I’ve read a great deal recently about outsourcing in the B-to-B catalog business. It seems more and more leading-edge companies are turning to outsourcing for noncritical functions, from human resources to e-commerce operations. As many know, outsourcing lowers your risk, helps you acquire specialized services and can often lower costs.
But have you pondered what you can do as a potential outsource service to your customers? Most catalogers don’t spend much time considering what it is they do. Related to what you sell, there are opportunities to sell services to your customers in addition to your products. Consider the following examples.
* If you’re a safety products cataloger, you could subcontract a safety audit firm to conduct reviews of your customers’ facilities and/or processes.
* If you’re an office products cataloger, you may be able to launch a virtual assistant service — supported by many such effective services in India — for your customers. Or, maybe a toner cartridge refill or recycle service.
* If you’re a human resource products cataloger, you could offer human resource advisory services over the phone. Perhaps you could come up with an orientation service for new hires, available for key clients.
* If you’re an industrial instruments cataloger, you might be able to provide rebate, warranty and calibration services.
Promote Your Brand, Increase Customer Loyalty
The idea here is to take advantage of your customers’ tendency to outsource certain functions in a way that promotes your brand and products — and increases customer loyalty at the same time! Given that you have ancillary customer benefits, you might be able to offer a price advantage in the marketplace for your chosen service. If you offer a service at a price advantage, not only can you increase loyalty, but you also may find a new source of customer acquisition, as well.
And you don’t necessarily have to provide these services yourself. Strike a deal with someone already in that business to lower your risk and reduce your startup times. Outsourcing is a two-way street.
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fl., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (954) 383-5221 (direct line).Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221
Comments or questions are welcome.