Marketing doors and windows for profitability has always been about making the consumer WANT new doors and windows before they NEED them.  Let’s look at windows as an example.

In the third quarter of the 20th century, nearly every property owner wanted new aluminum triple-track, self-storing storm windows, even if their existing interchangeable wooden screen and glass storm windows still “worked.”  That’s because the aluminum storm window simply made the homeowner’s life immeasurably better than the wooden screen windows and wooden storm windows they replaced.

Interchangeable wooden storm and screen windows limited egress, required constant maintenance with lots of ladder work and forced homeowners to choose a day to change from glass storm windows to screens.  After that time, they would no longer protect their home from storms but they would get bug-free ventilation.  The operation was reversed every autumn to make windows warmer with glass storm windows.  While the screen windows were off the house, the oxidation was removed from the brass or copper wire and the wooden frames got painted. While the storm windows were off, the glass got new putty and the frames got a new coat of paint…

The iconic triple-track storm windows gave homeowners the freedom to choose between protection from storms or bug-free ventilation at any moment.  They gave homeowners egress in the case of emergency.  They reduced maintenance, were easier to clean and got homeowners off their ladders in spring and fall.  Homeowners wanted these new storm windows because of the benefits that made their lives so much better.  They wanted to buy them, even if their existing storm windows still functioned as originally intended.

By the end of the 20th century, tilt-in insulated glass vinyl windows made homeowners lives’ even better.  These windows were much more energy efficient and even easier to maintain. With half the glass surface and tilt-in ease, they took less than half the time to clean.  Homeowners wanted windows with these features to such an extent that they have now made the wooden prime window and aluminum storm window almost obsolete.

The fact is, innovative window design improvements cause consumers to desire new windows and increase demand and profitability.

Now, we need to realize new improvements to windows that make property management and ownership so much better that consumers WANT new windows again – before they NEED them…

Those improvements could be an existing feature such as self-cleaning glass or it could be some new improvement such as solar-collecting glass that makes windows produce energy instead of losing it… It may even be an improvement we haven’t even thought of yet.

The window professional’s livelihood depends on us finding innovative features with better benefits that make windows a “want” before they are a “need,” otherwise we must wait until windows become obsolete before they deserve investment.  If we have to wait to replace windows until they no longer perform their basic function of providing light, view, ventilation and sometimes egress, while keeping out air, water and intruders, we are in trouble.

When windows are only replaced because they no longer function, windows become a necessary commodity, and price is much more likely to be the biggest differentiating factor.

When windows are only replaced because the government subsidizes their cost with tax credits, we have not done our job to make innovation the game-changing incentive.

Windows only become a desirable purchase when features with benefits drive the purchase — NOT functional obsolescence.  Not coincidently, that is also when price is less likely to be the biggest determining factor and consumer demand creates an environment for higher profits.

What innovations will you bring to the door & window marketplace to make the consumer WANT your doors and windows before they NEED them?

If you want to learn more about the importance of improving doors and windows, check out the new Fenestration Innovation blog by Ray Garries here at DWM.

Also, check out Ray’s LinkedIn Network devoted to door and window improvements.

Please feel free to participate in his network and comment on his posts here, too.

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