Marketing is one of the most vital pillars of business. If you don’t market your business, how are people going to know who you are, what you do, where you’re based? It conveys your message to your customer base. It’s very, very important.
Many companies, many installers in fact, do their own marketing, to target their local areas. It’s effective. It’s cheap. But it’s not always enough. That is why suppliers, namely fabricators, do their own marketing that installers can lean on. Brochures, leaflets, drop cards, websites and all other manner of marketing. Fabricators do this to help their installers help sell more of their product.
But here’s the sometimes contentious issue: should installers pay for it?
Paying for print
There are a good number of suppliers who now offer free marketing support to the installers. There are also those who offer a very comprehensive marketing package but at a cost. So which position is the right one? Should fabricators be doing this for free? Or is it right they pass on the costs to cover the work involved?
I work for an installation company, and I don’t mind saying that when it comes to brochures, leaflets and other forms of print material, I think they should be free. Whilst print runs in the tens of thousands can be costly at first, a long term view should be taken on things like this. For example, it is quite feasible for a single, perhaps a couple of (well designed) brochures to inspire a couple of home owners into changing all their windows and doors in their homes. Suddenly, via the invoices from the installers, that fabricator has their print costs covered and more. Not a bad return.
Leaflets, drop cards and other print material should also be free. In the end, it is installers that are the lifeblood of every fabricator and supplier. They should be doing as much as possible to help those installers grow and sell more of their products.
The showroom argument
This could be extended to include showrooms. Brochures cost. So do showroom samples. Installers want to be able to sell their fabricator’s products as effectively as possible. For those with showrooms, that means being able to have a physical sample on hand to wow a potential client. It is much harder to sell products without samples to demonstrate.
So who should pay for them? Installers? Should fabricators foot the bill? Again, speaking with my installer’s head on, I am all for FOC showroom support. However, I do fully understand that if a fabricator has 100o customers and 85% of them have showrooms, that’s a lot of potentially FOC samples.
Therefore, I am also a fan of the sorts of arrangements where by the installer pays for the sample, then, after a certain number of sales of that product up to a certain value, the fabricator reimburses the installer for that cost. The fabricator is shown some commitment from the installer, and the installers isn’t really out of pocket. Everyone wins.
When push comes to shove though, the priority has to be that installers have as much support as possible. Without them, every company further back in the chain suffers. So when it comes to things like marketing support, they should be given as much of it as possible, and it shouldn’t cost them. Strong installers mean strong fabricators which means strong systems companies. It’s all very rewarding really.
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