Market cultivation remains intense
With the integration of the ceramics business in its established sales structures, Geberit substantially strengthened its presence in many markets. Since the beginning of 2016, each market has been serviced by one local sales company only. The more than 800 advisors deployed throughout Europe no longer focus on specific product areas, but rather on different customer segments, such as the wholesale trade, plumbers and planners, architects and showrooms. This means that the advisors must have very broad product knowledge in order to provide comprehensive support to their customers.
Architects, planners and engineering offices are increasingly using BIM (Building Information Modelling) to optimise and integrate their processes. Nowadays, it is essential for manufacturers of sanitary products to provide the relevant BIM data, in particular for large projects. Geberit has therefore started recording the BIM data for all relevant products, and now makes the data available for download to customers across the world.
For decades, Geberit’s broad range of training opportunities has been a proven instrument for retaining customers. During the reporting year, more than 30,000 customers were provided with education and further training on Geberit products, tools and software tools at the 25 Geberit information centres in Europe and overseas. In addition, a total of around 90,000 customers became more familiar with Geberit know-how and products at external events, some of which were organised in cooperation with market partners.
Market presence of Geberit AquaClean expanded further
The advertising measures for Geberit AquaClean shower toilets focused on 13 campaign markets in Europe. As in the previous year, the Geberit AquaClean truck went on a major tour, this time to the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK and for a second time to Germany. Under the motto “My first time”, the mobile showroom and test unit offered interested parties the opportunity to try out an AquaClean shower toilet at their leisure and assess the various models.
The strategy of offering potential end users the opportunity to try out a shower toilet for themselves was also followed in Italy, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland. The Swiss and Austrian sales companies, for example, made a mobile AquaClean WC lounge available to the public at selected concerts, sporting events and other major events. In the reporting year, it was possible to establish contact with around 15,000 end users with these two lounges.
The international sales initiative for mid-range and high-end hotels also made excellent progress. More than 60 new hotel projects were acquired in the reporting year, which pushed up the number of four- and five-star hotels equipped with AquaClean shower toilets in Europe to 350.
The premium AquaClean Mera model launched in September of the previous year met with a very positive response in all markets. This unexpected level of success led to an order backlog, which has since been reduced by the fast expansion of our internal capacity to produce the sophisticated ceramic sanitary appliances. Demand, which has remained persistently high, has been met on time again since the fourth quarter.
Direct link to sanitary professionals
Most of Geberit’s marketing activities continued to target sanitary professionals and entrepreneurs. Proven measures such as customer visits, training and the publication of regularly updated technical documents, brochures and magazines, online platforms and apps were continued and developed further. The successful "Geberit On Tour" campaign was repeated for the sixth time in the reporting year. Specially fitted-out mobile showrooms visited local and regional wholesalers and offered plumbers the opportunity to assess Geberit innovations and solutions directly on site. In 2016, more than 25,000 visitors were addressed at more than 900 events in 16 countries.
Fully integrated trade fair presence
In 2016, numerous trade fairs were once again used as platforms to demonstrate Geberit’s innovative strength and to foster and enlarge the network of contacts in the market. Important trade fairs attended were Batibouw in Brussels, the Ideal Home Show in London, Swissbau in Basel, Aquatherm in Vienna, SHK in Essen as well as the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas. Architects and designers were specifically targeted at the Fuori Salone and the Salone del bagno in Milan.
A new trade fair concept was developed in the reporting year and successfully implemented for the first time in Belgium in October. With this concept, several brands can be exhibited jointly at Geberit’s stand, which guarantees a first-class presentation of ceramic sanitary appliances and bathroom furniture in addition to the regular, more technical product range. The achievable synergies include the reduction of the exhibition space required at a trade fair – in the previous year, Geberit still needed three large exhibition stands at the ISH in Frankfurt – and the joint presentation of products and improved cross-selling opportunities.