Everything to Everyone
Fess concurred. "Healthcare is a big one. We offer a very wide range of products from Laserband (a laser sheet with wristband and chart labels) to Chain-of-Custody forms for laboratories," he said. "We also offer a great range of printed promotional/marketing pieces for healthcare like our Table Talker—a tabletop display used for listing extensions in hospital rooms or services provided by the hospital clinic."
Distributors must be aware of product safety and compliance, especially in the medical market (see sidebar). Ron Williams, director of marketing, Fey-Line & Reflectix, Edgerton, Minn., shared the following advice on entering this sector.
"Distributors should, in my opinion, concentrate on developing their own brand rather than product availability. In other words, become a true marketing value-add rather than a resource. If you're a resource, you're pegged as a commodity broker," he explained. "If you position yourself as an expert and provide solutions to questions they haven't even thought of yet, you become a specialist—and we all know that in the medical market, specialists earn the most for their time and expertise rather than family practitioners."
No matter what vertical—or verticals—you choose to infiltrate, it's important to step up your game. "Clients and prospects will look for providers to go beyond simply providing catalogs of 'swag' to choose from, but creative services, including copywriting, design and the ability to develop integrated marketing campaigns as well," Grippando said.
Still, for Grippando, it all comes down to being prepped. If you go into a new market ill-prepared, you not only risk your own reputation, but, by extension, you could tarnish the reputation of those who know the niche. "Don't compete solely on price, but on a blend of consultative value, creativity and resourcefulness," Grippando concluded.