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Embracing Innovation: How Distributors Can Enhance Customer Experiences

The evolution of distributor-customer relationships and the impact of online education on consumer behavior are reshaping the building materials industry. Understanding these shifts and adapting your marketing and distribution strategies is crucial for staying ahead in an increasingly competitive market.

March 18th, 2024



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Episode Rundown

02:55 - How the Internet changed the customer-and-distributor relationship

08:01 - The importance of using technology to further relationships, not replace them

11:48 - How Russin continues to evolve as a distributor and an innovative leader

14:50 - Predictions on how Brad Jacobs’ may change the industry with technology

18:31 - Actionable marketing advice for distributors and dealers

Meet Jordan Russin

Jordan Russin is the Co-President and Co-Owner of Russin, and a third-generation distributor and manufacturer of building products. Russin is a specialty distributor of exterior products with a focus on high-end and ultra-high-end spaces.

Jordan is hyper-focused on being the best partner possible for his architect, builder and even homeowner customers. He’s expertly watched the evolution of the relationship between distributors and customers change over the past few decades. And he’s leveraged that unique perspective and pulse on the market to position Russin as an expert guide to its customers.

The Evolving Role of Distributors

The episode dives into the evolution of the distributor's role in the building materials industry. According to Jordan, the traditional functions of a distributor — warehousing, banking and trucking — are still important, but the role has expanded to include demand creation, creative marketing and product curation.

Jordan also sheds light on how the internet has reshaped customer behavior. He emphasizes that customers now primarily visit lumberyards to confirm the knowledge they've already gained online.

Customers are now well-informed before stepping into a dealership, seeking confirmation and expertise from the dealer rather than basic education. Jordan highlights the importance of guiding individuals toward the right sources and product choices, even if it means directing them away from your own offerings.

The dealer's role, increasingly, is to share expertise and help the homeowner or the architect or the builder to feel really good about the choice that they're making.” - Jordan Russin

Pioneering Change and Embracing Innovation

When it comes to Russin’s offering, they’ve continued to sell traditional products like pine board and cedar products that they’ve offered for over 40 years. However, as they look to grow, they aim to be experts in product curation and bring dealers new products that they haven’t seen before.

Manufacturers are expecting us to be pioneers in how we bring these materials to market.” - Jordan Russin

Jordan highlights the need for distributors to think innovatively and embrace change, stressing the importance and the need for continuous reinvention and growth within the business.

Predictions for Industry Changes

The episode also addresses the potential disruption in the home products industry, specifically distribution, by well-known billionaire Brad Jacobs. Amidst the buzz surrounding this development, Jordan expresses his curiosity about the specifics of Jacobs' intentions, emphasizing the potential for technological advancements in the industry.

Jordan’s insight reflects the belief that new eyes and innovative technologies could lead to overall improvements, reducing inefficiencies and enhancing the distributor's role in the market.

As wonderful as our industry is and as innovative as it's been over the last decade, it is still rife with inefficiency. ” - Jordan Russin

How Distributors Can Market Successfully

When it comes to advice for distributors and dealers who struggle with marketing, Jordan stresses the importance of adding value through marketing efforts, rather than simply repackaging existing vendor collateral.

Distributors should also approach their business from a consumer's perspective and strive to enhance the purchasing experience through innovative marketing strategies.

It's really important to look at your business not as a distributor, as a salesperson or as a sales leader, but as a consumer.” - Jordan Russin

Get in Touch with Guest

Have more questions for Jordan about how distributors can navigate the ongoing industry changes? You can reach out to him on LinkedIn.

More About The Smarter Building Materials Marketing PodShow

Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast is co-hosted by Venveo’s Founder, Zach Williams and Venveo’s CEO, Beth PopNikolov.

Venveo is the premier, results-driven creative agency for the building products industry. If you’re tired of wondering if your marketing is working and you’re ready to turn your online presence into your best salesperson, let's talk.

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