Building a brand in a new territory takes more than just finding a distribution partner, sending a price list and waiting for the orders to roll in. You need to do some work to create demand, both with the end-user of the product (consumers) and with those that will help you get your products or services to market (distributors/retailers). I see this as the work of the Sales Manager, rather than relying on distribution partners.
Traditional methods of creating demand can be expensive and, in previous jobs, I always seemed to be working with a minimal budget. In one instance, I contacted the industry organisation in my target market to see how we could “co-operate”. They had a monthly magazine and were interested in content that would be useful to their members, for example, brand profiles and new product launches. It happened that they had a upcoming awards evening, which included space for a small “trade fair” with tables and pull-up signs. It wasn’t a big event, but key industry decision-makers would be there.
This is what we agreed:
- My company would pay for a stand for the event, approx 500€
- This was staffed by me and a colleague, plus two people from my local distributor
- My company also agreed to an advert in the magazine that followed this event, approx. 200€
- The industry organization included a small editorial article about my company’s upcoming product before the event.
- The industry organisation interviewed me and my distributor during the evening, and this was published in the issue of the magazine that followed the event.
What did this achieve?
Firstly, it started to build some relationships within the industry organisation. It also showed my distributor that I was making an effort to support their work. I had an evening of networking with existing contacts and also made some new ones, givng a face to my company – not just an e-mail address & phone number. Finally, I was able to demonstrate to my company that some effort and a little money could go a long way.
Mark Wiltshear, Co-founder, Xport