CHALLENGE
A small carpentry business with over $10M is annual sales, Wood and Laminates (W&L) suffered from stagnant sales and was looking for growth strategies. W&L manufactured residential and commercials bars, libraries, and conference rooms. Limited by their abilities to get referrals from architects who were their main contacts, they wanted to look for new ways to increase sales. Initially thinking that the digital channel would aid their efforts, an emphasis was placed on improving their existing site. I suggested a more in-depth look at the business to have a more holistic view of its current state.

APPROACH
In conducting stakeholders and customer interviews, secondary research and market landscape analysis, it became evident that one of the main issues preventing W&L from growing was its client base. W&L excelled at craftsmanship; they prided themselves in caring deeply about their products and their customers, they paid close attention to detail, used the best materials, and provided outstanding service. The problem with that modus operandi was that it became too expensive to maintain. Increasing prices meant its client base could no longer afford their products, and changing their supply chain meant the quality of their products would suffer. In order to grow, it would be necessary to target a new client base with a higher disposable income and, possibly, diversify the product line with additional services.

SOLUTION
Working with the owners, I conducted workshops to identify possible new target audiences and developed customer profiles that best reflected the new W&L ‘ideal’ customer. Tangible tools such as personas and profiles supported business development efforts and they were helpful in developing a brand strategy and value proposition that embodied the company’s goals and future vision. Additional workshops for “Envisioning the Future” resulted in an organic business growth roadmap that included a more aggressive use of the digital channel for marketing purposes, entry into the retail space by either partnering with a retail chain where they could take advantage of foot traffic, or, ultimately, opening a physical store. The roadmap outlined the benefits of product diversification with two solutions as the most feasible: kitchens and individual units and parts. Ancillary products such as game and entertainment rooms became possibilities based on the needs and desires of the new client base. The W&L retail store, catering to a more affluent audience, opened doors the following year and is now the main source of revenue for W&L. Kitchens are now part of the product roster and a major draw for new customers, and outsourcing the manufacturing of individual parts has made a substantial impact on overhead without sacrificing product quality.

Part of the growth roadmap included a redesign of the company website, including a robust SEO and SEM strategy and new needs-based site features that have resulted in decreased marketing costs and increased customer inquiries, store visits and sales of individual units and parts.