Insights for ManufacturersA little insight about our operation may be helpful for future considerations. One of our challenges here at WMA Headquarters is that we are virtually isolated... information wise. As an FYI, we seldom receive any sales literature, catalogs, pricers, newsletters, updates, etc. from our manufacturer partners. We seldom see our WMA contacts and we see local manufacturer representatives even less frequently (there are a couple of exceptions). We keep asking to be put on the mailing lists of our manufacturer partners and if we do start getting mailings, they usually stop very quickly. Why? Because we don't buy anything from said manufacturer and their system flags our listing as inactive and eliminates us. We are not located in the building or even the area of any of our wholesale-distributors members (owners). We can't walk over and look at their files, we can't ask their buyers. In short, we can't logistically obtain any product information from them.
What does this all mean? Well, to do our job we must rely 100% on the proper completion of our request forms. Yes, they are detailed and for good reason. Exactly what you list and exactly in the format you list it, is exactly what you get in the catalogs. Our three greatest challenges are: (1) getting our manufacturer partners to read and understand what we are requesting, (2) getting what we need in a timely fashion and (3) getting manufacturers to send us correct images as requested. In many instances, we find that we send our contact the image request list and they send it to their marketing department. Most marketing departments simply send a standard disc(s) or just fill what they can easily find. The images arrive, but when we start working on the layout any number of images are missing. It seems that our manufacturer partners seldom inform us of any issues or missing images and so we have to go through the whole process again. When we finally get nasty about it, the images are most often found. When there is no image, we offer a very inexpensive service: send the product to us and we will do a photo shoot at just $75 each (WMA bills the manufacturer). If requested, we will even send our manufacturer partner a disc of the images shot. Despite the challenges we face, we simply produce some of the best catalogs in the industry.
In our defense, when it comes to the “read & understand” challenge, over three quarters of our partners do an absolutely outstanding job and we have few problems with their program submissions and end results. In fact, many are very complimentary of our request forms and note that as they carefully read what is being requested, they know exactly what to do. Further, they find that the end results are often superior to our competitors with (I know your going to have trouble believing this) less hassle and effort on their part in the long term.
Please, if you have any questions or comments, we would like to hear from you!