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Kevin J Clancy - Marketing Transformation
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Hall of Fame


Ethicon Endo_Surgery

From a check printer to an essential
strategic partner to financial services firms


  • Founded in 1915 in St. Paul, Minnesota in a one room print shop, Deluxe today is a $1.3 billion Fortune 1000 firm servicing 8,000+ financial institutions (FIs).

  • The clock was ticking for its core business. With the use of ATM debit cards and other electronic payment methods on the rise, check usage is in decline, shrinking at a rate of 3-4% per year.

  • By all outward appearances, the industry had commoditized


  • Little existing knowledge about consumer check buyers among FIs.

  • Some consumers want more than the standard gray check—they see checks as a way to express their personalities.

  • FIs uncertain how to create better customer experieneces for their customers at every touchpoint—including check buying.

  • Check printers including Deluxe were perceived as a supplier, a vendor, not a business partner.

Strategic Research

  • Three large scale studies were undertaken among national samples of more than 1000 consumer check buyers and 600 decision-makers at FIs.

  • The needs, problems and motivations of each group were measured, along with profitability.

  • The most profitable segments and a positioning that would resonate with FIs were identified coupled with modeling to evaluate alternative marketing plans.

  • In addition, FIs were exposed to alternative new service concepts designed to improve the check buying experience for customers.

Strategic Options

  • Sell the check printing business assets to competitors and exit the business all together.

  • Continue to cut costs and compete as a low price vendor.

  • Position the company as a strategic partner and knowledge leader in the industry, dedicated to helping FIs create better customer experiences with check buying and beyond.

Strategic Choice

  • Chuck Feltz, President of Deluxe Financial Services selected the third option and instituted a strategy to become an indispensable business partner to FIs, helping them to deliver better customer experiences.

  • The company launched the DeluxeSelectSM service, leveraging its vast knowledge of consumer check buyers to streamline FIs check programs.

  • It also sponsored a series of quarterly conferences with world famous management speakers and a 2-day educational workshops at leading universities including the Harvard Business School, to help FIs learn how
    to improve customer experiences and their bottom lines.

Performance Results

  • Deluxe is moving rapidly to achieve its objectives.

  • DeluxeSelectSM has generated an additional $100 million for the company, in a shrinking industry.

  • 87% of customers and prospects indicate they view Deluxe as a strategic partner, not a commodity supplier.

  • 9 out of 10 customers and prospects also report they are likely to do even more business with Deluxe.

  • They have become an industry superstar as new products and services are being rolled out to help FIs improve business performance.


Selected Case Histories

  Air Products
  Citizens Bank
  Ethicon Endo-Surgery
  Green Mountain Energy
  On The Run