Top Distributors 2017 Q&As: No. 5 - Integrated Merchandising Systems LLC
Every year, Promo Marketing releases its Top 50 Distributors list. To give you some insight into what it takes to make it to the top, we spoke to Doug Carlson, EVP general manager of Integrated Merchandising Systems LLC, No. 5 on the list.
Promo Marketing: What led to your company’s success in 2016?
Doug Carlson: Great client partners for whom we strive to over-deliver every day. Fantastic people with incredible skills and passion across a range of services: merchandising, marketing, creative, sourcing, account management, operations and logistics. Outstanding new clients who recognize the value of the above and want to partner with a winner.
PM: Besides sales numbers, what makes your company a Top Distributor?
DC: The numbers are great and obviously important. But, what drives our creative, marketing and merchandising teams are meaningful consumer connections. Truly understanding our client’s target audiences and developing merchandising products and programs that excite and engage those customers is the fulfilling part of what we do. If we continue to do that right, the numbers will come.
PM: What challenges do distributors face in the promotional products industry, especially in the next four years? How can they solve them?
DC: A major challenge the industry will face, an area where Integrated Merchandising Systems is fortunate to be on strong footing, is financial discipline and performance. In a fragmented market, it will be increasingly important for clients to partner with companies who are in it for the long-haul and have the ability to invest in great people and advanced technology. From [our] perspective, that will continue to differentiate our services moving forward.
PM: What is the key to becoming (and remaining) a Top Distributor?
DC: One of several keys to our long-term success is continued investment in our technology solutions. [Our] technology advancements provide end-to-end supply chain visibility, real-time reporting and ease of ordering/execution for our client teams. Additionally, Integrated Merchandising Systems provides turnkey customization and personalization capabilities—a tremendous competitive advantage.
PM: What was your company’s biggest accomplishment in 2016?
DC: Happy people and happy clients—that’s a pretty good starting point.