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5 Common Marketing Mistakes VARs Make

by James Korte

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes


Marketing mistakes can cost your barcode company time, money, and customers. Find out how to avoid these common pitfalls.

A well designed and thought out marketing campaign can accomplish a lot for a barcode or POS company: It will connect you with potential customers and create excitement for your brand, products, or services. However, creating the perfect marketing campaign isn’t easy, and there are quite a few mistakes that can cost your company time, money, and potential customers.

In order to avoid the pitfalls and put your barcode company in a good marketing position, take a look at five of the most common marketing mistakes barcode companies make:

  1. Not Knowing about/using MDF

Market development funds (MDF) are used by channel partners, resellers, value added resellers (VARs), and other affiliates in order to sell products or raise awareness for a particular brand. These funds are offered by manufacturers, and they can be structured differently depending on the company and the relationship in question.

Having MDF funds and not using them is akin to shunning barcode scanners for a pen and paper. Not knowing about MDF – or simply failing to use it – can severely cripple a company. Inquire about market development funds as soon as possible, and come up with a plan for using every cent.

  1. Forgetting to Establish ROI for MDF

While utilizing MDF funds is preferable to shunning them, more must be done to maximize the impact they can have. ROI, or return on investment, is a measure of the resulting benefit from an investment. Once your business begins using MDF funds, remember to calculate the ROI from the marketing campaign. It’s much easier to measure the success of digital marketing campaigns than it is for traditional campaigns. Companies should look at the number of leads generated, impressions/click through rates, the cost per lead, amount of projected vendor sales, and more in order to improve the ROI on marketing activities.

  1. Not Following up with Customers on Supplies

If your business sells barcode or receipt printers and supplies to a customer, you should be able to estimate – with fairly good accuracy – when they will run out of supplies. Instead of waiting for the customer to place another order, follow up with them. The 80/20 Rule states that 80% of a company’s profits come from 20% of its customers. It’s much easier (and much less costly) to resell to your current customer base than it is to attract new customers.

The benefit of marketing to current customers is twofold. For one, they are already a customer, so it should generally be fairly easy to make another sale. For another, a little customer service goes a long way. Run reports on customers who bought barcode or POS printers in order to see who isn’t buying supplies, then set up an automated follow up plan with emails, phone calls, and visits. Taking the time to follow up with customers makes things easier for them and more profitable for you.

  1. Not Keeping your Website up to date

Directing customers to a website that isn’t up to date happens much more often than it should. A website with out of date information – or the wrong products or links – could cause confusion among customers. Marketing is supposed to foster a better reputation for your business and increase sales, but, when poorly done, it could do quite a bit of damage. Before sending customers anywhere, ensure that the target webpage has the correct information. Otherwise, interested customers will go elsewhere to find what they need and your business will have a lot of trouble getting approval for market development funds.

  1. Not Understanding your Target Audience

VARs, and businesses in general, must always be cognizant of who their target audience is. Certain topics or ideas need to be directed at specific people, and the length of a marketing campaign depends entirely on what you are trying to sell. Large enterprise solutions need to be marketed to a team of decision makers over a long period of time – usually 6 to 12 months. Product sales and consumables have shorter sales cycles because they tend to be impulse purchases. By defining your target, you can strengthen your marketing campaign and pique the interest of a greater number of people.

VARs must be fully aware of the resources they have available to them when it comes to marketing. Often times, the mistakes that hurt companies most are the ones that are the easiest to prevent.

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