Upselling Insulation Isn’t Easy – So We Made an App

by | Mar 15, 2017

If you’ve ever built or remodeled your home, you remember the sort of images that were flitting around in your brain – hardwood floors, an envy-inducing kitchen, maybe a top-notch media room. If you’re in the energy efficiency or built environment space, maybe you considered your insulation … but let’s be honest, that’s not exactly typical.

In fact, last we checked in Energy Pulse, only about 8% of consumers said they would prioritize upgrading their insulation if they were given $10,000 to make home improvements.

And when they’re talking with their builders or contractors, they don’t give insulation the time of day.

CertainTeed Insulation wanted to help builders/contractors engage their customers more easily and effectively on the topic of insulation. We’d already had great results with a consumer-facing digital campaign for CertainTeed (we’re their advertising agency of record), so we decided to take their digital presence a step further by developing an online Insulation Selection Tool.

We created this mobile-friendly, web-based tool to achieve three interrelated goals:

  • Trigger consumers to stop and think about their insulation. We wanted consumers who were buying or remodeling their homes to realize how important their insulation is … and to choose a CertainTeed Insulation product.
  • Make it easier for builders/contractors to upsell insulation. We wanted sales associates to be able to easily use the tool without specialized knowledge about insulation, making it easier for them to engage customers on this topic, answer questions about insulation choices … and upsell. We also wanted builders/contractors to be able to customize the tool with their own logos and CertainTeed product inventories.
  • Position CertainTeed Insulation as a preferred solutions provider to builders/contractors. Those pros are a major conduit between CertainTeed and consumers’ homes, so we wanted to paint their view of CertainTeed not just as a product manufacturer, but as a solutions provider.

Here’s how the tool works: by answering a few simple questions, people who are building a new home or undertaking a major remodel can find and choose the best insulation systems for every area of the home. They can use the tool by themselves, or their builder/contractor can walk them through it. The tool works by recommending a personalized selection of insulation solutions based on climate data, budget, and a range of comfort-related variables, including energy efficiency, family allergies, moisture management and noise control.

From start to finish in the writing, design and development of the tool, we concentrated on two overarching strategies to make sure the tool met our goals:

Connect the dots. For people to realize why it’s worthwhile to spend mental energy (or money) on insulation, we needed to show them that insulation is an essential ingredient to two things we know, thanks to our ongoing Energy Pulse polling, that they truly care about: comfort and health in their homes.

To that end, we didn’t write technical questions about insulation or architecture. We wrote light-hearted, relatable questions and answer options to gently lead folks to an epiphany: “Wow, that’s why I need to think about my insulation – it’s a huge influence on how my house feels, whether sounds carry, even whether mold gets in the walls.”

Make it simple. While a lot is happening on the back end of this tool, the front end is simple and clean – in look, content and functionality. We wouldn’t be able to convince consumers to think about insulation if it looks like one more overwhelming decision to make in the building/remodeling process!

After completing the questionnaire, the user receives a personalized page of results with the specific CertainTeed Insulation solutions that are recommended for them. The insulation products are sorted by area of the house (i.e., walls, attic), and then, within each of those categories, by good/better/best options – making this information much more easily digestible (and actionable) for the user.

Users can easily access more information about each product, and the results can easily be emailed to the builder/contractor from this page.

The tool is now live and online, and we encourage you to check it out – and consider how your organization or product could use a tool like this and the thinking that went into it.

About the Author

Meghan McDonald

Meghan McDonald

Meghan concepts and writes copy for clients and also reviews creative deliverables for clarity, grammar and brand alignment. She brings an interdisciplinary background in environmental studies and journalism to our team. If you want to know the name of a tree or flower, she’s the one to ask.

About the Author

Meghan McDonald

Meghan McDonald

Meghan concepts and writes copy for clients and also reviews creative deliverables for clarity, grammar and brand alignment. She brings an interdisciplinary background in environmental studies and journalism to our team. If you want to know the name of a tree or flower, she’s the one to ask.

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Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insights

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Laila Waggoner

VP Client Engagement

Laila leads our client engagement process, overseeing activities from both a strategic and a tactical level to ensure our work generates desired results – and clients’ satisfaction. She brings 25+ years of marketing leadership experience to her client relationships, with particular expertise in the homebuilding and remodeling industries as well as member-driven organizations, such as the Vinyl Siding Institute and Plastics Pipe Institute. Before joining Shelton Group, she led strategic marketing teams for Owens Corning’s insulation business.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Glen L. Vesser III

VP Finance and Administration

Glen manages Shelton Group’s finances and administration, ensuring our internal systems run smoothly so we can provide exceptional client service in a seamless and timely manner. Glen’s financial and administrative expertise has been shaped by decades of experience in a variety of industries, including public accounting, media distribution and health care.

Mike Beamer

VP Business Development

Mike joined our team to help provide strategic vision and foster our agency’s growth by overseeing new business leads and managing agency marketing and website content. He arrived in Knoxville steeped in energy efficiency and renewables – he previously led client service for an agency division in Boston dedicated to marketing communications strategy and branding for B2B and B2C clients in that space.