Keeping the customer at the heart of your marketing
Current market conditions have served to underline the importance of strong marketing in the fenestration industry. We sat down with Stephen Beresford, head of marketing at Rehau, for some best-practice advice.
Q: What effects of the challenging economic climate are you seeing in the market?
Stephen Beresford (SB): High interest rates have made it difficult to move house in the current market, so we’re seeing an increasing number of customers take a ‘don’t move, improve’ approach, citing renovation and home improvement as the reason for investing in new windows.
This has the dual benefit of improving current surroundings, alongside increasing the value of their property.
In terms of the style of frames that are being sold, it’s evident that energy bills are a key driver in decision making. Energy efficient frames are becoming ever more popular, as the cost of living crisis shows no sign of decreasing and customers look to slash their bills.
Q: What marketing support do your customers value the most and why?
SB: We find that both digital and physical marketing support are being increasingly valued by customers. Our product brochures, for instance, can be made bespoke and are ideal for use within a showroom setting, while we also provide access to our full image library for use on social media and company websites.
Rehau offers all of this as a value-added service, meaning customers don’t have to fork out for agencies, photographers or advertising and can instead get focused on the job in hand – sales. This is key for our fabricators and installers, many of which are smaller, family-run businesses, where everything is handled in-house and marketing activity must be balanced against sales.
Q: How has Rehau’s marketing support for fabricators and installers evolved in the past few years?
SB: Traditional channels have stood the test of time in this industry, but we’ve seen more embracing digital technologies, particularly as younger members of family businesses get involved. This comes with the added benefit of increased traceability through the sales process, with a lead able to be tracked from generation through to execution.
Our configuration and lead service, Rehau Connect, is able to deliver pre-qualified leads directly to the fabricator or installer. The homeowner simply enters their details on the website, and we match them up with their local qualified fabricator or installer, giving priority to our authorised partners. After that, we always follow up at the end of each job for full circularity.
Q: What are your key tips for fabricators and installers to provide excellent customer service?
SB: Based on conversations with our own fabricators and installers, we’ve found there are several key touchstones for any business looking to offer exemplary customer service. First and foremost, prompt responses are a requirement in such a fast–paced industry, or customers are likely to look elsewhere.
Rehau’s value-added services reduce the marketing and lead generation burden on fabricators and installers, allowing them to focus on being responsive to customers.
As ever, aftersales are also incredibly important. Making sure that the customer knows that the support is there, be there any problems or queries, gives reassurance and helps to maintain brand reputation and encourage repeat business.
Q: Are there any marketing pitfalls that businesses need to avoid?
SB: For small to medium-sized businesses, it’s often best to stick to the basics on social media. Making sure that you’re not chasing trends is important, as you risk losing your brand identity in doing so. Targeting the right audience, and not overcomplicating your social output, means that you can draw the maximum benefit from your social channels.
Likewise, keep your website updated, simple and user-friendly, as too much activity can make it hard for prospective customers to get in touch. So many people now do their shopping through their phone, so make sure it’s optimised for mobile.