I am accustomed to working with highly qualified, experienced professionals. However, at a company as relatively small as Unigloves a full-time marketing strategist at that level was beyond its need or means – but in Robert, and now Malcolm, we had the ideal part-time solution, expertise we could afford.
Chris Wahlers, Director, Unigloves
Unigloves, a market-leading supplier of specialist single-use nitrile, latex and vinyl gloves, was joined by Robert Stead of The Marketing Centre in 2013 to work closely with a boosted management team on the analysis and implementation of a programme to drive revenue growth.
Having set up the programme, Robert handed over to TMC’s Malcolm Johnston in 2015 to take the company forward in terms of sales and turnover, a strategy designed to make the most of both managers’ particular skillsets.
‘Unigloves has recently been appointed to the NHS Supply Chain examination glove framework. When I came on board as a director and co-owner in 2013, I wanted to see Unigloves fulfil its potential as a dynamic, interactive enterprise. My background is in corporate law in the City, and with businesses as diverse as start-ups to a leading global energy supplier, so I am accustomed to working with highly qualified, experienced professionals. However, at a company as relatively small as Unigloves a full-time marketing strategist at that level was beyond its need or means –but in Robert, and now Malcolm, we had the ideal part-time solution, expertise we could afford’ – Chris Wahlers, Director
Based in Rochester in Kent, Unigloves formed in 2002, and has an annual £7m turnover and some 15 employees. The company makes and supplies more than 1.3 billion gloves annually to more than 50 countries for use by medical professionals and specialists in food preparation and the service, hospitality, automotive, janitorial and care sectors.
When Robert Stead joined Unigloves in December 2013 working one day a week, a review of sales and marketing carried out with Chris Wahlers alongside Mark Summers (a part-time sales director from Sales plus Profit) quickly identified a weakness in the existing approach that was holding back the company’s profitable development. The two-person sales team was occupied with getting in orders, and not focussed on looking beyond sales into more efficient and profitable strategies centred on customer need.
‘My task was to establish an effective long-term marketing strategy’, says Robert.
Through the first year, working closely with Chris, Robert worked on creating a differentiated positioning revolving around Unigloves’ responsive strength as both supplier and manufacturer of its product. They segmented the end-customer base by industry, and adjusted the sales/marketing approach to the size and type of each customer.
In addition, industry-specific product ranges were defined, together with industry-specific packaging within a completely new and consistent overall brand design. A long-term, commitment-based, discount strategy and pricing policy was also implemented, alongside a refreshed design of the Unigloves website.
Robert recruited a new, full-time marketing communications manager to join the company in August 2015 and work with the sales division on prioritising bulk sales in target sectors. The new
manager now works alongside Malcolm Johnston, who was retained by Unigloves in July 2015 to implement Robert’s longer-term programme.
‘Most marketing strategies don’t fail because they are poor strategies. They fail because they aren’t implemented,‘ says Malcolm, who sees breadth of skills as a core strength of The Marketing Centre approach.
Most marketing professionals have never actually sold anything but I have managed sales forces all around the world – I speak their language. Robert identified the sectors, my task now is to work on marketing with the sales division, directing and focussing their efforts to where it counts.
In addition, Malcolm specified and subscribed to specialist software to enable management of all outgoing messages and presence on social media. He also appointed two PR agencies to sow the seeds of positive stories, helping to raise brand awareness and support the sales team by positioning Unigloves in dental and catering, two target sectors.