With the insane levels of demand that we have experienced the last few years and an emphasis on non-contact sales, the door and window industry has drifted away from the use of showrooms to launch new and innovative designs and promotions. New business was coming in waves and it was all manufacturers could do to focus on getting product made and out the door without orders backing up. Now, with business levels declining and returning to normal cyclical patterns, it’s time to bring back the art of design, marketing and promotion.

There are two main reasons that consumers decide to part with their money when they purchase your products. Number one is: when they need them. Number two is: when they want them. The art of promotion is designed to capture more of the latter.

Designed to capitalize upon the art of enticement, promotional programs are designed to get potential customers who do not otherwise need your products to want your doors and windows. Selling to customers who want your doors and windows is potentially much more profitable than selling to customers who need your products. This is because the concept of “wanting” implies that there is something about your product that appeals to the customer to a degree that price no longer becomes one of the most important factors in his or her decision-making process. So, the purpose of product promotion is to capitalize upon the art of “creating a want.”

Prime examples of “creating a want” are found in other industries, including the Pre-Order, the New Release and the Limited Edition.

Marketeers in the video game industry are especially good at creating a want with the Pre-Order and the New Release processes. Pre-orders are taken for a limited time only and create a level of excitement about the new release. By the time the new release date comes around, 80% of the initial production run is spoken for, and the remaining units are snatched up within the first ten minutes of launch time. It becomes a feeding frenzy! After this, people who try to order the new system look at a screen that says “sold out,” and it makes them want your product even more. Why? Because they can no longer get it. It is a funny thing that people really want what they cannot get. Their children have been dreaming of this new system for months. Perhaps their birthday is coming up or Christmas is around the corner. What are you going to do now? I have seen friends and family members in this situation actually log onto eBay and purchase these “sold out” gaming systems as new on the secondary market at prices up to three times the MSRP.

The “Limited Edition” concept is something I see oftentimes in the marketing of watches. Seiko and other watch manufacturers are masters at releasing new watch designs and limiting their production to a certain number of pieces, each being numbered sequentially. Once again, it is human nature to want things that others cannot so easily obtain. Once these are sold out, then the value of these items can actually increase due to their lack of availability.

Now, I am not suggesting that the door and window industry should operate like the video game or watch industries, but it just shows what the art of promotion can do to create demand for a product which is absolutely “non-essential” and otherwise would not sell, well at least, if it wasn’t for the concept of “creating a want.” Seriously, no one needs a video game, and no one needs a Rolex watch with a mechanical movement that is far less accurate than a $29 Casio with a quartz movement. But these are lessons that could provide insight into the power of marketing and promotion, which door and window fabricators could adapt to their own marketing and promotional programs.

For some time now, the emphasis in the fenestration industry has been tuned in toward the concept of fulfilling needs. A builder needs to fill 16 openings at the lowest possible price, or a contractor needs an Energy Star-rated window at the best price. When it is all said and done, however, the strategy of designing fenestration products to appeal to the lowest common denominator just leads to increased demands on the production floor, yet lower levels of profitability in the boardroom.

So, perhaps now it is time to get back into the boardroom, redesign the next generation of doors and windows, launch new product promotions, turn the lights back on in the showroom, and get prospective customers excited and wanting your products. The payoff will come in the form of stronger, more stable demand and improved profitability.

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