Erse Cable continues to give its
customers confidence by showing a
consistent growth curve
We spoke to Erse Cable Domestic Marketing and Sales Manager Fikret Akkurt about his thoughts on the company’s sustainable growth performance in the marketing and sales network, goals and economic perspective for 2016.
How do you approach the brand concept for a good marketing and sales strategy in the market? What path does Erse Cable follow in its marketing and sales processes for cable brand recognition?
During the continuation of a corporate identity process that started in the first half of 2012, with a change in logo, marketing and sales entered a new formation. As of the beginning of 2013 we went into a marketing and sales structure in which we adopted a different identity and different form of management with visionary, customer oriented marketing activities in a more competitive approach. The main purpose of this structuring was for a series of concepts like Erse Cable’s marketing, brand value, brand identity and trust in the brand to be incorporated better, for the brand to become more valuable, for the consumer/customer to become aware of this, for the brand to be remembered and for the material and emotional value contributed by stakeholders to be understood. In order to do this we assigned goals to our combination of marketing elements like product, price, distribution (a strong distribution network), promotion (like individual sales, advertisement, public relations, sales development) activities. We reinforced our marketing and sales staff with training and activated motivation and performance assessment processes. By putting emphasis on a modern marketing approach of prioritizing customer expectations and needs rather than the classic marketing concept, we operated service, competition, quality and production processes retroactively. We were successful in all our undertakings. As Erse Cable we are aware that quality requires sustainability in all fields and we continue to develop our work each day. Carrying the Erse Cable brand value further forward is our primary goal.
What are your thoughts on leadership?
In the process of a change, in every period of development and at challenging times we need a leader. The differences between generations on the one hand and the questioning of the main features of a leader on the other and also the strategies that change with technology and new working models show that leaders need to review and improve their own features.
In my opinion leadership is a concept that includes important issues like fair management, influence, persuasion, trust, moving to action and expectation, in which you have responsibilities to your superiors, your colleagues, your customers, your family and even your social circle; and it reveals the things that you need to accomplish. Therefore you need to think constantly about what tomorrow may bring, you need to develop yourself, you need to create a distinction by presenting creative ideas and you need to create added value for the people and communities who believe in you. Your personal development, form of management and your desire to learn are very important in accomplishing this. One of the most important tasks of a leader is to make sure that the company they work for and its employees do not become complacent with their achievements and start slacking off and losing their dynamism.
What have you identified as the sustainable marketing and sales mission of Erse Cable, a company that has been operating in the sector for many years, for the year 2016?
We, as Erse Cable, determine our marketing and sales strategies within 3 year plans. Making our customer oriented marketing approach we started in 2013 more detailed is among our goals. Our marketing teams reach out to all sections of the market to identify expectations and needs. They provide us with reports on a periodical, monthly and even weekly basis. In line with the incoming information we conduct meetings with our regional authorities and analyze our product groups, stock levels, price levels and our weak points and take precautions accordingly. Also the marketing and sales teams share information instantly among each other to regulate the information flow between Distributor-Customer-User/Consumer.
The work that is done is not just for promotion, raising awareness or creating demand but also for our technical marketing staff to provide consultation to users on the right cable selection according to their field of use. We continue to respond to all the questions and demands of the Project, Industry and Retail sectors.
The Erse Cable distributor network has been growing in the last 3 years, how has this impacted the domestic marketing and sales performance of Erse Cable? What were the main dynamics of this growth?
First of all I would like to thank our valued Customers/Distributors who put their trust and faith in the Erse brand, who approve of, use and sell our brand and have always given us their support. The most important factors in growth are mutual trust, keeping promises, innovation, marketing communication and improvement of after sales services. Essentially, providing better services, a strong and flexible product inventory diversity, price advantages, commercial payment advantages and service quality in addition to the distributor system have been the determining factors in our being a preferred company in the sector. As a company we confirm the accuracy of our decision with the support we receive from our customers, the growth in our market share and by placing among the second 500 industrial companies with our new factory and amortization investments. Of course we cannot overlook the accomplishments of our export department.
In the first year of our distributor system our customers had questions about service, attention, technical support, price and commercial conditions. Through cooperative efforts and visits these concerns have been replaced with satisfaction and commercial cooperation. In fact I can say that the commercial volume between companies has increased as a result. The Erse Cable marketing and sales team conducted 13 thousand visits last year. We have become one big family with over 250 sales personnel along with the sales personnel of our distributors and 52 Distributors. Our current 22 marketing and sales personnel meet with almost all of our customers and continue to meet their expectations and demands.
How did the Ervital, Ervital Firesafe, Erflex and Erline sub-brand product groups impact the marketing and sales performance of Erse Cable?
Erse Cable has adopted a single brand marketing strategy and presents products with different brand names for each product group to the market. Each of the Ervital, Ervital Firesafe, Erflex and Erline brands have their own identity and their own promotion and advertisement campaigns. Our goal here is to have a strategy for each brand rather than just a commercial distinction; and for each to conduct its own user convenience, product development, certification and marketing activities in their own product groups and act independent of the Erse brand to complete their demand and brandization processes. Currently this process is growing and developing each day and our brands are becoming stronger in the sector and being in demand with their own brand names. As an example; we presented our fire resistant cable group to the market in 2006 under the brand name ERVITAL. As an extension of this we became the first Turkish company to become certified by the German certification organization VDE. By consulting the leading audit and project companies in the sector on technical issues we made improvements. Our ERVITAL brand which became an expert in the sector with its fire performance and quality, is now also in demand abroad with the ERVITAL brand name.
Another of our brands, the ERFLEX command cable group, was introduced in 2010. Our brand, which addresses the industry sector, provides users with alternatives by presenting special solutions outside of the standard products.
Our ERLINE brand represents the data product group for which we completed our investment last year. Introduction and innovation work has been started for our brands. We have also started feasibility studies for a second investment in respond to the great demand in a very short time.
When forming your marketing and sales strategy plans what priorities do you focus on? Profit or turnover growth or market share? What are your thoughts for 2016?
Of course everything we have mentioned here are included in our 3 year plan and in our priorities. But of course we need to add the issue of risk to the proportion of these to each other, healthy growth, correct profitability and achieving the market share we want. To give an example from 2015, while our market share and turnover was at the level we wanted we achieved a profitability under what was projected due to the continuous rise in foreign currency. Due to our commercial concerns and political and economic developments that took place I can say that we did not set a goal for turnover growth in 2016. In terms of marketing we are constantly developing strategies to create brand loyalty with our strong brand image and recognition; and trying to maintain good communication with our commercial and technical partners.
In this setting of increasing competition what do you think will be the main agenda for the market in the second half of the year? How would you evaluate the economic structure in terms of the cable sector?
I am sure everyone has been following the news that despite the political unrest Turkey’s economic growth has continued to be resilient. I agree with this. However, not a day goes by that there isn’t some kind of political uncertainty or terrorist incident in our country. How long this resilience will last is yet another source of uncertainty. Investments are being postponed or minimal purchases are being made while we wait for this setting of uncertainty to be replaced by an economy with solid foundations.
As in all the other sectors, a setting of fierce competition is has been created as a result of dropping demand and excessive supply. The political crises and economical developments occurring in close neighboring countries cause drops in the export figures. Producers experiencing a lull in capacity are trying to save themselves in the short term by pulling the profits down in the domestic market while they continue to seek new markets. As a result companies with a weak capital structure are experiencing financial difficulties with unprofitable sales. In addition to the postponing of bankruptcy experienced on the buyer side of the sector, the uncollectable payments and the companies that have stopped operations and are having difficulty financing expenses create situations that are impossible to overcome. We do not expect major changes in the second half f the year but we have work planned for 2017.
Finally is there anything you wish to add as the Erse Cable Marketing and Sales Manager?
Drawing your road map for marketing and sales and determining your strategies according to each variable that faces you is important for progress. With the importance you place on R&D to create added value you can keep up with a changing world. Environmentally compliant and sustainable production and marketing strategies give our sales the important support it needs and enable us to satisfy our customers.
The impact of employee motivation on work performance is much more than you would expect. In our present day replacing a product based marketing strategy with a customer oriented approach to create added value for the sectors and customers we serve should be among our main goals. It is important not to forget that the only thing that does not change is change itself.