Creative trips over channel deals

Just a week after establishing its local presence in the Australian market, Creative Technology is having trouble with its new channel.

Creative Labs was meant to announce its distributors on February 8, but complications have forced the vendor back to the negotiating table, with Nick Angelucci, marketing manager of Creative Labs, saying that so far only `four or five distributors have come through.'

He was unable to reveal how many were being lined up or how many Creative Labs wanted to sign.

`We're trying to give all our distributors a segment of the market so there is no overlap, but as usual there are some problems,' said Angelucci.

`One or two distributors aren't lined up properly.'

Angelucci said Creative Labs has split the market into four distinct sections: retail; system integrators; small dealers, and Asian stores. Distributors will deal with one of each of these sections.

However, he was unsure whether Creative Labs would also dabble in each of these market segments directly, saying that it was still to be decided.

`In the SI market we might deal directly with the major systems integrators while the distributors deal with the smaller ones.

`But we are still working on this arrangement as some of the distributors said they had good relationships with a lot of the bigger integrators.'

Other direct dealings will be handled on a `case-by-case basis' said Angelucci. `Our first priority is to hand any leads back to our distributors; we'll only deal direct if the distributor can't handle it.'

Distributors will be selected on the basis of their geographical presence, with Creative Labs aiming to infiltrate the entire continent.

Angelucci also needs distributor hubs around the country to avoid any reliance on shipping out of its Sydney warehouse. `We already have several national and state distributors.'

Distributors must also have expertise in certain vertical markets such as education, and should have strong value-add propositions.

Creative Labs has set tough monthly quotas for its distributors to fill as well, with Angelucci saying they can only order in bulk.