Profile of Success: Press Button for More Voltage
BACKGROUND: “In the late ’80s, I realized there was a gap in the electronics accessory distribution market,” says David Lorsch, founder, president and CEO of DBL Distributing. “There were a few people in the Eastern U.S. that were growing the market via catalog and flier. But there was nobody in the West. Around the point I started my company in 1989, there was no distributor specializing in accessories to independent retailers west of St. Louis. I identified what I perceived to be a hole in the
market. And luckily, I was right.”
BIGGEST INITIAL CHALLENGE: Finding a customer. “I really started with nothing,” Lorsch says. “I hadn’t been a distributor. I didn’t have a customer base. I literally started from scratch from an idea, and I proceeded from there.” The B-to-B wholesale cataloger serves electronics retailers and consumer electronics installers.
HOW HE TACKLED THAT CHALLENGE: “First, I looked for product lines,” he says. “Then, I created a catalog, which I didn’t know how to do, then bought a mailing list. I sent [the catalog] out to somebody and waited for somebody to call.”
CURRENT CHALLENGE: Diversifying marketing communications. “With 17,000 SKUs and some rapidly [changing] prices in some of our product categories,” he says, “it’s very difficult to keep the catalog current. It’s always been a challenge, but there’s a lot more price volatility today in some categories.”
HOW HE’S DEALING WITH THAT CHALLENGE: “We’re developing more frequent communication by smaller subcategory catalogs, vendor-specific catalogs and more frequent fliers,” Lorsch says. “That would allow us to communicate more frequent price drops. Our e-mail marketing is ongoing and evolving daily. We’re putting out at least six to eight e-mail blasts a week and trying very hard to balance that so that we’re not spamming customers.”