Hybrid Dealer Rebrands to Drive New MPS Business29 Oct, 2011
Reviewing good “hands-on” dealer success stories on how they transitioned their business to new and more profitable levels is paramount today in order to learn by example. Consider the following information on Berwicks, Australia, provided by Darrell Amy of Dealer Marketing Systems, when Berwicks evolved into broadening the scope of their business, including adding MPS:
Today’s hybrid dealer wants to sell managed services and software solutions to existing hardware clients. No matter how much the hybrid dealer has invested in new partnerships, personnel and training, when current clients perceive the dealership as simply a hardware provider, success can be limited. As a result, good marketing becomes a critical part of an effective hybrid strategy.
How Berwicks Became BBC Digital
Berwicks had established a solid reputation as a Canon dealer throughout the east coast of Australia. However, as the company moved toward Managed Print Services, they realized that their market position as a hardware provider could be holding them back.
“We knew that our market positioning as a copier company really limited us when it came to pursuing new MPS contracts,” commented Mark Clough, National Sales Manager. “We also knew that we needed to do more than just change our name—we wanted to make sure we did this right.”
Realizing that this would be a comprehensive project, Clough engaged the U.S. marketing services company Dealer Marketing Systems, whereby the principal, Darrell Amy, developed a strategic plan to reposition the dealership as a services and solutions provider.
Step One: A New Brand
Berwicks first made the strategic decision to change their name to BBC Digital. The new name provided a fresh image to new accounts that did not have a direct association in the market as a copier company.
The next step was to develop a professional logo. After several rounds of design, the company selected a clean logo that included the tagline: “A Berwicks Company” to make the bridge from the old company.
Step Two (a): A New Web Presence
The next step was to redo Berwick’s web presence. “We thought that the best strategy would be to put a stake in the ground by deploying a new website,” said Amy. “The goal was to get both the employees and the current customers excited about the expanded offerings of the company.”
The new website (www.bbcdigital.com.au) features the company’s new brand. The old website URL was set to automatically redirect to the new site, making it seamless when current customers visit the site. The home page features a rolling Flash presentation explaining the benefits of Managed Print Services. “We really wanted visitors to our site to learn about our MPS offering,” said Clough. “Whether they are a current customer looking to place a service call, or a prospect in the sales process, we want the message to be loud and clear that we want to talk to them about MPS.”
Step Two (b): Updated Sales Collateral
New sales collateral was created to match the branding and message of the new website. “We wanted to make sure that what our sales people handed out coordinated with our new brand.” A new dealership brochure and proposal template communicates the core value propositions of managed print services. Similarly, a branded proposal template features the full offerings of the company.
Step 3 (a): Messaging to Current Clients
The next step was to explain to current clients on why the company had changed its name. This involved a letter from BBC’s company president explaining the expanded offerings of the company. In addition, inserts were put in invoices over a 90-day period explaining the name change to minimize confusion.
Step Three (b): Consistent Communication With a Newsletter
With the current clients informed about the new brand, the goal now became to educate clients on the benefits of the new managed services offerings. To do this, BBC Digital further engaged Dealer Marketing Systems to produce a customized monthly newsletter.
Each month, clients receive an informative email newsletter with customer-focused articles on the benefits of color, managed print services and document solutions. The goal is to make sure clients know that BBC Digital can provide these services as well as to position the dealership as an expert in these areas.
To maximize coverage, a tabloid-size quarterly print newsletter is produced in addition to the monthly email newsletter. This provides a direct mail piece along with a printed piece that sales reps can hand out or print during demonstrations. “Click-through reporting on the electronic newsletter provides a source of warm sales leads,” remarked Clough. “If someone clicks on an article about MPS, we see this as an opportunity to have a sales rep talk with them.”
Step Four: Advertising
In addition to current clients, the team felt that it was important to inform the market about the name change. “People recognized the Berwick’s brand,” said Clough. “We wanted to make sure the market knew the BBC Digital was the same company.” New print ads were developed for local business journals that featured the name change and the core benefits.
Future Plans: Search Engine Optimization
Going forward, Clough plans to implement a search engine optimization strategy to maximize placement in Google. “We want to make sure that companies that are considering any of the products or services that we sell can find us online.” BBC had historically purchased pay-per-click advertising. However, they also want to be found in the “free” organic area of Google searches. “Working to get placement in the organic part of search engines has lasting benefits, unlike pay-per-click advertising that gets you a one-time benefit,” commented Amy.
Clough plans on redirecting part of his pay-per-click budget to engage the marketing company in a SEO program designed to get the dealership on page one of Google for key search terms. The program also drives traffic to the site. Then, multiple conversion strategies are tested and continually updated to get visitors to take action, creating sales leads. “Our employees are excited about the fresh direction,” said Clough. “We look forward to growing our business with new managed services contracts.”