Teach a Man to Fish

SEMA News—February 2017


By Jon Wyly

Teach a Man to Fish

SDC Logo“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” We’ve all heard that famous quote, and many of us have used it when trying to impress upon people the value of learning how to do something themselves rather than relying on someone else to do it for them. Credited as far back as the 12th century, this simple but elegant phrase has endless applications, including many in our daily business activities.

For example, the concept that learning how to manage your own product data rather than relying on someone else to manage it for you will set you up for long-term business success. That is exactly why the team at the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) is so focused on the education, training and support functions that enable us to teach suppliers how to understand and embrace this critical business asset.

So be cautious about how to get started, because there are sharks in the water that can cause you a lot of grief and expense. Some service providers may take the approach of, “Don’t you worry, we’ll take care of everything,” or perhaps offer some online tools without the benefit of being fully aligned and up-to-date with the industry ACES and PIES standards. Neither of these approaches puts you fully in control of your data quality and content. In the case of bargain-priced services, you will get what you pay for.

And don’t forget the distribution services required to place your data with resellers who will turn that information into sales. Once again, use caution, as there are providers out there who will charge you to manage your data and then charge your customer for the privilege of receiving it! Believe me, this is not a feature they will often talk about in their sales pitches.

Along with being the industry’s largest readily accessible data repository with more than 500 brands participating, the SDC is also the largest distributor of data, with more than 1,000 receiver members. These businesses in turn account for tens of thousands of wholesale, brick-and-mortar and online locations.

The SDC never charges your customers for your data, and you are in complete control of whom your data is distributed to. Others will require you to opt-out of distribution, because they want control over the revenue generated from the sale of your data. Again, that’s not often talked about during the sales pitch.

Finally, there will be those who will try to convince you that the industry-accepted data standards “aren’t right” for your products. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the largest handler of product data in the SEMA space, the SDC has proven that being aligned with the standards provides the consistency and completeness that your customers demand, and the SDC is actively involved with the Auto Care Association and regularly contributes additions and changes to the standards.

It is more important than ever for you to recognize the significant value of your product data in terms of sales generation and end-user loyalty. The SDC’s preferred approach puts you in charge of your data set. You will be set up for the long run without fear of unreliable outsourced help and lack of control of your marketing message. After all, no one knows your products better than you do. With the availability of top-quality online tools backed with exemplary customer support, the time has never been better to step up your data game. As our oft-quoted tagline says, “Quality data management is easier than you might think!”

To learn more about how you can take control and manage your product data at the lowest possible cost, contact SEMA Data Co-op Membership Manager Allen Horwitz via email at allenh@semadatacoop.org or by phone at 888-958-6698 x9.

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