From the Fabricator: Your Help Reviewing New Websites

I love to review websites. For me, it’s enjoyable to see what people do to make their website stand out and the steps they take to own their piece of the online universe. Recently, I had a chance to get ahead of the process and complete some surveys for the National Glass Association as they work to upgrade their online presence. Answering formal surveys like this was a first for me, and it was interesting to experience the process. If you are interested in being a part of that process, the NGA would love to have your insight! There’s three surveys linked below. Weigh in on one, two or all three if you like.

Thank you! I can’t wait to see what comes next and how awesome these will be once completed and launched.

Elsewhere…

It’s now August: my goodness this year has flown right on by. That means we are coming up on just one month away from GlassBuild America. I’ll have some previews coming up and I am honored to be speaking a few times during the show, so I really hope I can see everyone there! If you have not registered or booked your hotel room, I strongly recommend you do so today! 

Got very sad news last week that Fred Millett, formerly of Pleotint and most currently from Whirlpool, passed away. Fred at first didn’t like me much and I felt the same about him. But as time went on, I got along more and more with him and I really respected his knowledge, passion and personality. He will surely be missed. My condolences to his family and friends.

Big 3 Interview

Andrew Haring, vice president of marketing, C.R. Laurence Co.

Being a marketing/PR guy at heart, I really love to see when people excel greatly at it. When it comes to Andrew Haring, he’s way beyond excelling; he’s dominating. I’ve written about my admiration and respect for folks like Heather West and Rich Porayko, and Andrew slides right into that group. What he does and how he does it is simply off-the-charts awesome. I really enjoyed getting an insight into how he performs at the level he does as well as some insight on other interesting angles.

I have to admit your work rate looks to be off the charts. You’re running marketing for one of the best-known companies in our world (with probably an insane number of products) and you seemingly are everywhere: online with social, leading tours, developing marketing and communication. What is your typical day like? How do you get it all done?

Wow. High praises from a respected source—thank you. And yes, we have (approximately) an insane number of products. The upshot of working for such a massive and prolific company is that there’s always a story to tell, and I’ll talk to anyone listening. My day starts at 3:30 a.m. and goes by in the blink of an eye. I’m a big believer in project lists and even more so in accountability. Don Friese instilled a “CRL-ism” in me years ago that is simple but resonates: “Do what you say you’ll do.” Strong coffee and a strong team behind me are also essential.

Being “everywhere” is due in part to the way I’m wired, but also by design. The wheels are always turning and I’m not one to sit still or step aside. CRL lets me wear many different hats and gives me a lot of opportunities to run with the ball, which is conducive to my personality and attention span. The other component to that is simply strategy. Someone in your position can appreciate that remaining relevant takes different forms and follows a different path than it used to. Channels and touchpoints are as numerous as they are varied. While many of the fundamentals apply, I’ve found that a conventional marketing playbook doesn’t track 100 percent in this industry. The when/where/how to approach and the frequency are moving targets. Honestly, the only way to have an impact and be effective is to immerse oneself and engage with the people. Sometimes that entails continuing education, guest editorials, panel discussions or project walks. Other times it looks like stirring the pot on social media.

What’s next? What’s that hot product or hot product segment that you see taking off?

That’ll cost you (kidding). I see broad trends gradually adjusting the sails more so than a sharp market disruptor or a specific juggernaut product. The key influencers are labor and energy codes in the form of both “wants” and “needs.” There’s an all-out arms race for installer-friendly products and methods. Products that reduce labor costs and get glaziers on to the next project faster are always in high demand. I think we’re going to see a lot more in the way of unitized/modular systems, offsite construction/assembly and project planning efficiencies.

Constricting energy codes are a given. Across the board, anyone touching the exterior envelope—and who wants to retain any sort of vitality—is being responsive with product development. Innovation in fenestration is the clearest evidence. The whole “battle for the wall” is a topic unto itself for another blog entry, but the simple fact is that the performance requirements for these systems are constantly evolving. It’s up to the manufacturers to provide solutions that’ll hit the numbers and also successfully meet the design intent for the architect. I’m anticipating a slew of high performance products to be launched in the next three years ahead of the 2022 version of the California Energy Code. 2019 just got adopted with no changes to commercial prescriptive requirements; I don’t think 2022 will be as forgiving.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge we have as an industry and how do we overcome it?

A common issue, which I can’t speak to directly, is the labor pool. This is a recurring topic brought up by customers. There’s a lot of work out there without enough skilled labor to sustain it. This creates opportunities for other trades/industries to encroach on traditional glazing scopes. Attracting the next generation of glaziers is the hurdle. Unfortunately, many of the kids coming out of high school are under the impression that there’s more value and opportunity in a bachelor’s degree than in learning a trade. Countering that misconception is difficult and I’m afraid there isn’t a quick fix. Lack of exposure is likely the biggest culprit. I think early outreach, education, and overall industry advocacy are the paths to success.

Read on for links and video of the week…

Max Perilstein is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications.E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

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