Business Development Strategies Drive Growth and Profitability
Business development activities are essential for all businesses, as they attract sales prospects, nurture existing customer relationships, and position organizations as thought leaders. In the simplest terms, business development can be summarized as the ideas, initiatives, and activities aimed at improving an organization and its brand perception.
Wide-format sign and display graphic providers are pursuing many business development paths to grow sales, improve profitability, expand business operations, form partnerships, and enhance market positioning. Ongoing NAPCO Research surveys and reports identify these efforts as an essential component for building a successful sign and display graphic operation.
Buyers of sign and display graphics often select providers based on business development initiatives. According to a NAPCO Research survey of marketers that influence or purchase sign and display graphics, more than half select providers based on their ability to offer unique ideas to enhance what they purchase, and focus on customer education (Figure 1). A cornerstone of business development programs is customer outreach and education.
Successful wide-format print providers invest time and resources in their business development efforts. According to NAPCO Research’s study Strategies and Tactics Powering Wide-format Sales, firms reporting double-digit sales have marketing and business development strategies in place that define goals, incorporate customer demands in marketing messaging, build customer relationships, educate customers, and position their organizations as “knowledgeable industry leaders.”
The research also finds that sales leaders actively educate customers and prospects on how they will benefit from their capabilities. They use samples, case studies, and events to network, strengthen relationships, and demonstrate how their capabilities will meet buyers ever-changing visual communication needs.
Powering Business Development with Content
A successful method used by organizations to support business development efforts is creating and sharing information customers and prospects value. Wide-format providers have embraced this practice as a way to establish market credibility, elevate brand awareness, and demonstrate expertise.
According to Strategies and Tactics Powering Wide-format Sales, sales growth leaders invest in a variety of customer facing content that combines digital, print, and social media. When asked how they promote and attract customers, the top methods that reported double-digit sales included websites (87%), social media (76%), and email marketing (58%). Other essential promotional and business development tactics are internet advertising (47%), SEO (42%), sponsorships (39%), signage (34%), and direct mail (34%).
Attracting customers requires showcasing and promoting expertise through a variety of channels. The first thing most prospective customers do when researching a provider is visit their website or social media pages to learn more.
Wide-format sign and display graphic providers’ websites and social media pages offer many examples of how companies are educating customers and prospects on opportunities. For example, Miller Zell’s website features many resources and tools to support customers and prospects use of sign and display graphics to create engaging customer experiences (Figure 2). The Atlanta-based company develops and implements end-to-end retail solutions — design, printing, installation, strategy, store design — and its website reflects that expertise.
Lisa Cross is the principal analyst of NAPCO Research (a unit of NAPCO Media) where she conducts market research and analysis on emerging trends and changing dynamics in the commercial, in-plant and packaging industries, and the market forces that are driving those changes. With decades of experience covering the graphic arts and marketing industries, Cross has authored thousands of articles on a variety of topics, including technology trends, business strategy, sales, marketing and legislation.