Posts Tagged ‘Steve Johnson’

Checking in with Tucker Rocky’s Steve Johnson

August 15, 2010

I didn’t have a chance to participate in Tucker Rocky’s national sales meeting in Texas last month, so I tracked down TR”s chief Steve Johnson to get his reaction to the five-day event and to see what he had going at the big Fort Worth-based national distributor.

Steve Johnson

The show was different this year, by design. More aimed at training and business improvement than entertainment and relationship-building. “This show was a lot more about product and selling product,” said Johnson. “It was less about fun and more about dealer training and how to run a good dealership.”

In Johnson’s view, the participating vendors and dealers “were more than positive, they were engaged” in what was going on. “A lot of people are still excited to be in this industry. But there’s a realization that there’s a new norm; it may come back a bit, but it’s going to be at a slower pace. You can’t expect 10%-15% compound growth. You have to hunker down and run your business as best you can. People were fully engaged; more so than ever before.”

Dennis Johnson, editor-in-chief of Dealernews magazine visited the show and did a nice job of reporting on the event in the August issue of the magazine. I’m not going to duplicate his efforts here, but Steve covered some interesting points in our conversation, many focusing on dealer training and customer service.

Big Push On Customer Service

As we chatted, Steve told me a story about customer service that came from his previous experience in the foodservice business. To paraphrase his story: There once was a large bakery that produced custom products for a high-end local grocery store. The big thing was fresh birthday cakes, made the same day and featuring custom greetings. It was an important item for the retailer and produced nice margins for both the bakery and the retailer. The cakes were always delivered on time, the names were spelled correctly, and everyone was happy. But one day, there was a mistake; a cake didn’t get produced for a birthday party that day. The customer went crazy, of course; what was she going to do for the party that afternoon?

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Tucker Takes Bold Step in Digital Marketing

April 28, 2010

Distributor Offers Product Videos at http://www.Tuckerrocky.tv

When I talked with Steve Johnson, the boss of Tucker Rocky Dustributing, in January, we discussed the growing importance of digital marketing. I thought his comments certainly were interesting, but not hugely important for the industry or even for the company.

Steve Johnson

I was wrong. When we spoke again Monday I discovered how badly I had missed the mark. The Fort Worth-based distributor has taken steps that could significantly change the way powersports PG&A products are sold to consumers and dealers.

Very simply, Tucker has basically dropped its B2B and consumer print advertising in favor of product videos that are distributed through YouTube and Tucker’s own “TV station,” the website, www.tuckerrocky.tv.

In addition to TR house brands such as FirstGear, Answer, MSR, and ProTaper, the tuckeerrocky.tv site also carries videos featuring products from Arai, K&N, National Cycle, Ogio, PJ1, Scorpion, Bridgestone, and Cobra, among others. The videos are well produced and do an effective job of explaining and demonstrating the features and benefits of each product. Visit the site, and you’ll see what I mean.

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Tucker Rocky Changes Sales/Marketing Approach

January 23, 2010

Sales & Marketing Team Reorganized

A recent brief announcement out of Tucker Rocky Distributing about changes in the marketing department piqued my interest. The note said that long-time marketing and advertising guy Stephan Ulbrich was no longer with the big national Fort Worth-based distributor. Several other reassignments were also mentioned. The moves followed the

Steve Johnson

departure of another long-time TR marketing executive, Tim Pritchard, vice president of sales and marketing, who left the company in October after eight years with the distributor.

What was up with the changes, I wondered? So I called Steve Johnson, TR’s president and COO. It turns out that the personnel changes reflect a significant shift in the way TR is working with its customers, both on the supplier side and on the dealer side.

The departed ex-employees aren’t talking, of course, but here’s the story, as Steve discussed it with me.

“It was clear to me that we needed new leadership in the sales and marketing area,” Johnson told me. ” Tim had been here many years and we had a philosophical difference on how to run the company, so I made a change.”

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Arai, Shoei Unveil Models, but How Are High-End Sales?

November 1, 2009

Opener[1]The embargo on Arai’s new RX-Q street helmet ends today, and I’m thrilled to see the Dealernews.com article on it comes up No. 2 in a Google search. (Click here to read it.) The folks at Arai stopped by our office a couple of weeks ago to give us a presentation, and left us with information and images. They didn’t donate samples because they only had a few, including a size medium straight from Japan. I tried it on, and (surprise, surprise) it felt great. Qualitywise, this will be another winner hitting the market in late December or early January and retailing for roughly $675.

Does the price sound kinda high? Arai says it’s positioning the RX-Q between the Profile and Corsair-V. In fact, the company is marketing the model as a Corsair-V for the street. I think the helmet is a knockout, but how eager are dealers right now to stock this price point? Tucker Rocky president Steve Johnson told me this past summer that sales of high-end brands are suffering the most. He even mentioned Arai as an example.

Then again, Arai’s timing may not be as bad as it seems. I just heard on TV that the recession is technically over due to the rise in GDP. And although unemployment will remain high for a while, people who haven’t lost their jobs should feel more confident they won’t — and may start spending again. (more…)