This year’s Omni annual spring meeting had a distinct celebratory theme to it.
The buying group celebrated its 35th anniversary in grand fashion at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawai’i Island with an opening night luau as well as a well-received closing gala. But the meeting, which attracted more than 1,000 attendees, also was a time for Omni members and vendors to get down to business.
And one of the main focuses this year was the importance of marketing, which Omni Chairman Brent Anderson (Mountainland Supply) talked about in detail during the general session meeting.
Anderson shared a cooperative marketing program his Utah-based company executed with plumbing, heating and pipe-joining manufacturer Viega centered around a series of customer incentives tied to recreational activities. The program was a smash hit, resulting in sales figures that caught the audience’s attention. Anderson noted over the past two years Mountainland has grown Viega business in excess of 34-35% each year.
“Typical organic growth for us could be 4-5% and maybe as much as 10%,” Anderson told Supply House Times in a video interview available at www.supplyht.com/videos. “It’s co-op marketing where we identify a specific budget that they (Viega) will contribute to an identified marketing program. We then make our matching contribution and watch the program grow.”
Anderson said the key is creating an emotional attachment. “How you create an emotional brand to a press fitting is a little tough, but when you combine the emotion with an event that you take your customer to, it gets pretty exciting,” he said. “Our customers are going to make their spend somewhere, and if we can have that emotional brand connect back to us with a preferred quality brand, then it’s a win-win for us and them. This has been really good for us and Viega is just one example. We are seeing co-op marketing success with many of the vendors we are partnering with. We just have to pick the right vehicle with an emotional attachment.”
Omni also released results of its six-month business conditions survey that compares the last six months of 2015 to the same period in 2014. In this survey, 66% of Omni member respondents reported increased sales, while 17% said sales were flat and 17% said sales decreased. By category, 52% said new construction sales increased, while 46% reported increases in remodeling-related business. Commercial business increased 40%, while only 13% of Omni respondents reported increases in industrial business. Inventories rose for 49% of Omni respondents, while 35% reported inventories stayed the same.
Looking to the future, 66% of survey respondents predict sales will increase over the next six months. In terms of specific markets, 56% of respondents predict new construction sales will increase, while 55% expect commercial business to pick up over the next six months. Twenty-five percent say industrial business will pick up (72% predict it will stay the same, while 3% expect a decrease in that category).
A week earlier, Luxury Products Group held its spring meeting in Huntington Beach, Calif. This year’s LPG gathering attracted more than 300 members and vendors and featured 56 vendor booths.
“Growth in LPG is again double-digits for the year (2015),” LPG Executive Director Linda Hoff said. “We have a lot of interest in new members and vendors and we’re still adding independent showroom dealers to the group.”
LPG Executive Committee Chairman Don Smith (Central Arizona Supply) added: “We have great people who are members and we have developed a very good vendor group. Most important is our committee. They have things together. They mostly are showroom people who have excitement and enthusiasm, and have a lot of knowledge about the showroom business and what it takes to move forward.”
Omni Buying Group business conditions survey
The Omni buying group released its business conditions survey at its 35th anniversary meeting in Hawaii. Here are the results of the three categories: current conditions, average percentage of increase/decrease and projected conditions.
Current conditions (comparted to the last six months of 2014)
Total Sales Increased: 66%
Total Sales Same: 17%
Total Sales Decreased: 17%
Industrial Sales Increased: 13%
Industrial Sales Same: 36%
Industrial Sales Decreased: 7%
New Construction Increased: 52%
New Construction Same: 25%
New Construction Decreased: 13%
Remodeling Business Increased: 46%
Remodeling Business Same: 39%
Remodeling Business Decreased: 10%
Commercial Business Increased: 40%
Commercial Business Same: 39%
Commercial Business Decreased: 13%
Inventories Increased: 49%
Inventories Same: 35%
Inventories Decreased: 16%
Average Percentage of Increase/Decrease
Total Sales Increased: 9%
Total Sales Decreased: 7%
Industrial Sales Increased: 8%
Industrial Sales Decreased: 9%
New Construction Increased: 10%
New Construction Decreased: 9%
Remodeling Increased: 7%
Remodeling Decreased: 6%
Commercial Business Increased: 8%
Commercial Business Decreased: 8%
Inventories Increased: 8%
Inventories Decreased: 5%
Projected Conditions (Next 6 Months)
Total Sales to Increase: 66%
Total Sales Same: 29%
Total Sales to Decrease: 5%
Industrial Sales to Increase: 25%
Industrial Sales Same: 72%
Industrial Sales to Decrease: 3%
New Construction to Increase: 56%
New Construction Same: 37%
New Construction to Decrease: 7%
Remodeling Business to Increase: 51%
Remodeling Business Same: 47%
Remodeling Business to Decrease: 2%
Commercial Business to Increase: 55%
Commercial Business Same: 37%
Commercial Business to Decrease: 8%
Inventories to Increase: 33%
Inventories Same: 53%
Inventories to Decrease: 14%
This article was originally titled “The emotional attachment” in the March 2016 print edition of Supply House Times.