Everything to Everyone
Greg Fess, marketing manager of Ward/Kraft, Fort Scott, Kan., has observed a different trend. He sees distributors reaching across many different market segments and believes there are several advantages to this approach.
"This allows them to offer a wide range of products in different industries. We have found that many of our products reach into different markets as well. So if you sell spin wheels, you are probably selling them in multiple markets," Fess remarked. "The same goes for almost every product we manufacture. We believe this only adds value for our distributors in the marketplace. If we can assist you in selling in 10 or 12 different markets, and have provided you with the tools to sell a wide variety of products, your toolbox has expanded and you can reach not only a wider audience, but can offer your existing clients more products with ease."
Fess went on to say, "We have distributors becoming educated on a wider variety of products and [there is] more crossover between print and promotional along with their expansion into new markets. … The industry is continuing to change and our distributors are changing with it. It allows growth in the printing industry and it's great to see the growth in the markets our distributors are working in."
While some distributors sell to a diverse group of clients, others are leveraging their newfound expertise in industries that have rebounded from the recession. Bauer mentioned an improvement in the non-profit sector, where many organizations are seeing an increase in donations as the economy recovers.
"Travel and tourism industries seem to also be spending more as consumer confidence returns," Bauer stated.
Nevertheless, the medical market is king. "We are seeing growth in healthcare-related entities—hospitals, pharmaceuticals, other providers such as home health and assisted living facilities," Bauer noted. "As wellness becomes an increasing concern for corporate America in order to keep insurance costs down, we are seeing a growing demand for products that encourage healthy habits."