May 24, 2023
David Gordon turns insights into actionable strategies for his distribution and manufacturing clients. With data at the ready and a wealth of experience to draw from, the founder of Channel Marketing Group shares his views on how COVID-19 is reshaping everything from C-suite occupancy to acquisition gameplans to loyalty programs. The conversation concludes with a look at trends tracked by Channel Marketing’s recent rep of the future study.
“My first job was with a company in the performance marketing and incentive industry...and a good chunk of our business was in distribution.” David parlayed early-career successes into a vice presidency. But his straightforward trajectory took a turn when the dotcom boom went bust.
“The mother of necessity is invention,” he laughs, recalling the events that prompted him to open his consultancy. Twenty years later, Channel Marketing’s primary focus is on industrial construction trades, but insights in the areas of market engagement and strategic planning are applicable across many verticals. “Anything that can help companies gain information and develop strategies to help them accelerate profitable sales.” To that end, David’s expertise is readily available via Electrical Trends, a collaborative blog featuring over 1200 industry-related articles.
David has a lot of data at his disposal and a keen sense of how to interpret it. Take the growing number of COVD-related, or at least COVID-adjacent, retirements. He notes a rash of first-generation owners or senior leaders who’ve decided to bow out in 2020. The pandemic has hastened the ascent of many next-wave decisionmakers.
Alternatively, this year has also prompted a lot of owners to try their hand at attracting buyers. “We've talked to a number of private equity companies who have all sorts of money who are looking for acquisitions.” But David cautions owners counting on that golden parachute. “It’s got to be something worthwhile for them to fund.”
As for Channel Marketing’s rep of the future study, while the data was produced on behalf of NEMRA, the characteristics identified can impact a rep’s survival regardless of industry. “A very high percentage of companies and a slightly lower percentage of sales actually go through third-party sales organizations, manufacturer reps, whatever you want to term them.” You’ll have to listen in to catch David’s thorough explanation of each trait, however, and strategies to implement them.
Want To Read What David Wrote? Start here: Make Sure You Don't Waste A Good Pandemic from the Electrical Trends blog.
CONNECT WITH DAVID GORDON:
From a COVID viewpoint, we have seen agents do more and more marketing in the last six months than they've done in the last 60 years and just creativity and coming up with ideas and executing. [30:10]
COVID may be an excuse...so the new normal is going to be a merger of virtual with local support. [37:20]
So the agents are becoming more and more important within the manufacturer sales funnel...We have seen agents, as I said, do more marketing, do their own videos about the product, do much more in newsletters, do podcasts, do outdoor counter days, do tailgates. [37:28]
A sales organization is part of marketing and the human personification of [the] messaging. (47:17]
Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: Connected Peers, connecting key employees in distribution's leading organizations.