I walked into my LHS the other day because I needed a part for a new car I have. I thought it would be a pretty simple request, the car is fairly popular and the part I had broken was nothing obscure, so I figured I had a pretty good shot at getting a replacement. Also, my LHS does not suck, it’s probably one of the top 50 shops in the country and stocks a lot of surface rc parts. After hitting up the very knowledgeable person behind the counter, no, they didn’t have the part I needed, nor could they order it because it was not in stock at the distributor. So there I was, holding a broken new car (with only 3 packs on it) that I was going to have to pull some industry strings to get going again.
How many of you guys have been through that before? All of you, that’s how many. Inventory management is one thing, it’s much harder than most people would think, and I am very glad that isn’t my job. However, the bigger point I want to make today is this- even if the parts were available from the distributor, now days it isn’t likely that my LHS would stock them anyways. Why? Because there are sooooo many more different cars on the market now then 15 years ago, and there is seemingly a new car announced every day. A local hobby shop simply can not stock all the parts for every car out there, it is impossible on multiple levels.
When I first got into the rc industry I was very lucky to become friends with arguably the number one marketing man in rc. I was also lucky enough to be able to spend time with him at events, lucky that he would return my phone calls, in fact, lucky that he would talk to me at all. He is no longer in the rc biz, but I hung on every single word he ever told me, they were precious to me and I learned more in a few months than most people learn in decades. In later years, when the industry started going through some big changes right before he got out of rc, he often times told me how bad it was for the industry to be putting out so many new cars, as opposed to cracking down and doing some real marketing on the products they were already producing.
It is impossible for you not to have noticed how nearly every manufacturer puts out a lot more new cars than they used to. There are multiple different reasons why they do this, but if I had to guess the “real reason”, it is so some freakn-no-driving-suit can stand up in a meeting at the beginning of every month and say “Sales are up 1.2% over last month!!!!”. But… there are ramifications to putting out so many cars, one of which is THE Cub Reporter can’t get #%@$&*# spare parts he needs at his LHS.
There is a different way to keep the numbers up – great marketing (example- the original RC10 ad featuring Jay Halsey). In the case of my “mentor”, he came up with and produced numerous marketing plans that cranked out great numbers, year after year, on the same old products. He was able to create that want/need of consumers by nearly making his products larger than life, thus making it easy for the consumer to give the mental go ahead to buy the product. Then, a half decade later when there was an actual need for an updated product, consumers were even more stoked and willing to hand over the cash, it was new, and it had great marketing behind it.
Today’s marketing consists of a half dozen pictures, 3 lines of text, and a half dozen bullet points. It’s as if some manufacturers expect you to buy their product simply because it is new, not because it is better, or needed, or it is a superior product to the competition. I can only hope that someday true marketing programs on already existing vehicles comes back into vogue. Maybe then my LHS can stock the parts I need to keep driving my car.
On a different tangent, a few BigSquidRC notes…
The BigSquidRC Bash Crew is doing a Southern California tour in May. Live in SoCal and want to get some face time with us? Shoot Brian an email and we’ll see if we can work something out.
We should have multiple reviews going up this week. Our review of the Helion Dominus 10SCv2 will go up later in the week, as will the review for the latest Axial crawler. Heck, we might just throw in another Carisma review for some icing on the cake. We’ll also have a new edition of Iron Mike’s Prop Wash, along with Doug’s scaler column and Hot Sauce’s multi-rotor piece.
March Bashness is nearly over! Get your vote in for your favorite bash machines and win something cool! The final this year is epic, the Losi 5ive-T vs the ARRMA Granite BLX, both gnarly bash machines that even our staffers can’t wait to see who wins.
That’s it for this week, support your local hobby shops and bash spots when ya can.
YOUR Cub Reporter