B-to-B Cataloging: Cast a Powerful Net
Price is another fallback position for B-to-B commodity catalogers. If you’re considering positioning yourself as the “low-price leader” of your niche, beware. The low-price niche is one of the most difficult to hold. Somebody usually can trim a few pennies and meet or beat your price. If you’ve built your brand solely on low price, you’ll be in trouble.
What About Service?
Also, examine your full range of service — from your initial order taking, the product knowledge of your customer service staff, your fulfillment, your in-stock metrics, all the way to your backend of repairs and returns. Are you offering exemplary customer service? Can you claim it as part of your brand in your product niche?
One company freely admitted it was an “also-ran” in a crowded field of competitors. It struggled to identify anything that differentiated it from competitors. In the end, it settled on one thing — something that had been obvious to customers: This company had an almost 100 percent initial fill rate on its products. It virtually was never out of stock.
For inventory control and warehouse employees, this was a source of pride, and it was apparent when you spoke to them about it.
Successful branding does more than present a clear and consistent message to your customers. It communicates to your employees, too. Clear brand identification energizes a company. When the brand effectively is communicated internally, employees take on a focus and commitment to deliver on the company’s brand promise.
Your company becomes more than just a place where people want to shop. It becomes a place where people want to work.
* For how to pull it all together,click on “Who’s Buying? Who’s Working” under Related Content in the upper-right.
George Hague is senior marketing strategist at J. Schmid & Associates, a catalog consulting firm in Mission, Kan. You can reach him at (913) 236-8988 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.