Promote Yourself… Build a Network of Friends and Fans
In a difficult economic climate, organizations are seeking to improve business metrics by outsourcing operations that are not directly related to their core products. This strategy covers a myriad of services, including call centers, IT (or portions of it), accounts payable and receivable, distribution, and in-plant operations. Internal end-user education and self-promotion is critical when budgets are being cut and every internal dollar spent must have clear justification.
User departments are seeking guidance. Marketing departments want ideas about how to better reach customers and prospects. University admissions executives want to know how to better reach prospective students. Procurement organizations are seeking help with supply chain management, some of which include printed materials. In-plants need to reach users with an appeal that rings true and stands out, and that positions the in-plant as an expert partner that users can rely on to help them navigate the new world of cross-media business communications.
Every day, user departments are barraged with advertisements in magazines and newspapers, sales brochures for new product introductions, direct mailers for targeted campaigns, and e-mail blasts. There is no reason that in-plants shouldn’t be creating effective internal marketing campaigns to compete for the end-user departmental business.
In-plants should "walk the talk" by leveraging the many available communications options—including print and non-print media—to “promote themselves” and the “new services” that they are able to provide to current and prospective user departments.
Preserving (and more importantly, expanding) your role and value in an organization begins with ensuring that users and prospects are aware of the services that you provide. Awareness leads to consideration as a potential supplier. If you are considered in more sales cycles, your hit rate (or close rate) for new business should increase. Your overall value to the organization will also increase.
In-plants frequently ask, “What's the best way to reach new end-user prospects and customers to build awareness of what I can do?” There is no single “best” way. Getting your message across requires a coordinated and consistent approach across multiple media formats. In marketing jargon, this is your “marketing mix.”
The following are options that your peers in the industry have leveraged to build awareness. We will consider:
• Direct end-user department contact.
• Mass Media: Brochures delivered to user departments and signage appropriately posted in strategic locations in the organization explaining the services you offer.
• Internet storefront site: An easy-to-use Internet storefront site for order entry of business cards, stationery and letterhead can also incorporate information about other capabilities. The screen capture (below) for the ASU Print and Image Lab shows all the services it offers prospective user departments. It has a quick tutorial about online order entry, as well as includes images that demonstrate the breadth of its capabilities.
• Creative direct mailers and e-mails to user departments can be used to build awareness about your services and actually illustrate what you do.
• Events and tours of your facility can demonstrate your actual capabilities.
• Delighted customers can be leveraged for referrals.
If done properly, these are affordable techniques for communicating the value you deliver, expanding your business, building customer loyalty, and enhancing overall support to the organization.
A digital printing and publishing pioneer and marketing expert, Barbara Pellow helps companies develop multi-media strategies that ride the information wave whether it is developing a strategy to launch a new product, building a strategic marketing plan or educating your sales force on how to deliver an effective value proposition. She brings the knowledge and skills to help companies expand and grow business opportunity. Barb has had a number of high-profile marketing and sales positions including Chief Marketing Officer for the Kodak Graphic Communications Group, Corporate Vice President of Marketing for IKON Office Solutions, and Vice President and General Manager for the Xerox Document Production Systems Group. She also served as the Gannett chair in integrated publishing sciences in Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) School of Printing Management and Sciences (SPMS). Most recently, Barb was the Group Director for Business Development at InfoTrends. She is currently the Manager of Pellow and Partners, LLC.
Barb can be reached via email at email@example.com (Mobile, 585-734-2228)