Business to Business Marketing Case Study

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Business to Business Marketing Case Study

Ask the average case-bred business school student about revolutionary marketers, and you'll most likely hear about Amazon, Dell, and perhaps Saturn—all companies that turned industries on their ears by dumping the conventional business model and taking an entirely different approach. Some might mention IBM or Intel, two companies that transformed their businesses and successfully resuscitated their brands. But there's a new case on the block, one so inspiring it may match the popularity and instructional value found in these other notable examples.

In the Beginning

The story of Deluxe Financial Services (DFS) has humble beginnings. Founded in 1915 in St. Paul, Minn., in a one room print shop with $300 in start-up funds, DFS today is a division of Fortune 1000 Deluxe Corporation, serving some 8,000 banks, credit unions, and financial services companies across America. The division's all-consuming obsession and motto: printing paper checks "better, faster, and more economically than anyone else."

While commendable, Deluxe's focus on becoming the world's best check printer could not prevent growing consumer preference for electronic payment options. As it had done to hundreds of other industries before, advancing technology threatened the future of check printing. Consumers increasingly used ATM debit cards, online bill pay, wire transfers, and other electronic methods to pay for goods and services. The result: Demand for paper checks began to decline, shrinking at the rate of 3%-4% a year with no going back.

Though consumers represented the ultimate end user of Deluxe's paper checks, financial institutions (FIs)—banks, brokerages, and credit unions—represented the division's p...

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...a commodity vendor, and 89% report they are more likely to do business with Deluxe.

Business Transformation

Thanks to brave, forward-thinking managers, Deluxe Financial Services transformed itself from a lowly check printer to a powerhouse check retailer and valued partner to FIs across the country. The willingness of company management to start with a completely clean slate is truly something for the record books. Deluxe could easily have become yet another casualty of a shrinking and commoditizing industry, but instead it's driving the future of the company and becoming the stuff of business legend.

Copernicus works with consumer and business to business marketing companies in a variety of industries. Click here for more on our approach to consumer marketing and business to business marketing.
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