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.
As always, all comments on today’s post and any other are welcome via the comments section below. And remember to subscribe to get daily DGB updates sent to your inbox!
As a roof fabricator I agree that support should be given to the installers, this is a shared cost from us & I expect support from the systems company. That’s said everything has to commercially stack up The bigger margins sit either side of us…ie the installer and the systems company. So the numbers have to work. I’m always happy (and have many examples around the UK) of us at Premier Conservatory Supplies giving support in terms of showroom support in the shape of samples or indeed full orangeries & conservatories , but we always enter into an agreement where… Read more »
I think this model of brochures being charged for arose as most of the sales people in retailers ( certainly 20 years ago when I started in the sector anyway) were self employed and had to buy their own sample cases and brochures. A case can be made for charging and not charging, so I have sympathies for both sides of the argument. In my experience when something is free its not appreciated the same and resources can be more easily wasted. Also, in the case of products like conservatory roofs, the roof probably only represents 10-15% of the total… Read more »
Very good point Mark about the roof only being a smaller % of the conservatory cost…yet as you say it’s the fab/Sysco that is expected to provide the marketing stuff
I think the problem here is the Brand. The installer local sales person is the Brand. We do not change suppliers very often but back in 2001 we changed after more than 10 years with the same supplier (product was changed to comply with Document L 2002, we did not like new product) New customers did not know we had changed and if we had to match work we explained what we had done. Business was not effected and our showroom then as now was the Brand. The pre 2002 supplier never took marketing material away or checked that we… Read more »
We pay for our branded brochures and it does not bother me that much as my supplier has to pay for them. We generally get small samples 600 X 1000 and have had to pay for some of them. I agree with what has been said regarding paying for samples but getting this back once you reach a certain amount of sales within a period of time.