August Vendor Spotlight: Claridge

Claridge has been in business for over 60 years.  Located with the main manufacturing plant and corporate headquarters in Harrison, AR, Claridge is a privately held woman-owned company. Unlike many manufacturers in the visual display industry, Claridge manufactures from raw materials. This allows them to control quality throughout every step of the manufacturing process and work with their clients on custom designs. Claridge’s state-of-the-art porcelain line, wood shop, assembly, and packaging/shipping departments are located in Harrison along with their aluminum extrusion plant. With over 300 employees at these facilities, Claridge is a major employer in town. Claridge has two other fabrication plants and seven distribution centers strategically located across the country. Now entering their 3rd generation of family ownership, Claridge is poised for continued growth.

Claridge has been the standard for visual display surfaces in high-use areas such as education for many years.  Now the company is aggressively expanding their product offerings to increase market share in the office furniture market.  Claridge is doing this by developing new products specifically for this market and launching a new division – CONNECT.  The new website www.connectbyclaridge.com is currently under construction and should be up-and-running within the next 30 days.

Claridge has been an Indoff supplier since April, 1997.  We are so excited to be celebrating our 15th year with Claridge!

Keith Haswell has been the Division Manager for Claridge’s South Central region for 9 years now. Indoff’s corporate office is located within Keith’s 7 state territory so he has served as our point of contact at the corporate office and for our Partners within his territory. Keith also exhibits at our National Sales meeting, so be on the lookout for him in October!

Claridge recently won a very large project with Ken Barnes out of Bakersfield, CA.  They worked with Ken to customize their existing #147 A-frame mobile marker board to better meet the client’s need.  Claridge was able to produce full-scale mock ups within 2 weeks.  Ken provided good information on where Claridge needed to be to win this government bid, and they were able to hit that number.  They are currently shipping almost 500 A-frame mobile units all across the country with an order worth $180K.  Claridge was able to respond quickly with a custom solution and do it all within budget.

According to Gregg Steliga, Sr. VP of Sales, “Indoff has grown into a valuable partner with Claridge Products over the last 15 years as the Indoff business model works well with our established distribution system.  We look forward to expanding our business with Indoff, particularly with the Commercial Interiors group, as we roll out our new CONNECT by Claridge division”.

Indoff is very excited that Claridge will be exhibiting at the upcoming Indoff National Sales Meeting in St. Louis.

Can Email Marketing Make a Comeback?

There are so many ways to advertise these days. Companies spend millions of dollars to get their name and product into the hands of their targeted customers. Television ads, direct mail, and print ads are just a few of the coveted outlets. There is one source of marketing, however, that many companies forget about or simply over look; email marketing. In an article found on the Harvard Business Review’s blog site, one company proved that email marketing is in fact a profitable channel.

Email marketing allows the recipient do so much more than simply view the advertisement. It lets them interact within the selected website via links and information from the email marketing piece. This means customers are able to go directly to the company’s website and view the products and possibly even make a purchase. It is true that shopping cart sales, through email, are only around 5%, but that only reflects the direct sales through that single email. There are other ways for the customer to use what they have found in the piece to make a purchase with the company. Even if the customer doesn’t make a purchase at the moment, the email can act as a gateway for them to do research on the products and come back to the site or purchase in-store.

If you’re still a little uneasy when it comes to email marketing or you just don’t think it will drive any sales to your company, think again!

One company in particular did a little research of their own to determine just how profitable email marketing can be. They divided their loyalty member database into three groups and marketed to each of them, differently. Here is the chart from the article that breaks down the research.

Note that while direct mail has a higher response rate, it costs almost 100% more to create then an email marketing piece. In other words, you are spending more and only getting back a little.

To find out how to effectively use the chart, visit the article on the Harvard Business Review blog site. It will show you how to use multipliers to tailor the chart to your company’s statistics.

In your opinion, does email marketing work? Why or why not?

What do you think makes a “good” email marketing piece?

Why Should You Do Business with Indoff?

Indoff may be made up of hundreds of experienced Sales Partners, but that is not our only characteristic. We have the privilege to work with thousands of quality Vendors in each of our five divisions.  Our Vendors are part of the reason why Indoff has grown to be such a strong company. They support our Partners in their search to make their customers happy and satisfied.

So what are the perks of becoming a Vendor for Indoff?

Let’s start by mentioning that Indoff is a financially strong institution. We are a $100 million distributor which alone proves just how stable we continue to become over the years. This means our Partners’ orders with our Vendors are backed by Indoff, 100%.

Our Partners are definitely incentivized to sell our Vendor’s products. They work for commission and are compensated on gross profit. In other words, if they don’t sell, they don’t make money. They do and work with the Vendors to get the products that will make their customer’s happy. Our Partners are also experienced. They know what they are doing and they do it well. They are not only professional, but they are responsible and dedicated to their work and customer base.

As one of Indoff’s Vendors, you aren’t just hiding behind Indoff’s name. We offer multiple ways to spread your own message. Here are a few of the more popular ways:

  • Personally, through your rep network
  • In print, in Indoff’s newsletter
  • Attending Indoff’s trade show
  • Electronically, through our St. Louis Corporate Headquarters.

Lastly, Indoff’s Vendor Relations Manager, Adam Heck, is the single point of contact. This means that a Vendor doesn’t have to go through multiple people to get information. Adam takes care of all of the mailing lists and contacts, leaving you to what you do best.

In all, our Vendors are an extremely important feature to Indoff’s business structure. They offer our Partners what they need to make a living and, in turn, keep Indoff afloat.

If you are interested in becoming a Vendor, or would just like to get a little more information, please contact Adam Heck at adam.heck@indoff.com or at (800) 486-7867 x232.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to leave a comment in the space provided!

Indoff Partner Blog Updates: How Are You Doing With Yours?

It has been over a month and a half since we have started writing our corporate blog. It has been a great experience being able to write on different topics like social media and department successes. We love telling you what is going on with Indoff and about different trends going on today, but, as always, we want to hear from you!

We want to know what you think of the posts.

Are there too few? Too many? Are they the topics you want to see?

We would love to hear how YOUR blogs are doing. This is a great chance to communicate with other Partners and get a little inspiration from them. This is also a great opportunity to get ideas for a Partner or personal blog.

If you have ideas of posts you want to see, or things you would love to learn more about, let us know!

Also, leaving tips for blogging is greatly appreciated. Not everyone is “up-to-date” with web blogging. It is still a new technology to many people and leaving tips and helpful hints may mean the world to someone still learning how to go about the process.

Please don’t hesitate to leave your constructive ideas, hints, and tips in the comment section below!

Meet & Greet With Denny Peterson

Denny Peterson

Each month we do a Meet & Greet post with one of Indoff’s Sales Partners. This month’s featured Partner is Denny Peterson. Denny has been with Indoff since 1998 and is a part of Indoff’s Commercial Interiors and Business Products divisions.

The Interview:

1. If you could live anywhere in the world, no strings attached, where would you live? Why?

Eden Prairie, MN – We have quite a few family members that live in the Minneapolis area. I also like the things that caused Money Magazine to rank it the best place to live in 2010.  However, the winters could be a bit shorter.

2. What is your favorite movie?

 Any of the Star Wars series

3. What would you do with a million dollars?

Learn to fly and buy a vacation home in central Arizona. 

4. How long have you been in the business?

40 years in the office products and furniture business.

5. What is one thing you are most proud of?

44 years of marriage to my bride Judy.

6. What is your favorite quote?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken”

7. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose?

To fly

8. What is the farthest you have been from home?

Mexico

9. What made you decide to join Indoff?

 I was looking for a more stable sales environment after all the mergers and consolidations that took place in the 1990s.  I joined Indoff in 1998

10. What do enjoy most about working at Indoff?

The personal freedom to handle my business the way I choose. 

Tips For Growing Your Customer Base

Starting a business can actually be pretty easy. It’s making it take off and succeed that is the hard part. You can spend thousands on advertising and create a great business model, but without a customer base, you won’t get very far before running out of money. These days a person can get online or pick up the phone and do business with just about anyone they would like. New businesses pop up everyday offering new ideas and products that may actually be better than yours. There are ways, though, to make sure you don’t lose your customer base to your competitors.

An article from mashable.com offers a few good tips for growing and maintaining your customer base. It lists four tips that are easy to follow and can be integrated into any business plan and in any type of company. The tips include; Being Helpful, Guest Blogging, Traditional PR, and Excellent Customer Service.

When the author of the article talked about being helpful, she didn’t mean the “one-step checkout” kind of helpful. She means that you should be there when customers need you the most. Posting links to helpful tools or solutions on your website is a great place to start. Your goodwill will eventually be noticed. People will want to come to you to do business if they know you will be there if they have a question or problem. With the power of Word of Mouth on top of that, you may see an increase in your customer base as well.

The next tip is a favorite because it’s about blogging! We can’t stress how important a blog can be. Having your own company blog will introduce the reader to not only what is going on within your company, but it will introduce them to your writing style. Your voice can stand out in your writing allowing your customers know exactly what kind of company you are. According to the article, many people use guest blogging as a way of getting their name and company into the public rather than sending out the typical press release. One company in particular found that doing the writing themselves, and on topics that were interesting and helpful to the reader, actually boosted their exposure. The key was blogging on topics directly related to what the company does. Incorporating a catchy title helped too!

Creating traditional PR (Public Relations) can be key in communicating with your customer base. The article suggests that continuous updates about the company’s new features or even disasters will create a background for your company and will let the customer know your company doesn’t have anything to hide.

 Just like positive Word of Mouth, negative experiences can have an impact on your company’s image and customer base. Comments, good or bad, tend to be voiced on sites like Twitter and Facebook more often than not. A quick response and resolution to a customer’s issue makes them realize that you are not only listening to them, but you are taking the time to fix what went wrong and make them happy.

 Overall, maintaining and growing your customer base may be difficult from time to time, but there are ways to help keep them coming back for more. By being helpful, Guest blogging, maintaining traditional PR, and having great customer service, you and your company can get on the right track to where you need to be to have a successful future.

 

To read the full article, click here!

A Promotional Products Case Study

We recently did a case study on one of our Promotional Products Partners, Scott Mueller. The featured company is a vacation package provider. They assist their customers in finding the right vacation for them.

Scott helped a company with a problem they were having with their current information wallets. The majority of the information supplied would fit in any simple wallet, but the company wanted to include a spiral bound language translation book to make it easier for international travelers. They needed a travel wallet to fit all of the information. They wanted to keep the luxurious feel of their company so the wallets needed to at least look like they were leather, but still be affordable. They also wanted to include matching luggage tags to go along with the wallet.

Scott’s objective was to provide them with an affordable, yet stylish, wallet for the information they provide their customers as they prepare to depart on their vacation. Scott worked with Gemline to create a custom made leatherette with wider spines and longer zipper closures. Along with the wallet, they created a luggage tag in the same material.  Both items had the company’s logo debossed on the front.

The wallet with the information and the luggage tags were then sent out to the customer via FedEx. Scott noticed another opportunity to promote the company. He suggested the goods be sent out in e-flute tuck boxes with the company logo instead of the standard Federal Express box.

After prices for the wallets and tags decreased, the vacation package provider eventually agreed to a pre-paid order, 100%, via check. They felt safe doing this because of the consistent quality that both Indoff and Gemline had delivered year after year.

Overall, the company, Gemline, and Scott all came out on top. They had a positive experience working together and all profited from it in the long-run!

 

Want to read the whole study? Click here!

Where Is Indoff?

  We have recently started a “Where is Indoff” challenge! We want to let people know just how nation-wide Indoff really is, but we can’t do it without your help! Our mission is to show everyone how diversified we really are and, of course, have a little fun too!

Participating is very simple! All Indoff Partners have to do is go to Indoff’s Facebook page and “like” us. Then, take and post a picture of them with the Indoff logo where ever they are in the USA, or the world! We started this challenge with pictures from Indoff’s corporate headquarters here in St. Louis. A couple of Indoff’s corporate employees took a trip to the St. Louis Arch and the Zoo. They sported the logo and showed off some of St. Louis’s famous landmarks.

Since we started “Where is Indoff”, we have had a few dozen pictures posted to Facebook from Partners all over the nation. Keep them coming! The pictures we have received so far really tell who we, the Indoff family, really are! (That is fun, outgoing, and hard-working!)

If you haven’t “liked” Indoff on Facebook yet, click here! You can also click here to follow Indoff’s Social Media Coordinator, Krista Fisher to get social media updates and assistance!

If you are an Indoff Partner, and haven’t participated yet, grab your Indoff sign and go take a picture of where you call home! We can’t wait to see all of the photos!

A big thanks to everyone who has participated so far!

Check Out A Few Of The Pictures We Have Recieved So Far!