June 28, 2011

Marketing Inefficiencies Waste Money

By Bob Gaylord, President and CEO, IDEA

Manufacturers, are you content to waste money and irritate customers? Of course not, that doesn’t make sense. Yet, as I listen to your distributor customers, that’s what I’m hearing. Distributors say they are not getting the marketing data they need to sell your products and compete effectively. Manufacturers tell me they are providing all the marketing data asked for.

This communications disconnect about product data is resulting in waste for both distributors and manufacturers. Your distributor customers are acquiring and merging your product marketing data from multiple sources to keep pace with market pressures and end-user demands. Distributors use this “meshed data” to describe your products. Concurrently, manufacturers—many with richly populated websites—provide data to multiple distributors and other demand users in a series of one-off requests.

This is not the efficiency intended when the leadership of the most influential companies in the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) created IDEA. IDEA was created to drive costs out of the electrical distribution channel. The initial solution was simple: a single data platform for manufacturers to publish their transactional, pricing, and marketing data for all their distributor customers. Manufacturers would control how their products would be positioned in the marketplace. Distributors would pull all their vendors’ product information from a single source.

A simple concept, and yet more than 13 years later, we still struggle with a data gap. The stakes have never been higher, nor the friction in trading partner relationships greater. As web commerce continues to gain traction in the electrical channel, distributors feel at a disadvantage with such competitors as Amazon.com, Toolup.com, and Drillspot.com creeping into the channel.

How will you respond? IDEA is your company and partner — we know the data. Contact me personally (703-562-4634, rgaylord@idea-esolutions.com) to review how your data stacks up with that of your competitors.

Download this opinion editorial published in NEMA’s electroindustry magazine>