Because of the diversity of audiences involved in the specification and selection of commercial glass, the mix of marketing tools is diverse as well. TGP, like many manufacturers, doesn't do many trade shows anymore. Greenbuild is a strong show for them and primarily attracts the older generation of architects who love hands-on experiences and still enjoy the trade show experience. Even if attending a trade show is free, it still involves travel expenditures. Because of the current economy, we have seen many manufacturers focus on marketing efforts that reach the audience right in their offices.
For architects, Rachel agreed that Lunch and Learns, with continuing education credits to help them maintain their accreditation, are a powerful means of staying in touch and positioning a manufacturer as a thought leader. Rachel leads 3–4 different architectural presentations per year, with changing content. She gives the presentations multiple times per month and impacts anywhere from 300–400 people.
Of course, TGP is also in all relevant trade publications. For a new product, they may use direct mail or e-mail, but they try not to bombard customers so that when they do send something, their customers know it’s important. There is more new technology being forced into the environment because it’s so convenient, but more experienced architects have a difficult time transitioning into digital. For that hands-on interaction, TGP offers a “look book,” which covers all of the materials they offer with inspirational images of the product in use. They also have a slide-rule tool that allows the architect to input certain product needs and see what products meet the requirements. This interactive tool is fun for the customer to use (think stocking-stuffer for an engineer) and gives them instant feedback on how to align products for their projects. It’s been well loved in the field.
Finally, since today’s new generation of architects often conduct product research online, Rachel mentioned the importance of strong search engine optimization (SEO). This involves making content and technical enhancements to your website to ensure you appear in relevant searches at the top of the list. Rachel's company, TGP, offers all the newest software — BIM modeling and more — on its website to help lead its customers into the new generation of commercial architecture.