Open Ratings began life as a ranking service for online commerce – and quickly switched to focus on helping companies clean up ‘dirty supplier data.’ The problem: Companies didn’t care.
So the new leadership team – whom we had worked with at a prior start-up – needed to make this urgent for CEOs, CFOs, and investors. Risk – and the risk of depending on uncertain suppliers – would be the key.
Most manufacturers didn’t think about ‘supplier risk management’ when we started out – so our first mandate was to create broad awareness, targeting those ready for deep understanding, and building analyst buy-in. The market was in our favor; outsourcing and ‘lean’ initiatives left manufacturers extremely vulnerable to supply chain upheaval.
Tainted toothpaste, natural disasters and economic shifts got the boardroom’s attention; by putting Open Ratings at the center of the conversation, we helped Open Ratings effectively own what is now seen as a $2.6 billion market.
In fact, we made the competition so uncomfortable that D&B – a keen competitor – acquired the company after just 12 months.
Several years post-acquisition, this business group is thriving. The acquisition is a considered a strategic success, and the marketing group sets the standard for proactive, issues-oriented marketing.
At the outset, we focused exclusively on building awareness among key salespeople, whose buy-in was essential. We expanded to internal thought leadership campaigns, and then aggressive outreach and social media and integrated marketing.
Today, we work with three separate groups at D&B.