Interview / Benoît Massard Combe:"Vidal Diffusion Marine must put the right product in front of each professional. "

Benoit Massard Combe, Marketing Director of Vidal Diffusion Marine and Reya

The new marketing director of Vidal Diffusion Marine and Reya explains his career, the key points of his new mission and future developments for the company.

You already have a great experience in boating. Can you remind us of your background before joining Vidal Diffusion Marine (VDM)?

I have spent my entire career in boating equipment. I joined Discount Marine in 1996, a specialist in the sale of marine electronics on the Internet. From after-sales service, I evolved to take responsibility for the store, gaining both technical and commercial experience. Present during the takeover in 2001 by Seamply, I was able to see the problems encountered if we neglect the specificities of the boating market. We finally went back up Discount Marine with a colleague. After 7 years, I joined the Bigship plant, where I was able to set up the purchasing department and work in pairs with the sales department. While I was looking for new playgrounds, the opportunity to join Vidal Diffusion Marine presented itself and I took it.

You join Vidal Diffusion Marine - Reya, as marketing director. What is the scope of your functions? On which team do you rely?

My function as marketing director for the Vidal Diffusion Marine and Reya catalogues could also be called product offer director. As head of all product managers, my expertise extends to the technical catalogues of these companies.

Your appointment is part of a Vidal Diffusion Marine - Reya reorganization. Can you explain to us what its objectives are?

Indeed, Vidal Diffusion Marine and Reya are part of the same group and share the same premises at La Garde. It is therefore logical to share work. A new sales manager has just joined the team in parallel with my appointment.

My mission is to ensure, by focusing on the technical aspect, that we offer the right products to all our customers and to promote them.

What projects are you implementing to achieve these objectives?

We want to strengthen the clarity and complementarity of our catalogues, drawing on the technical expertise of our product managers:

  • With a general catalogue and a wide range of mechanical equipment, VDM is aimed at construction sites, stores and mechanics alike.
  • For Water is our brand of safety equipment. It meets the needs of merchants and all those involved in the yachting industry, from sailing clubs to passenger boats, including rental fleet managers.
  • The REYA catalogue is historically the specialist in electricity, it covers the needs of on-board comfort equipment. It meets the needs of builders, repairers on pleasure boats and large pleasure craft.
  • Euromarine is taking advantage of a new dynamic with the redesign of its graphic identity and packaging products in 4 languages for better information of the customer on a range of products that is growing.
  • Finally, a catalogue dedicated to painting and maintenance is distributed to professional applicators.

In total, thanks to a clear new segmentation, our 2,000 catalogue pages respond, in a technical and targeted way, to the needs of all the stakeholders in the nautical industry.

A redesign of the websites will enable us to provide our professional customers with a digital tool, in addition to our high-performance logistics service, which allows deliveries within 13 hours. In particular, the entire customer back office will be improved in order to provide better customer service.

What are the relationships with Alliance Marine's other brands?

This is a healthy competition. We are complementary in some markets. When we have competing offers, it is for the benefit of the customer.

Your market is essentially French. Do you have ambitions beyond the borders?

VDM and Reya are already making some sales abroad. Our customers on the French Riviera are already international and our products must satisfy many different pavilions. Even if the share of foreign customers is very limited today, it seems obvious to me that a structure with a turnover of ?30 million will have to face neighbouring markets, particularly in Europe, in the future. Ongoing work on the supply side will only help in this.