Trade fabricator, Glazerite, has recruited digital marketing specialist Lauren Edwards to enhance its support to installer customers. We asked Lauren for her initial observations of the industry and discussed with group marketing manager Michelle Wright where digital marketing fits in to the group’s wider strategy moving forward.
GGP: Lauren, you’ve been at Glazerite since August 2017. What have been your initial impressions of the window and door industry?
Lauren Edwards (LE): The industry is actually far more advanced and creative with digital marketing than I initially thought, with many of the major players in the industry having built great brands through excellent consumer-led marketing. This is something that needs transferring down to the installer companies though as they are the ones in front of the customer.
On the face of it there are some really good websites across the systems companies, as well as many fabricators and larger installers. But digging a little deeper there is a fair bit of work to be done in terms of keeping the sites relevant and engaging. Also SEO [Search Engine Optimisation] doesn’t seem so high on the agenda and many companies are just starting to think about this.
Many other industries, especially those in manufacturing are in a similar position however. Our goal must be to bring our industry into alignment with many other consumer product sectors, but much of these rely on big budgets. There is still a lot we can learn from them though. It really needs the fabricators and profile companies to assist installers with these elements to make it actually happen, and that is a major goal for Glazerite.”
The industry is quite different to those I’ve worked with previously; for example customer hospitality seems to play a pivotal role in the marketing and it’s great to see the relationships built and sustained with customers and staff at events. Although we’re trying to bring the digital aspects to life many of our retail installer customers are actually still quite traditional in their approaches compared to other industries I’ve worked with.
For example print brochures and print communications remain a necessity, where other industries are approaching more digital routes for these. Much of this is down to the homeowners though as they like to see and trust a print brochure rather than digital. But there are still a lot of installer companies that have a dated mind-set about their businesses and are nervous to step in to the digital world.
Many homeowners are actually well versed in digital media, turning to the Internet and a company’s website as their initial assessment of a potential installer. So, it is important to move with the times and anticipate and even shape what our customers need. A strong digital presence in the form of a website is essential these days for any consumer facing business, but it is just as important, if not vital, within our industry to couple the use of digital channels with traditional marketing methods.
GGP: What have you achieved since taking the helm at Glazerite’s digital desk?
LE: Initially we’ve spent time getting some foundations in place that will really help us in terms of analytics, helping us to measure what’s working across all digital touchpoints. We have also spent some time organising the way in which we are engaging on social media channels to ensure we are covering all topics that our installers will find interesting and helpful with their own businesses. We’ve built our Pinterest and Instagram channels and intend to use these fully within our future social campaigns.
GGP: And what plans are in place going forward?
LE: We have some major investment planned across our digital tools for this year which will see a complete facelift for our bespoke installer websites with some great new engagement tools. The digital landscape is constantly changing and we want to keep our installers ahead of the pack. Part of this is carrying out digital audits for our installers across all channels to identify any areas that can be developed and improved to either give them a greater social presence or improve their rankings on search engines.
GGP: Michelle, as Glazerite’s installer customers further embrace digital marketing with the company’s help, what further advice do you offer?
Michelle Wright: There is no getting away from the fact that word of mouth and recommendation is still one of the key drivers in the industry. But digital communications mean that such messages travel that much faster, good or bad.
We are also continuing to deliver traditional communications, such as brochures, for our installers to use with customers, and encouraging and helping with showrooms where possible. From digital to print communications we are reinforcing their real-world offer and giving them a great brand presence that puts them on a level playing field with the big nationals, even without the major budgets.
Ultimately homeowners are reliant on the quality of products and service offering from our installers. We can all say what we like online or in print communications, but the proof is in how the installers actually do business; this is really what sells them at the end of the day and wins them most work and recommendations from that. It all comes back to installers delivering on their promises. That, aligned with all the marketing support and tools we offer, will push their business to the next level.