Mobile Electronics Shift Gears
Witt: We are not cutting back on providing dealer support. Last fall, we began to reinvent our marketing support. We looked at the social media trends and needs of the retail channel and how we could better deliver support, and decided in December to build an entirely new Web platform for our dealers—not a simple download repository. This new Web-based platform enables product information, establishes a social networking system for peer-to-peer, dealer-to-dealer and manufacturer-to-manufacturer communication; it’s a 24/7 resource center. It’s also a complete promotional platform for each dealer in our Dealer Locator system so they can promote their value after a consumer search; they can post photos and videos. We’re also opening up the Web site architecture to allow retailers to link to specific areas on our site to promote specific product lines there. And we are launching a ‘garage’ where dealers can promote particular vehicles on the site.
Thomas: Over the last six months we’ve shifted to handling a lot of our customers directly through Clarion personnel, whether with our dealers or distributors. We’ve also put more emphasis on our extranet Web site, adding content and emphasizing training. It’s a one-stop shop for our dealers to get information and other tools.
Lehmann: For Kenwood, it’s having a fully staffed training department. Other companies have cut back there. We have eight full-time trainers in the U.S., which is seven more than what a lot of others have. A dealer can call an 800 number and his call will be funneled through to the proper regional manager directly. And they are all obligated to provide weekly field reports. Our guys are accessible. We have a 24-hour callback/e-mail policy, and dealers have access to us through the Web site.