British invasion

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

APEX, N.C. - MediTek's first stab at breaking into the U.S. stair lift market petered out, but now, six years later, the U.K company is back and ready for business.

"It wasn't a failure in terms of products or prices," said company spokesman Angus Long. "They realized that to succeed in the United States, you have to have an American presence. You can't realistically sell and support a product from the U.K. This time around they have done it properly."

That means investing a "few hundred thousand dollars" and opening a distribution center in Apex, N.C., as well as beginning to build some brand identity. In May, MediTek attended Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas, and this fall the company will have a booth at Medtrade in Atlanta. This is the first time in several years that the U.K. manufacturer has exhibited at the industry trade shows, Long said.

When it comes to going head-to-head in the United States with Bruno, Acorn, Sterling and other stair lift manufacturers, MediTek has a plan. The company does not sell direct to consumers and produces reliable, quality products at a competitive price--"all the usual stuff," Long said.

"But we also support (providers) with marketing initiatives, with templates for brochures, leaflets and advertising," he said. "These are the sorts of things they don't have to pay for."

MediTek's also keen to grow the market by attracting customers who might normally not consider a stair lift.

"A lot of people think that a stair lift is for someone with one foot in the grave," Long said. "Through our marketing material, we're constantly trying to reposition the image of the product as not something you need at the end of your life. It's something that is going to enhance your existing life."