Magazine article Marketing

Trade Secrets

Magazine article Marketing

Trade Secrets

Article excerpt

How do you ensure your company becomes a customer's first-choice supplier? The answer could lie in 'marketplace benchmarking'.

A leading lawnmower manufacturer was recently shocked to discover that its key distributors (while supposedly working hard on its behalf) would quite happily take on its main competitors' products instead. A major kitchen manufacturer learned that, although retailers preferred its products, they found it easier to sell a rival's inferior-quality units.

How did these manufacturers come by such revelations? By taking the trouble to conduct "marketplace benchmarking" - and find out how their trade customers felt about their companies and their products.

Many companies seem to have a blind spot when it comes to seeking the views of the trade in order to obtain an insight into how their products compare with those of their rivals.

Avoiding the blind spot

Yet this form of research - usually based on large-sample telephone surveys - can help firms to identify their comparative strengths and weaknesses, the effectiveness of their marketing activities, the ramifications of their pricing strategy and customers' perceptions of quality and product design.

It can provide an overall view of a company through the eyes of the people who are selling, buying or using its products.

After all, trade customers - such as distributors, dealers, wholesalers or specifiers - know best what sells well on their patch. And, experience shows, they can be quite upfront in expressing the reasons why. …

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