No substitute for getting hands-on

By Sarah Gyde, marketing director at Mila.

When it comes to marketing in our industry, I would argue that nothing beats getting hands-on with our products; fundamentally, most of us are selling ‘stuff’ which customers want to be able to see and feel for themselves before they part with their hard-earned money.

Whether that’s trade, retail or commercial customers, even the most polished website or beautifully printed brochure can’t ever replace the feeling of holding a product in your hand and seeing the colour, quality and finish for real.

That’s partly, of course, why the FIT Show has been such a success since its launch in 2013. Set aside the obvious opportunities for learning and networking, I would argue what really brings people to the show is the chance to see new products and actually try them out.

This probably applies to hardware almost more than anything else in this industry. Ours are tactile, ergonomic products that people judge on how they feel in their hand, how easily they turn, how weighty they are, and how well they are finished.

That’s the reason why display boards remain one of the fundamental elements in Mila’s marketing support package. In a digital marketing world when products can be rendered on screen in minutes, they might seem a bit old fashioned, but demand continues to increase year on year. In 2019, for instance, we saw a 12% rise in the number of display boards requested by customers for their own showrooms. The vast majority of these already had at least one board from us and were looking to update or upgrade because they’d had so much success with them.

Even customers with large scale showrooms can’t have every hardware choice on display on a window or door, so these let them show the options available and provide nice opportunities for upselling.

Currently, we supply boards individually tailored to each customer with their chosen product ranges and finishes on a board produced with their company logo and contact details. These are available in a range of sizes and prices and can be wall mounted in a showroom or portable for sales teams to take out with them.

Our own Mila sales team still routinely use display boards in their presentations as well, because we know that our products really do speak for themselves. We are also routinely asked to supply boards for use in stockists and merchants selling Mila products because their value has been proven over so many years.

For trade customers selling to retail installers or commercial clients, I would suggest that it is worth exploring the potential of creating their own truly bespoke display boards for even wider use. As well as hardware, these could potentially include colour swatches for windows and doors an even maybe samples of glass designs.

Most local signage and display companies will be able to produce something similar to the boards that Mila supplies, and will give plenty of design input if that’s not available in house. In terms of payback, our experience shows that they are a very worthwhile investment.

Obviously, display boards are just one part of an overall marketing mix that has to include fully integrated on and offline elements, but they still do very much deserve their place.

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