Competitive StrategyMarketing Strategy and TacticsMarket ResearchStrategy Implementation
"We don’t experiment on our clients, or their customers."
  - Julius C. Dorsey, Jr.


Armed with Customer Insight, D&Co. Brand Defense Strategy Guides Creative

For a Cleveland-based supermarket chain, Dorsey & Company was retained after a successful research engagement to develop a communication strategy and creative execution and plan based on a previously recommended interim strategy. We developed the communication strategy, key messages and new tag line, and fulfilled branding objectives, reflected in all channels for advertising and in-store. The new brand has been successfully introduced throughout all stores.

Competitive Strategy Proves Vital in Community Development Effort
Result: The Heights Community Development Alliance is born

Dorsey & Company President Julius Dorsey introduced a concept of a cooperative to promote an identified business district in the city of Cleveland Heights, an inner-ring Cleveland Suburb. As a volunteer in the civic initiative he envisioned, he organized and led meetings with residents, business owners, elected officials and institutional directors from the local community. After subsequent discussions with community development and city government leaders, the concept evolved to focus on economic development and civic engagement in the business district, with a view to take what worked in the target commercial district city-wide.

With this new focus and less than one year after the concept was introduced, the effort was called Heights Community Development Alliance (HCDA) and became a formal program of a long-standing and respected nonprofit community and economic development organization. The group will address three core areas of concentration:

- Cross promoting events
- Marketing the city to outsiders and ourselves
- Economic development (addressing commercial vacancies)

Other HCDA initiatives include sponsoring a commercial vacancy study, developing an employee cross-promotion program and creating business pop-up and new business competitions to occupy vacant retail space in the target business district.

Multi-tasking creates new product strategy and customer retention strategy simultaneously.

Dorsey & Company developed a market entry strategy and customer retention strategy for a large southwestern investor-owned utility who wished to enter new markets for energy-related products and services.

Dorsey & Company assisted with the development of this product/service portfolio as well as identifying the most appropriate market segments and the best geographic territories for expansion. Simultaneously, Dorsey & Company assisted in a retention strategy within the current service territory that leveraged the existing brand advantages, as well as the political and regulatory environment.

The result was profitable penetration of chosen expansion markets, and the preemption of competitive entry into the client's current service territory.

10 Steps; 1 Large Footprint

Dorsey & Company was engaged by a super-regional bank to aid expanding its mortgage footprint beyond its traditional customer base, largely to low- and moderate-income customers.

Recognizing that the optimal solution to this universal banking issue must be tailored to the individual bank's footprint, history, organizational structure and product set, Dorsey & Company conducted a deep data drill: reviewing past performance and asking questions; analyzing the bank's structure; conducting in-depth interviews with personnel from the presidential level to platform staff; and looking at front and back end operations and staffing. Our analysis also included studying compensation plans, staffing and other internal factors affecting production.

Our resulting 10-point plan included recommendations for marketing strategy and materials, goal setting, internal organization and external partnerships. Our proposals were accepted completely and are currently in operation at the bank.

Dorsey & Company can re-engineer marketing programs to deliver outstanding results while reducing program expense.

For a leading super-regional national bank that employs one of the world's top ad agencies, Campbell-Ewald, Dorsey & Company performed a one-day review of its marketing of a single product. That day we made recommendations that immediately saved them $1 million dollars, and helped them to improve sales the following year.
A tactical review can provide an unbiased opinion on sales promotions.

Dorsey & Company was asked to perform a critical review of a sales promotion shortly after it had been introduced to enhance the next application of this promotional technique.

The review of the client's promotion immediately revealed the potential for consumer and regulatory backlash. As a result, we were able to save our client $20 million in misallocated expense and to limit the consequences of an improperly applied and designed sales promotion.

Same marketing budget + better targeting = double-digit enrollment gains for community college

Dorsey & Company was retained by a multi-campus community college system to address enrollment, which had declined over ten consecutive quarters. Without the benefit of primary research, and with analysis of secondary sources, we reviewed the college's plan and identified new primary target market segments and redirected marketing communications accordingly without any incremental spending - instead, redirecting current marketing resources to better use. As a result, enrollment grew by double-digits in the following quarter, and we were retained to consult for several subsequent projects.

Channel management and segmentation targets most profitable customers and markets.

An unregulated subsidiary of a large investor-owned utility engaged Dorsey & Company to develop a market entry strategy for a 13-state region.

The strategy required understanding and incorporating various unique elements for each state, including regulatory framework, political climate, customer segmentation, and competition.

Our strategy targeted the most profitable and attainable customer segments in the various states and enabled the client to leverage current brand awareness and equity where available, minimizing costs and risk. The strategy also included a differentiated channel strategy for each region which leveraged known channel brand advantages and preempted competitor access.

As a result, the client holds a leading market share in every market area where it chose to operate.
D&Co. demonstrates value in segmenting small business markets.

For large Midwestern investor-owned utility, Dorsey & Company designed, implemented, and analyzed a market research study aimed at segmenting the client's small business customer base.

The aim of this work was to expand the utility-customer relationship by segmenting otherwise indistinguishable customers based on meaningful characteristics, such as perceptions of the provider and the product/service; importance of energy to their business; sophistication as to the use and management of energy; and requirement of their utility beyond simply paying for the energy.

The result was an action plan for targeting specific groups within the broader segment based on the opportunity for increased profitable product/service sales as well as expanding the relationship to build brand and provide a more meaningful customer experience. The plan we developed also served to preempt competitors from penetrating this market with energy and energy-related products and services.

Research Forges Path to Market Success in Highly Competitive Arena

For Cleveland-based supermarket chain, Dorsey & Company conducted a trading area study to profile customers, and the competitive environment in which each store operated. The information was gathered to help settle a number of internal discussions about marketing direction, point to better marketing opportunities, and identify and defend current customers and competitive vulnerabilities. Using the research findings, we recommended a three-part interim strategy to simultaneously improve sales, customer retention, acquisition of new customers, and to erect barriers to competitive entry to its store trading areas. Our recommendations were accepted as a solid foundation for any competitive marketing strategy option the client would select in the future.

Segmentation is an issue faced by every company. To be useful, market segments must be actionable.

Dorsey & Company helped a leading telephone operating company segment the vast small business market to more effectively reach its objectives.

We made a full analysis of the market including key drivers, nature of demand potential and channel/service delivery preferences - enabling us to develop a set of more meaningful market segments. We also helped the client operationalize the segmentation by developing Automatic Interaction Detectors. The accuracy of the detectors in correctly placing the customers was 90% of that achieved by the rigorous market research used to discover the segments initially.

Applying the segmentation to its outbound telemarketing channel, the most important channel in their marketing mix, this client improved line sales by 50%.

"Inside-out" is the place to start if you want more customers IN than OUT

For a 53-year-old, family-owned brand, Dorsey & Company was engaged to help a home-style restaurant chain operationalize its hopes of franchising or licensing to expand the 6-store restaurant group. Dorsey & Company performed a strategic review and tactical analysis of financial and operating procedures, marketing plans and programs to improve customer retention and acquisition, revenue growth and profit.

Our counsel helped the client determine its financial position, identified critical operating adjustments, most profitable product/service mix, strategies and tactics to boost near-term marketing performance, and offered a clear strategy to retain and increase the current customer base and revenue. These steps also placed the expansion in appropriate context, indicating next steps and goals to be achieved in order to grow.

Included in our counsel was tactical planning to affect a successful new restaurant 'shake-down' and VIP event prior to the opening of the group’s flagship store. In this phase D&Co. planned publicity and media exposure for the event, attended by local elected officials, business leaders and other special guests.

Dorsey & Company helps community bank increase reach and sales by uncovering new communication and sales channels at 1/2 the cost per sale of the program replaced

The intended outcomes of an engagement are often not the only benefit provided to our clients. A community bank engaged Dorsey & Company to help shift and grow its customer base. The marketing strategy we developed accounted for the marketplace and its drivers, the internal culture and resource constraints of the company, and the concerns of the compliance and risk management functions.

Our strategy quickly evolved around those critical pieces that many smaller institutions lack as a result of their size and entrepreneurial bent. In collaboration with top management, we developed a working positioning for the company in the community as the basis of a communication strategy to attract the intended target market. In addition, we recognized and executed against the strategic advantage the bank possessed by virtue of its intimate local trade areas around the branch offices.

Consequently, what we termed "Selling while you sleep" cost our client less than half as much per sale than the program it replaced - while opening commercial and consumer relationships and establishing channels of communications and referrals exclusive to our client.

Additional outcomes of this engagement included: successfully beginning the acquisition of a new target demographic; a clear strategic marketing platform for future efforts around the core brand; a local marketing approach; and, various programs that can be implemented repeatedly in the future to efficiently build banking relationships with new and existing customers.

Dorsey & Company can re-engineer marketing programs to deliver outstanding results without additional program expense.

For a small savings and loan, Dorsey & Company reviewed a home-equity line-of-credit marketing plan that had already spent two-thirds of available budget with dismal results. Dorsey & Company recommendations for reallocation of the remaining one-third of the budget resulted in sales that exceeded those originally projected for the entire marketing plan.

Narrow customer focus - wide sales return

By targeting a large retail chain leader's best customers, Dorsey & Company developed a powerful marketing program aimed at the identified customer groups, successfully passed on the additional marketing costs to those same customers, and that earned the client a 33% increase in sales.

Intelligence-gathering better profiles current and prospective customers

Dorsey & Company identified a well-known tech company's online and offline customers through a combination of consumer research and "discriminant" models for optimal information retrieval. By extracting information from web site visitors with four simple qualifying questions, we successfully used the intelligence captured to identify and prequalify a million more offline prospects by name.

Dorsey & Company leads successful rebranding effort for an insurance company based on research and channel orientation.

A top-ranked multi-line, multi-divisional, national insurance company whose brand and messaging had become well-known and widely recognized among consumers decided to completely overhaul its brand, and retained Dorsey & Company to guide the launch effort.

Working with the company's senior management, its advertising and graphic-design consultants, Dorsey & Company conducted research amongst all stakeholder groups to determine base understanding and readiness for change. Based on this, we produced a comprehensive set of materials which covered all of the pertinent issues and questions to arise from such a significant brand overhaul. We guided the new brand's introduction to identified constituents within the company - from the Vice Chairman to customer service representatives - to ensure that target audiences would "experience" the brand upon interacting with our client.

Because of the comprehensive research and planning that Dorsey & Company undertook, the new brand launch was seamless and received favorably across all channels and audiences.
Twin-branding strategy helps utility client gain competitive advantage, even in the delicate regulated-vs.-unregulated space.

Dorsey & Company developed a market strategy for building sales and revenue from a utility client's "mass market" customer base. This strategy identified key characteristics such as brand preference/perceptions; product/service needs; and channel preferences.

The resulting plan allowed the client to utilize a twin brand strategy that leveraged the known regulated brand when utilizing the unregulated entity to build the relationship and sales. The strategy was sensitive to regulatory compliance and identified and leveraged opportunities within the regulatory framework.

The result was a highly profitable product/service portfolio for the unregulated subsidiary that targeted the best sub-segments for those services, building revenue and sales and preempting competitive entry.

A Pre-emptive Strike against Customer Attrition

A $27 billion asset, 70-branch bank asked Dorsey & Company to investigate - and deliver solutions to overcome - growing rates of attrition among account holders. The combination of our data analysis and survey research informed our strategic solution giving our client some very interesting capability to head off attrition - before the fact.

We were able to find customer behaviors that allowed the bank to identify likely defectors before they close accounts or defect entirely. The implementation of our strategic insight fit existing bank resources, product set and, crucially, also fit the bank's ambition to grow deposits while achieving a lower cost of funds.

Centralizing marketing functions in multi-campus system helps community college speak with one voice

For a multi-campus community college system, Dorsey & Company was brought in to guide top management and board leadership in reshaping and directing the college's various marketing functions. Our recommendations were accepted as presented and full implementation began over the course of the following academic year.

Efficient, sustainable and exclusive: the path to winning over ideal targets to your "side"

An economic development corporation for a large US city engaged Dorsey & Company to develop concepts for a strategic, targeted program designed to attract individuals and corporations to the city. The effort had to be efficient and one that could reach key influencers and resist the counter moves of competing locales and the inevitable bit of negative news the target city might generate.

D&Co. determined that a target group existed that could be tapped successfully for its ability to provide information, connections, and enhance support of local businesses. We determined that the common denominator to tap among all of the identified targets was the potential to either do business in the city or purchase locally-made goods and services from 'makers' and service providers in the city. With that information, D&Co. developed a communication strategy to target and tap this group, gaining leverage from their common traits to provide long-term value to the city.

Our recommendations were accompanied by guidance for implementation, evaluation, and modification for continuous improvement as appropriate.

Dorsey & Company can re-engineer marketing programs to deliver outstanding results without additional program expense.

Dorsey & Company developed recommendations and guided the implementation of refinements to an existing internal sales lead and employee incentive program for a leading telephone company such that sales increased over two years from $12 million annually to $90 million annually.
A tactical and strategic review ensures that resources are aligned with objectives.

Dorsey & Company helped a national financial service firm more appropriately quantify the size and potential of a new market. Seeing the limits of the new market, the company realigned its sales efforts, thus enabling the firm to continue to focus resources on stronger markets.

Through our tactical analysis, we recommended a number of changes in the approach to this market. Thus, the company was able to allocate fewer resources but still reach out to a new market—all without taking resources away from the established profitable market.

D&Co. guidance helps large university interpret broad messaging objective from top administration for multiple, discreet campus audiences

For a large state university, Dorsey & Company was retained to align an administrative office's core mission and vision in order to accomplish presidential mandates. Our role included identifying and prioritizing key internal and external target markets ranging from senior administrative and board level audiences to students, faculty and union staff employees. Our recommendations needed to be sensitive to regulatory obligations and compliance requirements and be tailored to each prioritized segment. The result was a communication strategy aimed at raising awareness of the existence, role, and services associated with the department such that it became properly positioned within the broad university community.

D&Co. impact assessment compels more donors to give more

Dorsey & Company completed an exceptional study of the impact of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) $25 million scholarship program, finding the economic impact to be vast, both to the member HBCUs supported by TMCF and their host communities. As a result of our study, we identified a great number of students who benefited from TMCF scholarships who would not have been able to afford to attend college without that aid. TMCF was then able to exploit the data on the colleges, students, and communities served to compel donors to give. The D&Co. research reports were reproduced as presented and bound for use in subsequent TMCF outreach efforts.

Reach Desired Target; Take Care of Base

For a community bank, Dorsey & Company was retained to support marketing efforts to extend beyond its traditional revenue stream and traditional customer base. The company had identified a need to lower its cost of funding and expand into younger demographic segments. Our repositioning and new market entry strategy recommendations identified all stages and guided the bank through preparation and market roll-out of programs specifically directed to the desired segments without neglecting core, high-value current customers. The result was unprecedented new relationship growth accompanied multiple products sold immediately and in the planned follow up with new customers, as well as existing customers.

Dorsey & Company helped a utility resist customer erosion after a competitor undercut its price by 30%.

In an unprecedented victory over a formidable competitive threat, Dorsey & Company helped a major utility resist customer erosion after a competitor undercut its price by 30%. Faced with significant competition from a dual distribution provider who held and leveraged a significant rate advantage in a contested area in Northeast Ohio, our client had determined it should leave the market altogether rather than fight so save customers.

Dorsey & Company developed a competitive strategy to first slow down customer loss and eventually begin to regain market share. This strategy utilized numerous advantages and tools at the client's disposal, including regulatory, political, legal, service, and marketing. Without expending any additional dollars, and in fact reducing many ill-advised expenditures, the result was stabilization of market share within the first six months of implementation, followed by subsequent increases in market share.

As a result, the competitor was forced to halt expanding its distribution network into other geographic locations and into an agreement to no longer pursue our client's customers. Consequently, the client now owns more than 85% of that market space and maintains a dominant position vis-a-vis the competitor.

Look here, not there

Dorsey & Company succeeded in helping a large direct marketing firm shift long-held thinking about its customers. Our custom "cluster" models showed the client it was using its marketing dollars to chase after least profitable customers. Upon re-orienting its thinking about customers and its marketing efforts, the company enjoyed increased exposure to most profitable customers.

Proven methods - unique solutions

At Dorsey & Company we help companies to be successful through the consistent application of proven methodology. Our straightforward approach yields maximum results and specific actionable recommendations. 

Your road map to success cannot be complete without:

  • Evaluation of current competitive strategies
  • Industry analysis
  • Identification of company-specific goals, resources, problems and must-win situations
  • Market analysis
  • Initial recommendations for enhancing current strategy
  • Development of long term pre-emptive strategy for growth of sales and long-term profit
Click here for examples of our work.