IndustRetail?

A photo of the Rasmussen Family television remote control, circa 1967.

A photo of the Rasmussen Family television remote control, circa 1967.

The lines get fuzzier everyday, don't they?

When I was a kid growing up in St. Louis, we had five TV channels. There were the NBC, CBS and ABC affiliates, a PBS station, and an independent. I also remember our first remote control. It was called Tim.

Then, sometime around 1968, fortune smiled upon us and we were given the gift of a new-fangled  UHF station. Channel 30 brought us vast quantities of The Three Stooges, Ultraman, Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot, The Munsters and, of course Gilligan's Island. This was soon followed by an actual remote control!

I had no idea, but that's when the lines started to blur.

Now we have cable and satellite TV, which is in the process of being superseded by YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. My kids hardly even watch traditional TV. And remember newspapers? Or the Yellow Pages?

Did you miss the obscure cultural reference? Were you among the poor schlubs stuck in the Saved By the Bell Generation? Have no fear, click on the image above for a small taste of the splendor was Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot.

Did you miss the obscure cultural reference? Were you among the poor schlubs stuck in the Saved By the Bell Generation? Have no fear, click on the image above for a small taste of the splendor was Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot.

Technology has changed everything. Even in the ubiquitously slow-to-change industrial world. I know, some of you still take or place orders via fax. But you have changed, albeit unknowingly.

Maybe your customers have dragged you there, kicking and screaming. But you bit the bullet and launched that website 10 or 15 years ago. And perhaps you even replaced that first generation version (you know, the one with the animated GIF of an American Flag in the lower right-hand corner and a scrolling banner across the top advertising a promotion you ran 3 years ago) with something that is mobile-friendly. 

You're probably used to buying things online as a consumer. So much so, that it isn't all that difficult to see why your customers want to buy from you that way. So instead of going to a branch and touching and feeling your products, your customers look online for photos and reviews before they buy. 

Industrial products had some of the ugliest packaging known to mankind. (Sometimes I wonder if the Stooges did some moonlighting as graphic designers....) There was less-than-no thought put into naming and design--and we liked it! Or bought it, anyway. Now industrial products get the same scrutiny as consumer products. And those who understand how to package and present them like retail products are winning the day.

Industrial meets retail...or IndustRetail...is a fact of life now. So how have you met this trend? What are you doing to embrace the retail-ization of industrial products? 

This blog will serve as an irregular, irreverent, and maybe even irritating look at how we industrial marketers can embrace this irreversible change in our market dynamics. I hope to inform and entertain. And moreover, to challenge--and maybe even prod. But only because we have built up an industrial-strength resistance change. Let's be fair...we suck at it.

But we don't have to. The good news...when we embrace change, we win. When we respond to our customers, we win. When we understand (or even anticipate) the market, we win. How's that for a change? 

Tim Rasmussen
Principal
Rivet|MRO

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