By Barbara Pellow January 26, 2005 -- Yesterday we saw how SCI had attained success by positioning itself with customers who valued the services they offered. Today we learn how they apply those services to a customer's needs. A Clear Value Proposition Amiel realized that he needed a clear value proposition-- a statement summarizing the customer segment, competitor targets and the core differentiation of SCI's product from the offerings of competitors. The value proposition needed to answer for customers "Why should I buy this product or service?" as well as "Why should I do anything at all?" It had to be a clear and specific statement about the tangible benefits of its offering. The value proposition needed to answer for customers "Why should I buy this product or service?" as well as "Why should I do anything at all?" Amiel said, "SCI's objective/value proposition to customers is to deliver campaign management solutions that increase sales effectiveness, better manage brand identity and improve ROI across complex distribution channels." This is clearly differentiated from competitors that have more typical print-centric value propositions, many of whom articulate a value proposition such as, "We are the company that delivers fast, affordable online color printing products and services, including offset and digital printing solutions. We can print color brochures, booklets, business cards, calendars, catalogs, door hangers, envelopes, flyers, greeting cards, letterhead, newsletters, postcards, posters, presentation folders, rack cards, stickers, vinyl banners, and more. We also offer print services such as die cutting, embossing, foil stamping, graphic design support, and mailing services." The SCI value proposition is more customer-centric and gives the marketer a true reason to buy. Promoting the Right Time, the Right Place, the Right Media With a well-defined target market, the right product and a clear value proposition, the final element is selecting a promotional mix designed to boost sales of products and services. The breadth and complexity of the offering makes targeted face-to-face marketing the best approach. Because SCI has clearly defined the horizontal focus as firms or divisions that are between $50 million to $2 billion with multiple products sold through distribution channels, the client base can be readily identified for some key segments. For instance, Amiel said, "We know the names of the auto parts, RV, and hand power tool distributors that fit our criteria. We also know the home furniture companies that would be a good fit for our offering. This makes a combination of telemarketing and direct mail ideal for pre-qualifying prospects." Unlike most businesses in our industry, SCI does not think of marketing as tactics, an advertisement or a sales call. SCI is also leveraging targeted trade shows to generate leads that link to its horizontal market focus. Plans for 2006 include participation in the Pacific Coast Builders Convention, Consumer Electronics Show, SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) and High Point Show. The attendees and exhibitors are organizations that have franchise relationships for product distribution consistent with SCI's overall strategy. Once a prospective purchaser is identified at a show, SCI does extensive follow-up with both direct mail and telemarketing. Typically, the attendees at the tradeshows are decision makers at the right sales contact level. The following is an example of the immediate follow-up that SCI did after the SEMA show. It provides a direct link to a demonstration of the STEPS software solution and Amiel backs this with telemarketing and direct sales contacts. Like many companies, approximately 18 percent of SCI's leads come from active (and targeted) participation in trade shows. The Bottom Line SCI has demonstrated an understanding of the real requirements for effective marketing. Unlike most businesses in our industry, SCI does not think of marketing as tactics, an advertisement or a sales call. SCI has a strategic approach based on development of "macro marketing principles" designed to steer tactical marketing activities. This type of strategic thinking is like developing a constitution or mission for your marketing efforts that helps you make the right decisions about day-to-day marketing tactics. SCI built a marketing plan based on identifying relevant target markets, and developed products to meet needs of targeted segments, leveraging a strong value proposition and promotional strategy to deliver results.