What is the most effective way to attract and retain customers if you sell to consumers through distributors? According to Paul Ackah-Sanzah, it’s an Omnichannel marketing strategy. Paul is VP of Marketing at Phantom Screens and a 20-year marketing veteran. Paul has an impressive career journey at Phantom Screens, starting out as their retail sales manager, moving to brand marketing manager, and has been their VP of marketing for two years. In this episode of The Modern Marketing Engine podcast, I dive into what is B2B to C (B2B2C).
Listen to this episode to learn about Omnichannel marketing, B2B to C marketing, and how to ensure quality when selling through a wide array of distributors.
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Who is Phantom Screens?
Phantom Screens manufactures and sells retractable screens that are installed in residential homes as patios, porches and lanai screens. They offer many useful features including ventilation without the pests and can be rolled into a canister when they’re not in use. These screens allow homeowners to add an accessory to their home that won’t sacrifice the decor and can be added or removed in minutes.
Phantom Screens has been in business for nearly 30 years and my guest, Paul has been part of their marketing team for two decades.
The company is in what is known as a B2B to C market which means they sell through a network of over 150 distributors (B2B marketing) and those distributors sell to consumers (B2C) and install the product in the consumer’s home.
Phantom Screens follows a do-it-for-me mantra which means that with every purchase, consumers are provided with the installation by the distributor from whom they purchased.
Omnichannel Marketing to Consumers
Instead of marketing solely to distributors or to the general public (as many organizations do), Phantom Screens has adopted an Omnichannel marketing strategy to get their name out there with both audiences. Given that they aim to be known by the distributors who sell and install the product and the homeowner that ultimately makes the purchase and uses it in their home, the company’s marketing approach is designed to reach both target audiences.
During 2020, Phantom Screens recognized huge potential to communicate the benefits of their product to the homeowner who found themselves spending more time at home due to the pandemic. However, this opportunity didn’t come without its challenges.Excellent insights from @bernieborges's guest, @PSanzah VP of Marketing at @phantom_screens in the @mmenginepodcast by @GoVengreso 👏🏼 I liked the idea of implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy to attract and retain customers. Click To Tweet
With their do-it-for-me philosophy, homeowners understandably expressed concern about installers showing up at their home and interacting with them and their families. This created an interesting challenge for Paul and his team of marketers.
Phantom Screens deployed their Omnichannel marketing strategy to reach consumers with videos featured in social media platforms on how installations were being performed and how their engagement with installers was safe. Their CEO, C. Esther D. Wolde was front and center speaking to the end consumer thus impacting the overall customer experience.
They also created videos on the precautions taken by the distributors responsible for installing the screens. Today’s modern buyer wants videos that show authority on a subject matter and don’t want to be restricted to 2,000-word articles describing the precautions taken and the equipment used in their homes with each installation. They want to see (literally) what measures Phantom Screens and their distributors have taken to keep consumers safe and this is best done through video.
Marketing Strategy for Distributors
Although it is important for Phantom Screens to build awareness with consumers directly, as described earlier the purchase and installation is completed through their network of 180 distributors.
Since distributors sell and install Phantom Screens’ products this raises an even bigger question. How does the company ensure that distributors are following brand guidelines when performing installations? The answer is trust.WOW! What a great episode of the @mmenginepodcast with @bernieborges from @GoVengreso and @PSanzah from @phantom_screens 💥 I learned the importance of building awareness and trust with consumers directly. Click To Tweet
Phantom Screens has been in the market for nearly three decades and they view every distributor as a partner. Their distributors are teams that need training to provide the best possible customer support. They are the customer-facing ones who ultimately are the brand ambassadors for Phantom Screens.
Paul and his team are in constant communication with their distributors to ensure that their values are aligned. They provide resources and offer product, corporate sales training, and an onboarding process for every new distributor.
It’s difficult enough to market to two different groups (consumers and distributors) but the challenge Paul faces is to make sure the training they provide to their distributors is aligned with the brand messaging provided to the end consumer. Relationships with distributors include the same consumer-centric messaging being provided to their consumers.
Embracing Omnichannel Marketing
It was back in 2017 when Vengreso’s Founder and CEO, Mario Martinez Jr. said that it would take five years for the sales profession to go all-in on digital engagement. That sales conversations would embrace social media as an engagement vehicle and that Omnichannel marketing would prevail.
Fast forward only three years and Covid 19 has accelerated Mario’s original timeline. I spoke to Paul about the type of marketing that appeals to the modern buyer and what businesses need to do in order to remain competitive.I just listened to this episode of the @mmenginepodcast by @GoVengreso and learned how an omnichannel marketing strategy enables success from @phantom_screens's experience and insights from @PSanzah and @bernieborges Click To Tweet
To which Paul replied, “marketing and sales are more aligned than ever before and to ensure your organization is on the right track, sellers need to think like marketers. They need to know where your target audience digitally “hangs-out” and engage with them on their preferred channels.”
Ultimately, Paul ends this episode by saying “if you want to achieve success in your market, instead of considering pivoting from one vehicle to another, it’s important to look at an Omnichannel marketing strategy.”
Outline of this Omnichannel Marketing Strategy Episode
[2:25] What are retractable screens?
[4:37] Shifting roles after years working for the same organization
[6:09] B2B to C model marketing
[12:20] Phantom Screens Marketing Strategy
[16:30] The marketing impact of 2020
[21:48] 2020 success stories
[26:30] Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
Featured on this Episode
- Connect with Paul Ackah-Sanzah on LinkedIn
- Follow Phantom Screens on Twitter: @Phantom_screens
Resources & People Mentioned
- The Modern Selling Podcast with Vengreso CEO, Mario Martinez, Jr.
Connect With Bernie and Modern Marketing Engine