Archive for April, 2014

The CMO in You!

One of the many hats the manager of any wholesale distribution branch wears is that of “Chief Marketing Officer” (CMO) for his or her location. Marketing is a crucial part of any operation’s success, but so are many other things…so it requires a thoughtful and effective approach.

So what is “marketing”? In its simplest form marketing is everything you do to put your product in the hands of your customers. By that definition, everyone in your store and every activity that touches the customer can at least loosely be considered part of your marketing mix.

The purpose of marketing (inspired by Sergio Zyman) is to sell more stuff, to more people, more often, for more reasons, to make more money.   But what exactly does that mean? Let’s break it down:

More stuff – Selling more stuff means selling a wider variety of your product portfolio AND a larger quantity of the things you sell to any given customer. You sell a wider selection of SKU’s by doing things that draw attention to new or different items or product categories. After observing your customers’ buying patterns you can offer new and different options, add-ons, or complimentary items. Also, as a true business partner you should always be looking for ways to help each customer build his or her business by broadening their offering! You can sell more (quantity) by reminding customers at each transaction of the commodities they should have a deep inventory of to ensure they don’t have work stops. Also, by drawing attention to sale items and promotions, you can sell more per customer visit. Finally, through creative merchandising you can accomplish all of the above objectives much more effectively.

More people – The more people that enter your branch and place orders, the greater are your sales. The more people you reach with your messaging, offers, and promotions, the more there are that will enter the branch and place orders. The more people in your marketing database, the more people you will reach with your messages. The more time and effort your branch spends on researching, finding, and entering prospects into your database, the larger and better qualified is your database. It all comes down to awareness. Will you sell more by reaching twenty or two hundred and twenty? Another way to reach and influence the masses with little effort and no cost is through social media. Use it wisely to increase your reach!

More often – Service sells.  If you and your staff are known for excellent service you will see your customers more often.  If you are not, start there!   But merely serving well when customers enter your doors doesn’t necessarily, by itself, maximize your opportunities to sell more often. By showing greater interest in your customers’ operations, activities, and projects you can ferret out more opportunities to supply more of their work. Also, by scheduling deliveries and route sales together you can create more convenient opportunities for customers to buy what they need with less effort. By leveraging the services your company offers and the data you are normally capturing you can sell more per job as customers consolidate their purchases with you and only you. Finally, by being the most helpful, friendly, and fun supplier, your customers will feel like they’ve missed out by not stopping by!

For more reasons – So you serve well and offer more services and benefits than your competitors.  You know it, but do your customers?  And if they once knew do they still remember?  Once informed, are those reasons to shop with you top of mind with your customers every day…every transaction? No more than are all your best attributes and best efforts always in your spouse’s or significant other’s consciousness every moment. They need to be reminded – not of all the great things you’ve done, but what you can do and will do to make their lives easier. By continuing to serve well, but also by pointing out the list of advantages you provide at every opportunity and by offering them up in context at the right moments. By so doing you provide ample cause for customers and prospects to bring you their business!

To make more money – The more you sell, the more you sell it for, and the more often you sell it, the more your company makes. The more your company makes, the more YOU make!

Lead on, CMO!


April 30, 2014 at 2:24 pm Leave a comment

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