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Should your suppliers pitch in on advertising?

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Paul Cascio, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I guess this is really two questions - sort of a survey. I'm interested in the views of suppliers as well as retailers.

    QUESTION 1: Should the supplier you buy materials from, and who benefits every time you make a sale, feel an obligation to help support your marketing efforts in some way. This help could take a number of different forms. I'll share some ideas and possibilities below.

    QUESTION 2: Without regard to "obligation," don't you think it would just be smart business for a supplier to participate in the advertising efforts of the retailers whose sales they depend upon?

    After all, your supplier's success is tied to your own. When you're slow, they're slow. When you spend more on advertising in order to increase sales, if that advertising is successful, your supplier's sales increases too. However, you currently bear the full burden, and risk of that advertising.

    Here's my view on this:

    I don't believe a materials supplier has any specific obligation to individual customers, but I do think they have some kind of responsibility to their retail customers as a whole.

    More important, I think it absolutely is good business, especially for independent suppliers, to take a lead role in organizing, promoting, or even developing cooperative advertising for their retailers. Who better to do it then the supplier you work with everyday?

    The reason I bring this up is because I've had conversations with a few wholesale suppliers who recognize, and acknowledge, that the only way they'll be more successful is if you're more successful. They also realize that every sale lost to a chain store is lost business for them too.

    So what can our independent wholesale suppliers do?

    For one thing, they can become the local leader to help organize co-op groups. They might also consider pitching in financially, a modest amount to show their commitment and support. For example, a supplier might set aside 4% of all sales to participating retailers, to be used to purchase additional advertising. This is a small investment in your success that should pay for itself many times over.

    I've always felt that the key to co-op was local leadership. But after running uphill for that past two months, looking for retailers to assume local leadership roles, I've come to the conclusion that if our industry is to embrace co-op advertising, it's got to be at the behest of the local suppliers. They are the ones with an open communication channel and an infrastructure to make it succeed. Furthermore, they are the one with the greatest incentive to see it succeed.

    One supplier in Michigan (correct me if I'm wrong), to his/her credit, has already done this and it was done independent of, and before, the Join Together Program was introduced.

    It's apparent to me that the interest in co-op advertising is out there. Retailers are interested. However, as John Paul, Susan Young and others have discovered, the reception to a competitor's invitation, or that of a a stranger (me), is not always as warm, or objective, as it would be coming from your trusted supplier.

    Without the suppliers getting involved, the prognosis for co-op dims considerably.

    On the other hand, suppliers who step forward, whether it be with my Join Together Program or their own version, stand to gain in a variety of ways, not the least of which is that retailers will reward them for their suppport by patronizing their business.

    One major supplier, M&M Distributors, has offered to distribute more than 1000 copies of the Join Together DVD in their next catalogue mailing. I think this is a great starting point and invite other suppliers to get involved too. Interested suppliers are invited to PM me with contact info.

    I believe co-op advertising is exactly the shot in the arm that our industry needs to compete more effectively in today's marketplace. I hope to see this happen in the near future and hope our independent suppliers (Suppliers who serve the chains won't get involved for fear of alienating their biggest customers.) step forward to play a central role.
    Sponsor Wanted
  2. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    I think that is spot on Paul.

    WOW Cornel, one view so far, me! :p
  3. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    In a past life, married to a furniture store owner, the furniture manufacturers all had co-op advertising dollars to help out, but mostly newspaper advertising, and occasionally TV.

    Problem then was, they supplied the ad, your store name and address was inserted, and it was all about the manufacturer, not about the particular store.

    But I think your idea is a good one, Paul. I'm not having much luck with anyone in my area interested in co-opping with me on the Join Together campaign.

    I'm surrounded by a BB and several franchises, one indy is following the BB's always-on-sale game, so he won't work, and all the others are in a big city 45 miles away. I'm trying!

    Supplier co-op funding would certainly be beneficial, in my case. I have asked my reps and they've just said that their companies "just don't do that". Maybe with voices other than my own tiny one asking, they might reconsider.
  4. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Gosh, this seems like a great idea. Suppliers would, indeed benefit from some participation in consumer advertising. But I believe the Devil is, as usual, lurking in the details.

    If such an effort were found to be practical, perhaps a plan similar to the failed Art & Framing Council (AFC) would work for the purpose of gathering the funds. That is, the supplier could add on a percentage-surcharge to participants' invoices.

    I do not mean to seem pessimistic, but looking at this scene realistically, getting a supplier into consumer advertising would be difficult for some good reasons. Here are a few that come to mind immediately...

    1. The supplier's customer-retailers would benefit, but so would retailers who do not buy from that supplier. So, from the suppliers' perspective, some of the cost would be not only wasted, but literally given to competitors.

    2. Partially due to reasons such as #1 above, we agree that suppliers probably should not pony up the money themselves. That means they would have to somehow get it from contributing customer-retailers, who certainly would expect to have a voice in the way that money is handled.

    3. Whatever methods might be selected for collecting the money and spending it wisely, such a program would involve significant administrative costs for soliciting and billing contributors, collecting the money, researching/shopping for advertising deals, paying the bills, reporting to the contributors, and record-keeping for all of that. The administrative costs would have to come right off the top, as it would not be practical for a supplier to absorb or donate that much to the cause.

    4. Pursuading small independent picture framing companies to work in unison has been likened to "herding cats". Why would an organized group advertising program be any different than other failed efforts to bring us together on financial ventures? I envision a leadership of retailers, each with selfish interests, arguing with the supplier-benefactor and one another over how every dollar should be spent. For example, if radio ads were agreed to be a good investment, there would still be dissention over which station(s) to buy, and which time slots, and invariably someone would claim that he/she could get a better deal.

    5. Assuming some supplier uber-diplomat could get a group of small independent framers to work together on advertising, what supplier would be able to pilot such a program with confidence? Distributors are in the capital-intensive business of having manufactured products in the right place at the right time. That seems a loooong way from the work of an advertising agency. Would the supplier simply become a middleman between the contributing participants and the ad agency?

    6. Results of a group advertsing program could not be measured any better than other advertising, done privately.

    I hope someone can find a way for this kind of plan to work.
  5. mik

    mik SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have always believed that co-op money should be made available from the suppliers and distributors we buy from. They would get the money for the manufacturers who use a percentage of their national advertising budget to fund the program. Might mean a few less manufacturer's ads in Decor or PFM but more advertising dollars for the independents.
  6. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Sorry, I disagree with those "socialist" views. Every one is in business for himself, and will prosper or die on his own merrits, not to be promoted or supportive of next link up in the chain of business. Who may your suppliers turn to for coop and help at their turn? And, yes, who would framers agree to support with their dollar just in hope that by so doing they may see more orders in the future? How would your suppliers justify contributing money in behalf of their costumers (another business)? Why do they discount large orders if not to help you perform better? Now you need ad contributions as well? What about helping you pay your loan or power bill? If you don't pay it you may be booted out and suppliers may loose future sales, right?
    Are you serious or this is just a measure of how disperate some framers grew to be? Nobody will save your business but yourself. If you can. Nobody will keep you afloat if you are too expensive or simply not in demand anymore.
  7. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    "QUESTION 1: Should the supplier you buy materials from, and who benefits every time you make a sale, feel an obligation to help support your marketing efforts in some way."

    No! Any money out of their pocket will increase prices. All money spent is subsidized so that even shops not benefiting from this, will pay. If I do an ad campaign for say $500. I’d plan on covering that cost in a short time. After all I have to pay the bill right? If my supplier tosses in $500 guess what they are going to have to do also?

    QUESTION 2: Without regard to "obligation," don't you think it would just be smart business for a supplier to participate in the advertising efforts of the retailers whose sales they depend upon?

    No! They can help me (and themselves) best by keeping prices low as reasonably possible, managing inventory to avoid out of stocks, support the products they offer, keep their lines current and relevant, monitor quality, and communicating often. If they could do that well, they would have their hands full.

    I would rather do advertising MY way to MY customers. That’s my business and not my suppliers.

    Since suppliers would bump prices to cover this new expense, what about commercial framers or photographers that frame? What about those that mass produce frames to sale wholesale? What about shops in hyper-retail environments that are happy NEVER using mass advertisements or those in extremely rural areas? What about those who focus on pre-framed art? A trillion dollar “GO GET MORE FRAMING RAH RAH RAH.” advertisement campaign won’t help them one iota. In fact they can look forward to higher costs and not a single extra customer.

    No, I’ll sell frames and you sell supplies. Let’s not complicate this relationship.
  8. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    HOLY ****! Even with a slight communication barrier, I think you just communicated this much better than I can!

    I agree completely (maybe I missed something:)!

    Carry on.
  9. RoboFramer

    RoboFramer PFG, Picture Framing God

    If every supplier we have an account with gave us $100 a year for advertising it would pay for what we have going and we'd have some change.

    But if they did that but did not give us the discounts for quantity (etc) that they do, (and we happily paid all of their full list prices before we reached an amount of annual sales with each) we'd be out of pocket. So they already help pay for our advertising and more.
  10. DVieau2

    DVieau2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    Co-op advertising is fine idea with lots of possibilities.

    It’s been around for decades in the photo business. When you see a camera shop ad selling Nikon , Canon, Fuji or Kodak chances are that it’s being paid for with co-op dollars.

    One point to make: the co-op comes from manufactures, not distributors and it’s all brand related. This would be more difficult (but not impossible) in the framing business.

    While not exactly co-op advertising, there are also a couple of public relations programs that are supported by manufacturers.



    Why not wwww.framegreatart.com or wwww.framingmatters.com ?

  11. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jay, your comments were right on point, I agree.
  12. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Co-op advertising is, or can be different things to different people. For instance.
    • Larson Juhl has several professionally done commercials that they will provide to their partners for minimal cost. The individual frame shop can run the commercial at their full dime with a 5 second tag line at the end. The only really savings is in not having to pay to produce a top quality spot. The trade off is only the 5 second mention at the end.
    • Other forms of co-op might vary by industry but often a dollar amount is earned based on purchases and individual shop can use toward advertising.
    • At other time a co-op amount is allowed based on the percentage of the ad in which the manufactures product is featured.
    • There are also many other varied forms of co-op
    What we are talking about with "Join Together" is another form of co-op advertising where local shops can decide to join together and pool their resources and bring consumer attention to the local framer. Consumer would be directed to a web site. www.realcustomframer.com where the individual participants would be listed along with a link to their web site.
    • If a supplier / manufacture decided to participate he would see an increase in sales from those individual shops, assuming that over time the advertising paid off.
    • So assuming in a given market 10 shops get together and each put in $100. per week for local cable, that a $1000. per week. That is enough to bring more consumer awareness in a market of my size. ( I am spending less than that on a 2week on 2week off schedule and seeing results from cable)
    • Can a supplier/dist ,or manufacture get in another $100 or whatever and partner with those shops? Whether that happens or not, is not really that important in my opinion.
    • What is important, is that the local independent framers cooperate together.
    • There can be arguments on both sides as to whether they should or shouldn't, but that is basically the concept that we are talking about here. It could be a win/win for everybody involved IMHO and Paul Cascio was only suggesting that the distributor might be in a better position to bring these local independents together. I also think that PPFA or similar groups formal or informal could help local independents to join together for the common good. Those that don't agree or don't want to, won't. It really is that simple and nothing will change. :icon45:
  13. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    I think it can be very helpful if manufacturers provide retailers with point-of-sale materials. The Tru-Vue museum glass displays are good examples of this. I can talk about museum glass all I want, but it isn't nearly as effective as when I walk up to the display and tap a piece of glass that the potential customer couldn't see.

    Same goes for moulding. Good POS materials can help enhance the perceived value of the mouldings, making it easier for us to sell them.
  14. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I agree that a supplier is in a better position to pull frame shops together because of potential competitive awkwardness among the shops themselves. But the idea that they should do so at their own expense (including the administration thereof) out of net profits would be bizarre unless it was known to be the only way to keep the doors open. I for one am not that desperate.

    I think a better idea is one like Framer Select. I don't know if something was wrong with the details or maybe it just was ahead of its time, but I think that is the way to go if you want an independants' cooperative.
  15. wpfay

    wpfay Angry Badger

    Once you have accepted all the other trade-offs required to become a Partner. None of LJ's programs stand alone. They are all neatly intertwined for the mutual benefit of the two parties involved, exclusive of non-participants. Can we name any other business presence in the framing industry that has that kind of clout, or that kind of capacity to offer such extensive promotional services?
  16. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    David, not sure if your company is what I'll term a "Local" supplier, or a specialty supplier, but as a Local supplier, if you could get 20 of you customers who own retail stores to invest $100/wk on pooled advertising, what impact do you think that would have on your sales?

    My guess is that it could have a substantial positive impact. Your sales would increase. Customer contact would improve, and so would customer loyalty and your company image.

    How hard do you work now to get a new customer? How much money do you spend to develop new acounts? That's pretty good compensation. You don't have to be desperate, you just have to recognize the benefits.

    You could charge them, but your payback as outlined above should be worth it all by itself.

    Heck, you're already talking to and meeting with these customers, so why not talk to them about something new.

    You're already invoicing them; add another line item. (If your group is part of the Join Together Program, you won't need to handle the billing, just provide local leadership. There's only going to be one Preferred Supplier per market for Join Together, but that doesn't prevent you from starting your own program or joining John's.)

    If I'm a wholesaler, there is absolutely nothing I would like more than to see retailers advertising, because advertising that helps them, helps you. When they make a sale, you make a sale. When their customer goes to a chain store, so does yours. Your success is predicated on their success.

    In the future, the successful suppliers are going to be the ones who particpate in ensuring their customers' success, instead of just selling them product. It happens in all sorts of other industries, but in our's, only one company is doing it - Larson Juhl.

    I'm not knocking you, or your fine company, but the suppliers in this industry need to recognize that they need to help the retailer - not just for the retailers' success, but for their own.
  17. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

  18. Framerguy

    Framerguy PFG, Picture Framing God

    This thread and parts of some of the others raises more questions than answers for me. I hear statements about "other industries doing co-op advertising" but I see no results of this advertising posted. What percentage of increase in sales or presence did this co-op advertising show? The fact that these other manufacturers run co-op advertising or have co-op advertising monies available doesn't conclude that it is/was successful for anyone without some facts and figures to back up that statement in my opinion.

    That is assuming that the manufacturers are willing to part with a percentage of their advertising campaign to benefit the retailer directly. And to expect the suppliers or distributors to pay for such activities out of their own pocket is ludicrous. There just ain't no "free" lunch as most of us have already learned, no "free" shipping, no "free" samples of supplies used, no "free" truck deliveries, etc., and no "free" co-op advertising even partially funded by your suppliers. That cost will come back to all who buy from that supplier in the form of an increase in cost the next time their prices increase; 5% increase instead of 4% increase without the co-op advertising funding.

    And, as Wally mentioned, to qualify for that "benefit", you have to adhere to all the other rules that LJ imposes on a small business to become one of their "partners". I don't buy into that form of coercion to carry one brand exclusively in my shop at the expense of all the other very good lines that are available to us.

    And David makes some very valid points in defense of any level of business becoming involved in a co-operative form of advertising. It is true that they can be influential in pulling independents together but that depends on whether the independent shops want to be pulled together in my opinion. From the negative results of a few people's efforts on this subject so far it seems like the small businesses aren't interested in being "saved" nor are some of them anxious to team up with their counterparts in any area to co-op advertise for the good of the trade. Maybe that is difficult for some to comprehend but it sure looks like fact to me.

    So you take an idea like FS and expand on it to make a better widget. What was it that caused FS to fail in the first place?? It doesn't do much good to say that we need to take an idea like FS and run with it if we don't have any idea what made FS come to an end. It's like saying we should build more and more huge ships like the Titanic to carry more passengers across the North Atlantic in the winter without discovering exactly why there hasn't been any built since that first one disappeared.
  19. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Who have you been talking to Jay? Sure you have to qualify to be a partner, and those that do, presumably see the benefits and are selling enough of LJ anyhow. It has not been my experience that you have to be exclusive to LJ to be a partner. You have to meet certain yearly/monthly average purchases to be a partner (Branch managers / sales reps have some leeway in those numbers ) It is an unfair/inaccurate statement though to say that you have to be exclusive to LJ to be a partner.
  20. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    OK, looking at my above post, something got lost in a time warp. The quote and my comment have nothing to do with each other.

    I was responding to a statement that you had to carry LJ exclusively to be a partner.

    Sorry for any confusion.
  21. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I guess I was confused by the following, that started this thread - I'm not aware of another(?).

    The phrases "4% of all sales" and "investment" led me to believe that Paul C was suggesting that the supplier lay out the time and money in expectation of a return. Maybe I missed something important?
  22. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'm sorry but how did I get dragged into this?
  23. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    David, here is the original thread about the "join together" program http://www.thegrumble.com/showthread.php?t=25055

    Jay, I'm sorry, you're usually in the middle of everything :p .
    In a typing fury, I wrongly attributed that to you, now I can't even find the post I was referring to.
  24. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Oh, that's an easy one.

    You were dragged into this the same way you're dragged into other threads -- by the keyboard. Just like the rest of us.:icon9:
  25. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    To clarify: I am suggesting that Local Suppliers, as a matter of good business, take the lead in organizing co-op ad group in their area.

    They could either create their own advertising program, or affiliate with a turnkey program such as my Join Together Program.

    In my program, the Local Supplier's role would be to promote the program, organize the local groups and serve as a conduit between the retailers and Join Togther.

    I did also suggest that Local Supplier would benefit by offering some funding. What I recommended was that the supplier offer to, essentially, rebate 4% of purchases made with your company by the participating retailers, in the form of additional advertising.
  26. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    This is nonsense. Why in the world is is the responsibility of a local supplier, who is usually a NON branded reseller, to fund any of your advertising. His territory is unlikely to coincide with any retail outlet's territory, creating a nightmare in administrating such a program. If my "local" supplier raised my prices to fund one of these schemes I would look for someone else to do business with.

    Just be happy that one "branded" supplier (LJ) does any advertising to the public.
  27. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    I might as well jump in lest I be dragged in.

    Unlike a popular grumbler in the other thread, I’m quite neutral on this whole co-op thing. I have read much and commented little, again because I don’t really have any interest in pursuing this. Yet I wouldn’t dare try to discourage anybody else. What a few consenting framers do with their advertising dollars is entirely up to them.

    This goes beyond some framers pooling money together which is why I did post in this thread. I’m not neutral on the courting of my suppliers. I have already listed my reasons and they are currently uncontested. I would strongly discourage my suppliers from experimenting with this if they were to even be interested in it. Their territories are HUGE (some nation wide) and money they spent will be tossed in the air. The odds that it would increase costs are around 100% and the odds of it increasing my sales are much much less.

    I suspect that those believing this is a great idea do so because they care more about seeing this type of advertising succeed than considering the implications. Or they view it as “free money”. Who’s going to turn that down right?
  28. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jay, I've refrained from responding because I posted these questions to solicit opinions. However, I do feel that your comment above to be without any logical basis.

    When you advertise, which I assume you do, you do it with a purpose - preseumably to increase sales. So in essence you are spending money to make money. All businesses that advertise, do so with that same expectation. The key thing to remember about advertising, is that if it's not working you'll stop doing it.

    Is there a certain amount of risk in advertising? Absolutely, and thats true of all advertising, yet we still do it. Most of us also continue to experiment with our advertising, which incidently is what professional direct marketers do constantly via A/B split-run comparisions.

    Risk is reduced in co-op advertising because you are getting 5-10-20 times as many ads for each of your dollars. So if you're going to assume a certain amount of risk, doesn't it make sense to play the odds. I sure think so.

    Larson-Juhl, and other suppliers in other industries that particpate in co-op, are getting a positive return on their investment. How do we know this?

    Simple. Because they keep doing it.

    Want to know if that classified ad you see in the back of a magazine is working? Look in the next couple of issues. If it's there, it's working. No one continues to run advertising that's not working. And no one is expected to, in co-op or otherwise.

    If giving you a FOUR PERCENT DISCOUNT to reward you for taking a risk that could bring in extra business for the wholesale supplier doesn't seem like a good business decision, then to that supplier, I say, "Fine, don't do it."

    And I won't ask twice. Why?

    Because I can almost promise you that his/her forward thinking competitor will. If I was a supplier, I'd offer more than four percent. A lot more.
  29. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    Paul, I'm in that "rural" area I mentioned in my first post. My #1 supplier is in Nashville. They deliver to about 10 other cities that are much larger than my section of the world.

    You are the one completely void of logical baises if you think for a millisecond that I won't be the one footing at least part of the bill for my supplier to support the stronger markets with more shops, you are optimisticlly dilusional (I like that Bob).

    This is what professional merchants call "use the head God gave you". Its a technical term.
  30. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jay, Jay, Jay. I am using the head that God gave me. Perhaps, Mr. Professional Merchant, you are using a different one? :)

    I'll explain this to you again. S-l-o-w-e-r. And in non-technical terms.

    I am not asking suggesting that anyone, including a supplier, throw money into a toilet.

    The money is for advertising.

    To prospective customers.

    Which produces sales.

    And profit.

    Any questions?

    Good, carry on.

    BTW, your rural town of Owensboro has a population of 53,000. I'll bet they all have access to a television too.
  31. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    Lets keep this real simple. Contact my supplier with this idea, and I'll contact my supplier with my responce and we'll let the free market decide who wins.

    Let me put this in print to be rubbed in my face later also.

    If I run out of suppliers because all of them are part of this "plan" I will close my store.

    I have little fear of that.

    It's your thread, I'll let you get it back on track without further irritation from me.

    Carry on.
  32. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    I don’t know you in person and that means that your personality or past activity are not factored into my reading of this coop ads project of yours.

    The only sure thing in this entire project is the fact that you, Paul, will be paid to produce so called coop ads, without really being hold responsible in any precise and forcible manner for missing those positive results that you frequently hint at but can't substantiate nor guarantee them. If some individual framers would BELIEVE that the coop adds worked for them, that much better for you, if not, they will silently and hesitantly retreat their support, without hard feelings, one by one, over a long period of time. Without any professional knowledge and having no scientific tool able to measure those benefic, possibly deflected or propagated effects of your generic ads onto their own business, contributing framers can’t but accept any possible outcome as being closely related to your activity. They are left to wonder and believe whatever they please, but never be sure how close or far from the truth they really were. If the hardworking individual framers have a good year they need believe that part of their success is due to the coop ads, which may be entirely false.
    As everybody agrees that one gets what he pays for it, we must also agree that those many little contributors are inevitably dispersed, disunited and less inclined to demand results or hold you responsible for failing their small, short sighted expectations. In this type of business you easily can take unjust credit for any framer’s personal success and also explain and avoid responsibility in the opposite case. This is a win-win business to be in, and that makes it unfair and objectionable in my eyes.
    What concrete results do you sell to individual framers except for their fears and hopes? Would Americans become addicted to healthy food and custom framing, and when? Will BB's go extinct, and when? How many more orders will they take in excess of those due to their own hard and good work?
    I am sorry to say that selling coop ads in those circumstances looks to me more like selling comforting palm readings. You may be animated by good intentions but then this type of business certainly looks suspiciously vague and hollowed, impossible to prove itself, except for those who have chosen to give it full credit anyhow, in pure hope or due to their personal feelings of trust and respect for you and your past work.
  33. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    As a public service, I will now translate your incoherent ramblings.

    TRANSLATION - I don't know anything about you. I don't know anything about the Join Together Program. You can not guarantee ad results.


    Duh! I cannot guarantee the results of advertising. Neither can you. Neither can Madison Avenue.
    Thanks for that useful information.

    I am advocating that our industry begin to work together to compete more effectively in the marketplace. I am offering a turnkey option, but also have encourage others, including you, to develop their own.

    The least you ought to do is educate yourself before you rip something. Your contemptuous attitude toward retailers is shameful.
  34. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    This is how I interpret it:
    If you currently spend as much as 4% of sales on advertising (which I don't), double it.
  35. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    First off, let me admit that I didn't read every word of this thread so far.

    What I would like to add to this is the fact that auto makers subsidize 100% of local dealers advertising in print and on TV.

    In turn, our local Chevy dealer grosses $55 Million per year. I know this for a fact.

    I have yet to meet a frame shop owner that grosses anywhere near that.

    IF say LJ was to do a major media blitz boasting how great their product was, and at the end of the ad insert something like see your local framer at ABC Custom Framing it sure would help ABC Framing and increase sales for the manufacturer as well.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but boy howdy it sure works for my local Chevy dealer.
  36. Richard Darling

    Richard Darling SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I think the difference between framing and automobiles is that a framer typically carries a product from a number of manufacturers, whereas a Chevy dealer is, well, pretty much just a Chevy dealer. I know, sometimes they have multiple lines, but not on the same scale as a frame shop.

    The similarity would exist a little with, say, LJ, doing advertising. My regional distributor would not want to subsidize advertising that would send customers to a multi-line shop to pick a competitor's product.
  37. J Phipps TN

    J Phipps TN SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    There has got to be some sort of a balance here.

    I have felt for a long time that if I carry a perticular moulding company, that they should at least help with some of the advertising expenses.

    I'm not sure where the balance lies, but the furniture stores, flooring stores, and even the florist industry have companies that help them advertise. Even if it only is providing signage and materials for the store front.

    With the way the industry is heading, if they don't step up and take some responsiblilty for at least some of the advertising, they may be out of a job soon.

    The industry has changed so much, it's not the 80's anymore!

    Just my 2 cents...
  38. RoboFramer

    RoboFramer PFG, Picture Framing God

    1. This is a great read!

    2. I sell more frames than the BMW dealer next door sells Beamers! (Love their customers!)
  39. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I think the bigger difference is Exclusivity. I have never seen two Chevy dealers next to or across the street from each other.
  40. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Let's be fair and turn table around for a change. What about this line of reasoning?

    "Dear Framers,

    Business is being tough for our beloved X molding manufactory, and getting tougher.
    You know, people, we at X company have felt for a long time that if some of you framers love and carry our line, then you should at least help our company be more profitable and continue to produce those wonderful moldings that you sell. Please choose at least one of the following forms of support:

    1) pay 15% price increase,
    2) pay for our samples,
    3) pay in advance,
    4) patiently wait for us some 4 weeks to restock those wonderful moldings
    5) put up wit some quality flaws.
    6) indulge a longer turn around period
    7) pitch in on some of our advertising expenses

    It is in your best interest to help us. The more you help us, the better we do, and the more we produce the more you can sell, right? Without X moldings your wall would be poorer and so would you."

    Would you rush to save this X company (call it LaMarche if you please) providing you were carrying their line? Would you contribute to their ad expenses if you didn't carry X? Why not? By helping X, lots of benefits may rain back upon you… er....when all their competitors will be forced to fight them back by producing better quality moldings of their own for less.

    Well, what's wrong with this logic?

    May I open the list of possible responses?

    1) Sorry for your difficulties, X, but I am not really your partner. I am a buyer and you my supplier. I became a framer to make money for myself, not to sell your line or to help you stay in business. If selling your line helps me make money, so be it, but if you drop off the market, too bad for you, there are so many other good manufacturers out there that can replace you. Have you ever heard of Omega? See, the bullet that you didn't hear gets you. Carry on
  41. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    That would be socialism.:icon21:

    Good post Whynot. I actually enjoyed that one. However, we already pay for your advertising.

    We pay for corner samples, directly or indirectly.

    We've paid 15% price increases, again and again.

    We've all waited 4 weeks for a frame to arrive, but not always patiently.

    Put up with quality flaws? Occasionally.

    Pay in advance. I would support that. I know that receivables are a supplier's biggest problem. What does that say to you?

    Your advertising doesn't produce sales for us, but our's produces sales for you. That's one of the points you've been missing.

    BTW, that other thread is up to 5800 views. :)
  42. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Nope, Paul, that situation wouldn't be socialism but plain stupidity. Just like the opposite situation in which framers, unable to efficiently promote themselves, would expect and demand financially support from their distributors and manufacturers or else(?).
    I grew up in a communist country. I know socialist ideas' sound and smell. This thread is not even about classic socialist ideas with have and have nots fighting each other, but a socialist nightmare, one in which small entrepreneurs (have-some capitalists) expect their suppliers, less numerous but larger entrepreneurs (have-more capitalists) to help the first make more profit in return for possibly more sales.

    If you ask me, on the other thread, despite our joint efforts materialized in 12 new postings, each post was visualized by an average of only 41 readers. That is a decent match for how many regular visitors TG forum attracts every day. So, keep the champagne bottled for now, or drink it if you already lost your hope and patience.

    BTW of advertising. I am a wholesaler and my clients are framers. I advertise in their media and that brings me some sales. If I were a retailer I'd advertise differently. Advertising like a retailer would be like throwing good money for bad money. I think that if we all play our parts decently the orchestra will sound great and we all get what we deserve.
  43. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Good morning Whynot. I know it's not socialism, that's why I put the smiley face after it. But since you threw out the "S" word first, I was giving it back.

    I know you were born and raised in Romania, so I know you know socialism. I also have no doubt that you know capitalism too. And, I must acknowledge that you're a pretty good writer, with an extensive vocabulary, especially when considering that English is not your native language.

    It's just your thinking that, IMO, is all screwed up!

    Your math logic is whacked - your topics average 17 views and you tell me that 5300 is really only 131 or some crazy figure.

    Calling my idea socialism - whacked!

    You twist things to meet your stance. I feel as if I'v gone back in time to debate with a 15 year old. You're entertaining, but frustrating.

    I'm not demanding that a supplier do anything. A supplier is free to make a choice on this. I am only going to need/want one supplier in an area, and I don't expect a supplier to do this without believing it would benefit the supplier.

    I certainly believe it will. Anything that helps produce more retail sales, produces more supplier sales. OUR SUCCESS IS TIED TOGETHER.
  44. Framerguy

    Framerguy PFG, Picture Framing God

    Oh, come on!! ..............

    At the risk of frankenthreading such a focused?? thread, I have to say that you just indicated how little you actually do know about our esteemed friend Cornel.

    Quote from P. Cascio:

    ".................. And, I must acknowledge that you're a pretty good writer, with an extensive vocabulary, especially when considering that English is not your native language."

    Anyone who has spent any time talking to Cornel or his son would know that he is constantly struggling to make his point understood in English which doesn't come easily to him. I know for a fact that it takes Cornel hours to compose, edit, and spellcheck an average post that any of us could type in minutes!

    So his interest in this concept is well founded even if he is not as clear as he would intend to be with his diction. I personally see no malicious intent in any of his posts unless your ox is squealing in the barn lot from the usage of some of the terms that he chooses to use. He is simply viewing this concept from a manufacturer's viewpoint which is only fair in my opinion. If he doesn't agree with your point of view, that is only fair also in my opinion.

    And my opinion is well worth every penny you paid to read it.
  45. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    His diction is fine. It's your reading comprehension that appears to be lacking.
  46. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks, Tom, for destroying the aura I was so meticulously casting around myself. In few more nights of struggle I might have succeeded to pose like world's next Shakespeare in the making when you broke that charm, and instead of collecting royalties for my posts in here I must now reluctantly revert to selling CC frames for a living. That will degrade our friendship fire to merely …friendly fire, amigo! Pay back time when I’ll catch you in my cross hairs, at the show, in Atlanta. ;) :)


    I wouldn't be so skeptical about your idea if it was more focused. What I mean by that? For instance I don't necessarily reject the idea of somehow supporting MY clients' advertising efforts to promote handcrafted water gilded closed corner frames if fairly joined by the rest of their suppliers of such frames. But what an alarming signal about my clients’ financial health and future that request would be! Your program is ill crafted at this point: too vague and general to be producing measurable results for participant framers and too wailing not to stir rejection. Your offer should make participants proud and willing to participate instead of begging them to consider joining and contributing some money. If I were you I would have built specialized ad campaigns and sold them to suppliers first giving framers the chance and incentive to join in because they would want to do so badly.
  47. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You seem to be singing a different tune, Whynot.

    I don't think that what I'm telling you is new. Your accounts receivables report is probably echoing the same info, although selling closed corner frames, you are in a high-end niche and your customer base is spread out geographically.

    As such, the idea you just suggested about helping framers advertise CC frames might be something for you to consider. Ideally, I think my idea is better suited to general suppliers serving specific geographic territories and having regular face-to-face contact.

    I'm just trying to get our industry to look at ways to adapt and to retake market share. As a whole, we are an industry that continues to live in the dark ages and has failed to respond to competition. If I can make a change in our actions, or at least our thinking, I will feel that I've made a contribution.
  48. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Can't we all just agree to disagree??????
  49. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Take that back!!! ;)

    OK to flip the question, if my suppliers offers to pay for my advertising would should s/he reasonably expect in return from me?

    Exclusivity? Premium placement of their product? A minimum of sales per month? per day? each hour? For how long after the ad run should this benefit run for the supplier? While they are at it can they pay my rent? my paycheck? utilities? Why not just give them the keys and they can fire me and replace me with a cheaper worker.
  50. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Objection! I wouldn't do that to a fellow grumbler ;)

    In rest I fully agree with you!
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