July 23rd, 2012
Growth, Commodity … And be Different
Great news! I read another report saying that the window industry can expect a modest recovery at the end of this year and into next year. There is even more optimism that in the next couple of years we will return to our pre-recession sales heights. It’s great to see these types of numbers, again…
I have read and studied report after report over the past couple of years saying modest growth at the end of the year, and solid growth the following year. I remember reading those reports in 2009 thinking, 2012 is a long way off. But here we are in the middle of 2012, and we are still seeing the same figures and projections.
Now, I am not criticizing the associations that conduct these studies. In fact, I support many of them and am on committees of some of them. As many of you know, I am a very optimistic person–maybe a little too optimistic at times.
But as I sit back and look at reports saying 2015 will be a solid growth year, I have to wonder, are we just in a period of very modest growth for years to come? To steal an overused term, is this the “new normal?”
If, in fact, this is the new normal, our industry faces a challenge. Are we going to be swallowed up by “commodity” talk? Are we going to let people sell us into “the vinyl window market is just about price” or “it’s a commodity market?”
I sure hope not. As I have written before, our industry has some of the most innovative marketers in the country. Now is the time to get innovative and creative. I’m not saying price pressure isn’t a reality, but I am suggesting there are different ways to deliver a strong value message.
Look at some of the most successful companies out there. For example, why do people pay three times more for an Apple computer than they do a comparable Windows based computer? Because Apple has refused to let computers become a commodity. Remember when Dell was in its heyday? Everyone thought Dell had the best computers and Apple was rarely part of the decision making process.
Why can’t your company become like Apple? The short answer is it can. It just takes some creativity and commitment to your message. Don’t let people drag you into the commodity talk. Buck the trend, get creative and be different. Be the next best thing!