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Communications Challenges in the Decking Channel

Presntation on the challenges that face the decking distribution channel and the building industry distribution channel in general. Focuses both on business and marketing communications and the affect of rapidly changing communication modes.

1 of 14
Communication Challenges in
  the Distribution Channel



                    Scott Thomas
                    Parksite
Communication Complication

•   Breakdown of linear communications model (Manuf. >
    Dist. > Dealer > Deck Builder > Consumer)
     – Traditional model too slow, dilutes message
•   The information age (Internet) changing how consumers
    & contractors research and source decking products
•   The brand explosion in composite & pvc decking
•   Pace of product development (Mono, Co-ex, Composite
    hybrids, Patterning, Mono & Multi-Chromatic)
•   Mobile devices & Self Service through Search
•   The Decking channels time for consumption vs. # of
    media outlets
•   Many companies in the decking products channel lack a
    defined communication strategy
Communication Types

• Business - B2B in channel
  –   Operational (ex. Shipping minimums)
  –   Tactical (ex. sales planning)
  –   Technical (ex. product changes)
  –   Transactional (ex. order information)

• Marketing
  – Everything else

• Have a process for both types & stick to it
B2B Business Communications
                                                Drive efficiency, reduce
                                                cost, increase selling time

• Pick a primary communication process
  – Be consistent with the "how”
  – Merchandise the “how”
  – Manage your contacts and communicate expectations

• Drive message importance by style
  – If its important, isolate and go big, if not consolidate
  – Don’t waste sales time communicating things that are minor

• Invest in customer portals
  – Real time data and downloads
First Choice: Portals

• Self-Service movement            •   Inventory Transparency
• Control access by login          •   Access to POD’s
• Automate outbound alerts         •   Access to Order Confirmations
                                   •   Real Time Order Status
  and notification with triggers
                                   •   Product Claim Tracking
• Mobile Access (App)
                                   •   Warranty Submittal
• Dedicate people resources to     •   Project Registration
  portal management                •   Online Ordering
                                   •   Overstock Alerts & Specials
  Drive efficiency, improve        •   Obsolete Inventory
  communication accuracy,          •   Real time delivery tracking (GPS)
  increase selling time            •   MSRP pricing for quick quotes
                                   •   Marketing material access hub
                                   •   Training Materials Hub
                                   •   Loyalty point redemption
Adapt Organization
                 For Communication Success

• Marketing & I.T. must be blended              Most popular new
  to achieve communication                      Marketing Roles*
  success                                       - Data Hygienist
• CRM is essential                              - CRM Administrator
                                                - Webmaster
• Dedicate a person to information              - Content Manager
  management, deployment,                       - Marketing Automation
                                                Specialist
  monitoring, and engagement
                                                     *Marketing Profs




  “CMO’s will invest more in technology than CIO’s by 2017”
                                             - Gartner Research
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Communications Challenges in the Decking Channel

  • 1. Communication Challenges in the Distribution Channel Scott Thomas Parksite
  • 2. Communication Complication • Breakdown of linear communications model (Manuf. > Dist. > Dealer > Deck Builder > Consumer) – Traditional model too slow, dilutes message • The information age (Internet) changing how consumers & contractors research and source decking products • The brand explosion in composite & pvc decking • Pace of product development (Mono, Co-ex, Composite hybrids, Patterning, Mono & Multi-Chromatic) • Mobile devices & Self Service through Search • The Decking channels time for consumption vs. # of media outlets • Many companies in the decking products channel lack a defined communication strategy
  • 3. Communication Types • Business - B2B in channel – Operational (ex. Shipping minimums) – Tactical (ex. sales planning) – Technical (ex. product changes) – Transactional (ex. order information) • Marketing – Everything else • Have a process for both types & stick to it
  • 4. B2B Business Communications Drive efficiency, reduce cost, increase selling time • Pick a primary communication process – Be consistent with the "how” – Merchandise the “how” – Manage your contacts and communicate expectations • Drive message importance by style – If its important, isolate and go big, if not consolidate – Don’t waste sales time communicating things that are minor • Invest in customer portals – Real time data and downloads
  • 5. First Choice: Portals • Self-Service movement • Inventory Transparency • Control access by login • Access to POD’s • Automate outbound alerts • Access to Order Confirmations • Real Time Order Status and notification with triggers • Product Claim Tracking • Mobile Access (App) • Warranty Submittal • Dedicate people resources to • Project Registration portal management • Online Ordering • Overstock Alerts & Specials Drive efficiency, improve • Obsolete Inventory communication accuracy, • Real time delivery tracking (GPS) increase selling time • MSRP pricing for quick quotes • Marketing material access hub • Training Materials Hub • Loyalty point redemption
  • 6. Adapt Organization For Communication Success • Marketing & I.T. must be blended Most popular new to achieve communication Marketing Roles* success - Data Hygienist • CRM is essential - CRM Administrator - Webmaster • Dedicate a person to information - Content Manager management, deployment, - Marketing Automation Specialist monitoring, and engagement *Marketing Profs “CMO’s will invest more in technology than CIO’s by 2017” - Gartner Research
  • 7. Adapt Organization For Communication Success • Marketing Communication is everyone's job – Provide employees training on modern modes of communications to multiply their messaging and maximize efficiency at the individual level • Make sales people better than Google – teach your sales people to communicate experiences & business strategy rather than just features & benefits to maintain their value in the channel • Invest in mobile – standardized tablets & smartphones
  • 8. 6 Communication Focus Points (Business & Marketing) • Embrace – Communication is changing rapidly – How YOU personally communicate is irrelevant to your business • Prioritize – the strategy on HOW information will be delivered with the same level of urgency that goes into what the message will be • Segment & Customize – To engage right audience with right message – CRM is Critical – No Data, No Dice
  • 9. 6 Communication Focus Points (Business & Marketing) • Be Relevant – The channel knows composites eliminate splinters…. • Deliver Consistently – Create an expectation, a rhythm, a following • Engage & Converse Splinters – Its what we do every day….just different – One Way marketing is dead
  • 10. Decking Products - Amazing Potential • Ideally suited for todays faster and more interactive marketing tools • We are all “B2C” now – Step outside the Composite Decking Industry for communication ideas • Consumers must be considered in the decking channel because they opportunistically pass through it • Your message needs to intercept them when they do • Today reaching the consumer is not financially restrictive
  • 11. A Consumer Story – The New Normal • Product Discovery & Research: Manufacturers Website • Contractor Selection: Social Referral • Design Ideas: Houzz.com • Project Value: $75,000 Social Media “concepts” popping up in niche markets
  • 12. Understand Social Media For Business Do more than “post” ( = 1 Way)
  • 13. Top Suggestions 1. Empower & Train your associates 2. Optimize Traditional Tools 3. Invest in CRM 4. The Decking Industry is a Visual industry 5. Prioritize “digital” conversations 6. Don’t “wing it” 7. Judge medium by audience, not opinion
  • 14. Thank You Feel Free to Contact Me Scott Thomas 919-455-5987 sthomas@parksite.com Blog: www.my2centssquared.com Full Slide Deck Available at: