Written by Peter Frost Wednesday, 11 April 2012 18:16
FSi: Go for Gold
Four more marketing steps
towards the $100m sales quest
11 Apr’12 (Updated)
Charlotte (NC) based FSI (ex Forms & Supply) is one of the top 5 US OP resellers. Later this year it celebrates its 50th anniversary with a series of consumer shows. We spoke with director Mark Leazer...
We first profiled the FSi family back in 2006. This was when learned about the tremendous work that Mark Leazer had accomplished in transforming the ailing fortunes of AOPD, the long established contract sales group. He had passed the reins to the new director Bud Mundt.
Jimmy Godwin (CEO) and his wife of 48 years Diane, founded Forms & Supply in Charlotte (NC) in 1962. Fast-forward to 2012 and son Jay, is VP operations; daughter Kim Leazer (married to Mark) is VP sales, marketing and customer service; daughter Donna is VP furniture; Mark is director of sales technology; Mark and Kim’s daughter Beth is working on marketing development; with Carolyn Collins, ecommerce manager.
Sales $90m…flat over the past 2 years
Sales Mix: Office supplies inc. tech supplies 75%; Furniture 20%; Breakroom and Jansan 5%.
Employees: 295; Sales people: 70
Productivity: $305,000 sales/employee
Stocking/Stockless? Stocking over 8500 lines
Locations: 15 branches in 5 states: NC, SC, GA, VA and TN
Group associations: AOPD and DPCG
Own Catalog: Yes, 60pp with 8500 SKU’s
Key differentials for growth
1. 50th Year anniversary: Go for Gold
FSi was founded 50 years ago on 8 November 1962 and 8 Nov’12 is the date when it plans to celebrate with customers and prospects by holding a major consumer show in Charlotte. It will also celebrate at its other locations around this date.
The ‘Go for Gold’ theme will be promoted via its webstore, flyers, emarketing and sales force with exciting and imaginative plays on the celebratory theme. There will be many opportunities for customers to win replica ‘gold’ mementos.
“We expect our Gold Anniversary celebration to create a buzz throughout the company which we want to extend to our supply customer partners,” explained Mark. “It’s a remarkable success story and we are very proud to be right up there amongst the leading dealers in the US. We are confident that our sales and marketing teams will be lifted by the events and spur us on to our $100m sales target in the next 2 years.”
2. Pricing/emarketing/SoLoMo strategy
My daughter Beth has returned from maternity leave to focus on our emarketing and pricing strategies. We are really excited about Beth resuming on the work she started in email design, Twitter and Facebook social media projects. We expect to cement our customer relationships even more deeply going forward. By studying user behaviour we will be able to tailor promotions and information that is relevant to their specific interests,” continued Mark.
"We will also be studying our pricing matrices to ensure our webstotre offers the very latest competitive pricing to comapre with the bigbox benchmarks. We want to be perceived as local and competitive, not local and expensive. We will be offering premium service at non-premium pricing," explained Mark.
3. EC Interactive partnership plans
“We have been working closely with the development team at ECi on our ecommerce solution. We are delighted with the thorough testing and trials with EC Interactive software and we are now refining the user experience to minimize clicks,” explained Mark
4. Carolina Panthers partnership
“We have never been involved with sports team sponsorship before, but we are delighted that we hooked with our local NFL team Carolina Panthers. This has raised our profile tremendously. Specifically we promote the ‘Teacher of the Week’ and 'Teacher of the Year' voting competitions amongst the Carolina school districts.
FSi has maintained a powerful presence in its expanding markets; it has been at the forefront of combining marketing with technology and championing new initiatives by assigning committed family members to development projects. We are confident that its golden year will provide the inspiration to achieve the $100m sales mark in the next 2 years.