Volume 12, Issue 2 - March 2011


The “Tools of the Trade” Get a Technology Makeover
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.

The iPad
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 touchpad.

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.

What’s Next?
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 ejohnson@edgetechig.com. Her opinions are solely her own and do not necessarily reflect those of this magazine.

*The State of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2010, www.forrester.com.


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