Without question, distributors and the dealer channel play a vital role with the success of the products they represent. Marketing materials have always been important in the sales cycle, but is the channel getting what they need to sell in today’s market? This article will shed some light.
The Distributor’s Network
For Michigan-based National/Azon Equipment, led by industry veteran Rich Gigl, sharing manufacturers’ content is a must. Heidi Thompson of ACE Public Relations recently spoke with Gigl to discuss some of the ways that he connects with his network, and finds out what works, and what doesn’t.
HT: What are some of the methods that you use to connect with your target audience?
RG: We’re pretty old school. We use a lot of email, and we use our cell phones like crazy.
HT: What type of content works for you?
RG: I would send just about anything that would open up horizons and push a product along. The larger the ticket item and the greater the competition in the space, the more information a manufacturer should share with us. I like to use competitive information, product applications, anything that would make someone say, “Wow. I really ought to take a look at this.” But vendors are not great at providing information to us on a regular basis. We would like to receive more from the manufacturers.
We have the right equipment in our mix. It’s always a function of timing, and getting it right. We spend a lot of time creating promotions because we’re not receiving enough from the manufacturers.
HT: Aside from the traditional marketing pieces like one sheets, case studies, testimonials, press releases, email campaigns and promotions, what other types of marketing material would you like to receive?
RG: I would like to use more web-based application training — videos that are helpful to end users, not just with fun music with nice cut-ins. For example, I would like a video showing how to print white on acrylic. I’d also like video of the top 10 features of the products we represent. Content is important, and our audience has a limited time. We have to hook them quickly. Video is a great way to do that.
HT: How many resellers do you reach out to?
RG: We have a couple thousand contacts and companies in our database. Many are existing resellers, others are potentials. Sometimes we receive information to share with our contacts on a monthly basis, from other manufacturers, its quarterly. We are wide open to receiving manufacturers’ information that will help educate the customer. We don’t get enough of it.
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About National/AZON Equipment
National/AZON Equipment is a leading distributor of hardware and software products, with a special focus on the reprographic, graphic arts and sign making markets. With manufacturing, sales and distribution facilities across North America, National/AZON Equipment continuously innovates to meet the ever changing needs of large format printing and scanning professionals. For more information, call 800.260.0839 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.