In this episode of Smarter Building Materials Marketing, Zach and Beth talk to Laurie McCowan, president of Cavity Sliders, about how to successfully penetrate the U.S. market and gain traction with their innovative solution, offering valuable insights and strategies for other manufacturers looking to expand their reach and find success.
Laurie shares his journey of starting the business in the U.S., the challenges he faced and the strategies he used to build credibility and establish relationships with new customers.
00:59 - How to bring a building product to the U.S. market
03:31 - Trusting the process, perseverance and blind faith
08:54 - Three chunks: fun journey, big job and business advancement
13:43 - Geographical focus leads to opportunities and success
Meet Laurie McCowan
Laurie McCowan is the president of Cavity Sliders, a successful business that originated from a parent company in New Zealand and expanded to the U.S. 10 years ago.
Laurie and his good friend, Ben Kenny, started the company together after Laurie had a life-changing exchange program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Ben's family had been running the business in New Zealand for 35 years, and they decided to bring their expertise to Southern California.
The decision was driven by the incredible lifestyle and the vast market of 350 million people in America.
Breaking Into a New Market
Laurie shares his experience of starting Cavity Sliders in the U.S. and the challenges he faced as a young company with no sales history.
You can have the best or the most revolutionary product in the world, but people have seen foreign businesses [and] foreign people come into the U.S. and fail.”— Laurie McCowan
He emphasizes the importance of trusting the process and persevering, even when faced with skepticism from potential customers. Laurie's advice is to get in front of as many people as possible and establish credibility through small wins and positive feedback loops.
Leveraging Digital Marketing for Success
While Cavity Sliders initially relied on traditional sales tactics, they recognized the power of digital marketing in reaching their target audience more effectively.
Digital marketing is not just about selling products. It's about creating meaningful connections with customers."— Laurie McCowan
Investing in their digital marketing efforts, particularly on YouTube and Instagram, has allowed them to tap into a new generation of builders and contractors who often seek inspiration and information through these platforms.
By partnering with trusted influencers and showcasing user-generated content and case studies, Cavity Sliders has been able to establish itself as a trustworthy and reliable brand in the industry.
Overcoming Obstacles in a Niche Market
Cavity Sliders faced the challenge of penetrating a niche market where pocket doors had a reputation for being problematic.
Builders and architects were often hesitant to incorporate pocket doors into their projects due to past negative experiences.
For us, it's about identifying niche markets that align with our strengths and expertise. By narrowing our focus, we can better serve these specific segments." — Laurie McCowan
To overcome this, Laurie and his team took a hands-on approach by going straight to the job sites and showcasing their aluminum pocket frames, which provided a more reliable and aesthetically pleasing solution.
By demonstrating the benefits and addressing common pain points, they were able to capture the attention of builders and win their trust.
Want Even More Insight?
Breaking into a new market can be daunting, but with the right approach and a strong belief in your product, success is within reach.
By establishing credibility, leveraging digital marketing and overcoming obstacles, Laurie McCowan and Cavity Sliders have shown that it is possible to make a mark in even the most challenging markets.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about breaking into the U.S. market or new markets, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]. Don't miss out on future episodes by subscribing to the Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast today.
More About The Show
The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insights on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.