A Marketing Machine

Take a drive through any Chicagoland city and you are sure to see a billboard, hear a radio spot or pass by a Little League game branded by the name Feldco. These efforts are part of Feldco’s overall strategic marketing plan to increase brand awareness and provide community service in their local market through various mediums.

Feldco Factory Direct, based in Norridge, Ill., is one of the many window, siding and door dealers in the Chicago market. “I was invited to a Better Business Bureau meeting for window companies and 410 companies showed up — that’s the size of the market we are dealing with,” explained Doug Cook, president of the company.

With the amount of competition out there, Cook realized that he needed to carefully disect the marketplace to fully understand the wants and needs of his potential customer. He also was aware that in such a competitve market the company needed to find innovative ways to set themselves apart from the ever-growing replacement market.

However, this posed quite a few challenges for Cook as he had no experience in the building industry. Before Cook purchased the company in 2000 from Bernie Feld, the original owner, he spent most of his career in Corporate America. However, Cook is an entrepreneur and was ready for the challenge. With his strong business background, he knew this company was a great opportunity.

Feldco began in the ’70s, selling storm windows at first and then slowly got into replacement windows. As other opportunities arose, Feldco sold just about everything, says Cook. When Cook took over, he immediately brought the focus to replacement windows, siding and doors — “sticking to the things we know and do best,” he says.

Being new to the building industry, he relied on company veterans to help him understand the window part of the business. He spent the first half of the year or so of his ownership with his mouth shut and his eyes and ears open. “The long-term employees allowed me to come in and be mentored by them,” he recalls. “I didn’t come in here with a plan to revolutionize the business. I wanted to challenge convention and, in the process, have some fun.”

Eventually, he started making some decisions. In his second year, Cook began to evaluate the company’s marketing plan, its IT infrastructure, its property and additional location possibilities. The company, he says, needed “additional horsepower” to grow. True to his own path, he didn’t look for window veterans to fill the slots — he looked for business people interested in helping him take the company to the next level.

Marketing approach

Patti Freko, director of communications, has a background in broadcasting and has been with Feldco for two years. She, like Cook, had no industry knowledge, but has taken an active role in learning as much as she can about the replacement market.

With this she was able to create a unique marketing plan for Feldco. “When it comes to marketing, we don’t put all of our eggs into one basket,” explains Freko. She continues by saying she put together a plan that dips into television, print, radio, direct mail, Yellow Pages, Web, outdoor, community service and event marketing.

Growing the business

With a growing share of the Chicago market, in January 2007, Feldco added another showroom in Rockford, Ill., about 90 miles northwest of their current market. The company is a marketing machine and, consequently, looking to add to its 200-plus employees to keep up with its growth. A multi-year IT project keeps the various locations operating smoothly on the same network — making for a consistent transaction for customers regardless of where they live. Freko says with their highly-advanced database system, she is able to analyze any specific target area for marketing purposes. “I’m able to find out the age of the home, when the homes were purchased, etc,” she says. This all fits in with Cook’s plan to achieve total “Customer Delight.”

What he is referring to is Feldco’s mantra of providing customer satisfaction on all levels — product, sales and installation.
With Feldco’s assessibility to reach a rather large geographic area (southeast Wisconsin, northwest Indiana and the Greater Chicago area), it is able to bring in more customers, helping to keep prices down. Feldco’s has an exclusive line of premium replacement windows, the Sophia Series, offers enhanced safety, security, comfort and affordability to Midwest homeowners. Their replacement windows feature Low-E glass with argon gas for insulation and double master frames for strength. Feldco’s double hung and slider windows have sashes that tilt into your home for easy cleaning.

Feldco can usually install new windows in one day. And because Feldco is committed to Customer Delight, they guarantee their windows for life.

With a talented team on hand, the company is pushing its brand in various media outlets and experimenting with nontraditional locations in strip malls in areas where the housing stock is reaching 15 to 20 years — perfect timing for replacement products. Cook and his team are moving into the future looking grow their company and move into other markets in the Midwest region.

The Feldco team is bringing an aggressive and unique marketing approach to the replacement market allowing them to grab more market share, setting themselves apart from the competition.