Often the eternal optimist – I still vote for people running for public office – I look back on 2009 with a feeling of success. The housing market is righting itself after two years of decline. Strong, resourceful home builders, remodelers, contractors, and manufacturers used this past year to better hone themselves and, in turn, put themselves in a favorable position to succeed moving forward.
Now this is not to ignore the fact that many good people are out of work and that credit is still a big concern as we move forward. We still have much more work to do as we enter the New Year. This work is the next opportunity to do something significant in the year to come.
In 2010, I foresee social networking – the current term for one to one relationships – will change the landscape of building products distribution where manufacturers will be able to develop direct relationships with the trade and consumers to help them make product decisions. Social networking will lead the trade and consumers to help manufacturers develop better products and services. Of course, the manufacturers need to get on board the social network in a meaningful, strategic way today.
The New Year will have our industry move from green products and marketing to sustainable and high performance products, services, and marketing. No longer will it be good enough to simply reduce, reuse, and recycle. In 2010, we will look to life cycle management and high performance standards for our products. Ultimately, high performance products and building will be the standard where today it is the opportunity.
2010 will bring about a return to strategic marketing for all involved with the home and building industries. More than one manufacturer has shared with me the realization that the strategic marketer has been lost through downsizing. This is critical at a time when new media is changing decision-making and new building standards are producing growth in our industry. Add the demand for greater measurement, return on investment, and more aggressive competition across multiple industries, and 2010 brings opportunities to the businesses that see this turn of events now and put themselves into play.
So here is to the things we learned in 2009 and to the things we will accomplish in 2010. Happy New Year everyone!