Solutions marketing in Flexible Packaging Industry

The definition for Solutions Marketing is given as “A combination of products, services, and intellectual property focused on a specific business problem that drives measurable business value. The solutions components can be from either the vendor or one or more partners, and the solutions implementer can be the vendor, the partner, the customer itself, or a combination of the three.”

I was recently introduced to this definition by Mr. Steven Hurley, MD of Solutions Insights Inc., a renowned marketing professional and practitioner of Solutions Marketing, erstwhile director of the ITSMA ( Information Technology Services Marketing Association), former Director at Arthur D’Little management consulting group and my Professor of Solutions Marketing course at the HULT International Business School, Boston.

As the information and knowledge sank in and my understanding of the subject was relatively better, I started to connect the dots between what I am learning in class and what I have practised as a sales functionary in the flexible packaging industry in India and Nigeria.

It was almost an epiphany in class when I substituted the key words in the classic ITSMA definition with those from the flexible packaging industry and started to see a connection. This quick analysis is appended below ;

A combination of products (Flexible packaging laminate, pre-formed pouches), services (Art work development, printing plate development, gravure printing drum development), and intellectual property (Lamination technology, knowledge of multi-layer laminates, Knowledge of materials, chemicals and adhesives) focused on a specific business problem (Client’s specific challenge in developing the right packaging for his product that meets his product performance requirements) that drives measurable business value (Customer saves in economic value terms by using less packaging material, through down gauging, superior barrier with innovative materials).

The substitutions are given in bold type.

The classic definition ends with a concise explanation of how the inter-stakeholders relationships are woven together to provide the framework for a successful solutions marketing initiative- and it goes like this: ”

The solutions components can be from either the vendor and one or more partners, and the solutions implementer can be the vendor, the partner, the customer itself, or a combination of the three.”

With this definition I drew a simplistic version of how the solutions marketing initiative would work in the flexible packaging industry, which is depicted in the insert.

I would request you all to ideate on this and to comment with your thoughts on this.

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3 thoughts on “Solutions marketing in Flexible Packaging Industry

  1. This is insightful in that it stresses the importance of input from all stakeholders upto the customer.does this include the consumers response? Thanks Ashish

    • Thanks for your revert and the comment Dave……to answer your query….yes this model cannot succedd if the consumers responses are not taken into account. I cite an example from my experience.

      I had established first contacts with a very large detergent manufacturer in Nigeria. I was accorded professional cordiality, but after 3 meetings nothing was moving forward. I quickly established that the client was happy with the way his business was progressing, had long term contracts with other suppliers of packaging and was thus not keen to look for an alternative.

      I offered to provide tangible value to the client in order to ensure that he re-considers working with me. This meeting with the senior management went off well- it was a challenge for me to identify unmet needs that the client had not thought of.

      Thus my next task was to walk in the clients shoes- which I did by going into the markets where his brand of detergent was sold by the distributors and the channel.

      I found out the following
      1. the distrubutors were not very happy with their margins due to increasing competition in the vertical- they wanted more.
      2. The consumer was not happy with the apparent loss of fragrance in the detergent- they believed that the pack leaked.

      The above required that a solution would have be developed that ensured that the client saved enough to share the savings (more trade discounts) with the distributor, and the new packaging ensured that the reported leaks in the packs were taken care of.

      Based on the information received from the markets, a new laminate structure was developed with the help of the adhesive and the suppliers of proprietory materials and additives. The structure was down-guaged (the total thickness of the multi-layer laminate was reduced ) with out loss of performance (OTR/MVTR properties), the sealing was improved tremendously by using proprietory materials (metallocene etc)and suggested changes in the sealing temperatures of the sealing machines at the client’s manufacturing sites. This resulted in overall savings for the client, due to which he could offer attractive discounts to his distributors, who were now suitably incentivized to push their brand in the market, and the consumers concerns on leaks were addressed to their satisfaction, leading to a “pull” effect towards the brand!

      Due to this initiative, the business slowly came to my portfolio and subsequent new developments and requirements also were first referred to me!!

  2. Uflex Ltd., India’s largest flexible packaging company has registered the Consolidated net revenue for the March quarter of 2012 of Rs. 1195 crore as against Rs. 986 crore for the same period last year, up 21%. The higher revenue growth has been achieved due to availability of new capacities and higher utilization thereof.

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