COE was a 16 year-old office equipment retailer in an industry that was essentially unchanged for several years, and where it was carrying a brand with less than a 10% market share.  With the advent of certain technological changes, however, the industry was about to undergo fundamental changes.  These changes included the entry of several new brands, causing COE to have to decide whether to switch brands, or to continue to sell the brands it already had.

Once the decision as to which brands to carry was made, it would be almost impossible to reverse course in the future.  Reasons included: i) customers would have to be “re-sold” on another brand; ii) territories would be “locked up’ by competitors and therefore, unavailable to COE; and, iii) even if territories would still be available, COE did not have sufficient internal resources to develop and execute a second “go to market” sales and marketing plan.  Therefore, whether or not COE choose correctly the fist time would in large measure determine its success or failure going forward.

Decide which brands to carry in order to take advantage of the changing market, and then develop and execute the “go to market” sales and marketing plan.

Conducted an extensive competitive and market evaluation.  Considerations for this evaluation included:

          i) the quality of the product;

          ii) product differentiation;

          iii) the strength and capabilities of competitors selling the same
          and different products;

          iv) which brands were already valued by target customers;

          v) which target customers would most likely be receptive to
          which products;

          vi) likely margins;

          vii) the manufacturer’s commitment to the market,  financial
         stability, and commitment to future innovation; and,

          viii) the fit between the positioning of the
         manufacturer and the positioning of COE.  After the choice was
         made, developed and executed the comprehensive sales and
         marketing program, including revised company and product
         positioning and sales methodology.

After the choice was made, developed and executed the comprehensive sales and marketing program, including revised company and product positioning and sales methodology.

COE adopted the recommendation on which brand to carry and how to market and sell the new brand. Based on the recommendation and execution, COE experienced an immediate and very significant increase in market share, sales and profits, which was also highly sustainable. Within five years of implementing the recommended solution, COE had increased revenues in excess of 800%, and increased earnings in excess of 1,100%