Latest Articles in COLUMN

  • Direct marketing expenditures continue to grow. The Direct Marketing Association estimates direct marketing spending increased 4.4 percent in 2007 to $173 billion, despite negative developments in the housing and automobile markets and rising energy costs. As direct marketing spending grows, it is also evolving. Traditional print efforts are seen giving way to multiple forms of interactive... more »
  • Many of us in the building materials business have read this book before. Housing starts and permits plummet, sales drop and it is time to start the belt tightening. When it comes to cutbacks, they usually come in the following order: * Training* Market research* Marketing programs (dealer, consumer, builder and remodeler)* Sales support and/or customer service* Sales... more »
  • The first priority in the wake of the devastating 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons along the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic Coasts has been to upgrade construction requirements to prevent damage from excessive winds and wind-borne debris. Stronger code requirements for impact-resistant windows have since been adopted in many jurisdictions, ranging from those that reference current International Code... more »
  • News in the industry hasn’t been very good as of late. While I generally start new years with renewed optimism, I’m realistic about 2008. So Therma-Tru Doors’ David Haddix struck a chord for me when he noted for our industry forecast (page 51), “The future is bright. I just wish we could fast forward.” I share his optimism for the future and that eagerness to move on... more »
  • In January, it’s customary to focus on football and the Super Bowl, as well as the business outlook for the coming year. From the perspective of early December as this is written, both of these are likely to feature a clash between the very large and the very powerful. In football, the Las Vegas line at this point favors the Giants and the Titans. In the economic outlook, we have big... more »
  • In case you came to work today with nothing better to do, let’s chat about ripping off your customers. Not that I’m implying any of my dear readers would do such a thing, but let’s say your evil twin decided to put his toe to the edge of the slippery slope and flirt with some unethical, immoral and perhaps even illegal business practices. The question is this: Even if you put... more »
  • If you have an ache in your belly, who do you go see—a family practitioner, a general practitioner or perhaps someone who specializes in gastroenterology or internal medicine. Medicine today has become so specialized that it is often difficult to know just who to call for help. And it is not uncommon for the recommendations of one specialist to conflict with the recommendations of another... more »
  • One of the most exciting changes we’ve made to Window & Door in recent years is the launch of our Dealers of the Year issue. We’re now in our fourth year—and it’s a pleasure to recognize nine more companies involved in the sales, marketing and installation of windows and doors to builders, contractors and homeowners. As I’ve noted in the past, the nine companies... more »
  • Mulled windows are the darling of designers—“the introduction of light and the feeling of space”—you know what I mean. A proliferation of mulls done poorly, however, can represent an “Achilles’ heel” that can cause an otherwise vigorous company to falter. We have struggled with mulls through joinery and sealant concerns, education in the trades regarding... more »
  • There. I did it. I’ve been meaning to do it for a year or more but I finally got around to clicking my way through a series of reservations and itineraries. I’d like to think that my inspiration is more goodwill than sheer curiosity, but regardless of the motive—I’m going to tour New Orleans. I want to know how business is going and how the rebuilding effort is progressing... more »