Innovative business models bring interesting challenges for marketers. When your company fills a previously unrecognized void, your target audience won’t probably know you exist or recognize that they need you. What marketing strategy can you use if your target audience doesn’t recognize your value?
That was the case of my guest in this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine, Stephany Greene. Stephany is Director of Marketing and Public Relations at WestCMR, a company that purchases surplus inventory of in-date surgical supplies from hospitals and surgery centers and sells them to facilities at a discount.
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WestCMR was founded in 1997 by Randy Ware. Randy was in sales when he observed excessive waste where hospitals and surgery centers sent their new, unused un-expired surgical supplies to landfills. So he innovated a unique business model to empower hospitals and surgery centers, that enabled them to capitalize their excess inventory by selling their supplies to Randy’s company, instead of sending them to landfills.
WestCMR’s Marketing Strategy
Randy established a strong market presence with WestCMR with a persistent effort. Stephany says that even though WestCMR became the leader in this niche market over the past 23 years, and they serve thousands of hospitals and surgery centers, they’re still a niche business that many in the industry don’t even know exists to help them.
She joined the company in 2018 and implemented the following 5-point marketing strategy with great success.
1. Video Focused on Telling the Story
Stephany began implementing her strategy with videos focusing on the vision of the CEO, interviewing employees and showcasing the warehouse and the employees working there.
This allowed them to overcome misconceptions their target audience had about the quality of their products, about what they do, and how they do it. For example, competitors have tried to imply that WestCMR sells blackmarket supplies, or the products are not authentic – which is not true.
The videos showcasing the cleanliness of their warehouse, the actual products and the skilled staff position them as a reputable supplier in the eyes of their customers. They not only used the videos online but converted them into a 30-second TV commercial, social media ads and other marketing assets.
2. Still Images
The second point in the marketing strategy is images. Stephany has used professional quality photographs of the warehouse and their products for advertorials and online catalogs.
The target audience places a lot of importance on the products: that they are legitimate and un-expired — and here’s where the photos help out, showing the expiry date and the manufacturer’s logo.
3. Events – Tradeshows
Prior to COVID-19, WestCMR attended and exhibited at the top trade shows in their industry (between 3 and 6 per year).
Stephany and her team innovated in their exhibits, emulating the warehouse in their booth, playing ads in the convention center and hotel lobby monitors and covering tall columns with life-size photos.
Listen to this episode as Stephany shares the impact they had at the different events they attended.
4. Digital Marketing Strategy
WestCMR’s digital marketing strategy focuses on email, partnering with a vendor that uses a double opt-in list, thus reaching qualified sales leads.
Additionally, they use animated videos to tell the story of WestCMR online and on TV and buy online ads to reach Materials Managers and Procurement Managers at hospitals and surgery centers.
5. Sustainability Message on “Being Green”
Integrated into all the channels above is WestCMR’s sustainability message. This message allows them to reach a wider audience.
Their slogan, “Turning surgical supply waste into green profits” has been popular in the media (they’ve gained a lot of free coverage) as well as with their target audience. Hospitals now understand that rather than discarding unexpired surgical supplies, they can participate in both economic recovery and environmental sustainability when they liquidate their inventory to WestCMR.
Listen to Stephany share their Zero Landfill Mission and how they have recycled 25 tons of surgical supply waste that would have otherwise gone to landfills.
Finally, WestCMR is deeply involved in their local community as active contributors to many philanthropic efforts, such as supporting local and national community organizations like the Childrens’ Dream Fund and the Salvation Army. Every employee gets two paid volunteer days a year to help the charities of their choice.
Join us for this conversation to learn more about how to develop a marketing strategy to reach an audience that doesn’t recognize your value. Click the play button above ☝🏽 or listen on your favorite podcast player.
Featured on This Marketing Strategy Episode
- Connect with Stephany Greene on LinkedIn
- Connect with Randy Ware on LinkedIn
- WestCMR website
Outline of This Episode on Marketing Strategy
- [2:53] The innovative business model of WestCMR
- [7:40] What to do when your target audience doesn’t recognize your value
- [9:42] How Stephany came to WestCMR
- [11:31] The 5-point marketing strategy Stephany used
- [11:49] Point 1: Video
- [16:18] Point 2: Images
- [19:02] Point 3: Events
- [24:22] Point 4: Digital Marketing
- [27:54] Point 5: Sustainability message
- [33:36] WestCMR’s philanthropic initiatives
Resources & People Mentioned
- The Modern Selling Podcast with Vengreso CEO, Mario Martinez, Jr
Connect With Bernie and Modern Marketing Engine