The number one priority for every business is revenue growth. Leading print and marketing service providers have learned that working more closely with their customers is critical for success. They are focused on offering services that bring the most value to their customers.
Many industry studies support the fact that marketing professionals – today more than ever – are tapping into the digital, interactive world of personalized cross-media marketing opportunities.
Based on this important customer dynamic it is critical that service providers evaluate how they can create more value for their customers in the form of high-value services.
As our industry continues to evolve as a result of internal and external factors one message is clear – Evolve or Die! A service provider cannot afford to remain static and continue to offer the same services if they expect to grow their revenues in a world where customer needs are changing at a very rapid pace.
In these circumstances, many seek new solutions to help them. There are numerous technologies under consideration, such as W2P, VDP, PURLs, Image Personalization, QR Codes, Augmented Reality and the list goes on…
As one would expect all of the technology vendors claim they can grow your business. But is that true?
- Why do some service providers continue to grow while others don’t?
- Why do similar companies with the same solution set achieve different results?
- How can you know what will work for your company?
Yes – new solutions can drive improved results! But, only when it is the right fit for the customer’s overall objectives and needs. In my experience, often service providers approach their customers’ needs in terms of features, functionality and capabilities instead of meeting specific customer objectives through a well designed strategy (where the solutions are orchestrated to deliver specific customer results!)
As you consider how to create new revenue in your business let’s start with where you are today. There are only a couple of ways to create new revenue in your business:
- Sell more of your product or service to existing customers
- Provide your product or service to new customers
- Offer a new product or service to existing and/or new customers
Keep in mind that new revenue opportunities (new product or service offering) for your company don’t all offer the same return on the investment of time and resources to your organization. The solution you offer may be price sensitive or commoditized. In many cases, new high-value products or services offer significantly higher profit and ongoing revenue growth opportunities. But there are other considerations that need to be evaluated as part of the decision to move to a high-value service offering, such as:
- – What are my customers’ needs that I can address NOW?
- – Do I have the internal capabilities for new services?
- – Does my sales staff have the necessary capabilities?
- – Which markets offer growth and long-term opportunity?
- – Should I invest in more hardware or software?
- – Will I commit the necessary resources for success?
Just acquiring a new solution won’t automatically guarantee your success. Regardless of the technology selected do sales just start flowing into your organization because you purchased a new solution.
Of course not!
In order to achieve success you have to identify the new dynamics associated with the new solution, such as:
- What areas of your organization are impacted by the new solution?
- What new skills are required to meet your customer needs?
- What processes are needed or change?
- How does the new solution impact your sales process and target audience?
- What is your messaging and value proposition?
- What’s the target audience for the new services or capabilities?
- How are you going to identify ideal customers for the new offering?
The number one failure point for companies acquiring new solutions and going to market is the failure to develop a comprehensive plan. In many cases they train on the solution and then go to market with exactly the same approach that they use for their traditional offerings. This can become a serious issue when the decision maker level for the new solution changes or the complexity of the service offering increases.
This approach causes new sales results develop at a much slower pace than anticipated. Frustration grows, desperation sets in and poor decisions are made that can have long-term consequences. Maybe you lower your price to get business in the door to feed the press, drive W2P adoption or create a need that isn’t there. Once price is lowered it is very difficult to move the bar back up with customers.
Start with the end in mind. What are your long-term objectives for this new area? What investment do you need to make in your organization beyond the technology for success? What additional “tools and training” do you need for all areas of your organization to successfully achieve your long-term objectives? Will the market support long-term revenue growth?
Integrated Marketing Technology is not a panacea – but with the right fit, the right strategy and the right execution it might make the difference between growth or decline for your company in 2011.
Editor’s Note: Joe Manos is an Executive Vice President with MindFire Inc. He is joining the DigitalNirvana team of bloggers in 2011 for a weekly series on the various factors affecting if, when and how printing firms can successfully add integrated marketing services to their menu of offers. Please join me in welcoming Joe to the team.