Maytag University brought Whirlpool exclusives together for education, fellowship and fun
By Andy Kriege, YSN
BrandSource’s Maytag Channel members convened last week as Maytag University was back in session.
The gathering, held at Whirlpool’s Brandywine Creek Conference Center in Covert, Mich., marked the second time the traditionally annual event was held since 2019, when COVID concerns kept the Whirlpool-exclusive dealer contingent apart.
Channel members were happy to reconnect, take in the meeting’s educational opportunities and exchange ideas, all in a concerted effort to navigate an increasingly challenging retail environment.
The meeting drew a large turnout and did not disappoint: the consensus among participants was that it was well worth attending. In addition to scheduled classes, the intimate setting of the venue provided ample time for Maytag-exclusive members to compare notes and share strategies.
For many, including Elizabeth Round, marketing manager for Village Home Stores in Geneseo, Ill., it was the time spent networking with peers that proved most valuable.
“I felt that the event was time well spent,” Round said. “I took full advantage of every opportunity to pick the brains of my colleagues. The larger BrandSource events are great, but it’s hard to find opportunities for deep-dive conversations among Maytag members because everyone is so busy. This venue provided ample time to hear what other dealers are doing in terms of promotion and what is working in stores that are similar to ours.”
Round added that the Whirlpool-specific content was also helpful in keeping her company competitive. “They did a fantastic job walking us through the details on co-op marketing options and answered a lot of questions,” she said. “The Whirlpool reps shared some excellent strategies on how to grow our customer base and reach customers we may not be connecting with right now.”
One of the training sessions that generated the most engagement was a collaborative workshop where the group was divided into six teams. Several topics were given to each group to hash out and then share with the group at large. An example that provided a lively discussion was, “What’s Working in Your Business and Why.”
AVB Marketing’s Rich Lindblom, product manager of SYNC, was impressed with the engagement of the Whirlpool exclusive dealers. “I think my session on customer loyalty, or maybe the lack thereof, was quite an eyeopener for some of the attendees,” he said. “They were taken aback when I showed them how often their customers move around. In fact, loyalty to a particular store ranks at the very bottom of a potential customer’s purchase decision.”
Missy Hodges, Whirlpool’s manager of sales and operations for buying groups, said there was ample opportunity to gather and exchange new ideas and strategies, and to also have fun. “The dealers were very positive and engaged during this event,” she said. “They came to learn and had fun while they were here.”
Hodges said the goal of the event was to show the members the wide array of tools at their disposal and the support that Whirlpool provides to make things easier for them. “I encouraged each dealer to identify a couple potential opportunities, to think outside the box, to be aggressive and to make sure their customers can purchase products online 24/7.”
YSN publisher AVB BrandSource is the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.