Vertical moves...

Verticalisation in the channel market is not a new concept. These days the vendors lead the application of the concept. This is a very different approach from the early years when it was the distribution and system integration companies that championed the data capture cause in the various verticals. And they did this with little help from organisations higher up the channel.

Barry Garrison (BG) is marketing director for major data capture technologies distributor ScanSource Europe. IT Reseller (ITR) had a frank discussion with him and he explained what his company was doing to help with the vertical focus.

ITR: For as long as I care to remember there has always been talk about the need to specialise in vertical markets. So, why does it appear that this is a new concept?

BG: We are now seeing tangible actionsnot just talk. Many vendors are seriously marketing to verticals. Examples

ITR: What is driving the vertical approach?

BG: End users are looking for total solutions provided by people the trust who can demonstrate they have a good understanding of their business.

ITR: Does this differ from country to country and why?

BG: Yesthe key difference is the importance of a particular vertical in each European country. For example, Germany has more emphasis on manufacturing. The relative presence of the key vertical is the differentiator.

ITR: What is the message to channel businesses that want to remain generaliststhose who try to serve all markets but do not really master any?

BG: As in any market at any time in its evolution, the marketing message remains crystal clear: know your market and market to the opportunities. This is a natural segmentation process within a market. Some companies will team up with other firms to develop special expertise, some will react to the changing environment by developing the skills needed to thrive, some will choose not to change significantly and by that choice will need to find opportunities in tiers 3 and 4. You do not see computer VARs that are generalists. How did they survive the changes in their market?

ITR: How is ScanSource helping to educate the channel about the vertical approach?

BG: Roadshow events are the core strategy at this time. We are running several roadshows in key countries throughout Europe. By the end of this year we will have a new online tool that will provide guidance to companies working within the various vertical sectors and for those companies who want to branch into vertical territories they have not dealt with before. We provide resources that help them to plan their vertical campaign and direct them to the correct technologies for dealing with the applications.

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