Philie Group Blog

Use Ideas as a Competitive Advantage
By Mike Philie

Your customers buying habits have changed, your business mixed has changed, and things just aren’t the same as they once were. How has your business strategy changed? What have you put into place that allows you to get closer to your customers? Working towards being more of a customer-centric business has never been more important. As many of your customers are working to reengage within their marketplace, they need new ideas, they need new tools that will help them effectively promote their business. If you are an idea generator, you can secure a place at the table for these discussions and help to create a competitive advantage.


What is Changing?

The health crisis of 2020 accelerated many of the trends that were already happening in the business of B2B communication. There’s more accountability and transparency in how clients buy and what their expectations are. Customer expectations have grown around the what’s being printed, and the outcome of the work. Buyers are also utilizing more performance metrics to rate their partners.


Making Choices

How you meet these expectations comes down to making choices. I’ve written in the past about those who have become operationally excellent and streamlined their workflow to drive out unnecessary cost and provide an exceptional customer experience. This path works for customers who know exactly what they want, are organized, and are looking for flawless execution. Other customers may have different needs. Their focus and needs are around trying new things, testing, and trying to achieve different results. They are experimenting with new concepts. Their business has been severely affected by the health crisis. They know that just doing what they used to do may no longer be effective. This group needs new ideas.


Where do you excel, what is your passion within the business? The best answer is to be both operationally efficient as well as the go-to resource for new ideas. Without bringing new ideas, you are reacting to projects that have been dreamed up by others—often times influenced by your competitors. Get a competitive advantage in the marketplace by being an idea generator and trusted advisor.


Generate New Ideas

We know what we know, and what we know is made up from a collection of our experiences, what we read, who we listen to, and what’s on our calendar. Where are you getting your new ideas? Asking great questions and being a good listener with your customers is a great place to start. Collaborating with your internal team is a great place to focus on as well. External resources within the industry, and external sources from outside the industry help to round things out. Take a hard look at your calendar and what’s been on your to do list. These areas will help you formulate ideas that will make an positive impact on your customers business.


Changes to our personal and business lives can be difficult to handle. Take the initiative to make the changes you need to bring new ideas to your clients and start creating demand vs. reacting to someone else’s RFP’s.


If you have any comments or thoughts as to how you’ve approached these issues, please send me a note or include them below.


Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at, LinkedIn or email at


This blog originally published in Printing Impressions.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *