In a competitive entertainment business marketplace, each company must use multiple tactics to stand out in its industry. First, the business must provide a distinctive product or service, unlike anything its competitors offer. If applicable, business leaders should harness technology to drive efficiency and minimize production costs. Finally, the firm should develop a targeted marketing strategy that enables them to effectively reach the right audience. Greg Aziz, owner of a Hamilton, Ontario-based rail company, uses all of these tactics. His firm’s best-in-class engineering team enables his firm to design and build the industry’s best railcars. Greg Aziz’s company is also known as the industry leader in technological innovation. Finally, his relatively small marketing team covers the entire North American target market. Together, these complementary strategies have enabled him to outlast competitors that have merged with or been acquired by other companies. In other words, Greg Aziz has put together a winning business model. In the 21st century’s second decade, his company continues its history of quality and innovation.
A Good Unique Selling Proposition Provides a Major Advantage
The term “Unique Selling Proposition” (or USP) accurately describes an attribute that helps a product or service to stand out. When stacked up against competitors’ products or services, a company’s USP helps to differentiate it in potential buyers’ eyes.
The business’ USP should emphasize the company’s strengths. The USP should also focus on an aspect of the product or service the market values.
When the company takes time to craft a powerful unique selling proposition, the marketing strategy becomes much easier. When marketing and advertising messages are delivered through the right channels, the company stands to reap the rewards.
Greg Aziz Brings His USP to the Marketplace
Multiple players crowd the North American marketplace. Most products fit within certain parameters with little evidence of innovation. Greg Aziz is the stellar exception to this rule. His company combines three key elements to create a Unique Selling Proposition that helps the firm rise above the noise.
When Greg Aziz launched his company in 1994, he wanted his products to be the best-engineered products in the world. To achieve that goal, he assembled a highly skilled engineering design and manufacturing team. Today, Greg Aziz is confident that his company’s designs are superior to his competitors’ offerings.
“Yeah, right from the get-go, we emphasized engineering in order to differentiate ourselves from our competitors. We believe that we’re the leading railcar manufacturer in the world from an engineering standpoint.
“We’re not the biggest rail car manufacturer, but all of our designs are cutting-edge designs. Our engineering department is superior, we believe, to our competitors. We’ve used our position in order to basically maintain ourselves as the top-tier manufacturer,” Greg Aziz remarked. For perspective, the company currently holds over 350 patented designs.
Emphasis on Technology
In the 21st-century production and manufacturing landscape, using the latest technology often results in considerable cost savings. Some legacy companies have historically resisted technology adoption until they had fallen well behind competitors.
Greg Aziz’s company has always followed a different path. Upon purchasing the business in 1994, he knew standing out in the industry would be difficult. However, he also knew that exceptional engineering and product design would make a difference.
Therefore, Greg Aziz made large-scale investments in engineering design resources, capital equipment, and new manufacturing facilities. He also approved investments in multiple types of technology. In fact, his company is known for its industry-leading manufacturing automation.
Like a growing number of manufacturers, Greg Aziz’s company integrates welding robotics into its operations. “We use an awful lot of welding robotics…There are several very, very large customers who come in and tell us that when it comes to robotic welding, no human being can weld like a robot can, okay? Correct. That’s kind of an important takeaway.
“But our customers will come in, and of course, they’ve had the luxury of being able to visit other car builders and everything. We keep being told that there’s nobody in this industry who is even close to our scale of robotics and automated equipment,” Greg Aziz remarked.
Greg Aziz’s Successful Marketing Plan
A cohesive marketing plan enables a company to effectively present a product or service to a specific audience. When potential customers understand the product and its benefits, they are more likely to make a purchase.
Each marketing plan involves four components, known as the “Four Ps of Marketing.” When all components complement each other, the company is well-positioned for favorable results.
The Product: A well-defined product is the backbone of each marketing plan. The company’s marketing team should thoroughly understand each specific product and its specific customer benefits.
The Price: When determining a specific product’s price, the marketing team should consider two factors. First, they should determine the item’s production cost, competitors’ prices, and desired profit margin. Marketers should also predict how customers will perceive the product. Then, they should price the item accordingly.
The Place: The term “place” defines where customers can find a specific product. Will it be available in physical stores, eCommerce outlets, or both? The marketer’s goal should be to place a specific product in front of the most likely buyers.
The Promotion: A product’s promotion includes all activities designed to convince customers they should purchase the item. Digital advertising, social media, and other online platforms are part of the promotional mix.
Benefits of a Well-Crafted Marketing Plan
Companies that design and deliver a well-coordinated marketing plan will maximize the firm’s financial and logistical resources. Not surprisingly, they will likely receive two additional benefits.
Enhanced Consumer Engagement: Businesses that showcase a product in market-appropriate media can realize two important advantages. First, carefully targeted digital ads and social media messages are likely to reach their desired audiences. Second, these engaging ads and messages encourage a dialogue between businesses and consumers. This dynamic may gradually lead the consumer to regard the brand as a trusted friend.
Increased Brand Familiarity and Trust: Purchasing a product (especially a high-dollar item) often results from repeated contacts with potential customers. Every marketing interaction enables the business to further establish its credibility and trust with potential buyers. Once a prospect understands the product and brand, and trust has been established, a purchase decision is more likely.
Two Different Marketing Approaches
North American manufacturers in the industry have historically provided their customers with minimal choices and virtually no customization. These companies had little to distinguish them in the marketplace. Eventually, they merged with other firms or simply faded into the background.
“I know in the case of a couple of the companies who are no longer in business, not because they went out of business, but they’ve just disappeared through mergers. They had their basic designs on certain types of cars. ‘You can have this car or this car.’ Whereas we will engineer to suit the customer. We basically start with a basic design and customize it to our customer’s needs,” Greg Aziz emphasized.
Greg Aziz Targets a Small Customer Base
After viewing his competitors’ lackluster marketing efforts, Greg Aziz decided his firm would do things differently. First, he noted that the North American market was relatively small compared to major United States corporations. Next, he emphasized that customers who selected a competitor would leave a noticeable dent in the prospect base.
“Well, we have kind of a double-edged sword when it comes to the customers. If you look at a traditional big business in the United States, I mean, they generally have thousands or hundreds of thousands of customers.
“And in our case, there probably wouldn’t be more than, what, 200 customers − 200 customers to shoot at in all of North America of varying sizes. So the customer count is quite small, and that’s a double-edged sword. Because once these customers go and commit to, say, one of our competitors, I mean, that customer’s out of the mix maybe for a year, maybe for two years,” Greg Aziz explained.
Greg Aziz’s Effective North American Marketing Team
“We have a robust marketing group that is in locations all over North America, out on the west coast. We have quite a few people in Texas. We have people in the eastern part of the United States [and] some people around Chicago. [We have] people here in Canada, both out on the western part of our country and here operating from our head office.
“So we have a marketing group that probably is composed of 20 people all in, including support staff. We’re able to maintain close relationships with people who make the decisions on behalf of the industrial customer or the railroad…We come at this from all angles, from the C-suite to the finance side of things and like that,” Greg Aziz concluded.
In an example of consultative selling, Greg Aziz’s marketing team regularly visits customers’ facilities. Team members assess customers’ use of on-site equipment and determine if a more efficient method might produce better results. These reviews can form the foundation for marketing proposals.
Over the years, Greg Aziz’s personalized marketing strategy has produced results. Perhaps the marketing team’s biggest achievement occurred with a customer who was taking bids for a 3,500-railcar project. Greg Aziz relates the details.
“There was a customer a few years ago [who] came out and wanted roughly 3,500 railcars. Our two main competitors both sent in a sales guy to meet with them. I think we put three of our marketing people, and about three engineers, and a couple of our manufacturing engineers from our manufacturing operations on a plane. [We] flew in to this customer and sat down about eight or 10 people in front of them.
“We got that contract, and that contract was worth about $350,000,000. And that’s something that takes a couple years to build out. I think we got caught in the middle of the COVID thing and all that, so we had to back off on our ability to manufacture that order. But that order took three and a half years or so to build out. But it was a nice base for our manufacturing operation through that time period,” Greg Aziz proudly recalled.
Greg Aziz’s Steady Leadership in an Evolving Marketplace
Greg Aziz has revolutionized his industry, and he shows no signs of slowing down. With the firm’s Unique Selling Proposition and top-notch engineering and production teams, the company is well-positioned for future success.