All Circuits are Busy
Approaching $8 billion in total sales and $559 million in profit for its most recent fiscal year, CDW’s roots are in cataloging in case you forgot. The Vernon Hills, Ill.-based provider of technology products and services for business, government and education was, and still is, a B-to-B cataloger, but a far cry from a mom-and-pop startup.
For the past decade, CDW (which stands for the company’s original moniker, Computer Discount Warehouse) recognized growth opportunities within the tech industry and sought a multichannel approach to reaching its customers. Using vehicles such as television, radio, Internet, in-house magazine publications, webinars, seminars, sponsorship events and catalogs, the company has consistently grown above the tech market’s average.
When Jim Garlow, CDW’s director of advertising and marketing operations, joined the company in 1999, sales were at $1.8 billion. During his tenure, revenue growth has steadily outpaced the market. For 2008, that’ll likely continue. Technology consulting firms International Data Corp. (IDC) and Gartner forecast 3 percent to 5 percent growth for the IT sector over the next year. “We’re going to outpace that” again, Garlow says.
Garlow attributes much of CDW’s multichannel success to the implementation of a closed-loop marketing technique. The company operates a five-step process for all of its marketing campaigns:
● measuring; and
With all meetings taking place at least a year in advance of the launch of a campaign, the company is able to devise and implement a well-structured plan with attainable goals. This comes from a deep understanding of the CDW customer.
History Repeats Itself
“CDW’s success, in part, has been driven by its focus on customers, and reaching those customers with the products and services they need,” says George Zengo, president of global print solutions at RR Donnelley, CDW’s catalog printer since 2001. “CDW has been flexible in responding to constant changes in the catalog mailing environment; especially forecasting demand.”