This is another “real life” example of consumer insights.

The following is an example of the necessity of ensuring you consider all segments of your target audience, in this case sales channels, to develop a fully informed marketing communications plan.

It also reinforces the importance of probing feedback that may not seem to matter initially and giving respondent the opportunity to open up to you.

The paper industry is very complex with a multi-level distribution that includes merchants, designers, corporate end users, printers and publishers.

Our client was in a fight for its life as use of fine printed paper was declining with the increase of electronic publications as well as pressure from paper producers in the far-east improving their product quality while keeping prices low.

We conducted online surveys with more than 1,100 printers, designers and corporate end users and one-on-one surveys with more than 40 paper merchants.

During the interviews with paper merchants, we learned that the president of our client had to leave a merchant sales retreat before meeting personally with one of the groups.

It wasn’t until well into the one-on-one interviews that one of the merchants brought this up — they didn’t want to seem petty and complain about not meeting the president; however, it was a “big deal” to them.

We subsequently asked all merchants if they had the opportunity to meet the president of the firm.

From the results, we created a nine-question classification model to determine into which segment (value, expert, brand involved) a particular target may fall.

We provided the sales force the findings for each prospect so they could target their consultative sales approach.

We developed a unified brand positioning and distinct value propositions, communication plans, strategies and tactics for each segment/channel.

We also suggested the president follow-up personally with each merchant she did not get to meet at the sales retreat.

Our efforts increased brand awareness and helped our client become the most trusted printing resource by providing targeted, meaningful communications and support to each segment/channel.

Among printers, we grew share and identified segments with the greatest revenue and margin potential.

Among designers and corporate end users, we integrated acquired brands into the existing product portfolio, provided global inspiration to designers and identified segments with the greatest revenue and margin opportunities.

Among printers, we increased share and rebuilt relationships that had eroded over time.

And among merchants, we convinced them of our commitment to the industry and to their success.

The president’s calls let all of the merchants she missed during the sales retreat know that they and their business was critical to our client’s success.

What have you learned by having a one-on-one interview with your channel?




Tom Smith

Experienced marketing professional who has worked with more than 120 clients in 18 different vertical industries. ♦ Differentiate products and services by improving UX and delivering memorable CX to create an emotional connection to the brand. ♦ Obtain insights from analytics to solve business problems and drive revenue. ♦ Develop and implement marketing campaigns that double traffic and leads in three months. ♦ Certified Marketing Automation Professional ♦ Certified Voice of the Customer (VOC) Professional