IN THE HOT SEAT: Viewing all market opportunities

IN THE HOT SEAT: Viewing all market opportunities

A self-proclaimed golf addict, easy-going John Yeh is not so casual about matters of business. The 19-year IT veteran wants to pump up ViewSonic's retail business and build an even split between channel and retail sales.

Coming from a technical background, Yeh knows a thing or two about the inner workings of monitors and TVs. As ViewSonic country manager, he has steered the channel since 2003 and wants to crank up the heat in the retail space this year.

A desktop hardware player with plans for a new range of peripherals and products, Yeh said ViewSonic wants to own the top of the desktop, flashing the company's bird mascots on more than just monitors.

What's the main focus of your role?

John Yeh (JY): I look after the local marketing, sales, services and channel aspects of the company. I come from a design engineering background, so moving into a sales and marketing role has been different but rewarding for me.

What market opportunities stand out for the rest of the year?

JY: We are relying more and more on our distributors, Synnex and Ingram Micro, to generate business in the IT channel. This year, we are also forecasting demand on our CE product line to the retail channel. The retail push is a new strategy for the company which started this year.

Today, we're very strong in the IT channel. By next year, we want to make it more of an even split between channel and retail.

What product categories are top sellers?

JY: LCD TV is forecast to do well. We have 17-inch to 32-inch models available. Next quarter we are rolling out a 37-inch - and will have a 46-inch by the end of the year - so we will have a full product line to sell to the channel. The peripheral and projector markets are also hot categories. And while the majority of business comes from monitors, we want to get the message out that we're not just a monitor company. Projectors are coming down in price and the technology is offering good crossover opportunities for home and business use. The technology is getting more mature, the size is getting smaller and the prices are getting more aggressive.

What's the main channel strategy for the rest of the year and into next year?

JY: We want the IT channel to sell our peripheral category, whereas before we were just touting the monitor side. Now we want to make our products part of a complete package. We want to decorate the entire desk. We also want to build up the loyalty program, the Finch Club reseller program, which offers marketing support, discounted pricing and access to quarterly promotions.

What has been reseller reaction been to the ViewSonic peripheral push?

JY: The peripheral strategy is new for us this year. Granted, there has been some difficulty here with reseller perception given the likes of Microsoft and others are already targeting the space. So far, reception has been good and we will continue to build momentum.

Are there any changes to the distributor line-up this year?

JY: At the moment, there are no changes to the IT channel. But we are looking at changes to the CE strategy. Ingram and Synnex are both set up for the retail channel, so we're looking to potentially work with them in the CE space, although nothing is official yet.

Given the monitor market is the lion share of sales, what are some top trends driving business this year and into next year?

JY: The entry-level monitor space is accounting for the majority of sales, along with the high performance professional market.

The big move to hit the market this year was the release of our 4mm response time monitor, which caters to the mid- to high-end of the market. The shift from 17-inch to 19-inch is another top business driver. Next year, we are launching a 20-inch model.

What are some of the main accomplishments in your time at ViewSonic?

JY: I have helped steer the company from selling CRTs to LCDs. They were losing a lot of market share so they needed the right person with a monitor background to come in and help them with the transition. I also helped the company rebuild its services division, working out the issues internally.

If you weren't in IT, what would you be doing?

JY: I would be in golf management. There is no question about it.

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