If you’ve attended a meeting of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), you know that the group spends three days holding concurrent meetings discussing the latest issues and this often includes revising and updating its important technical documents. So if you’ve been there you know that much of what is discussed can get pretty technical. But as I realized this week during the association’s annual conference, even the highly technical stuff often comes down to marketing.

I sat in on many of these technical meetings, one of which was the Security Hazard Mitigation for Fenestration Products group that went over its “Voluntary Guide Specification for Blast Hazard Mitigation for Fenestration Systems.”(AAMA 510).

Steve Fronek, vice president of technical services at Wausau Window and Wall Systems, expressed frustration that more federal entities such as the Department of Defense and General Services Administration don’t comply with AAMA 510.

Another attendee commented that the document has been in place for six to eight years so the association and its members need to promote it better.

So you can have the best technical document there is but if people don’t know about it or don’t reference it for whatever reason, then the intended result has not been achieved. AAMA is not the only association suffering from this problem–I just use them as an example. Companies share the burden as well. You can have a great product but if you don’t market it properly, it won’t reach its full potential in the marketplace. It seems like a no-brainer, but oftentimes companies and organizations get caught up in the day-to-day and forget that marketing needs to play a major role. I’m sure I have been guilty of that as well as far as some of DWM’s products and services go.

Speaking of marketing, I will do my part to help AAMA promote its Fenestration Masters program. “Many people in home improvement industry can benefit from this,” said Terry Abels, senior vice president sales and marketing at Chelsea Building Products. So I encourage DWM’s readers to look into the program.

Elsewhere at AAMA, the company is tackling life cycle assessment (LCA) and at lunch on Tuesday I had the opportunity to speak to a representative of a window manufacturer about it.

Initially, the AAMA member was slightly skeptical, saying, “I just have a hard time finding out how this will find a need in the marketplace and how consumers will ask for it.”

But, as we talked more, he added, “That’s what AAMA does. It picks up tough topics and makes them useful over time.” That is definitely the case here as it seems the road to LCA may be a long one, but ultimately it is something consumers will ask for, and the industry is responding. In fact, AAMA has been listening to the industry’s concerns for 75 years.

AAMA was creative in its dessert presentation.

The association celebrated its anniversary in style during a banquet held on Monday night. I enjoyed the event with many representatives of Technoform including its president, Mark Silverberg, who told me I must take a photo of the night’s dessert. As a dessert lover, I couldn’t resist.

Finally, at the luncheon on Tuesday, Mary Garcia, corporate relations director at World Vision, presented the 2011 Fenestration Humanitarian Award to Rich Walker and AAMA for their efforts in supporting the organization. Many AAMA members provide windows to World Vision for those in need and Garcia reported, “2011 was the most challenging year for windows and doors and I am appealing to door and window manufacturers to meet that need.”

Rich Walker accepts the Humanitarian Award from Mary Garcia.

I encourage you as well to contact Mary if you can help this important cause. There I go marketing again. Hopefully, this has served as an important reminder that in all you do consider the marketing aspects, which is all too important in this challenging market.

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