POSCO is strengthening its ‘Solution marketing’ as one of the core strategies to improve its competitiveness, especially for its steel products. Since becoming CEO, Ohjoon Kwon has emphasized that improving original competitiveness of steel is one of the four pillars for the Innovation 1.0 agenda. By full-scale rollout of Solution Marketing, POSCO plans to provide differentiating value for customers and also overcome the recession. Let’s explore what Solution Marketing is all about.
The Background and Story on Solution Marketing
POSCO’s technology-based Solution Marketing blends technology support with marketing activities to solve customer problems which allows customer value to be strengthened. It can be divided into five steps: 1) Industry·Market Analysis, 2) Solution Development & Care, 3) Solution Release & Promotion, 4) Support and Accelerated Sales, 5) Enhanced Customer Relationship Management.
Solutions provided from the steel industry come in the form of a combination of rolled steel (hardware) and utilization technology (software) which can be modified based on market situations and customer demands. By offering such solutions, POSCO is looking towards not only meeting customer demands but also to greater profitability by aggressively expanding sales of high-grade steel.
An Example of Solution Marketing
Until now, POSCO has used EVI to find customer needs first and then sold the appropriate kinds of steel. The new Solution Marketing is not only about finding customer needs, but also proactively finding the necessary technologies and workforce. During an internal presentation for POSCO employees, CEO Kwon used automotive steel sheets as an example of Solution Marketing.
He explained, “Although automotive steel sheets require high strength, if this compromises its formability, auto companies can face difficulties since weldability opportunities for car design decrease. In order to reduce problems that high strength steel used for light weight benefits can create, POSCO is providing molding and welding technologies, as well as, evaluation methods. By supplying more than just the steel hardware, we can provide our customers with optimal solutions. This is Solution Marketing. Instead of limiting to a single product, we must provide a “package” solution for our customers.”
Meeting with Domestic Shipbuilders to put Solution Marketing into Action
POSCO has sought to improve the domestic ship building industry through building trust, sharing visions, and providing win-win technology-based solution marketing to increase value for customers.
In order to strengthen “Solution Marketing” that is mutually beneficial to POSCO and its clients, CEO Kwon has made in-person visits to meet with clients in the shipping building industry including Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), in order to promote and underline Solution Marketing.
Make Listening to Client Needs a Priority
On April 4, 2014, CEO Kwon went to Ulsan to meet with the Jaesung Lee, CEO of Hyundai Heavy Industries. After having a meeting and touring the facilities, he made his way to meet with the head of Samsung Heavy Industries to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation.
During these meetings, CEO Kwon was able to listen to client needs and promote POSCO’s Solution Marketing. During his meetings with clients that week, CEO Kwon said, “In order to recover from the global economy downturn, shipbuilding and the steel industry must strengthen mutual trust and cooperate for quick recovery.”
On April 21, 2014, CEO Kwon went to Geojedo Island which is where one of the dockyards for POSCO’s customer, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, is located. He met with the Jeho Ko, CEO of DSME, and visited sites just like he had done in Ulsan. On this day CEO Kwon emphasized, “POSCO is focusing on strengthening its competitiveness to be the global top company. Using technology-based Solution Marketing, we hope to substantially contribute to improving value for our customers.”Pictured here: POSCO’s CEO Ohjoon Kwon in Geojedo Island during a visit with DSME on April 21, 2014.
How Solution Marketing fits into the Future for POSCO and Its Customers
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and other Korean shipbuilders are making developments for LNG vessels for polar regions, deep sea offshore plants, eco-friendly and efficient ships. Therefore, it is crucial that POSCO can continuously supply the necessary materials to foster such advancements. In the past, technology advancements were based on meeting client needs. However, in the present, it is important for POSCO to anticipate material developments to grow and make advancements together.
POSCO also plans to reinforce R&D strategies and consolidate strategic partnerships. In addition, POSCO aims to provide materials necessary for individual customer projects. The responsiveness to customer needs in terms of product quality, size and more must be met in order to improve the overall satisfaction of POSCO’s customers. As such, strengthening Solution Marketing will be an important tool to make value-added offerings a reality.
Case Study for Solution Marketing: Fast Response to Steel for Ships and Technology Development
A good case study for Solution Marketing is how POSCO quickly created steel products for shipbuilders to use after the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) created new regulations to improve ship vessel stability. Soon after the IACS announced these changes, POSCO developed technologies to provide steel products and technology that would meet these new standards. Customers in the shipbuilding industry could utilize POSCO’s solutions to design new ships. The pre-emptive technology development and quick response from POSCO allowed domestic shipbuilders to design and construct ships without delays and helped POSCO customers increase their value.
In the coming months and years, POSCO will continue its efforts to make advancements for customers across various industries by building trust, sharing visions, and cooperation for technology advancement and cooperation. Solution Marketing is a strategy that can help POSCO become “POSCO the Great”.