Creative Questions Find the Energy a Quiet Commodity Industry

Creative Questions Find the Energy a Quiet Commodity Industry

Instigation:

This long-established supplier of office products to small businesses had just been acquired. The newly merged company was anxious to explore options to increase growth within the current customer base, particularly in its top vertical segments, but years of prior attempts by Deluxe to increase volume through new products and services or new marketing methods had borne no results. The client was looking to us to tap undiscovered or overlooked opportunities, but their small business clients (wearing many hats) spent very little time thinking about this low-involvement category.

Insight:

We needed to get beyond a restatement of the problem (why they don’t buy more) so we could explore possible solutions (how and what they might they buy).

We explored the buying criteria and desired vendor characteristics of small business owners before we visited them in their offices to observe how they worked, what they bought, and whom they bought from. We then explored stories of how they came to know about and purchase the products in their offices, yielding numerous insights about what it takes to win their attention and loyalty. Our Prospect Personas helped internal clients get a clear picture of who they really were.

Impact:

With these insights, we identified several exciting new opportunities in this mature category. We outlined new product and service offerings, proposed new ways of segmenting customers to identify the highest-potential customers, identified new cross-channel sales and marketing strategies.

Finally, we recommended development of a “service platform” that would help drive a service culture in the company, providing a key point of difference within this commodity market. The client enthusiastically received these recommendations and currently is working on their implementation.

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