A recent survey of electrical and lighting contractors demonstrates their importance in the specifying and recommendation of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting products for building projects. According to the survey respondents, contractors are involved in recommending LED lighting more than 70% of the time. Yet, a majority of respondents said they would be interested in receiving more training on product installation, benefits, and layout, showing that despite their involvement in the industry, many contractors still desire LED education. Contractors also indicated that they could sell more effectively if LED lighting manufacturers provided samples, sales brochures, ROI calculations, product application guides for indoor and outdoor usage, comparative pricing, and information regarding tax incentives and rebates. The survey conducted by Energy Smart Marketers, a joint effort between Channel Marketing Group and BtB Marketing Communications, both based in Raleigh, N.C., demonstrates the value of LED manufacturers reaching out to electrical contractors through marketing efforts.

"Contractor responses show that they are interested in more LED product training," says David Gordon, principal, Channel Marketing Group. "The survey indicated that the top three reasons they recommend LEDs are energy savings, longevity, and maintenance savings. This demonstrates that LED manufacturers can influence contractors' lighting and product recommendations through better education and outreach to this group. The survey also showed that contractors prefer to purchase through electrical distributors where they already have a relationship, indicating that LED manufacturers need to consider a channel strategy in concert with their end-user outreach initiatives."

The survey was conducted with 2,100 people from 1,900 different electrical and lighting contracting companies.

"The survey indicates that a majority of the respondents are relying on manufacturers' reps, Web searches, and contractor magazines to learn more about LED fixtures," says George Bournazian, vice president, BtB Marketing Communications. "Respondents' use of Web searches suggests unfamiliarity with LED products and brands, which means manufacturers need to develop an informative Web presence, as well as strong e-marketing and traditional marketing strategies, to gain share of mind and to further increase the acceptance, utilization, and recommendation of LED lighting by contractors."

The complete survey results are available for $199 from the Energy Smart Marketers Web site.