As first time exhibitors at FIT in 2017, AluK came at the show with a fresh perspective and a real determination to make an impact. Marketing Director, Sioned Webb takes a look back at the 2017 show and shares her thoughts about AluK's success.
I think we did that very successfully – largely by dovetailing our Experts in Aluminium marketing campaign so directly with the show. Our message in the lead up was that AluK has expertise not just in manufacturing and product design but in sales, marketing, fabrication and installation as well. We are determined to help our customers make the most of the opportunities which undoubtedly now exist in the aluminium sector and we were able to demonstrate that really well by having a dedicated seminar space on our stand for our team of experts to give advice on everything from pricing to products and software.
We were also of course the first aluminium company to get involved in the Master Fitter Challenge, sponsoring the competition and providing the doors for the bi-fold fitting element, emphasising the importance of aluminium at last year’s show.
In fact, the 2017 event was arguably all about aluminium. Certainly, from what we observed, the biggest buzz was around the stands exhibiting aluminium products. We were taken aback by the sheer numbers of installers and fabricators who came onto our stand. Personally, I’ve never experienced a trade show where customers are demanding to see the new products as soon as the doors open. According to the data capture company, AluK had the highest number of leads by the end of day one which was fantastic.
What worked for us was previewing our new products before the show so that we could build up that sense of anticipation for visitors. What also worked was having a very open stand which was accessible on all sides and where visitors didn’t feel suffocated or enclosed. We launched 7 new products, probably the most significant of which was our Luminia F82 bi-fold, developed to set a new benchmark in the sector.
This is the first product in AluK’s new Luminia product tier, available to a network of Luminia Select Partners strategically located around the UK. Our aim with Luminia is to enable these partners to offer something different to their customers without having to give away precious margin by competing with me too products and suppliers. What FIT Show enabled us to do of course, as well as demonstrating the F82 to these Select Partners, was to generate a significant number of quality leads for them direct from installers.
We’ve already booked our stand at FIT Show for 2019, which is obviously the clearest indicator that we judged the 2017 event to have been a major success. It gave us the chance to firmly position AluK as the go to supplier for all aluminium fenestration products and helped us demonstrate how our team of experts can support fabricators and installers who want to get involved with aluminium for the first time or who just want to make more of the opportunities available. Our key target customers were there, and, thanks to the efforts and commitment of the whole AluK team, I think we did an amazing job of impressing them.
Next time around, we’ll be launching new products again of course because the FIT Show has proved that it is simply the best place to do that. We’ll also be telling the market all about our product launches well in advance again, so that visitors hopefully make another beeline for our stand.
A key driver for us at FIT 2019 though will be training and communicating the strength of the AluK Academy at our new Chepstow HQ. We all know the dangers which the industry faces from the skills gap and we plan to demonstrate just how seriously we are taking our obligations not just in terms of the training courses we offer to those already in the industry but in attracting the next generation as well. The whole industry needs to look at how we can improve our offering through accessible training courses and apprenticeships, but we also need to look at how we make this industry more attractive to those at the start of the career.
The FIT Show is an exciting, dynamic event which shows off the very best that we all have to offer. Students are sometimes dismissed at trade shows as being something of a nuisance in amongst the hard business of selling. I think next time around we might all need to adjust that mind set and work a lot harder in attracting students to our stands, talking to them and making sure they see the opportunities we are offering.