We all remember catchy, hummable songs that rose to the top of the charts. Then years later, we wonder, whatever happened to that singer or band? Some of my favorite one-hit wonders include Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit in the Sky and Peter Schilling’s Major Tom.
The same scenario can apply to business. You may create a great product, service or process but then get stuck and can’t come up with the next big hit. Or you’re afraid to move beyond what’s working now to something new. It’s not easy to keep reinventing yourself. But to survive these days, you must keep evolving to be successful. There simply are too many disruptors out there waiting for their chance to disrupt you!
How Nordis avoided the single-hit fate
As many longtime clients know, we started as a print/mail company for marketing communications some three decades ago. Over the years, we learned that marketing budgets get slashed quickly when the economy turns sour. So, we pivoted to handling critical customer communications. These transactional, recurring communications such as monthly bills must be sent whether the economy is good or bad.
We then segued into customer communications management technology. Composing, managing and updating letters, invoices and other customer correspondence was a major pain point for our clients. We knew there had to be a better way, so we developed our Expresso® software to make managing communications easier and faster. We’ve continued to evolve Expresso, including adding omnichannel delivery. If we hadn’t made the leap into cloud and digital delivery, our business would be increasingly less relevant.
The next big move was to offer electronic bill presentment and payments (EBPP) with ExpressoPay®, the perfect complement to our core business of transactional communications. More recently, we expanded to B2B AP payments as a service through our new partnership with Finexio, a leader in this space. To learn more about the advantages of digital payables, please see our Industry Insights article on the top 2022 payment trends.
Avoiding the one-hit wonder curse
As we head into 2022, let me give you my top 5 tips for making sure your current success—the one that wows the customer—is a springboard to more hits.
- Focus on adding services or products that are similar or extensions of your current portfolio so you can expand your business with current customers. For example, we knew our clients needed help with the manual, labor-intensive Certified Mail process. So, we created ExpressoCertified®, an automated option that saves them time and money.
- Hunt for products, services or processes impervious to economic cycles. That way you can avoid peaks and valleys.
- Find other industries with similar characteristics. We began in vacation ownership, then moved into healthcare and financial services, two verticals that also deliver critical customer communications. These were big changes for us, with more compliance and audit requirements, but this investment has paid off.
- Expand through partnerships. You don’t always need to build new offerings from scratch. Our payment product partners include Transactis/MasterCard and Finexio.
- Don’t venture too far from your core business. The core is why you are successful. Build upon that foundation.
It’s certainly true that bands don’t know which song will become a hit. At a minimum, they must capture the cultural zeitgeist of the moment and make the tune memorable. Business is different in one important way: You can increase the odds that your new “song” will keep you on the hit parade by staying focused on creating more value for your customer. It’s all about keeping your customers on top of their game.
Check out a few of my favorite one-hit-wonders.