Nationwide Marketing Group celebrated its 60th in-person PrimeTime in style at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center down in Dallas, TX on March 25-28. Tom Hickman, the CEO of Nationwide Marketing Group, kicked off the show with an opening keynote stressing the need for retailers to stay on their toes and be “Customer Obsessed.”
True to form, the keyphrase ‘Customer Obsessed’ was a central theme both in Hickman’s opening address and the show at large. The message behind the term is simple: the independent channel should be doing everything possible to personalize the buying experience for the customer.
According to Hickman, this theme of ‘Customer Obsessed,’ “was chosen with great purpose because suppliers, retailers and home integrators that are obsessed with their customer’s happiness – not just at the beginning or at the sale, but all along the journey – will win every time.”
He went on to say, “It feels to me a lot like 2018 and 2019. We’re doing things very similar to the way we were doing it then, battling for customers, battling for eyeballs, and making sure we were trying to close every sale. We had hyper vendor activity and hypercompetitive activity from big box stores.”
Gone are the COVID era days when retailers could compete simply by having inventory on hand. Instead, according to Hickman, the market has changed and to stay successful independent retailers must adapt to new market dynamics that have reinstituted the premium on the competition.
“The way you compete is by differentiating yourself via the one thing that matters most to the customer: the experience. To do that, you’ve got to be customer obsessed.”