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HOME FEATURES › INTERVIEW: Michael Thiel, Manhattan

INTERVIEW: Michael Thiel, Manhattan

by Stuart Wilson, Friday 18 January 2013

IC Intracom develops and manufactures PC peripherals, accessories and networking products under the Manhattan and Intellinet network solutions brands. Through strategic partnerships in the IT channel, the company’s products are available in more than 100 countries around the world. The vendor is participating as a Gold Sponsor at next month’s DISTREE EMEA channel event in Monaco. Michael Thiel, CEO at Manhattan explains what the company hopes to achieve at this year’s event.

Founded in 1987, the company operates manufacturing facilities, master distribution centres and satellite offices in 13 countries and employs more than 500 people.

Channel EMEA (CE): What do you want to achieve at DISTREE EMEA 2013? What are your key goals for the event?

Michael Thiel (MT): Last year’s DISTREE EMEA was a highly successful event for us with both our brands receiving prestigious awards. Manhattan won the Best Product Design Award and Intellinet was voted Home Networking Vendor of the Year [in the EMEA Channel Academy: 2012 Awards]. We have redoubled our efforts to win both awards again. Also, we will use our participation as a platform for further channel development across the EMEA region. We are striving to continue the strong EMEA growth for our mobile computing and networking product lines and we plan to meet, qualify and offer distributor partnerships. This year’s key goal is to present our new direction with Manhattan as one strong retail and consumer electronics brand, committed to offering products that make life easier for consumers by helping them get the most out of technology.

CE: What products and solutions will you be showcasing at DISTREE EMEA 2013? What do you want distributors and retailers to know about your portfolio?

MT: Manhattan is focused on delivering products in two categories: mobility accessories and connectivity solutions. Under mobility, we offer a wide range of accessories ranging from mice, speakers and carriers for laptop and ultrabook computers, to chargers, headphones and cases for smartphones and tablets. Meanwhile, our connectivity solutions – including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and smart home technologies – allow consumers to connect to information and entertainment on the web, as well as communicate and share with friends, family and colleagues around the world.

PoE growth

CE: Describe how your channel business has developed in the past 12 months? What trends have you seen and what have been the highlights for your business?

MT: Connectivity solutions are growing significantly, driven by today’s nomadic lifestyle with booming tablet and smartphone sales as well as smart home demand. The focus of the new Manhattan brand commits to exactly these two fields and will benefit directly. The overall increase in demand for surveillance products in homes and businesses brought a strong growth for our Intellinet IP cameras. Another important trend is power over Ethernet (PoE) which is now 16% of all Ethernet ports and lead to an enormous growth for our Intellinet PoE switches.

CE: Which geographic areas and channels represent the greatest opportunity for growth for your company in EMEA?

MT: Emerging markets like many Eastern European and some African regions are less affected by the slow global economy. They constitute strong, important anchors under the current challenging economic conditions and therefore represent great potential and opportunities.

CE: Why should distributors focus on your products? What makes your channel proposition better than competitors in the market?

MT: With Manhattan and Intellinet, distributors have always benefited from a broad selection of high-quality products at competitive prices. A lifetime warranty programme safeguards purchases and reinforces confidence and loyalty. An easy-to-navigate website provides detailed product overviews, features and specifications with convenient end user support and download tools. Our channel sales and technical support specialists have the knowledge and skills you expect and require from a partner with worldwide reach and expertise. With over 25 years of experience in Asia, we offer reliable international production capabilities, solid quality control, exceptional products, custom manufacturing and immediate availability.

New branding

CE: Do you have a structured channel programme? Do you offer a strong margin proposition to your partners? Please explain this area of your business.

MT: We always stand by distributors and resellers with higher-than-average profit margins and responsive service. We support a business model focused on meeting the product and service needs of the distributor and reseller channel. The success of our channel strategy is based on a clear commitment to not over-distribute our Manhattan and Intellinet products. We fully understand the channel and the impact that too many distributors can have on a territory. We want to protect our partners while preserving margins.

Channel partnerships are supported by strong channel programmes. Whether it is specific to the Intellinet or Manhattan brands or to the distributor themselves, we have to have programmes that deliver the desired results to reach everyone’s objectives. We recently introduced the new Manhattan branding. It is designed to make it much easier for the channel to assist in brand awareness efforts, and to drive revenue.

CE: What sort of support do you offer distributors and retailers in terms of marketing, promotions and channel development activities?

MT: The future Manhattan branding puts an emphasis on direct-to-consumer marketing strategies – you will see direct and digital marketing, promotions and mass media campaigns. Of course, you can keep counting on leverage channel programmes for other channels as well.

CE: How quickly is your business growing in the EMEA region? What market trends have you identified that are impacting your business segment?

MT: Over the past year, we have greatly enhanced our distribution channel base in the EMEA. The last DISTREE EMEA event brought us face-to-face with many successful companies. We were able to start a dialogue that led to the formation of some strong, and we hope long-term, partnerships. Both Intellinet and Manhattan are growing at a rate that far exceeds the average growth for the EMEA markets. We see this continuing in 2013 as the channel recognises that it is rewarding for them to do business with a manufacturer who is committed to a value proposition that they do not over-distribute their brands and that they build very successful and profitable relationships with their partners.

CE: Is your company channel-friendly? How would you describe your overall go-to-market approach in the EMEA market? What are your overall channel goals and aims for 2013 in EMEA?

MT: Apart from the aforementioned channel-friendly programmes, our overall goal is to grow market share through consultative relationships with distributors and retailers, while making our commitment to ‘making life easier’ a reality for our end consumers.

CE: What else should distributors attending DISTREE EMEA 2013 know about Manhattan’s products and solutions?

MT: Manhattan’s new branding in a nutshell: To make life easier through connectivity solutions. Go anywhere and do anything, yet stay in touch, access information, stream entertainment and even create, without missing a step. It’s just that simple.


Top distributors, retailers and e-tailers from across the EMEA region are invited to attend DISTREE EMEA 2013, the premier event for the regional ICT and CE channel, from February 19-22nd in Monaco.

DISTREE EMEA gathers hundreds of senior executives from EMEA’s Information Communications Technologies (ICT) & Consumer Electronics (CE) volume channel. DISTREE EMEA is a powerful business platform for vendors looking to manage, build or launch routes-to-market within EMEA. From A-brand vendors to start-ups, the DISTREE EMEA structure and reach offers business benefits and powerful return on investment.

During the course of the three-day event, delegates take part in thousands of pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings with hundreds of vendors. Each year, hundreds of new distribution agreements are struck across the region as a result of business relationships initiated at DISTREE EMEA.

DISTREE EMEA 2013 will also build on successful initiatives launched at last year’s sold out event including a regional awards ceremony. The ‘EMEA Channel Academy: 2013 Awards’ will include more than 20 categories for vendors and distributors from across the region.

For more information on attending DISTREE EMEA 2013 please contact quoting code DEMEA13


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