Marketing for local customers

Independent Network (by Veka) has been supporting installers with training, guarantees, sales support and much more for more than 20 years. Veka’s head of partner programmes Karen Lund explains how the organisation has combined national strength with local knowledge in its latest marketing campaign.

IN was established (as Network Veka) in 1996 to give installers a way to prove their high standards and commitment to quality. The aim was to be the homeowners’ brand of choice for quality windows and doors and to be synonymous with the highest standards of product, craftsmanship and service.

22 years later our aim remains the same, and even after all this time, the organisation shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. The team works hard to make sure the organisation stays at the cutting edge of the industry, and continues to offer tangible benefits for member companies in the current market.

Recently, we’ve been working in conjunction with our members to create a unique marketing campaign that reaches homeowners up and down the country via regional ‘hot spots’ that add up to national coverage.

Veka Group invested in a host of in-depth market research to ascertain exactly what homeowners were looking for when investing in home improvements, and how we could learn from their experiences and expectations. The research highlighted that the ideal double glazing company must put customers at the heart of everything they do, with professional staff, great products and a proven reputation. Consumers want end-to-end excellent service, meeting or exceeding expectations throughout.

The results of this research directed our marketing and we created a campaign that included very clear messaging to increase brand awareness and to give consumers peace of mind by highlighting IN’s service levels and professionalism, while prompting sales opportunities for our members.

We wanted to promote the Independent Network brand on a local level, to champion the member companies that readers would see on their own high street, while showcasing the benefits of the national organisation as a whole.

Installers became the ‘heroes’ of the campaign in their own areas and the media and messages were tailored to suit the local market. Not only were our installers named individually in the advertising, they also had input into which publications they wanted to feature in, which included high calibre titles such as Lancashire Life.

This ‘installer focus’ was mirrored by a focus on the customer with a series of case studies and testimonials about individual experiences of products and installation.

The campaign is still running but we have had unprecedented levels of press coverage, which has led to a marked increase in brand awareness and healthy retail sales. The cherry on the cake is an increased customer satisfaction rating of 98.4%.

Trust is a crucial influencer in the decision-making process and, too often, smaller independent businesses can be eclipsed by the nationals. While consumers wear the ‘shop local’ badge with pride when it comes to smaller ticket items, for larger investments there can still be an element of trepidation when it comes to handing over a big sum of money to a small outfit.

This campaign addresses this by allowing members to retain the personal touch with their local market, but with the stamp of approval of IN, a trusted national organisation.

The very premise of IN is that members must use high quality systems from Veka and commit to upholding the highest standards of workmanship, and in this way we can provide the fail-safe, insurance-backed guarantees that give homeowners such peace of mind.

Our network is built on the professionalism and hard work of each of its members, so we knew we had to shine the spotlight on them. This two-tiered marketing approach, which combines local know-how with national coverage, is a good reflection of IN’s own ethos as an organisation, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it continues to bring success for our members in the coming months.