Recent Posts

Our Newest Web Project Launches

Aug 21—We are happy to announce the birth of our newest baby - a brand new website for Warkwyn Associates. Who? Warkwyn is an accomplished audio design and engineering firm. We are sharing this news with...Read More

Look Like Who You Really Are

Jul 30— Do you look like who you are? This question is not an “if a tree falls in the woods” Zen kind of question. What we are really asking is: "Do your graphics and other marketing...Read More

Redefining the word Customer

Jul 01—We recently attended the InfoComm trade show in Las Vegas and came away thinking about the meaning of the word “customer” and the way one’s definition influences a brand’s marketing...Read More

Point Of Sale Displays that Sell Product

Jun 17—You are already using the Internet, social networks and traditional media to reach the customer with your brand story. But if you’re not telling your unique brand and product story at bricks and...Read More

What do your customers think of you

Jun 03—A special guest blog by Wendy Price Some of you may say, “I already know what they think.”  Others of you might say, “I’ll just ask my sales people and account managers...Read More

Ten Print Advertising Tips

May 22—In our last blog we made a compelling case that print advertising is relevant and valuable even in this digital age. Now we turn our attention to a handful of basic techniques for making your print advertising...Read More

The Value of Print Advertising

May 07—We almost always include print advertising in our clients’ marketing and media plans. Sometimes we get the reaction “Print? Really? We hear that print is dead.”  There is no...Read More

Making Text More Readable

Apr 15—Words. Every marketer needs them. Sometimes you need a lot of words to get your sales message across. (In our imaginations) our readers hunger to fully understand the marketing techniques we...Read More

Retail Reality-Product Demos-and You

Apr 02—Remember when owning a decent stereo was a major life goal and when shopping in a hi-fi store was fun? We are unapologetically nostalgic for the days when retailers actively sold A/V products; when the...Read More

Ma Mark Marketing or the Importance of Email Subject Lines

Mar 19—Regular readers of the CE Marketing Prose newsletter may have noticed oddities in our last two emails. The February 19 edition went out with the subject line “Mark” in place of “Marketing...Read More

How to Stay out of the Trashcan or the Lessons Learned from a Parking Lot

Mar 04—Marketers of CE products should count themselves lucky. We have it easy; we’re selling fun stuff – toys that help people enjoy great music and entertaining movies and TV programming. But just...Read More

Five Ways to Make Time for Customer Outreach

Feb 19—“Time keeps everything from happening all at once." - Henri Bergson  If you’ve read our website or spoken with us about marketing you know that we’re absolutely rabid...Read More

Brands that Communicate Win

Feb 05—The most successful brands regularly keep in touch and stay top of mind with their customers (end-users and channel partners) via blogs, newsletters and social media. With the advent of new Google search...Read More

Content is Definitely King since Google Changed Search Algorithms

Jan 28—The word “algorithm” is the equivalent of Ambien – it puts most people right to sleep. So it is miraculous that we actually read the news about Google’s newest search engine algorithms...Read More

How Pawn Takes Queen

Jan 20—We would like all of our readers to believe we are the source of all marketing wisdom and insight.  While that is largely true, sometimes we stumble upon someone who has written an article that perfectly...Read More

Should High-End CE Companies Bother with Social Media

Dec 11—On several occasions clients have asked us whether it was worth their time and effort to participate in social media outreach. The tone in which the question was asked told us that the answer they wanted...Read More

Rants from the Frozen Tundra

Nov 25—A friend of ours from the land of baby seals* was inspired by our blog Turning Bad Consumer Reviews into Good  to send us a couple of rants regarding Big Mistakes he sees CE manufacturers consistently...Read More

Flying Without Navigation

Nov 13—Or how we learned to stop worrying and love the research bomb* Imagine you are on a jumbo jet for a 15-1/2 hour flight from LA to Australia. Just after takeoff the pilot announces, “Ladies and...Read More

Coal into Diamonds - Turning Bad Consumer Reviews into Good

Oct 26—We often advise our clients to allow consumers to post reviews on the company website. From the looks of horror on their faces you would think we had proposed offing Granny for the insurance money....Read More

Direct to Consumer Sales and Channel Stress

Oct 14—One of the many services we offer our clients is helping develop direct-to-consumer sales programs for their websites and email communications. When we’ve mentioned that option to some potential...Read More

The Top Twelve Things Your Website Needs To Do - Part Three

Oct 02—In our previous two blog posts we wrote about eight of the top twelve things a brand's website needs to do to be effective. If you didn't read Part One and Part Two you might want to...Read More

The Top Twelve Things Your Website Needs To Do - Part Two

Sep 17—In our last blog post we wrote about four of the top twelve things a brand's website needs to do to be effective. If you didn't read Part One you might want to do that now...................Done? ...Read More

The Top Twelve Things Your Website Needs To Do - Part One

Aug 28— It should be unnecessary to say it in this day and age but just for the record – Your website is the single most important weapon in your marketing arsenal. Don't believe it? When you're...Read More

Jul 01

Redefining the word Customer

We recently attended the InfoComm trade show in Las Vegas and came away thinking about the meaning of the word “customer” and the way one’s definition influences a brand’s marketing plan. Some of the companies we spoke with defined their customer as their distributors; some said their retailers or integrators; others said system designers or specifiers. Interestingly, few mentioned the “end user,” whomever that may be, such as homeowner, engineer, A/V specialist or business owner.

We see the same phenomenon in the Consumer Electronics and CEDIA segments – a tendency to think and market only as far as the first link in the sales chain. That kind of thinking makes a certain amount of sense. You could hardly blame a brand marketer for thinking “my job is to get my products into the first link of the sales chain, it’s their job to move it into the next link.” That approach has the benefits of focus and economy and, in the right circumstances, is the correct approach.

One of our clients, a start-up in the CEDIA channel, needs comprehensive national distribution but is working with a limited budget (dang!). Our marketing plan is 100% focused on building brand awareness within the trade – reps, distributors and integrators. As much as we would like to influence end users, we have to save that for another day.

But more mature companies must look and market farther down the sales path - every step from in-house “customers” all the way to the end user. Why? Because the sale can be lost at any one of those steps, starting with the brand’s own employees. That’s right, your own employees.

A former boss and mentor was fond of saying “the first people you have to sell are your own people.” A salesperson who doesn't burn with enthusiasm is a less effective salesperson. And don’t overlook the other people on your staff like inside salespeople and customer service reps. Every employee who interacts with channel partners or end users needs to drink the KoolAid too.

Getting back to the end-user, he or she is ultimately the most important link in the sales chain. Every other link in the chain could drop the ball but if the end user believes in your brand, you still have a shot of getting the sale. Doubt it? Consider those audio and video brands with household names that continue to sell enormous amounts of gear (sometimes commanding dominant market share) despite the best efforts of salespeople, spec writers, integrators and retailers to sell off their product.

Another mentor of ours was fond of saying “Retailers come and go, the end user is eternal.” Substitute any word you wish in place of “Retailer.” The phrase is just as true for integrators, distributors, reps, or any other entity in the sales path. The channel partner you spend all your time, attention and money to influence today could be gone tomorrow, but there will always be a community of end users.

Influencing the end user starts with understanding who that person is, what motivates their purchasing decision, and what media they consume. Those are topics we will cover in future articles. In the meantime, start by identifying all the people involved in getting your products sold and installed into an end user’s business or residence, including the end user. Ask yourself what you are actively doing to influence every one of those people. Talk to as many of them as possible to learn what’s important to them. From there you can start to build a truly comprehensive marketing plan.

About CE Marketing Pros
We’re a full service marketing/advertising agency specializing in helping commercisal and consumer electronics brands, integrators and retailers compete more effectively. Former marketing executives with two of the most successful CE brands, Al Ballard and Paul DiComo help brands  STAND OUT in a crowded and confusing marketplace. 

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