Manufacturers Creating Customer Engagement: IDEAL, Lutron, Southwire


Customer EngagementIn the age of increased customer access to product (internet / online, more locations by distributors, distributors from other industry’s selling electrical product, etc) and a battle for mindshare within distributors and from buyers / potential buyers, some manufacturers are taking action and seeking ways to develop more direct communication channels with customers (defined as end-users … the people who spend money and use/install the product).

For years, access to contractors and electricians for manufacturers has been limited to personal visits, tradeshows, working distributor counters and print advertising.  It was difficult for manufacturers to communicate with them directly about new products and more.

Over the last few years some leading companies have invested into marketing programs to develop their email lists and they are now engaging with contractors.

For example:

IDEAL’s National Championship Program

For the past couple of years IDEAL has run its product demonstration / installation program throughout the country.  Much visibility has been garnered.  Consider:

  • 1008 Events conducted at distributorships, IBEW (Training Alliance) and IEC events, contractor sites, and other training facilities
  • Facebook page
  • 30,008 Registrations who are all now “connected” with IDEAL … email addresses and more
  • Countless distributor mailers, Twitter messages, LinkedIn postings, Facebook postings, website pages and more promoting IDEAL and the events
  • 168 Finalist sent to Orlando who had the potential to earn over $500K in cash and prizes
  • A website with a trailer to see the Nationals event
  • And a television airing of the event (click here for times and stations throughout the country … and distributors could consider recording the showing to show on counter televisions or, depending upon the timing, have a showing party.)

According to Doug Sanford, Group Vice President at IDEAL, “The purpose was to better engage with our customers, elevate the trade and have people understand IDEAL’s commitment and values.

Lutron’s contractor promotions

Over the past few years Lutron has conducted contractor-oriented promotions. The first one gave away 4 trips of a lifetime and much Lutron product. Last year’s gave away a truck and more Lutron material

The high visibility awards attracted attention and much distributor support through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, direct marketing and in-store advertising / counter days.

To earn / receive an entry in the truck promotion:

Two (2) ways to obtain a Promotion Code:

With Qualifying Purchase: During the Promotion Period, eligible Participants will receive one (1) Game Piece for each Qualifying Purchase, as defined below. Participant will earn one (1) Game Piece for the Promotion for:

  • Every $150 of any combination of Caséta Wireless products, C•L dimmers, and/or RadioRA 2 purchased in a single transaction (a “Qualifying Purchase”); and
  • Every $100 of Lutron in-wall sensors purchased in a single transaction (a “Qualifying Purchase”).

Participant may earn more than one (1) Game Piece in a transaction if multiple Qualifying Purchases are included in such transaction. By way of example, if Participant purchases $300 of Caséta Wireless products, C•L dimmers, and/or RadioRA 2, such Participant will receive two (2) Game Pieces for that transaction LIMIT: No more than ten (10) game pieces may be distributed per person per day while supplies last. Participants will be instructed to carefully scratch away the coating on the Game Piece to reveal a Promotion Code (the “Promotion Code”). Game Pieces available while supplies last. As the promotion progresses, some Participating Distributors may deplete their supply of Game Pieces before others.

Without Qualifying Purchase: Complete the Sweepstakes Registration Form


Southwire Contractor Solutions T-ShirtAnd then there is Southwire’s fun sticker strategy.

The strategy offers a fun helmet sticker and / or a logoed t-shirt to visitors to its site.  Entering in contact information, and participants self-segment themselves so Southwire can do various eCampaigns, registers the site visitor for the possibility of winning the sticker and t-shirts (don’t know how many Southwire plans to award … or perhaps awarding to all as would be disappointing otherwise.

It’s all about data.  Capture the customer’s information and then that marketing data can be monetized by marketing back to them.  Direct connection.  And get your channel to help you.


Three different approaches to trying to engage customers. And three different monetary investments (consider the cost of the Southwire strategy?) The key is considering what you can / will do with the information.  In some instances manufacturers are engaging through their distributors to expand their reach and build their lists. While these three companies have longstanding distributor friendly channel strategies, their goal in an ever electronic world is to further strengthen their brand and enhance their venues for marketing (building demand) direct to potential buyers.  In an age of electronic commerce, increased competition and price players, direct connections can help a brand differentiate itself, introduce new products and solicit customer feedback.

Distributors, similarly, can improve their promotional, incentive and communications strategies by making them more engaging and communicative.


Channel Marketing GroupNeed ideas on how to increase engagement? Give us a call.
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Supporting manufacturers, distributors and others in the electrical channel with accelerating growth through business / channel strategy, marketing development and customer-focused market research. We generate "ideas that deliver results."

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