Marketing Channels for Fastenal
Learning Objectives. To have students identify:
(1) the points of difference,
(2) target market segments,
and (3) marketing channels that might be used for a category of unique threaded fasteners distributed by Fastenal Company.
Nature of the Activity. To help students understand the unique nature of the threaded fastener products (points of difference) and their applications and target markets so students can suggest the appropriate marketing channel(s).
Marketing Lesson. Offering fasteners for security applications with a unique point of difference can provide genuine value to industrial customers and significant profit to an industrial distributor in a marketing channel that succeeds in meeting customer needs.
Fastenal website (www.fastenal.com)
The term ‘threaded fasteners’ is just a name for screws, bolts, and related items used to attach or otherwise secure one item to another item—such as a door hinge to a door. Threaded fasteners, although a common household product, are not often thought of as either an exciting or highly marketable product category. They are often viewed as ‘a commodity’—screws and bolts that are easily substitutable for one another and for which the lowest price is a key buying criterion for customers.
There are common fasteners, like the ones any of us can buy at a hardware store like Ace or a home improvement store like Home Depot, and use in everyday applications, and then there are security fasteners like the ones shown here. If you look at the heads or tops of these fasteners, you should notice that they are not at all similar to the everyday fasteners you have seen and used.
These fasteners are used where security or tampering issues are critical, where you do not want individuals either adjusting or removing the doors or locks held in place by these fasteners. They are used in public restrooms, hospitals, prisons, and other places where people might try to tamper with, remove, or break into locks or doors.
The key lies in the head design of the fasteners as they can only be removed using either (a) the same installation device that was used to install the fastener or (b) a special fastener extractor designed specifically to unscrew or remove these fasteners. Note that neither of these tools is intended to be available to a person other than the one who originally installed the security fastener.
Deliverables for Assignment
Part I. What is the main point of difference for these fasteners?
Part II. Where are these fasteners most likely to be needed?
Part III. What kinds of organizations are most likely to buy them?
Part IV. Where would industrial customers purchase these fasteners?
Part V. What are the problems or challenges facing the company who wants to reach these special customers? What will it take to reach these customers and why should Fastenal do it?
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