[BE] Midmarket CMO Blog

Selling Stories, Not Products


For more than two years, Standard Textile focused on developing a partnership with a major international hospitality brand.

In less than four days, a 3-person marketing team at the Cincinnati-based textile manufacturer supplying linen and terry products to the healthcare and hospitality industries helped open the door with a custom-designed website that won the company a coveted spot at the hotel brand’s exclusive Innovation Summit.

Potential suppliers like Standard Textile received an email invitation from the international  hotel brand announcing the opportunity to participate in this juried selection show.  The hotel brand’s goal was to identify new suppliers in the marketplace who were offering innovative products.

Judy Sroufe, VP of Brand Marketing and Communications, said that while the hotel brand  is very price-driven, Standard Textile is simply not a commodities-based company. 

Judy Sroufe, VP Brand Marketing and Communications, Standard Textile

“Our brand promises a culture of innovation, and in marketing, we have a promise to carry that innovation through to each and every customer touch point,” she explained. “We don’t just create thousands of products and give brochures to our Sales team to take products to market. The products we create for Hilton are different than what we create for Marriott.”

It was that story of building partnerships - of first sitting down with prospective customers to better understand their challenges and then designing products in response to specific needs - that would create the most compelling story to get in front of this hotel brand.

Like when a leading hotelier reported an uptick in the disappearance of the decorative bed scarfs at the foot of hotel room beds, Standard Textile designed a top cover that incorporated the decorative element into one seamless piece of fabric. Not only did the top cover redesign lower replacement costs, but the housekeeping staff also found them easier than a heavy duvet to place and properly position on guest beds. The accent also easily incorporated a pop of color into the clean, crisp white linens.

Another proprietor, whose focus was always on providing exceptional guest experience, was challenged with wrinkled top covers that didn’t properly align to the brands’ standards. Standard Textile again responded with a customized top cover with a waffle design that appears as ripples rather than wrinkles after being laundered.

Instead of creating PDFs of brochures with which sales leadership could respond to the Innovation Summit invitation, Sroufe and her team quickly built an interactive website that highlighted existing partnerships and shared innovative customer stories.

The move secured triple the standard display space at the summit for Standard Textile.

CEO Gary Heiman and senior sales leadership presented to key decision makers who recently accepted invitations to visit one of the company’s manufacturing facilities to learn more about the design process.

“Our records show once we achieve a customer visit to a manufacturing facility, we are 98 percent successful in obtaining new business,” Sroufe noted. “For Standard Textile, this could represent acquiring one of the  largest hotel brands as a customer.”

San Antonio | October 23 — 25, 2016

Blair Shiver
Blair Shiver
Blair is a communications specialist with 15 years experience in the print media sector. Prior to joining Boardroom Events, she was a member of an accomplished sales team in the New York City real estate market. Much of her spare time is spent working with local and regional non-profits to help underserved children and promote sustainable development.​
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