Welcome to ElectricalTrends

ElectricalTrends is a communications vehicle offered to the electrical distribution industry by Allen Ray Associates and Channel Marketing Group. The purpose of ElectricalTrends is to share Allen Ray Associates' and Channel Marketing Group's insights on industry trends, observations on industry activities and issues and offer ideas that may benefit industry participants in their endeavor to improve their businesses in the areas of growth and profitability.

Readers should not construe our postings, nor comments from individuals as reasons to purchase / not purchase from a supplier nor as a basis for making an investment decision.

For more information about ElectricalTrends' purpose, moderation policy or to advertise on ElectricalTrends, click on the applicable link or email David Gordon.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

LightFair 2011 and a Changing Lighting Market

The 2011 LightFair Show, held May 17-19 in Philadelphia, according to all we've spoken to was a resounding success.  While there was some initial trepidation about moving to Philly for a year and the potential for a decline in attendance, exhibitors gave Philly rave reviews ... great attendance, up to 30% less expensive (thanks to NY unions!) and plenty of great meeting space and restaurants.

While much has been written by others regarding LightFair, a couple of observations:
  • Have you looked at the exhibitor list?  If not, check out this list and see how many companies you've never (or rarely) heard of?  The lighting industry is expanding exponentially. And all of these companies are selling to someone (and not necessarily through electrical distribution!). I've spoken to one company that had 314 end-user leads for direct follow-up.  This begs some questions:
    • Is electrical distribution THE channel of choice or just A channel?  Why has this occurred?  Is this true in your area (and would you know if it isn't?)
    • Whom are these companies that are buying direct and as an electrical distributor how do you reach them?
    • What channels will customers purchase from?
    • Why shouldn't a manufacturer sell projects direct if that is what the "customer" wants?
    • As a small / emerging manufacturer, with distribution being difficult to reach due to the need for the "right" reps as well as rebates / marketing groups, what are the fastest, most effective, means to market ... direct? other channels?
    • If you are a distributor focused on growing your lighting or energy efficiency business, were you / should you be at this show ... visiting booths and possibly exhibiting? Or maybe bring a "lightfair" show to your area?
  • From lighting industry expert Bill Attardi's newsletter, "Did you attend Lightfair this year? In my fortunate life in the lighting industry, I have attended virtually every Lightfair Show.  For me, this was the most exciting show ever as it is clear to those of us who attended this one that the lighting industry is going thru a metamorphosis.  Major electronic conglomerates exhibited and are looking to participate in the unfamiliar digital electronic lighting industry of the future.  The unbelievable focus on solid state lighting (SSL) was something to see. This LEDfair is the harbinger of what's to come. I cannot wait to see how it will all shake out."
Bill sees the changes that are going on in the lighting industry and has designed a unique Solution Selling seminar.  According to Bill, "There is no question that to sell into this eclectic lighting market, new sales skills are a must. Start the learning process with Sales Pro Solution Selling: http://www.attardimarketing.com/salesprosolutionselling/".  Bill is the consummate salesman and with his experience as a manufacturer and in the distribution industry you can be sure that the content is on target.
In speaking with manufacturers and distributors, some lighting industry observations:
  • What does it mean when ...
Is the lighting model changing or just becoming more diffused? If lighting is an important product category to you, do you want to be a demand creator or just a bidding house? Do you have someone who is focused on the lighting market for you? Are your lamp and key fixture lines sharing information with you about the market?

And what else are you hearing about lighting and lamp manufacturers?
Think LEDs are just a short-term craze?  In speaking with a lighting manufacturer, he jokingly said "I actually saw a new technology that everyone seems jazzed up about – it was called LED’s"

Channel Marketing Group | Allen Ray Associates