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Would you like anchovies with your nonwoven?

I recently saw a television commercial for a regional U.S. automotive dealership that had adopted what I would call a very unusual approach to selling cars. Potential customers were enticed with a promise of on-site childcare, a movie theater and even a pizzeria. Earlier this year, a competing company was actually offering the services of its inhouse accountant to prepare customers' income tax returns while they shopped. And a new convention center in Japan includes a special room reserved for nursing moms.

These sales pitches suggest that competition in wide-ranging industries is at an all time high. This means three things:

1) no gimmick is too far-fetched flit means increasing the bottom line

2) companies need to utilize creative sales and marketing techniques to augment, or even maintain, marketshare

3) customers have the upper hand and are calling the shots. They are in a position to benefit from the increased standards resulting from this highly competitive environment.

The nonwovens industry is no exception to this rule. While companies may not be giving away free pizzas with their products, they are going above and beyond to offer customers the very best - more responsive and comprehensive service, increasingly competitive prices, faster delivery, larger and more accessible inventories and, of course, top-notch quality. This is true of both small and large nonwovens companies as smaller suppliers are using size to their advantage by offering a personalized, hands-on approach, while larger corporations are using their global network to communicate a "small company" feel with local subsidiaries working in close cooperation with customers to meet individual specifications.

The suppliers and manufacturers highlighted in this month's annual Expo In Print issue (coverage begins on page 29) exemplify this trend. As their advertorials show, these companies are going out of their way to make it worth customers' while to do business with them. For some, this means offering on-site training programs, remote diagnostic services, print and web-based information networks and even 24 hour emergency hotlines. It's not enough anymore to just sell a good product, the name of the game these days is "relationship management," as one company in our Expo In Print calls it. Just saying you're in partnership with your customers is no longer enough, now companies are being taken to task. Full service - in whatever guise it comes - has become the norm and will continue as long as customers drive the business. Now about those anchovies...
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Title Annotation:creative marketing techniques in nonwovens industry
Author:Wuagneux, Ellen Lees
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:Editorial
Date:May 1, 1999
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