Manufacturers: HVACR Contractors Are Changing The Ways They Interact With You

Progressive contractors, I believe, are changing the way they are interacting with their manufacturers. When I ran across this research recently, it verified in my mind that it holds true.

HVACRBusiness recently released a new research study, “HVACR Contractors: Trends in the Adoption of Products/Systems & Management Approaches,” (download here), that highlights new trends on their involvement with manufacturers. I did a podcast interview with Terry Tanker, the publisher, to talk about the results of the research.

Here are some highlights.

They define a “High Yield” contractor as being more active in managing their business, have substantial revenues and are experiencing significant growth. In other words, The “A” players in the field.

  • 93% get involved in the early stages of the selection process of new products.
  • Contractors have even greater expectations for products/systems than 5 years ago.
  • Contractors are expecting manufacturers to do more to help them compete and operate efficiently.
  • The selling environment has become more business like and competitive.

The bottom line is that these “High Yield” contractors have made significant changes in their relationships with their manufacturers and expect more out of them. Among them the top three are:

  1. Making manufacturers more accountable for their products/systems.
  2. Offer more support.
  3. Make more objective decisions about products/systems/brands.

Bottom line – 70% are more likely to evaluate additional manufacturers and their products. You can’t depend on your sales rep going to see them personally to introduce a new product. By the time they get there, the contractor may be well down the selection process. Contractors, no matter what kind, are looking for good information, not a sales pitch, but information that can help them do their jobs. If you can do that, it will help keep you in the game.

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B-to-B Marketers: Is Print Advertising Dead?

With all the hype about social media, some marketers are going too far and have started ignoring traditional tools that have served them over the years, primarily PRINT.

Yes, we all should agree that social media is much more active currently, especially with the state  of the economy. Social is cheap when it comes to outside costs, but you need to factor in internal costs for all your social media activities. Too many marketers this last year have bypassed print because of budget cuts and have concentrated more on social media.

You also need to realize that social is a long-term strategy of building thought leadership and relationships, while print ads are another way of hitting targeted audiences with specific calls to action that can translate into short-term sales. In our space of marketing to the contractors and MRO markets, print publications have already identified and have gained credibility with these folks. Books like Contracting Business have put together a good offering of both print and online offerings to reach their audience, the HVAC contractor.

Here are some things for you to consider from Magazines Publishers of America:

  1. Magazine readership increased over the past five years
  2. The number of issues read has gone up as well
  3. Subscriptions are the highest in a decade
  4. The number of consumer magazines remains high
  5. The age of magazine readers consistently trends younger than the total adult population
  6. Magazines are the #1 medium of engagement
  7. Magazine ad effectiveness continues to rise
  8. Magazines excel in driving web search
  9. Magazine readers are social networkers and word-of-mouth influencers
  10. Magazine brands continue to evolve

There’s a place for using all the marketing tools that are available to us. As we go into 2010, don’t forget who got you this far. It’s been primarily print in the B-to-B sector. If you don’t believe me, ask your customers.


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