July 14, 2017

Market Education Key to Market Domination

Lesson from the floor joist industry: When you take the lead in educating the market, your brand can become the market leader.

There’s a mystery surrounding wood floor joists in new homes that keeps getting deeper—literally! In 2004, more than half of wood floor joists in new homes were 10 inches or less deep. Now, more than 60 percent are 12 inches or deeper.

Floor Joist Depth in New U.S. Single Family Homes

Source:  Home Innovation Research Labs, Inc.; Annual Builder Practices Reports

So why are wood floor joists getting deeper? On first examination of historic data, I was puzzled but quickly came up with a handful of plausible explanations:

Most Likely Trend Driver?

After weighing the relevant factors, and watching the evolution of the market over the past few decades, I believe the primary reason behind the deeper floor joist mystery is an increasingly sophisticated market. Builders know much better now how a floor should feel when you walk across it, and they also have access to the design tools they need to spec a better floor. Code-minimum structural floors are now considered by many to be a sign of poorly planned housing.
Weyerhaeuser gets the primary credit for this trend brought about by market education. The company’s extensive research in floor performance has broken new ground, and its concerted effort to educate and provide builders with decision tools for optimizing floor performance (e.g., TJ-Pro® Rating system) has brought the market with it in sophistication. I believe this is the key reason Weyerhaeuser’s Trus Joist TJI still dominates the wood I-joist market.
But this isn’t unique to just floor joists. In parallel, DuPont maintains a dominant market position with its Tyvek products because of its extensive research and market education. More than half of all housewrap on newly constructed homes now carries the Tyvek brand name.
See a pattern here? The story behind this major transformation is a lesson to manufacturers: by taking the lead in educating the market, you benefit by maximizing market share, improve the overall health of your market, and provide consumers with better performing homes. Companies wishing to play a bigger role in leading the market should heed the examples of these two companies. What are your best opportunities to educate your market? Let us help you find the sweet spot – get in touch today.