Who is the customer?

The clearly defined channel structure in the AV market is being broken down by manufacturers and distributors who are talking more and more with the end users of their products. Far from seeing this a threat, Chris Fitsimmons examines why integrators should nurture these new lines of communication.

Many integrators will have noticed – some to their growing unease – that their potential customers are being courted by manufacturers and in particular, distributors. In these times when customers are forever seeking to drive down cost, integrators could be forgiven for thinking they may lose out as the proverbial ‘middle man’ that can be removed from the deal.

So is this a shrewd way of distributors winning new business or is there something else they hope to achieve?

John Midgley, MD of Polar Audio, explained: “The difference for us with the integration market has always been that it is extremely difficult to identify who the end user is that you should be talking to. I think that if there is a major difference now to maybe three, four or five years ago it is that because that AV integration section of our business has become somewhat more pointed it is easier to identify who we should be talking to.”

Gordon Innocent, MD of RGB communications, said promoting brands with less market acceptance was a key driver in this new method for them.

“We’re looking for sales leads, but what we’re also looking for is a way of taking the blinkers off integrators in terms of their favourite products,” he said.

To read the rest of this article in January's digital edition of InAVate click here.

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