The “Tools of the Trade” Get a Technology
by Erin Johnson
Even with his mechanical devices, George Jetson couldn’t even fathom the
new digital world in which we live. Technology is part of our everyday
lives, affecting how we watch TV, shop, work and even socialize. And,
it’s not just the up-and-coming Gen Yers (ages 18-30) who live and breathe
digital—Gen Xers (ages 31-44) rival their younger adopters, spending approximately
17 hours online per week.*
It’s no secret that the building and construction industry
has been slow to adopt consumer-facing technologies, continuing to rely
on more traditional marketing tools, such as printed brochures and sell
sheets. But, as we examine the way consumers shop and communicate with
each other in the digital world, is traditional really the way to go?
Or, are we missing an important opportunity to differentiate ourselves
in the eyes of the consumer?
Outlined in this article are a few technologies that window dealers should
consider when pitching products to the increasingly tech-savvy consumer.
Since Apple’s iPad was released in 2010, countless case studies have hit
the Internet about how businesses are taking advantage of this new technology.
No, it’s not just a fun toy for consumers. Restaurants are databasing
their menus and wine lists on iPads to enhance the customer experience.
Airports are doing away with bulky check-in kiosks in favor of the slim
Following this trend, window dealers should consider adopting this handy
device for in-home sales calls (for more on this topic, see
page 28). Not only would it provide instant access to the most up-to-date
presentations, marketing materials and estimating software, but the iPad—or
similar technology—could go a long way toward enhancing consumer perception
of your company. By throwing out the flip chart and arriving with state-of-the-art
technology, you will say something about your brand. You are saying that
you are on the leading edge.
Bottom line: the iPad is functional and the iPad is impressive. Its potential
uses are endless. Next time you visit a trade show, take note of the number
of salespeople wielding this handy tool as they demonstrate products—and
perhaps even take orders from the show floor.
The Window Energy Sensor
For consumers who have to see it to believe it, various tools have hit
the marketplace that literally show homeowners how much energy they are
losing through their old windows. Window Energy Sensors, for example,
are portable and fit around the sash and frame of most windows. From there,
you can estimate U-values, solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), ultraviolet
light, visible light and infrared transmission values.
By showing homeowners how their existing windows are performing
during in-home sales presentations, you are helping them reaffirm their
needs. And, you can help them calculate how much energy they will save
by installing a particular model of energy-efficient windows.
Technology is changing daily and it’s difficult to predict what the next
big thing will be. One thing that’s for sure is that consumers have taken
charge. They are more educated about their purchases and they expect better
service from companies. There will always be a place for traditional sales
tools, but it’s time to open our minds to entirely new ways of selling
to today’s consumers. What’s in your technology toolbox?
Erin Johnson serves as marketing director for Edgetech I.G. She
may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her opinions are solely her own and do not necessarily reflect those of
*The State of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2010, www.forrester.com.
© Copyright 2011 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.