Take Your Company to Market
Strategic and thoughtful campaigns can provide big pay-offs
Marketing products and services within the forms industry is not something distributors take lightly. Rather, it is a major business component that serves as a distributor's lifeline to success. It is, in fact, a form of communication—allowing distributors to not only present ideas and solutions to current and potential clients, but also to build and maintain relationships. With that said, no price is too high when it comes to strategic marketing campaigns.
Spending upwards of $3 million on creative sales, business development, marketing support, advertising, direct mail, public relations and the occasional community event, Cleveland-based ProForma is no exception. Nancy Valent, chief marketing officer, explained, "We are in the relationship business in terms of talking about products and services. And the key message is not only that we have great services, but that we come to the table providing solutions."
Valent added that successful distributors are those who are willing to think outside the box and offer unique solutions. Fortunately for ProForma, a 500-member network provides a great source of creativity.
"Our marketing success comes down to our members' commitment to professionalism and creativity," said Valent, adding that ProForma is intent on reinforcing its strong bond with its members by providing them with effective sales support materials. Such materials include standard self-promoters such as T-shirts and mugs in addition to company literature detailing products and services.
Jeff Scott, vice president and general manager of Merrill Corp.—Resource Management Division, Monroe, Wash., concurred. "We don't look at marketing from a dollars and cents perspective. Dollars are secondary to the opportunity to work with our customers. If distributors are fully engaged with their prospects, the investment is minute compared to the payoff," he said.
Scott added that returns on marketing investments are even greater when focusing on distinct markets. "We try to focus on larger clients with complex printing and fulfillment needs. We're not just shotgunning it, we are targeted," he said.