Investing for the long term and empowering employees

Jeremy Wetherall
Jeremy Wetherall

Glass Times talks to Tradeglaze’s managing director, Jeremy Wetherall and marketing manager, Katerina Pickup.

Tradeglaze managing director, Jeremy Wetherall, has been involved in the business for more than 12 years.

As a chartered accountant, he keeps an eagle’s eye on cash flow, maximising investment opportunities. A financially healthy business means the Lincolnshire fabricator can reinvest and continue improving its offering.

Putting six-figure sums into the business during volatile times for the market is not for the faint-hearted SME owner.

However, Tradeglaze has made several significant investments over the past 12 months. Jeremy explains: “We are acutely aware that our customers’ expectations are higher now than ever. Our customers are asking for more foil, more flush, more aluminium and lower U-values.

“To answer that demand we have upgraded several of our machines. The next step is a new CNC machine for our PVC-U factory. We aim to be able to produce windows and doors for homes that are ‘zero carbon ready’ well ahead of the building regs changes expected in 2025.

“But there is something far more valuable than new machinery at Tradeglaze,” he continues. “Our people mean everything. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of having empowered colleagues.

“Throughout the pandemic, we realised we needed to do more to support everyone. We have introduced new training programs, an employee of the month/year scheme and also a newsletter to help information flow better across departments. It’s our big focus this year to communicate even better, share knowledge and most importantly, have more fun together as a team.

“Our outlook for 2023 is positive,” says Jeremy. “The energy-saving qualities of superior quality glazing products will continue to make our products sought-after. The UK economy however isn’t out of the woods yet. Diligence in product pricing, protecting margins, and stock and cash flow management will set successful fabricators apart this year.”

Katerina Pickup, Tradeglaze’s marketing manager, a chartered marketer, adds that with market volatility comes the need to ‘sharpen one’s pencil’ on lead generation.

“In every downturn, marketers find themselves in unfamiliar territory because no two downturns are exactly alike,” says Katerina.

“Marketing investments are often seen as the easiest to cut. History shows that this is a costly mistake that will negatively impact a company’s share of voice in the long term. That’s why many organisations are ramping up their campaigns at the moment. Carlsberg is increasing its marketing spend in 2023 by 10%. Unilever has just announced an additional £442m investment in 2023.

“Investing in the right tactics is key,” adds Katerina. “Here is where we focus our efforts for high-performance lead generation:

  1. The product is superior and it will always be. Too often in marketing we obsess about our brands and how engaging our campaigns are. We must not forget the most important of the four Ps – product. If your product is poor, no amount of creative promotional activity will save you.
  2. Unleash the power of customer reviews. In our industry, reputation is everything. We meticulously collect customer reviews following each completed installation project, respond and promptly communicate praise to all managers to pass on to their teams. Any concerns are dealt with instantly.
  3. Focus on a set number of tactics and execute them well. Whether you have a small in-house marketing team or employ a marketing agency, it’s important to focus on the tactics that will deliver leads. We invest in a mix of events, PR, SEO, print, email, radio and paid ads.
  4. Supercharge your SEO. Search ranking is more important now than ever. Start with good keyword research, get GMB working for you, fine-tune your customer review program and publish well-written blogs. Backlinks are also valuable to build your domain authority.
  5. Finally, success is down to team effort. At the time of writing, Guinness has become the UK’s number pint. Diageo did not pinpoint a particular moment or campaign that has propelled them to success. It was all team effort, they claimed, with marketing working diligently with all departments, delivering steady growth. Playing the long game has paid off.