December 3rd, 2012
What Do You Offer That Sets You Apart?
What is the best thing that a door and window company can offer to stand apart from the competition? Price? Somebody else can always match your price if they want the business bad enough! Service? In today’s demanding consumer market and fierce competitive environment, if you don’t have great service then you won’t be around for long anyway. Advertising? Well, advertising is critical and will get you noticed but then you still have to follow through and convince the prospect to ultimately choose you vs. the competition!
Consumers generally don’t buy windows once a year or even once every five years so what will they be looking for when they eye their not so frequent window purchase? Innovation! Yes, innovation is what sets your windows apart from the slew of other window manufacturers out there. Sometimes it is the best thermal performance – even better than what Energy Star requirements dictate, or a stronger and more secure patio door locking system that other fabricator’s charge extra to install. Sometimes it is the operating features – easy to open and clean, self-locking, child security, venting. Sometimes it is a lifetime transferable warranty that sets your windows apart from every other manufacturer in the area. Sometimes it is the fastest delivery, or unique aesthetics such as a great looking patio door handle, a greater window-viewing area, laminates, wood veneers or a variety of colors available that no other manufacturer in the area can match. And believe it or not sometimes it isn’t even the door or window itself but rather a unique financing plan that fits the consumer’s budgetary needs! Whatever the case, differentiation is the key to creating a unique impression upon groups of consumers in the marketplace, and innovation is ultimately what enables you to accomplish it!
These groups of consumers are often referred to as market segments and strategically intelligent window manufacturers will have different product lines aimed at each market segment. The key to success is being able to offer a given market segment what they need (or want) more effectively than your competition can do so! If you cannot put together a program targeting a certain market segment’s needs in a manner superior to your competition, then it is oftentimes a wise decision to consider dropping that particular product line and putting your efforts into a different area where you can stand apart! The door and window company that tries to be everything to everybody will soon find that it cannot reach the volumes necessary to make a decent profit margin while funding efforts across such a broad spectrum of the marketplace. This is where the expression “Jack of All Trades and Master at None” originated.
With the-International Builders’Show coming up soon (January 22-24th) it will be interesting to see what level of innovation exists in the marketplace given the extremely competitive market conditions in which we are operating. Will door and window fabricators step up?