Written by Susan Weiss
Manager, Xerox Worldwide Customer Business Development
One of the best ways to gain an edge in today’s hyper-competitive graphic communications industry is by defining, pursuing and become experts in target markets.
That’s how Barb Pellow, group director, Infotrends, set the stage for our recent Business Development Series webinar on “Targeting the Right Markets,” which featured her and Robert Blakely, vice president, Business Development, Echo Communicate, a Baltimore, Md.-based graphic communications company.
In telling his company’s story, Blakely didn’t so much echo Pellow’s comments as amplify them. When targeting markets, he said, “Start with the tightest vertical focus possible. Find the company most like your initial win, and expand from there.”
That’s what Echo Communicate did after building a successful membership recruitment and retention business with US Lacrosse, that sport’s national governing body. Blakely initiated the business with a cold call about printing the Baltimore-based organization’s membership cards. The conversation quickly escalated to broader membership issues, leading US Lacrosse to give Echo access to its membership data. “We did something with their data that they hadn’t done yet,” Blakely said. “We quantified their pain.”
That helped give Echo the credibility to develop a highly automated, XMPie-software-based membership retention solution for US Lacrosse. In the first year, it boosted retention by 26 percent.
With that success, Echo began pursuing like organizations for its solution, focusing exclusively on national governing bodies of other sports. The tight definition optimized the expertise Echo was developing, and made collecting target information easy. “We had a list of national governing bodies in just a few minutes,” Blakely said.
Echo introduced the solution by using a multi-channel invitation with personalized sports imagery to invite prospects to a webinar featuring a US Lacrosse executive. Of 80 invitees, 40 attended. They heard a compelling message. “Nothing is more powerful than having our client tell their peers how wonderful it is to work with us,” Blakely said.
Several attendees are new customers. Because the solution is so automated and specialized, sales cycles and rollouts have been progressively easier and faster. And because the Echo team is now immersed in the vertical, its expertise has grown exponentially. In addition, margins are higher than in the traditional print business. In short, Blakely said, “It’s a winner.”
To hear a replay of the “Targeting the Right Markets” webinar, click here. And be sure to sign up for our upcoming 2013 Business Development Webinars, including “Targeting: Small and Medium-Sized Businesses…the Volume Aggregation Opportunity” on April 17 and “Targeting: Vertical Markets…The Enterprise Opportunity on June 12,” click here.
Have you experienced success by tightly defining a vertical and offering customized solutions? What drives your successes in targeting markets?
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Susan Weiss, manager, Xerox Worldwide Customer Business Development, is Xerox’s host for the 2013 Business Development Webinar Series