Latest from Industry

Illustration 60886103 / Kheng Ho To / Dreamstime
Illustration 60886103 Kheng Ho To / Dreamstime
60886103 / Kheng Ho To / Dreamstime
60886103 / Kheng Ho To
photo_535609 / brownm39 / DreamsTime
Hye Jin Kang / DreamsTime
Prices Cost Rising Photo 199231482 Hye Jin Kang Dreamstime Copy
Prices Cost Rising Photo 199231482 Hye Jin Kang Dreamstime Copy
Prices Cost Rising Photo 199231482 Hye Jin Kang Dreamstime Copy
Prices Cost Rising Photo 199231482 Hye Jin Kang Dreamstime Copy
Prices Cost Rising Photo 199231482 Hye Jin Kang Dreamstime Copy
© Niall Wiggan / DreamsTime
Dowload Button Image Photo 237699958 © Niall Wiggan Dreamstime
Dowload Button Image Photo 237699958 © Niall Wiggan Dreamstime
Dowload Button Image Photo 237699958 © Niall Wiggan Dreamstime
Dowload Button Image Photo 237699958 © Niall Wiggan Dreamstime
Dowload Button Image Photo 237699958 © Niall Wiggan Dreamstime

Buying/Marketing Groups Preach Rep Cooperation at NEMRA's NMG Group Forum

March 21, 2003
Presentations by the electrical industry's four largest buying/marketing groups at NEMRA's annual conference on March 15 in Washington, D.C., offered

Presentations by the electrical industry's four largest buying/marketing groups at NEMRA's annual conference on March 15 in Washington, D.C., offered unique insight into the role independent manufacturers' representatives play in their marketing efforts.

The presentations were sponsored by the NEMRA Manufacturers Group (NMG), which also gathered the electrical wholesaling industry's largest national and regional distributors at the 2002 NEMRA Conference in Dallas.

Representatives from each of the buying/marketing groups focused on how reps can work together most effectively with electrical distributors to implement their various marketing programs.

The Sales Power program is offered by the 10-year old Electrical Distributors Network (EDN), Concord, Ohio. EDN's members have 793 locations throughout the United States and combined annual sales of $3.1 billion. Sales Power strengthens EDN-member relationships with reps by encouraging participation in a variety of marketing activities, said Ted Havel, EDN's director of marketing.

This program offers incentives for electrical distributors to get involved with direct mail, co-op advertising, counter days, employee training, end-user joint sales calls and vendor factory tours. Electrical distributors can earn $100 for participation in each activity. To be eligible for the $100, reps must sign off on the distributor's participation.

The IMARK Group, Oxon Hill, Md., prides itself on the relationships it has established with reps over the years and the active role that its rep advisory board plays in developing marketing activities. “Independent electrical representatives are crucial to the success of the electrical distribution channel,” says Steve Cunningham, IMARK's president. “Likewise, reps are important ingredients to the success of IMARK programs. NEMRA reps are among the key beneficiaries of IMARK programs.”

IMARK's rep advisory council has 10 members, including Hank Bergson, NEMRA's president. “Regular agenda topics for the rep council are IMARK's mission update, supplier selection and evaluation matters, marketing programs and the effectiveness of field activities,” said Cunningham.

Steve Ruane, IMARK's vice president of marketing emphasized that any programs requiring rep involvement must have the rep's initials. He advised reps to “never sign a ‘blank check.’”

“Be sure that the activity has been completed and the distributor has participated,” he said.

Cunningham said IMARK, a member-owned and member-governed group made up of 180 electrical distributors with 1,000 locations had 2002 sales of $6.2 billion. “IMARK members outperformed the market, other groups and chains for the vast majority of IMARK suppliers for 2002.”

Chris Hartmann, president, Affiliated Distributor (A-D), King of Prussia, Pa., said A-D will be contacting reps for their ideas on updating some of A-D's marketing programs to fine-tune its marketing efforts.

“Some of our marketing programs are old and tired and people are just punching a ticket,” he said. “We will be coming to independent manufacturers' reps for help in upgrading them.”

Bob Snyder, executive director, Equity Electrical Associates, East Walpole, Mass., said his marketing/buying group, which has seen membership increase 45 percent to 260 members since 1999, relies heavily on independent manufacturers' reps to push its marketing programs.

“Without the reps' involvement, it's not going to happen, it's as simple as that,” he said.

Snyder, who sold through independent manufacturers' reps during his 25-year career with Carol Cable, said independent manufacturers' reps are instrumental in supporting Equity's Market Power program, which offers electrical distributors opportunities to earn points toward customized marketing campaigns professionally developed by Creative Marketing Alliance (CMA), Princeton Junction, N.J.

CMA is a full-service advertising/public relations agency that custom publishes the Equity Advocate magazine and other publications and marketing materials for Equity.