In looking at the news we’re currently reporting on, I was struck by something interesting. Currently, we have three different stories about initiatives being taken by a group or individual company and, while on the surface they may seem too minor to be given this much coverage in a national publication, I am here to tell you that’s not the case.
It’s not the stories themselves that are significant; it’s what they signify.
First, there’s United Aqua Group’s new branding. UAG is releasing a number of videos for consumers, each targeting a different market and each with a different goal. While one focuses on capturing the high-end, another is short, clever and designed to go viral on social media. The group also created template websites for its members that make it easy for anyone to post and update content.
Next, there’s Namco. The New England retailer, not long out of Chapter 11, has adopted a go-to-market strategy that allows customers to buy products online and pick them up at one of Namco’s 19 brick-and-mortar locations.
Finally, there’s ASP, a service tech firm with such a successful franchise model that if they were a stock, I’d buy it. Rather than training new franchisees on an ad hoc basis, the company invested in a 4,000-square-foot facility at its headquarters. ASP’s new digs have classrooms, equipment and four pools.
All three of these entities — UAG, Namco and ASP — are sophisticated, forward-thinking organizations. Their strategies today tap into how companies are going to be successful going forward in an evolving business climate. The takeaway here can be boiled down into three points.
1 Theft is good. By creating videos similar to what has worked in other markets UAG is moving the pool and spa industry away from traditional, outdated techniques into the methods that are applicable today. Namco is doing the same thing by grabbing a strategy that’s currently used by big-box stores.
2 Digital, digital, digital. As Manny Perez, CEO of PoolCorp, said in a speech to retailers in January, “Being an omni-channel retailer is quickly becoming a requirement.” I would expand that idea to all businesses across the pool and spa industry. Products need to be marketed in person, online, through video, social media and print, and in every possible combination. Companies that fail to adopt that mindset do it at their own peril.
3 Scalability makes sense. You may be thinking, “That’s all fine if you’re the size of UAG or ASP, but what about me? I’m a small business. How can I template anything?” Well, UAG is nothing but a group of small and medium-sized businesses. If I were grinding it out as a lone retailer or tech right now, I would be working with my colleagues in the industry to pool resources for better training, marketing, purchasing power and digital reach.
The future is here.