B-to-B Goes 'Plug and Play'
Deciding which products to place and what size layout to produce for a customer or prospect is a collaborative effort that involves input from the customer, as well as the sales rep or distributor. As McCord explains, "They may say, 'We want to add a page of receptacles to our next book,' or 'We'd like to try a module or a page to start.' We'll work with that."
Similarly, if the cataloger looks at the sample layout pages and wants to run the pages but with a slight change in focus, United can do that. If they want changes to the layout, such as different products placed or emphasis on something else, those alterations can be accommodated.
For this reason, catalog photography at United Receptacle is done with multipurpose uses in mind. "When we take a shot, we consider whether we may need to use that image for our customers' purposes down the road," McCord explains. "So when we take the shots, we consider the perspectives and the lighting, as well as a product's placement relative to other products."
McCord actually shoots some of the product photos himself in-house. The company also uses professional photographer Bill Downs for its own print catalog photography, and then has the option of digitally picking up some of those shots for other uses, such as its outside work.
Flyers: Niche Opportunities
In addition to the catalog, United produces flyers that are niche-oriented to specific customer segments. For example, a flyer titled "Smokers Solutions" updates product data on urns and combination receptacles that offer solutions to dealing with cigarette waste — a growing concern for many companies and communities, says Lesh.
United Receptacle has other unique programs, too. For the three wholesalers it works with, United has a program whereby it will create a flyer especially for them that is, in essence, a mini-catalog personalized to their business specs. It features all of the United products that wholesaler offers. Says Lesh, "This allows the wholesaler to hand a mini-catalog to its customers who are interested in waste receptacles, and be able to say, 'This is the full line we offer.'"