By Sigmund J. Mikolajczyk, Tire Business staff
SEOUL, South Korea (May 5, 2015) — “Been there. Done that” seems to be the approach Nexen Tire Corp. is taking with this fall's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.
Coming off what officials admit was a "highly successful" 2014 SEMA Show, this year the Diamond Bar, Calif.-based tire marketer will not exhibit at the annual event in Las Vegas. Instead, it plans to hold off-site meetings with key customers and dealers, according to Kyle Roberts, marketing director.
“This year we'll connect with them at SEMA," he told Tire Business, “and use part of our budget toward our ‘Dealer Partner Days' to promote our ‘Buy Nexen story.'”
That's a message he said the company has pushed heavily — one of exclusive warranties, increased plant capacity and enhanced dealer programs, including the Nexen Next Level associate dealer program Nexen launched at the 2014 SEMA Show, where Mr. Roberts said Nexen made great strides. "It was a great platform for our message,” he said.
However, displaying its wares at the show is an expensive venture, he acknowledged — approaching half a million dollars — when taking into account booth space, displays, setup, promotion, logistics etc.
The company is expecting a greater return on investment by allocating that capital to have a more direct impact on its customers via meetings and events.
Nexen plans to hold 85 Dealer Partner Days meetings with about 3,000 to 5,000 dealers across the country in major metropolitan areas — some 30-40 dealers at a time. The process already has begun, with the company holding about 15 events thus far.
“At this point in our development, we need to be more organic, get out in the field more with our customers,” Mr. Roberts said while traveling on a sight-seeing bus trip to the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) that has separated North and South Korea since the end of hostilities following the 1950-53 war. (The company recently sponsored a trip to South Korea for a number of trade press journalists and purchasing executives from American Tire Distributors Holdings Inc.)
Dealer reaction to the stateside meetings held thus far has been “extremely positive,” Mr. Roberts continued. "They've really liked hearing about the payouts we're offering, the continued incentives to grow through a number of (sales) tiers,... and a million-dollar incentive promotion we kicked off that's been a lot of fun for them so far."
Nexen sold about 4.8 million units in the U.S. last year, according to Travis Kang, Nexen Tire president and COO, out of 34.5 million sold worldwide. Globally the goal is hit 39 million to 40 million units this year.
To reach this reporter: [email protected]; 330-865-6130; Twitter: @SigMikolajczyk