IMH will focus on local markets, including small offices and home offices (1-9 employees), medium to large businesses (10-99 employees), corporate Hawai'i (multiple locations or 100+ employees), and local government offices.
Our market segmentation scheme is fairly straightforward, and focuses on all Neighbor Island businesses. The information contained in our customer analysis table is taken directly from the 2000 US Census and government directories, and clearly shows that our largest market potential is the small office and home office (SOHO) segment. This segment is largely overlooked by most of our competitors because of its "low end" buying habits, and a reluctance to compete with the major retail chain box movers. We will target the SOHO market segment with value-added and affordable business solutions customized to its unique needs, and offer the same quality of service and support as are afforded the larger businesses.
The next largest market segment is medium to large businesses, and is the arena where we now focus most of our sales efforts. We will continue to target this segment, but with a different approach than our predecessors. The strategy used by former management has been to bring in selected products, and then attempt to find a buyer. This resulted in inventory overstock, and obsolescence. We will work with the medium to large businesses to determine their needs, and design customized solutions before ordering the required systems (JIT inventory strategy). This segment will remain an extremely important part of our marketing mix, and contains a large portion of our current clients. A majority of our systems upgrade opportunities and repeat business will come from this market segment initially.
Although the Corporate Hawai'i market segment is the smallest in numbers, it has the potential to provide a significant share of our revenues and growth (the 80/20 rule). We have a scattering of current clients in the Corporate Hawai'i segment, but we need to do a better job of penetrating this lucrative end of the market. We will accomplish this by offering professional services to include workflow and network design, MIS support, and other value-added support benefits such as "uptime guarantees." We will develop long-term relationships within this segment, and earn their business.
The local government market segment is unique in that we act primarily as a "middle man" for our manufacturers due to GSA price schedules and other national government-only programs. This segment is fiercely competitive, very price-focused, and buying decisions are often influenced by "who you know," as well as price. We are fortunate in that we have long-established relationships within the County and State government agencies, and have many loyal clients in this segment. We will increase our share of this market segment by offering the same value-added service and support benefits that we bring to our commercial clients.
Developing a market strategy is a departure from the way the company has been managed in the past. We will change the paradigm of being a product- and price-focused sales organization, to that of becoming a customer- and market-focused organization, with all departments sharing responsibility for customer satisfaction. We will accomplish this paradigm shift through the implementation of a balanced scorecard philosophy of management, with special attention to employee learning and growth.
As mentioned previously our market segmentation strategy is straightforward, and addresses all components of the Neighbor Island business community. Planning and implementing specific strategies for each of the four identified segments will be an on-going process, and we will consult with marketing specialists, and our manufacturers, to further refine these efforts as we develop our marketing plan.
The most significant trend in today's business-to-business marketplace is the move from analog to digital technology, and from stand-alone workflow functions to multifunctional platforms which are connected to a network. It is this trend that has caused many of the major players in the outdated office equipment (copier) industry (Xerox, IKON, etc.) to falter, and see their profits decline. This is true mainly because of their inability to change rapidly from an "analog mentality" and move forward in applying the emerging convergence of digital information technologies to the marketplace.
That is the primary reason that IMH has chosen Canon USA as its preferred manufacturer. Canon has led the way in the industry with it's digital technology innovations, and its ability to bring both the product and the concept to the marketplace. We will follow Canon's lead and bring this efficient, productivity-enhancing technology to Neighbor Island businesses.
As computer prices continue to fall, unit sales increase. The published market research on sales of personal computers is astounding, as the United States market alone is absorbing more than 30 million units per year, and sales are growing at more than 20 percent per year. We could quote Dataquest, Infocorp, IDC, or others; it doesn't matter, they all agree on high growth of CPU sales.
This rapid growth rate holds true for productivity systems which connect to the computers being sold. The stand-alone analog systems and appliances which abound in the business marketplace today, will be replaced by connected digital convergence systems in the coming months and years. IMH will position itself to be a value-added provider of this rapidly emerging technology for new businesses, while continuing to maintain and upgrade our current analog customer base.
All businesses have in common a need to be continuously productive, and they rely on their service providers and vendors to sustain their productivity. Effectively filling this need requires that the vendor bring to the table sound planning, quality products, reliable service, and a true partnership and support relationship.
Specific business needs include the ability to gather, compile, analyze, and distribute information in various media formats. This is where IMH's strengths will be most beneficial to our clients, both big and small. Anyone can sell the "box" at an attractive price, but only a true value-added provider can offer the peace-of-mind that comes from a customer-focused approach to the relationship.
Primarily due to geographic isolation and smaller populations, the Neighbor Island business community has an additional common need of being able to rely on other locally-based vendors and suppliers for quick, reliable, customer service and support. Having to call someone on Oahu, or the mainland, to place a service call, or to order supplies, or get an answer to a simple billing question, is both an irritant and a hindrance to most Neighbor Island-based businesses. Our primary goal is to fill this need by bringing true pro-active, and total, customer service to the Neighbor Island business community, and to gain their confidence and loyalty. This will become one of our underlying strengths.
IMH is a part of the Information Industry, and specializes in providing information management systems and technology for business processes. We envision that a converged information industry operating within the context of an advanced information infrastructure will be a huge boost for U.S. businesses. Several Washington think tanks estimate that it could spur more than $300 billion annually in new sales and increase worker productivity by 20 to 40 percent.
At the present time, an estimated two-thirds of all American jobs are information related, and that number will increase as the shift from manufacturing to service industries continues. The convergence of information industries will continue because the technological and business imperatives are compelling. If one company does not see the possibilities, another will.
Business decision makers and finance managers understand the concept and value of service and support, and are much more likely to pay for it when the offering is clearly stated.
There is no doubt that we compete more against the box pushers than against other service providers. We need to effectively compete against the idea that businesses should buy information platforms as plug-in appliances that don't need ongoing service, support, and training.
Our research and experience has indicated that our target market segments think about price, but would buy based on quality service if the offering were properly presented. They think about price because that is what is traditionally presented to them first. We have very good indications that many would rather pay 10-20% more for a relationship with a long-term vendor providing back-up and quality service and support. They end up in the box-pusher channels because they are not aware of the alternatives.
Availability is also very important. The business decision makers tend to want immediate, local solutions to problems.
Medium to large business segment buyers are accustomed to buying from vendors who visit their offices. They expect the copy machine vendors, office products vendors, and office furniture vendors, as well as the local graphic artists, freelance writers, or whomever, to visit their office to make their sales.
Unfortunately our SOHO target segment buyers may not expect to buy from us. Many of them turn immediately to the retail superstores (office equipment, office supplies, and electronics), the Web, and mail order to look for the best price, without realizing that there is a better option for them for only a little bit more. We will overcome this hurdle through innovative service offerings, and targeted marketing.
In our higher-end targeted segments (medium to large businesses, corporate Hawai'i, and government offices), the primary competitors are Xerox and Lanier. The secondary "low end" competitors on the Neighbor Islands are Maui Office Machines and Business Equipment on Maui, and Electronics Hawai'i and Stationers on the Big Island. Our overall competitive strategy in these segments will be Canon's superior technology, and superior value-added service and support.
In our SOHO target segment, the primary competitors are the superstores: Office Max, Office Depot, Sears, and to some extent Costco, Hopaco, and the Web. While these outlets can offer lower prices, they offer no (or very little) aftermarket service or support. That is our competitive advantage in this segment, and will differentiate us from these "box movers."
The traditional office equipment (copier) industry has been dominated by only a few major manufacturers: Xerox, Canon, Oce, and Ricoh (and its OEM products - Lanier, Savin, and Gestetner); and then come the low-end players: Sharp, Toshiba, and Minolta. With the exception of Xerox, which maintains its own sales force, the other manufacturers distribute and sell mainly through authorized dealers.
The rapidly emerging Information Industry's digital convergence products will most likely be dominated by the same participants as described above. While Xerox has been a past leader in the manufacture and sales of analog products, Canon has emerged as both an innovator, and the leader, in the new Information Industry with their ImageRunner digital products and Image Platform information distribution systems. Canon is also (and has been for many years) the front runner in color repro-graphic systems, and holds the most patents of any manufacturer in the industry.