A Month Later: Reflecting on the Deck Awards & NADRA Summit in Clearwater

Hey everyone! It’s been a month since we all gathered in Clearwater, Florida, for the Deck Awards & NADRA Summit, and wow, what a whirlwind it’s been. Now that we’re all settled into the new year, it’s the perfect time to gather ’round, grab a coffee, and chat about an event that’s more than just a gathering—it’s the ultimate family reunion for the deck-building community.

2023 NADRA Summit & Deck Awards - Awards Dinner

The Scene This Year

Clearwater called us back, and this time around, things felt a bit different—in a good way. Moving from the laid-back Siesta Key to Clearwater’s lively vibe shook things up, adding a dash of excitement to our annual meetup. Sure, the January chill meant more of us were rocking sweaters than swim gear (at least for this freeze baby!), but the cooler temps didn’t put a damper on the exchange of ideas and the warm welcome of new faces. 

Being involved as a sponsor for the third consecutive year, we’ve had a front-row seat to the evolution of this fantastic gathering. The shift in venue and the change in schedule to right after the holidays (January 3rd through the 5th) brought a fresh vibe to our gathering. While I missed the chance to dive into the ocean this time, the stunning beach view on my last day made up for it — almost teasingly. But as always, the event was so packed with networking and learning opportunities that dipping my toes in the water became an afterthought.

As a sponsor for the third consecutive year, witnessing the evolution of this fantastic gathering has been nothing short of inspiring. The shift in venue and the change in schedule to right after the holidays (January 3rd through the 5th) brought a fresh vibe to our gathering. While I missed the chance to dive into the ocean this time, the stunning beach view on my last day made up for it — almost teasingly. But as always, the event was so packed with networking and learning opportunities that dipping my toes in the water became an afterthought.

Related: NADRA’s 2021 National+ Deck Competition Awards

What Was Different This Year?

The introduction of roundtables truly stood out, mixing deck builders, manufacturers, and industry insiders in a melting pot of perspectives. It was these sessions that filled my notebook with “juicy nuggets” of wisdom, sparking conversations on everything from innovation to the full potential of leveraging NADRA.

2023 NADRA Summit & Deck Awards - Deck Builder Marketers Bronze Sponsor

Juicy Lit’ Nuggets of Wisdom

Reflecting on our discussions, I’m excited to share insights that are directly actionable, whether you’re refining your marketing strategy or looking to deepen your industry connections.

Understanding Your Ideal Customer

First things first, who’s your dream client? Those yearning for a lavish outdoor living space are not your average Joe with a $40k budget. They’re searching, researching, and yes, they’ll take their sweet time. The trick? Stellar content showcasing your work, reviews, and a sneak peek into your services, all while ensuring your sales and production processes are as polished as a new deck in summer. Remember, it’s not just about the price tag; it’s the experience you’re selling.

Brand Positioning

What makes you, well, you? Is it your family-run charm, your commitment to quality over quotas, or perhaps a unique service that only you offer? Dive deep into what sets you apart and shout it from the rooftops (or your website). It’s these intangibles that draw customers in and keep them coming back for more.

Content Is King: Lead the Narrative

In today’s digital age, your website is your kingdom, and content is your crown jewels. It’s not just about educating your audience; it’s about “de-educating” them from the misinformation out there. Take control of the narrative by filling your site with rich, educational content that speaks directly to their queries and concerns. This way, you’re not just a source of information; you’re the authority.

Leveraging Manufacturer Partnerships

Strong relationships with manufacturers can open up a wealth of opportunities, from lead generation to enhanced credibility through shared marketing efforts. Are you making the most of these relationships?

The Psychology of Marketing

Ever wonder why some brands just stick in your mind? It’s all in the psychology. Effective branding and marketing tap into the subconscious, nudging customers towards you because they’ve seen your brand everywhere, making them feel familiar and trusted.

Testing and Innovation: The Heartbeat of Success

Marketing isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it kind of deal. It’s about constant testing, innovating, and adapting. Sometimes, the goal isn’t direct revenue but building a brand that attracts top talent, fosters team spirit, and turns clients into brand advocates.

Do They Know All You Do?

You’d be surprised how many potential clients are unaware of the full scope of your services. Your website should be a catalog of possibilities – from custom decks to outdoor kitchens. Don’t let your prospects’ lack of imagination limit your opportunities.

Building Relationships, Not Just Decks

Remember, people don’t buy decks; they buy relationships. They choose to work with you because of the trust and connection you’ve built, not just because they liked a photo online.

Maximizing NADRA’s Offerings

Lastly, NADRA isn’t just for networking. It’s a hub of resources, from social post libraries to deck safety awareness content. Are you fully tapping into what NADRA has to offer?

2023 NADRA Summit & Deck Awards - Deck Builder Marketers & Hen-House Decks

Why Attend the NADRA Summit & Deck Awards?

I’ve heard concerns about the cost and perceived lack of ROI from attending the Deck Awards or entering to win. However, the value extends far beyond the immediate. Let’s break down the benefits that make this event indispensable:

Community & Personal Growth

  • Networking Opportunities: It’s not just about who you know; it’s about who gets to know you. These connections go beyond business, often leading to friendships that enrich both personal and professional lives.
  • Inspiration and Motivation: Witnessing the innovation and creativity of your peers is nothing short of electrifying, pushing you to advance your own projects.
  • Knowledge Sharing: The roundtables and discussions provide a deep dive into the latest industry trends and strategies, enriching our skill set.

Business Growth & Industry Recognition

  • Increased Visibility: Being part of this event puts you in the spotlight, opening doors to new opportunities and partnerships.
  • Credibility and Trust: Winning a NADRA award is a mark of excellence, enhancing trust with clients and setting you apart in a crowded market.
  • Business Growth Opportunities: The connections made can lead to new ventures, collaborations, and business growth.

What Are the Benefits of Being a Deck Awards Winner?

Winning at the Deck Awards is more than a moment of pride; it’s a potent marketing tool. It signifies your commitment to excellence, helping to distinguish your business and boost your brand’s credibility. Here’s how it can amplify your marketing efforts:

  • Enhanced Credibility: An award serves as a third-party endorsement of your quality and expertise, instantly elevating your brand’s trustworthiness.
  • Market Differentiation: In a competitive market, awards distinguish your business, highlighting your achievements and setting you apart from competitors.
  • Industry Recognition: Winning a NADRA Deck Award places your business at the forefront of the industry, marking it as a leader in innovation, design, and craftsmanship. This recognition can be a powerful marketing tool, distinguishing your brand from competitors and instilling trust in potential clients.
  • Marketing and Publicity: Winners often receive substantial exposure through press releases, social media shoutouts, and features in industry publications. This publicity can increase your brand’s visibility, attracting new clients and reinforcing your reputation among existing ones. Additionally, leveraging the award in your marketing campaigns can highlight your commitment to quality and excellence.
  • Boosted Team Morale: Winning an award not only benefits your brand externally but also internally. It serves as recognition of your team’s hard work, dedication, and talent, boosting morale and motivating your staff to continue producing high-quality work.
  • Attracting Talent: Being recognized as an award-winning company can also make your company more attractive to top talent in the industry. Professionals are often eager to work with companies that are known for excellence and innovation, helping you to attract and retain skilled individuals.
  • Digital Marketing Boost: Featuring your award on your website, social media, and email marketing reinforces your industry leadership, engaging current and prospective clients.

Your Turn!

As we wrap this chat, let’s think about how we can keep the momentum going. The Deck Awards & NADRA Summit isn’t just a once-a-year high—it’s a springboard for continuous growth and connection.

So, here’s the question I’m tossing your way: How are you tapping into your resources? Whether it’s NADRA, DeckExpo, manufacturers, or even us (Deck Builder Marketers) at your marketing corner, there’s a whole ecosystem designed to support your success.

Remember, our mission is to help 100 deck builders double their revenue in the next five years. It’s all about leveraging the right tools, connections, and marketing strategies to make your business thrive. If you’re looking to sharpen your marketing edge, we’re here to fuel that journey. Want to chat about this article or game plan on how to take your business to the next level? Schedule a Strategy Session today!

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April Edwards

Owner & Lead Marketing Strategist
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