Tracey Chernay is the senior vice president of marketing for TransAct Technologies Incorporated. Chernay will be responsible for developing and executing TransAct's global marketing strategies to achieve the company's business and sales objectives. We get chance to quiz her about the part the European channel will play.
Q: How do you view the current state of the European market for TransAct Technologies?
A: TransAct has been committed to the European market for some time. We maintain a sales and service office in the UK, and have participated in several of the larger ePos shows in the past (CEBIT, EuroShop, etc.). Right now, we are seeing double digit growth in Europe and have found a particular interest in our inkjet printers. In addition, our thermal and impact printers continue to be strong sellers. Recent TransAct successes in Europe include winning a 12-month agreement to serve as exclusive service provider to Fujitsu Services supporting dot matrix printers covered under their U.K. Postal service contract. This agreement extends through April 2006 and is valued at approximately $1.7 million. Additionally, Transact was recently chosen as the preferred thermal ticket printer for Austrian Gaming Industries GmbH (AGI) full range of gaming platforms and slot machines. These recent important wins point to the effectiveness of our sales and partner network in Europe.
Q: What do you see as your greatest challenges?
A: As it pertains to the European market, I would regard one of my greatest challenges as determining the proper marketing mix for such a diverse audience. When operating in Europe, there can be significant variations in a go-to-market strategy from country to country based upon their specific business practices. It's more than just the challenge of localizing our marketing messages; the real challenge is determining the proper marketing and operational actions that will drive revenue in such disparate business climates. As always, when dealing globally, the issue of currency and exchange rates can be a factor especially when negotiating contracts over time.
Q: What kind of role will the European distributor and reseller channels play in your global marketing strategy?
A: As TransAct grows and takes more market share, we will rely heavily on our distributors and resellers. As a smaller company, we leverage our reputation for quality, reliability, and margin opportunity to gain distributor and reseller support. We have found that the harder we work for them, the more the drive our business. This also helps us to work through them to execute targeted growth strategies on a country by country basis.
Q: How will you support them?
A: We often support distributor marketing programs on a co-op basis. In addition, we leverage our UK staff as well as our North American sales team to support distributors at regional trade shows and product showcases. As we roll out marketing tools and enablers we will continue to keep a global mindset; from gathering input from our European partners on what they need, to designing marketing collaterals that are easily translated, we will work to support the European market as it is important to our long-term success.
Q: Do you need to expand your current channels? If so, what kinds of partners are you looking for?
A: We are always looking at potential partners for new growth. We have found that our printers help our distributors and resellers make money and build their own business. Overall, we have focused on a smaller number of distributors, and concentrated our efforts on their success. However, we have identified some key new global partners, which we plan on announcing shortly.