Fenestration Forum: October 2011
By Brian Burton
Strategic marketing techniques for the fenestration industry (part 2)
By Brian Burton
In my last column I discussed some of the basics regarding strategic
marketing techniques. Part 2 outlines some of the steps that can help
you enhance your position in the market and maximize the return on your
In my last column I discussed some of the basics regarding strategic marketing techniques. Part 2 outlines some of the steps that can help you enhance your position in the market and maximize the return on your sales efforts.
In many cases, the quickest method to identify and rectify marketing function deficiencies is to conduct a marketing audit. Historically, marketing audits were most often undertaken by companies that had reached a desperate position because of deteriorating markets or ineffectual policies. But marketing audits should be conducted on a regular basis.
The first step in a marketing audit is to determine if a company’s marketing objectives have been clearly identified and communicated to principals, associates and staff. Many firms have never bothered to make objectives more specific than to achieve a high sales volume or to make a high profit on sales.
Different executives may also hold different views of the company’s marketing objectives. One of the main benefits of the audit is exposing such situations and clearing the confusion out of the operating policy.
Typically, an audit asks several questions. It looks for a strategic marketing plan that is evaluated on an ongoing basis. It checks for the ability to gather market intelligence about competitors. The capacity to develop new ideas for products and services is evaluated. The company should have a system that ensures proposals and client inquiries are handled expeditiously. Most auditors want to see a centralized marketing resource under one authority. Managers should have the authority to implement change in delivery procedures. A marketing audit will ask if the marketing department is of sufficient size and experience in relation to the company. Is there adequate interaction between marketing and other divisions or branch offices? Companies need an appropriate mix of marketing vehicles, such as advertising, networking and trade shows. Finally, a marketing audit will evaluate the company’s ability to obtain feedback from clients.
If your firm does not have a strategic marketing plan, or needs to revamp its image, policies or market focus, there are a number of steps you can take. Have a brainstorming session focused entirely on strategic marketing. The session should focus on four distinct topics using four separate worksheets. First, divide your client base into market segments by types of projects and clients, services provided and geographic location. Next, analyze each segment for volume, growth potential and profitability, and rate your firm’s technical competence in that area. Then undertake strategic planning, deciding what management action is required and developing marketing strategy and tactics. Finally, conduct a market analysis that includes your market position and the strength of your competition. Establish a priority rating for each segment. Once you have rated your priorities and set your goals to ensure the plan has direction and specific objectives in the various market sectors for the next three years, the plan should position you to take advantage of your strengths and correct or compensate for any perceived or actual weaknesses.
In some cases, for exampleAs an example, in a market segment that has low profitability, intense competition and minimal growth potential, a firm may decide to withdraw from the market. In other instances, a market segment with high profitability and growth potential, and no competition, may become a top priority.
The success of strategic marketing plans for fenestration-related industries is highly dependent on accurate assessment of internal corporate resources in combination with evaluation and measurement of market segments and expectations. My experience has clearly demonstrated that the most important factors affecting the eventual success of strategic marketing programs are sincere commitment on the part of senior staff, setting clear, reachable targets and ensuring that the firm’s resources match its sales and marketing goals.
Brian Burton is the author of Building Science Forum and is serving on CSA’s Fenestration Installation Technician Certification Committee. Brian is a research and development specialist for Exp (The new identity of Trow Associates). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through www.exp.com.