Throughout the entire three days at NAED AdVenture, there were several panel discussions and break-out sessions specifically designed for electrical manufacturers and distributors to discuss their relationship together; outside the realm of marketing. They were designed to help each sector better understand the other and to address key issues or topics that each had. Bringing the industry together in this fashion is extremely helpful to both parties and gives each party something to strive for in bettering relationships and processes with one another.
One of the most common themes that kept appearing throughout these discussions was the passing of information from one entity to the other; granted it was sometimes presented as ‘product information,’ ‘company information,’ ‘event information,’ or ‘order/delivery/process information’ but regardless, overall it was a discussion surrounding the ability to share information between manufacturers and distributors. The great thing about information is that any way you present it it is still information. If you can address the issue you are having with any specific informational process, you can address the problems you are having with all informational processes.
Manufacturers in the electrical industry and most industrial markets for that matter offer great information about their products, services and events and they are good at getting that information out for others to see. Distributors are very good at distributing the products they get from manufacturers and are good getting information about their distribution process out for buyers to see; however based on what I gathered at this conference, there seems to be a disconnect regarding information making its way from manufacturer to distributor to consumer.
From what I experienced at NAED AdVenture I would attribute this lack of information sharing to a lack of perceived value. Information is viewed differently than product but is almost more important from a marketing standpoint. Distributors know that product is important, and it is what pays the bills; however, the perceived value of information in this sector isn’t quite to where it needs to be. This is a HUGE problem, especially given that we currently live in the Information Age. Information is what makes the world go ‘round, and if you aren’t providing it, you are losing; losing money, losing potential clients, losing the game if you will.
Many of the marketing presenters discussed that people in this industry aren’t spending enough money on digital marketing, and I think that the issues between manufacturers and distributors are a direct reflection of this. Some of these companies are well established and have been successful for a long time, without large marketing budgets, so the perceived value is diminished and the lack of informational sharing and the same issues keep being discussed at these conferences.
What is even better about this issue is twenty-first technology can solve it; through social media, emails, text messages, phone calls, etc. It’s easier than what many people think! With that said, however, users of this technology don’t always make such solutions quite as easy as what they can be, but that’s what being human is all about right? That’s another reason that Lohre & Associates strives to better understand and utilize new technology in the marketing realm. Allowing customers, businesses, and potential clients access to your employees and company is all too important these days; whether that is through email notifications, a website, or even just allowing them to talk to a human when they pick up the phone, today’s world is all about access, access, access… end of story.
This is where effective exchanging of information is so important between both parties (and this is applicable to any industry). And given today’s technology, this exchange has never been easier; websites, email, e-newsletters, videos, social media, blogging, text message alerts, google generated phone numbers that allow you to record and track sales calls, etc. is all available to help bridge the gap so that information is readily available. As an industrial marketing firm, we advocate daily for the use of these mediums and after hearing what I heard from multiple panel discussions, presentations, round table discussions and audience questions, I can’t figure out why more manufactures and distributors haven’t utilized the technology available to solve their problems or at least reached out to someone who can.
Hopefully, it isn’t a simple case of the fear of the unknown, but if you are afraid, Lohre & Associates can help you.
Above: Screen Shot of our client, Becker Electric's Webcast Center. A tool on their website that offers up-to-date information from electrical manufacturers.
If you liked this blog post you might be interested in how Lohre & Assoc. is implementing successuful marketing campaigns by focusing on using new internet tools to acquire prospects, convert them into customers and delight them with customer service.