There are numerous reasons why custom integrators end up partnering and selling products with various vendors. Could be the pricing or margins are great, the tech support is top-notch, or maybe certain companies’ reputations simply help sway a dealer’s decision.
The annual CE Pro 100 Brand Analysis takes a look at leading brands in more than 60 categories across the custom integration industry, and every year it gives a nice sense about what companies integrators gravitate toward throughout the channel.
We wanted to give a taste of what some of these leading brands and fast-rising “bullet” brands think about why their companies are a good match with integrators. In this week’s CE Pro Podcast, we spoke with a handful of leading brands to get their perspective: Sound United, focusing on Marantz; H-P Products; Yale Smart Residential; and RoseWater Energy Group.
First up, Sound United VP of sales Kevin Zarow discusses Marantz, which led the competitive Home Theater Processors category in the CE Pro 100 Brand Analysis. “First and foremost, I think it always starts with the product,” he notes, pointing to the venerable audio brand’s solutions such as the 8805A and 7706 offerings.
“Delivering a product that’s truly best-in-class with the latest and greatest features. Making sure it’s reliable, having a warranty to back not just the integrator but the end user. And then you can start talking about programs, the programs we have for CI guys … our whole goal here is just to make the lives of the CI partner easy and simple as possible.”
In the Central Vacuum category, H-P Products has long been a pace-setter and Greg Calderone, vice president of the company and general manager for its central vac division, chatted about the interesting solutions as well as the importance of relationship building stemming from H-P’s participation with the AIN group.
“We have the ability to meet with the top integrators in the country, we socialize with them, we have time to sit and talk to them – it’s just made all the difference in the world,” Calderone says. “[AIN] looks to us to keep them up to date on central vac and what’s happening in the industry, and we look to them to make that connection to their builders and their customers, and it works wonderfully.”
When it comes to hot technology categories, security systems continue to be a boon to custom integrators and particularly the smart locks/deadbolts sector. Yale Smart Residential, an ASSA Abloy company, leads this category.
Patrick Bleser, national sales manager, says the company has been able to keep pace with changing technologies and designs in smart locks to give integrators what they need.
“We’ve changed a lot, or evolved, over the last five, six, seven years and worked really hard at staying at the forefront of those technologies,” Bleser says. “Whether that was Z-Wave or cloud-based or ZigBee, we’ve always tried to stay ahead of the curve. We offer a wonderful selection of product to our pro dealers or CEDIA dealers that really fit their niche well.”
Finally, Joe Piccirilli, CEO of RoseWater Energy Group, talks about the process the company has gone through to gain traction with dealers as the need for improved energy quality and storage in premium installations has become more evident in recent years. The company earned a ‘Bullet’ brand for its market share gain over the past year.
“We work really hard … we are accountable for everything we do, and we take that very seriously,” Piccirilli says. “And I think dealers really began to tell other dealers, ‘Hey that product [RoseWater’s big SB20 Hub] looks scary but those guys will take you through it, and once you start installing it, it’ll be great.’”
These are just snippets of why these manufacturers as they discuss their solutions, dealer support programs, where to connect with the brands and more as we head into 2023. Hear more from these CE Pro 100 Brand Analysis brand leader representatives by downloading or watching the full podcast above.