What started as a part-time gig just to get him through grad school eventually turned into a full-blown career that led Mike Manthey to Nationwide Marketing Group.
Manthey was pursuing a future in psychology when he started working at Grant’s Appliance in Chicago in 1997. Within weeks, a new passion was born, and Manthey turned to retail as a career. Today, he serves as the director of field services for Nationwide Marketing Group, leading a team of Member Support Managers who oversee and work with Nationwide’s Core Members.
We sat down with Manthey to learn a little more about his retail background, what he brings to the table for Independent retailers, and the success of his relationship management strategy.
1) Tell us about your retail upbringing. I started on the sales floor at Grant’s Appliance. At the time, I was working toward my master’s and just wanted a part-time job. But I fell in love with retail and decided to drop out of graduate school after the first semester to focus on a career in sales. I did very well and had the opportunity to go into operations, and then merchandising, ultimately becoming the vice president of merchandising at Grant’s. From there, I worked with several other organizations, including Karl’s TV Audio Appliance & Furniture in South Dakota.
Along my journey, I became familiar with Nationwide Marketing Group and was very impressed with the group’s strength in data. Not only was it immensely valuable to me as a retailer, but it was information that I couldn’t get anywhere else. So, when the opportunity presented itself for me to join the Nationwide family almost three years ago, I was so excited – I accepted it immediately.
2) How has your background in retail helped you in your current role as the director of field services? I believe the Members have embraced me because of my retail background. I think Nationwide has always done a good job in identifying challenges that our Members face, and we’ve been a great resource that helps drive Independent business through those challenges. But to hear that message delivered by someone who has that real, in-store experience is comforting to Members. I’ve been where they are now. I get it. And that resonates.
3) What are you responsible for in your role? As the director of field services, I oversee our 280 Core Members and five Member Support Managers. Each of our MSMs are assigned territories. When I came into the group, we went through a realignment to reduce the size of each MSM’s territory so that we could provide a more personal experience. We prioritize spending time with our Members and being hands-on in helping them in their business, whether it’s setting goals or addressing challenges. We are always Member-first in everything we do.
4) Along those lines, you’ve made relationship-building a major part of your strategy during interactions with Members. Tell us about that. Exactly. We’ve made it a point to bring others from the organization in to talk with our Members, whether it’s about our Google relationship and digital marketing efforts, POS, consumer financing, exclusive product lines or business services. These people are the experts, and we want to be sure that our Members hear from them how these opportunities can benefit their businesses. And that focus on inclusion has been immensely beneficial. Just like the importance of a retailer building a strong relationship with their customers, we practice those same values in our interactions with Members. It makes our team better and makes our relationships with our Members stronger.