If you want to outpace your competition, you need to embrace the idea of changing at a faster pace than you do now. The combination of change and speed is critical to your ability to grow at a faster pace than your competition.
In the four Ps of marketing, how many can you tackle at once? For Dave Boulanger, he’s focused on product and price, and to get them both right, speed is the name of the game.
More About This Show
The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insight on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.
In this episode, Zach talks to Dave Boulanger from the Lighting Technology Group (LTG) about how they provide custom solutions at lightning speed to stay ahead of the competition.
Find Your Niche
If you’re in the A + D space, you may have heard of LTG when it comes to lighting. And if you haven’t, you’ve probably dealt with one of their customers and not even realized you’re looking at their fixtures. LTG is a manufacturer of LED fixtures, with customers and projects around the world.
CEO John Boulanger found an opportunity to grow his business by identifying gaps in the market and filling them, not only by selling directly to architects and designers but also to other North American brands and manufacturers.
What’s the advantage of selling to these manufacturer customers? Why would they sell someone else’s product? Because it completes their brand portfolio. Now they don’t just offer pieces to complete a project, they offer the whole package.
With a background in design and engineering, John leads product development by working closely with his customers to identify needs and helping them move into niches and spaces they couldn’t previously fulfill.
Adapt Global Trends
One of the advantages of working with project teams around the world is LTG is able to identify up-and-coming trends in other markets and adapt them for home. They can see what’s popular in Asia and develop something similar for the North American market, all while keeping local tastes and preferences in mind.
Using the 4 P's
When it comes to sales and marketing there are 4 P's to keep in mind:
Dave says LTG focuses on product and price, while his customers are in charge of placement and promotion. LTG’s responsibility in the supply chain is to build the product their customer wants, and then deliver it at a price that fits the ultimate end customer and their budget. To do both of these things well, however, they need to focus on providing the product that’s priced correctly at the right speed.
After that, the architects and manufacturers are the ones who decide where to use it and how to promote it to their customers.
Is a Great Product Good Enough?
For Dave, delivering a great product isn’t enough. Because they’re often working to fill gaps in a customer’s product line or working directly at the project level, they get asked for a lot of custom solutions.
Custom products sometimes get a bad reputation for a lengthy development process, which can be a killer in a fast-paced construction project. Dave knows this, and his team works hard to turn around custom designs at lightning speed. They can provide a sketch in 24–48 hours, and have a prototype ready in 7–10 days. He says, often, the thing that slows a custom product down is waiting on customer feedback, which is a good problem for a manufacturer to have.
Taking LED Into the Future
The LED market has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. Originally, customers were looking for bulbs and tubes to place in existing fixtures, but as LED technology has become more refined—offering products with a consistent glow and little-to-no flicker or flare—their market share has grown.
And the good news is that wider adoption has helped bring down the price, making it even more accessible to a wider marketplace. LED has become more attractive for projects where buyers might have previously been unsure, especially when looking at a cost comparison with bulb and tube replacements. LED can last for 10–50 years, even with 24-hour use.
And as to where the market is going next? Boulanger says he expects to see more mass customization. Sales teams will be able to take custom offerings to clients along with their bread-and-butter fixtures. Offering custom solutions as part of the initial product offering will put the pressure on suppliers to keep up their development speed, so they don’t delay the project.
Is Faster Really Better?
Dave certainly thinks so. The marketplace has evolved so that there are fewer intermediaries in the supply chain than there used to be. Customers are getting closer to the manufacturer than ever before, and with that, comes higher expectations for responsiveness and an understanding of the design needs, both of which means manufacturers must be more directly connected to the project.
Manufacturers who can build a fast-paced business model, both in terms of custom development and customer service, will benefit, not only from being scene as a trusted and responsive partner, but will also be able to control their sales process better, thanks to the added touch points with the customer without the involvement of a middle man.
Want to Make Speed Part of Your Offering?
Whether you work in the lighting space or another niche, if you’re looking to develop a reputation for speed, Dave’s best advice is to rely on your supply chain to bring your vision to life. And if your supply chain can’t provide the technical support you need, it’s time to either change that element of your supply chain or change who you’re speaking to within the organization.
LTG’s reputation for fast custom design gives them access to the highest levels of their customer organizations because those senior decision-makers know they can trust LTG to come through for them. Dave is committed to working with suppliers and customers who are as passionate about his products and innovation as his team is.
Got a Question?
If you have questions about how to succeed with speed, let us know! Shoot us an email at [email protected] with all of your questions.