

  • 200+ attendees

  • 100+ qualified leads and inquiries

That’s a far better result than you’d normally get from expensive, time-consuming, hit-or-miss lunch & learn programs.

How Sto Corp Attracted 218 Architect Leads and Drove Product Inquiries with an Acelab Targeted Workshop

Need to see how a targeted workshop worked for an Acelab partner? Let's take a look at a recent success story.

Sto Corp recently hosted a webinar titled "Complete Approach to Rainscreen Design" through Acelab. This targeted workshop attracted 440 registrations, and 218 architects actively participated in the event. As a result of this focused engagement, Sto Corp received 123 new product inquiries from architects working on relevant projects.

This case study demonstrates the power of connecting with the right audience at the right time, and gives you a sneak peek at how Acelab's platform can help you generate high-quality leads and drive product specifications more effectively than traditional lunch & learns.

Schedule a demo today to discover how Acelab's targeted workshops can help you connect with architects and become the basis of design.