Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2015

As the Thanksgiving weekend approaches, we’d like to say thanks to the many friends and clients we’ve had the good fortune to come in contact with over the years. We’re all running in several different directions all the time, and this time of year we need to slow down a bit to appreciate the things around us.

So this weekend, don’t take your briefcase home, and your emails will still be there Monday morning when you get back in the office. Recharge your batteries this weekend. Play with your kids or grandkids, visit an old friend or watch some football. We take a lot of things for granted sometimes – our Families and Friends.

Enjoy the weekend. We can get back to the rat race next week.

Content Marketing: More is Not Necessarily Better

November 22, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

Your potential audience doesn’t want quantity, they want quality. So if you’re trying to generate more content quicker just for the sake of having it, don’t waste your time. You need to accelerate demand, not noise.

I recently read an article by Carlos Hidalgo from Content Marketing Institute on How to Develop a Buyer-Centric Content Marketing Strategy that made several good points.

The best way to connect with your audience is to determine what kind of content they want. In other words, what motivates buyer behavior and how do they get information? If you know these, you can build the correct content architecture.

  • What motivates buyer’s behavior? You need to have a deeper understanding of how a buyer thinks and then what do we need to say to get him over to our side.
  • How do they get their information? What type of content do they prefer and where do they go to get it?
  • Building a content architecture – Once you have an answer to the above questions, then you can map out a plan to get to them with the right info at the right time.

Content Marketing’s main purpose is to drive specific business outcomes. So the buyers are looking for more info, just the right info. He points to a 2014 ANNUITAS survey where less than 3% of those responsible for content marketing activities were happy with their outcomes. Here’s another scary fact from Sirius Decisions — that 70-80% of all content is never used!

These are not good numbers to take to the C-Suite to get more funding. If you can’t achieve positive and measurable results that can be tied to sales revenues, you really don’t have a content strategy at all.

3 Pricing Adjustments Manufacturers & Distributors Should Make Now

November 18, 2015

This post originally appeared on INSIGHT2PROFIT.com

Years ago, an Ohio-based specialty metal business made the decision not to charge for freight costs, even though their products were extremely heavy. The rationale? None of their competitors were charging, so they couldn’t either.

In reality, this company was  No. 1 in the industry, so all those competitors were actually just following their lead. When the company realized what was going on, it had the opportunity to change the policy for its entire industry.

And so it did—collecting more than $1 million in additional revenues.

Smart companies know pricing strategy isn’t just about the price on the invoice. To have an immediate impact on your bottom line without formally raising prices, here are three areas to tackle first.

1. Freight Costs

If you’ve been operating for decades, your freight policies have probably been in place just as long. Maybe you don’t charge for freight at all, or fees are the same across all territories—or you charge the same as you did 50 years ago even though shipping rates have risen dramatically.

To start, ask yourself:

  • When was the last time our freight terms were updated?
  • What is our justification for our freight policy?
  • What are our competitors doing in this space?

This line of questioning can help internal stakeholders determine if there’s opportunity for improvement without much effort, as the aforementioned specialty metal business discovered.

2. Rush Orders

When you place an order on Amazon.com and you want 2-day shipping, you understand you’ll have to pay premium pricing—in this case, $99 for a year of Amazon Prime.

Your customers realize this, too. Yet many manufacturers and distributors don’t charge extra for rush orders.

If your lead time is two weeks, but your buyer needs his order in three days, are you charging extra? In order to get that order to the buyer within his limited time constraint, you’ll have to disrupt your operation, move around other orders and pay higher shipping costs. You might even put other orders at risk. You should be paid for those efforts, but many manufacturers don’t actively seek compensation.

Remember, if a buyer needs an order faster than usual, they’ll gladly pay to get it sooner.

3. Volume Discounts

It’s natural to want to offer discounts to your biggest customers, but if you don’t have a discounting strategy in place, the practice can steadily erode your bottom line.

Discounts shape your customers’ perception of your pricing: With every discount your give, the lowered price becomes the new standard. The next time that customer calls with an order, she will expect that same price, even if the order is only half the size.

The key here is to communicate early and often regarding volume discounts. When buyers understand why they are receiving discounts for a specific order, they will begin to understand the rationale behind your invoicing and, therefore, not expect discounts with every order.

Additionally, the threat over-discounting poses on profit often goes undetected since most companies don’t truly know how much profit is lost when sales reps offer discounts. Your company does not need to ban discounts all together, but a discount ceiling should be put in place to keep your profits from decreasing too drastically.

Start Small (and Risk-Free) with Freight, Expedites and Discounts

Raising prices throughout each of your product lines can be a highly complex process that demands a lot of analysis. Freight, expedites and discounts are areas you can impact quickly without upsetting current customers.

Start by identifying improvements that can deliver the most profit with the least amount of risk and effort. The extra revenue you uncover can be used to support larger-scale strategic pricing efforts in the future, such as increasing product prices, which will require more time, effort and commitment.

Bad pricing practices are more common than you’d think. Find out why bad pricing happens to good companies in our free guide.

2016 Budgets: How Much are you Going to Spend on Social and Mobile Marketing?

November 17, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter


Now that it’s time for budgeting for next year, the question is, where are you going to allocate your dollars? There’s always more opportunities than there is money to fund them.

Social media – have you tried some efforts in it this past year? What were the results? What were management’s expectations?

Mobile marketing – Has this been on your radar screen? Do you have plans to be mobile friendly in 2016?

I recently read a post from Jeffrey Cohen at Social Media B2B that highlights the latest CMO results on B-to-B Statistics on what and where money is being spent. You can get complete details here. What’s amazing is that only 23% of marketing projects run by B-to-B product companies use marketing analytics.

Here are some highlights on budgets:

  • Marketing makes up 10% of overall company budget
  • Product companies currently spend 8% of their marketing budgets on social media
  • In the next 5 years, they will spend 18% of their marketing budget on social media

Here are some highlights on social media impact:

  • 54% of B-to-B product companies have proven impact of social media on their business
  • 40% of B-to-B product companies have a good sense of the impact of social media on their business
  • 6% of B-to-B product companies have not been able to show impact on their business

Here are some highlights on mobile and internet:

  • B-to-B product companies currently spend 5% of their marketing budget on mobile
  • In the next 3 years, B-to-B product companies will spend 14% on mobile
  • B-to-B  product companies complete 7.5% of their sales over the internet

Hopefully these numbers will help you in your upcoming budgeting processes.

10 Reasons to Incorporate a Consistent Press Release Program in Your Marketing Plan

November 11, 2015

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter

1287_5028055-PressReleaseThe press release is possibly the most basic element of public relations and is still the most effective method of getting your organization’s news out. However, the concept of consistency is often overlooked when considering press releases.

Having a consistent press release program can provide a variety of benefits to your company.

What exactly is a consistent press release program? Often we aim to distribute an average of one press release per month for our clients; if it’s a slow news year, that could be 8-10 press releases instead. The key is consistency.

Here are 10 reasons to establish a consistent press release program:

  1. Strengthens your brand’s relationship with the media
  2. Positions your brand as a reliable source when publications need input for round-up articles
  3. Press releases can spur interview requests for more in-depth media coverage
  4. Press releases strengthen your brand
  5. Improve your search rankings
  6. Complement other marketing efforts
  7. Provide content for social media posts
  8. Reinforce your brand’s position in the industry
  9. Provide support material for other media relations efforts
  10. Get your news in front of your target audiences

Are You Using Videos to Connect with the Professional Tradesman?

November 10, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

Short videos are ideal for social media and for you to gain reach and shares.

As a manufacturer, are you capitalizing on this powerful tool to disperse your message? You don’t need a “Hollywood” production. As a matter of a fact, the ones done on a mobile phone would do just fine. We’ve done “man on the street” interviews with contractors at will-call counters and on job sites asking their opinions on tools and other products.

Did you know – Videos convey more info per minute than any other media and 65% of the public like to learn via videos.

In my opinion, you’re better off making a series of very short videos (keep each to one thought or idea). Ideally under 2 minutes is what I tell folks to shoot at. Below is an example of one of a series of videos we have done.


Here are some thoughts on content.

  • Focus on a problem your customer might have from their perspective (what happened if the problem isn’t resolved?)
  • Provide tips to solve it.
  • Utilize the video medium to show examples or illustrate a solution. Here’s your chance to be creative.
  • Make sure they know your company has the solution to solve their problem.

Donna Moritz did a recent post in Social Media Examiner that talks about 6 ways to use short videos in social marketing. Here are some highlights:

  • How to video – solve a problem.
  • Highlight your skills – what better way to get your value proposition out there.
  • Showcase an event – trade show, association event or new product intro.
  • Go behind the scenes  give the viewer some insights of your company that they normally wouldn’t see.

She also outlines 10 tools you can use to create and edit short videos.

The bottom line is, use video in your marketing efforts.

Is Print Dead?

November 4, 2015

We’ve been hearing for years that print is “dead” and digital media reigns. However for B2T, print is still and important medium.

Join Matt Sonnhalter in the next installment of our Marketing Minute series to find out more about why you shouldn’t call time of death of print advertising.

To view other videos from Sonnhalter, visit our YouTube channel here and let us know if there’s a B2T marketing topic you’d like us to cover.


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