March 12, 2019

Bridging the Digital Divide

by Erin Johnson

What are your marketing priorities in 2019? I’d be willing to bet that a lot of digital initiatives might be atop that list.

There’s good reason for that. Providing your customers and potential customers with the best possible digital experience when interacting with your brand is important these days. Consider that B2B buyers are researching your product or service online, and typically are about 57 percent of the way to a buying decision before actively engaging with sales, according to CEB Global.

On the consumer end, 52 percent of users say they’d be less likely to engage with a company if the mobile web experience is poor; 78 percent of users want to find what they’re looking for within two clicks, according to Margin Media.

Your website, and the entire digital experience you’re providing to your customers, says a lot about your organization, and it’s increasingly important that all manner of fenestration companies are investing in making their web presence the best it can be. That means investing in websites, email marketing, social media, paid media, organic SEO … the list goes on. It’s all key to staying ahead in today’s digital-first sales landscape.

All of this got me thinking, though. It’s essential that we don’t let a strong focus on digital marketing alienate us—the marketers—from the people we’re trying to reach. Along with the digital push, we need to simultaneously work to connect with our customers in real, tangible, and personal ways on a regular basis.

Here’s an interesting example in action. Two market-leading brands, Apple and lululemon, don’t have a whole lot to do with each other, but both have recognized the power of personalization and connection in the overall customer experience. Walk into an Apple store for new tech, or lululemon for a new pair of yoga pants, and you’ll be greeted by customer service reps who make a point to learn your first name. Why? Because research shows that “hearing your first name will activate parts of your brain different from those activated by hearing the names of other people,” writes Inc. magazine. “By using your first name—and repeating it in the conversation—the specialist has made an instant connection with you.”

In the fenestration space, we’re still an industry that revolves around people—manufacturers, installers, architects, homebuilders, and homeowners. And treating our customers like people—not just like metrics, KPIs or profits—is one of the most important things any organization can do in today’s industry.

Another example: Universal Windows Direct celebrated 17 years in business by opening a new corporate headquarters in their home turf in Northeast Ohio. Company owners attribute their success to sticking to the simple principle of connecting with potential customers face-to-face as often as possible. “[Owners] Bill Barr and Mike Strmac have perfected the in-home buying process,” writes Mimi Vanderhaven. “They’ve left the high-pressure sales tactics to the other guys.”

Back in 2012, Universal Windows Direct won Window & Door magazine’s Excellence in Marketing Award. And while much has changed since then, there remains a lot to be said for a marketing strategy that is focused on making real, human connections. Even in a marketing landscape dominated by new digital avenues to reach our potential customers, the personal touch is still a difference maker.

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Posted: March 12, 2019 by Erin Johnson Filed under: digital, marketing, trends