Much is said of the need to demonstrate brand support for new products to create ‘pull-through’ at the trade counter and few would argue the necessity to do so.

With loft conversions providing one of the industry’s major growth areas at a time when newbuild was at an all-time low, sales for roof windows have increased year-on-year. With housebuilding at last on the up and commercial builds using roof windows on an increasing basis, the future remains positive.

For manufacturers seeking to secure additional marketshare, creation of enhanced brand awareness goes hand-in-hand with providing tangible differentiation against competitors. The roof window sector is a case in point; all the more so as the buoyant market has encouraged some manufacturers to sell predominantly on price. Their limited ranges may provide convenience in terms of stock requirements, but limitation of choice inevitably restricts sales opportunities.

Keeping up to speed on developments in window styles and specific product features will pay dividends. Low price undoubtedly makes for an easier sale, but without considering the extent of choice, available opportunities to up-sell can be lost. Those relying on price say that their products are of similar quality but without the premium charge for an expensive marketing campaign. This, however, doesn’t stand close examination while also ignoring the extent to which products recommended by word of mouth prompt repeat sales. Such recommendation is the most tangible endorsement any product can receive and is a compliment rarely received by products at the bottom end of the price spectrum.

For any attic space, roof windows have a massive impact on the end result, so if a competing merchant makes a buyer aware of what can be achieved at little (if any) additional cost, the sale is likely to go his or her way. Self-builders in particular are well known for the research they put in before buying and are more inclined to source the right products for their project.

The problem for those offering better quality and range has been one of awareness creation. A medium that was, until three years ago, untried in the construction industry and has proved highly effective is radio advertising, specifically through talkSPORT. Its use by Fakro encouraged merchants to do so too as builders, roofers and other contractors form such a big part of the station’s core audience. Awareness of - and enhanced confidence in - the brand have encouraged far greater levels of enquiry and opportunities to discuss product choice have increased considerably.

The increasing level of requests to meet specific aspects of technical performance invariably prompts manufacture of special products - all good news for merchants and builders alike. However, the client is the main beneficiary as products are far more likely to be the right ones for the project. Ultimately, this makes a real difference to success, whatever the project’s size.

Andrew Cross is marketing manager at Fakro GB.