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CASE STUDY 3

MOVING FROM A TECHNOLOGY FOCUS TO SELLING SOLUTIONS

Client: Silicon Graphics, Inc.

The Challenge

Silicon Graphics (SGI) needed to dramatically expand its business into key vertical markets in order to become the industry leader in terms of market size. SGI was already the recognized leader technologically. However, it needed to seize market share in each of the major vertical markets where SGI had a presence but did not have a significant market position.

The Solution

To effectively penetrate vertical markets, SGI had to shift its emphasis from a technology orientation, focusing on performance and speed, to providing complete solutions for each market. SGI identified seven vertical markets, and had organized marketing and sales groups to address those markets. The key markets were Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Biology, Healthcare and Medicine, Graphic Arts, Entertainment, Architecture and Engineering, and Visual Simulation.

Prior to the vertical market push, SGI had produced product-oriented collateral that focused on product features, "speeds and feeds," and technology benefits. However, what was urgently needed was a complete suite of solutions brochures to provide substance and credibility for the SGI solution in each market.

A solutions brochure was developed for each of the seven vertical markets. Connelly Communications developed the strategy, content flow and format for the series, and produced the first three solutions brochures. Design and copy templates were established so the remaining four brochures could be completed internally. The first section of the brochures identified the problems that customers faced which were specific to each market. Then the solutions were presented in applications terms that were familiar and easily understandable to the audience. A listing of the industry leaders who were current customers was used to demonstrate the strength and robustness of each solution.

The solutions brochures were written specifically to address the hot buttons and critical issues that customers faced. There was a tremendous commitment to truly focus on the customers' perspective and to make it very clear how the SGI solution is one that they could trust to give them a competitive advantage and to solve complex problems.

The most effective part of the brochures was a solutions matrix, where the key application needs were mapped to the product offering, demonstrating which products were best for each key application solution.

This change from a product focus to a solutions orientation was a major accomplishment for SGI, and it affected how it organized the company, how it worked with its customers and partners, and how it communicated both inside and outside the company. For what was previously an engineering-driven company, this was an important step in becoming a market-focused, industry leader.


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