Silver Eagle GPX Aims To Soar With New Customer Approach

The quiet yet commanding presence of the eagle is an ideal image for this screen-printing company based in Arkansas. Silver Eagle GPX has steadily built a name for itself in the industry. “We’re known for screen printing on textiles,” explains Mac Etheridge, president of the company. “Our business grew by word of mouth.” Silver Eagle GPX has been owned and operated by family for many years. A small staff works diligently to service customers in and around Arkansas, as well as a smattering of customers elsewhere in the country.

While word of mouth has sustained the company over the years, current economic challenges led Etheridge to rethink his company’s position in the industry, as well as the company’s marketing efforts.

THE CHALLENGE
As is the case with so many industries, the screen-printing business has hit some economic bumps. “Customers have been cutting back,” Etheridge said. Adding to the challenge was that vendors who previously were involved in other areas—such as offset printing—were beginning to tap into screen printing and other services offered by Silver Eagle GPX. Competition was increasing, but would there be enough demand to satisfy the growing supply of vendors?

When he talked with Andy Birol for the first time, Etheridge was contemplating this question. “We were wondering whether to go from selling to the end user to selling to distributors who needed printing,” he said.

With Andy’s guidance, Etheridge examined the business shift from every possible angle. “One of the very first things that Andy had me do was look at the positives and negatives,” Etheridge recalled. “He said to look at the number of clients we have, the amount of time we spend with them and the money we’re making.”

Etheridge concluded that fewer work hours would be necessary with distributors (or vendors), and therefore that would be the more profitable way to go. “They [distributors] know what they want; you don’t have to walk them through everything,” he said. Silver Eagle GPX would then concentrate on vendors who needed printing services but didn’t have the capabilities. “We would be the undercover guy” not seen by then end-user, Etheridge said.

THE SITUATION
As a transition plan was formulated, Etheridge and Andy spoke weekly about how to position Silver Eagle GPX for the future. “We worked on a funneling effect for focusing our business,” Etheridge said. Andy, he added, provided guidance as well as a sounding board for Etheridge’s ideas.

Once the business focus was set, Andy handed Etheridge his next challenge: how to position Silver Eagle GPX as a leader in the industry and reach out to a new set of customers.

Silver Eagle GPX needed to determine its Best and Highest Use then create new marketing efforts to reveal that to potential customers.

THE SOLUTION
By nature of its credibility and longevity, Silver Eagle GPX is a company that clients can rely on to fill a specific need with skill, accuracy and a friendly touch. “Anybody can do screen printing,” Etheridge said. “We’re able to be a problem-solver for our customers.”

Silver Eagle GPX would then identify itself as the go-to company to provide great service. The company chose to accomplish this through strategic marketing that included a new website to illustrate its solutions-oriented service.

While Silver Eagle GPX had in the past relied heavily on word-of-mouth to gain new customers, the website would now do much of the talking by revealing the company’s history and its talents. “Clients can look at what you’re doing via the Internet,” Etheridge said.

The new website, www.contractscreenprinting.biz, also seeks to identify specific problems that the company can handily resolve for customers. “We identified a list of concerns that people have. So we can say, ‘Are you having any of these problems? Then we can fix them,’” Etheridge said. “The site will help us stand out more and answer the question of why people would jump from someone else to us.”

Etheridge found the exercise of determining Best and Highest Use beneficial for Silver Eagle GPX in a variety of ways. “Finding your strengths gives you another way to market to customers,” he said. “My marketing strategy is to use our new website and do e-mail marketing that links back to the site.”

THE RESULTS
Silver Eagle GPX has been gradually implementing its new strategies, and positive results have already emerged. “We’ve picked up several new accounts,” Etheridge reported. He believes the reason is that Silver Eagle GPX is positioning itself as a unique resource in the market by solving customers’ problems.

Etheridge sees the potential for broadening the company’s offerings to distributors. “We can say to them, ‘What’s the next thing that you contract out that we could help you with?’” he said. “Maybe we can expand our other design services. We’d like to expand in steps. If we can’t take on more business, then we’ll try to grow the company.”

As it continues to refocus its business and marketing efforts, Silver Eagle GPX is enjoying a steady flight pattern toward heightened success.

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