It’s a bad idea to write something requiring you to talk to the marketing people at snowboard companies during the selling/tradeshow season. But the topic is a critical one. Most companies in this industry don’t do a good a job collecting and utilizing consumer information as they should. They understand that success in a tough market requires it, but don’t do it in a systematic way. Why?
What are the barriers to doing it? Why is it important? What are some of the possible benefits in the snowboard industry? Let’s find out.
Why Do It?
improves and simplifies much of your decision-making. For example, it should be easier to form a consensus on which retailers you should be in or not be in Around the turn of the twentieth century some mogul said, "I know half my advertising budget is wasted-I just don’t know which half." Knowing whom your customer is not only positions you to sell better-it saves you money.
fact, while it’s a smaller brand, Arbor has continued to grow. "We’re focusing on who our customers are-not what our competitors are doing," says Carlson. "We’ve done that since the day we started the company." Focus on the customer seems to be something of a mantra at Arbor. As they found out, the need for survival is a good reason to make sure you know who your customer is and what they want.
The process of deciding what information to gather seems to be a little informal. That is, there isn’t typically a process by which questions relevant to the company’s strategy are discussed and selected. It’s more like the guy designing the warranty card has room for another question and asks the sales manager what they should ask.
create and maintain a database. So, the typical company collects some data, but doesn’t put all that much thought into what data they should collect, or what the goal is in collecting it. It isn’t collected consistently. Once collected, it’s often not analyzed or even systemized. Completed warranty cards can gather dust in a desk drawer.
Why is This So Hard?
the technology works that the benefit is realized. It was about 1982, for example, that the "experts" started prognosticating on the
improvement in productivity that would result from computers. It seems to have started to happen within the last couple of years, and only recently is it being generally recognized.
The Times, They Are A Changing