Longleaf Collection, a manufacturer of hardware for interior/exterior doors and cabinetry, built a fine local reputation in North Carolina. Local interior designers, builders and high-end homeowners knew they could count on Longleaf for custom orders. Unfortunately, Longleaf’s quality custom hardware was a well-kept secret that had yet to be shared with the rest of the U.S. and Canada. Longleaf only displayed its products in a limited number of showrooms, relied on a handful of sales representatives, and had not advertised or publicized its offerings to a wider audience.
Longleaf partnered with Interline Creative Group to execute a strategy addressing all facets of the sales cycle. Key to this approach was accentuating Longleaf’s custom services. Through ads and public relations efforts, Interline differentiated Longleaf from foreign or larger domestic competitors that only provide a limited number of off-the-shelf products. Stories, such as how Longleaf custom-made the brass feet for a clawfoot tub to match the rest of a client’s décor, opened a dialogue with prospective clients and designers about the personal touch, expertise and full range of services that Longleaf offers.
In addition, Longleaf tapped Interline’s sister company, MarketNet Associates, to develop a lead management process. MarketNet built a Web-based system specific to Longleaf’s requirements, and MarketNet’s in-house telemarketers continuously generate sales leads to feed into the system. MarketNet then conducts sales pre-qualification phone interviews with prospective customers who inquire about Longleaf products through print publications, online sites or at Longleaf’s booth at trade shows. Plus, Interline’s marketing efforts take the initiative by targeting homeowners and design businesses that fit Longleaf’s key demographics.
By taking advantage of Interline’s marketing communications experience in B2C and B2B channels and MarketNet’s sales expertise, both Longleaf’s brand recognition and its sales have improved significantly. Longleaf management now recognizes that development of its quality differentiation, as well as the means to publicize and support it, will continue to be the winning formula in its product categories.