by Adrian Toon - Marketing Chairman of the CAB
Despite the gloomy outlook which is currently pervading the glazing market, aluminium framed products continue to do well with a number of CAB members reporting a record January 2008 and healthy order books for the remainder of the year. When you also consider the growing number of companies adding aluminium to their product portfolio the year looks very positive for aluminium supply.
At the recent CAB Marketing Conference entitled ‘Marketing to Specifiers’, representatives from over 40 member companies met at the Grimstock Hotel in Coleshill, West Midlands to listen to speakers on various topics and discuss marketing opportunities. This year’s conference discussed how members of the association could better communicate with decision makers in the construction cycle thereby improving their chances of tight product specifications.
Speaker James Gower, Group Event Director of Emap, and responsible for this year’s Interbuild was pleased to see stand bookings for the ‘ CAB Aluminium in Construction Zone’ were looking healthy with several member companies already booked for the event. Feedback from the show in 2007 was very positive with a growing number of visitors putting the Zone on their ‘must see’ list. Interbuild remains the fifth biggest show to be held in the UK and it is hoped in 2008 it can hit the number 4 spot. More than 44,000 visitors attended interbuild in 2007 with almost 25% of that number expressing an interest in fenestration products. According to research carried out by Emap, awareness of the Aluminium in Construction Zone was at a 70% high compared with 41% in 2006.
To consider the specification question from an architect’s perspective, Professor Michael Stacey, who has his own practice and is ‘Chair in Architecture’ at Nottingham University, explained in detail how members could assist architects with the correct information and approach. One of the points he admitted was that specifiers often do not know the full capabilities of materials and this is very true for aluminium. To design using the inherent capabilities of aluminium has enabled Michael to create such masterpieces as the Thames Water Tower and the East Croydon Station in London.
For the contractors view Tony Mrowicki, Head of Design Management at Taylor Woodrow, offered his feedback to the audience. Once an architect himself he is now responsible for improving Taylor Woodrow’s ability to design with particular focus on closer integration of the design process. Tony’s main message was one of early involvement of product specialists in order to maximise efficiency on site.
Finally Stephen O’Reilly, a Marketing Consultant who set up his own business ‘Loud Marketing’ which specialises in the built environment gave members an overview of the range of marketing channels available in order to attract specifiers to their products or services. Stephen reinforced the need for strong brand recognition and the need to differentiate a product offering in order to be recognised. This is only successfully achievable by undertaking good market research by ‘harvesting buyers insights’.
The conference concluded with a lively question and answer session with the speakers who unanimously supported CAB’s efforts to encourage more of its members to present its series of generic RIBA approved CPD seminars to architects and specifiers. Further information about aluminium in use and membership is available from the CAB office by contacting Julie Harley on 01453 828851 or by visiting the website at www.c-a-b.org.uk .