Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

September 13, 2016

John W. Kerr

Data + strategy = growth. At this time of year the team at Kerrwil is in the final stages of producing its annual research and benchmarking study. Data is flying everywhere around our office and the discipline to have it focused, organized and guarded above all else keeps us pretty consumed. 

But what also happens at this time of year are calls from distributors and manufacturers alike asking for information, for help in segmenting their clients, and for deeper understanding of brand preferences and perceptions from the numerous segments of electrical buyers and specifiers. 

The need for more detail and more currency is greater this year than ever. The changing and challenging market, new product innovations and the shifts in the channel driven by lighting technologies for the most part are some of the drivers for this. 

The insight we gain here too can guide and support our editorial teams and we hope guide the industry.  

The need for benchmarking has never been greater, and that’s why we launched our study so many years ago. That said, never did we think at the time we did this we would be at the centre of these numerous requests and involved in providing insight, information and additional research to the electrical market. 

While the focus is on market data specifically (share, size), we are increasingly being asked what lines are being sold by whom, can you identify for us, what additional channels are in our markets or serving our end users, have you heard this specific new supplier is selling direct? Can you segment the market mix and product mix to help us identify where we need to have focus? 

Perhaps this time of year is in fact busy as budgets, planning and looking forward to next year begins. 

Have you recently analyzed where you look at and who you are selling to versus who is there? Do you have a handle on how your competitors are doing and how the lines and suppliers they represent are evolving with new products and customers? Can you quantify the trading area you are in, and have you been honest enough to in fact define that trading area? 

One trend we see in our recent discussions for the first time in a long time is a return to basics in marketing. Companies are looking beyond the tools of a broad-based unqualified reach to focus, be tactical and measure against a real benchmark. Caught in that cross fire, it appears, is the debate on the real value of social media and its cost versus real immediate return on a more direct approach. 

Today with the amount of data out there, the technology to manage it and the need to bring it all in play, manufacturers and distributors alike are looking for the edge and realizing that finally it’s good marketing and promotion practices that need the investment. The need to drive populate and comply with CRM platforms is a factor as well. 

Here’s a sampling of what others are asking for and what they are looking at. 

  1. What is the market size and total available market for my branch and/or product?
  2. What end-users are present in my market and how big of a potential target am I missing? 
  3. Who else is selling electrical equipment and to whom?
  4. How do I really understand my metrics on the web?
  5. Lead generation data — where to get company specific data that can be levered and quantified?
  6. How many electrical contractors are there in my market and if they are not buying from our company where are they going? 

For us the biggest take-away is the single fact that the majority of distributors in this country are overspending on who they know without understanding the true potential, and underspending on who they don’t know. Many have invested heavily in ecommerce with no plan to promote it beyond their core clients.  

The market is as dynamic and fluid as it ever has been, with more competitors, ever increasing complex new products that require more support, and a changing end user who researches and reacts quickly and who may gradually look at other ways to obtain products and solutions. 

Solid market data and real benchmarking tools may be something that should be at the forefront and perhaps that’s why the phone continues to ring. The demand too will grow as manufacturers will demand more data and want to know more about their customers, how they buy, and where, what they want, and how to build a relationship and preference.


John W. Kerr is Publisher of CEW and Principal of Kerrwil Publishing Ltd. 

 

 

OlsonBy Katrina Olson

A recent CEW article by David Gordon caught my eye. The headline was, Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Inhibiting Growth?

As a marketing consultant, writer, and trainer, I recognized the challenges and barriers that David was writing about. We agree on many issues (and their causes) facing electrical distributors and marketers. But I also hear from marketing people all the time that the C-Suite is hindering their efforts which, in turn, hinders the company’s growth.  

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2018 Electrical North American MeetingOn October 29-31, 2018, the AD Electrical North American Meeting drew over 1,000 attendees. This event attracted 151 first time attendees and representatives from over 362 companies in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Attendees benefited from a variety of agenda topics, including: Network Meetings, Emerging Leaders Session, and Country-specific Business Meetings. New to this year’s agenda was a SPA Optimization Workshop led by industry veteran Mo Barsema. In addition, members and suppliers also attended a panel discussion on managing and measuring your digital success.

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Changing Scene

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 EFC Announces 2018 Marketing Awards Winners

2018 Marketing Awards WinnersElectro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that demonstrate marketing excellence and innovation within the Canadian electrical manufacturing and distribution industry. Winners of this year’s awards were recognized at EFC’s 8th Annual Future Forum, held earlier this month. (Shown in photo: EFC President and CEO Carole McGlogan with representatives from Bartle & Gibson, winners of the Integrated Marketing Award — distributor under $50 million.)Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that demonstrate marketing excellence...

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Peers & Profiles

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 Young Leaders: Taylor Gerrie

Taylor GerrieOn a regular basis, our publications profile members of our industry through their responses to a Q&A. It’s a way of recognizing industry movers and shakers, and helping our readers get to know them better. 

Recently we launched an initiative with Electro-Federation Canada's Young Professionals Network to include profiles of up-and-coming leaders. We provided the list of questions below to Taylor Gerrie, Automation Account Specialist at Gerrie Electric Wholesale Ltd. in Burlington, Ontario. Here are Taylor’s responses.

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Susan Uthayakumar, President of Schneider Electric Canada: Driving Success

Susan UthayakumarBy Owen Hurst

First and foremost, sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing with a friend than conducting an interview with the Canadian president of one of the world’s largest electrical manufacturers. Of course, she exudes the confidence and knowledge her position demands, but equally identifiable are an open and engaging nature.

In a recent sit-down, we learned a little about Susan’s history and what drives her to succeed.

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Looking Back

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The best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. ...
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Looking BackThe best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. The welcome they gave to me, all of them men. (In those days there were not many women in business.) This welcome I will always remember. CEDA has played a very important role in my success.

One year our conference was in Hamilton, Ontario. Mr. Caouillette, our speaker, got lost and instead of going to Hamilton went to Toronto. I think that that was the longest cocktail hour that CEDA ever had… waiting for him to arrive. Certainly that night the head table and everyone were in good spirits.

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Looking BackLooking BackIn the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent companies like Horsman, Ashdowns, Brettell, Marshall Wells, Electrical Supplies Ltd., etc.

Small electrical distributors just were not acceptable for membership as they did not carry the main-line manufacturers’ goods, publish a wiring device catalogue, or employ four to five salesmen as CEDA requested.

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