IMTS 2014 Stats and Highlights

September 18, 2014

Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer

The 30th edition of IMTS (The International Manufacturing Technology Show) 2014 was the fourth largest IMTS in history and the largest six-day show ever with registration of 114,147 representing 112 countries. [Read the Press Release Here]

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I was able to attend IMTS two days last week and the one main impression that I walked away with is that IMTS is a huge show. Although I made a point to visit all four halls at McCormick Place in Chicago (North, South, East and West), I regret that I could not see it all. I spent most of my time with one of Sonnhalter’s clients in the North hall and kept busy most of the time.

IMTS takes place every two years and the 2014 show stats are impressive:

  • 2014 registration was 13.9% higher than 2012
  • 2,035 companies exhibited
  • Exhibits covered 1.282 square feet
  • 17,767 students, educators, administrators and parent chaperones (double the 2012 numbers)

I had the opportunity to talk with exhibitors, attendees and media at the show and all of them had similar comments on IMTS being an impressive and very positive show. Here were some of my personal highlights from the show:

  • Every client booth that I visited was busy and their teams reported gathering quality leads
  • There were a lot of students who visited the show and they asked excellent questions at the booths such as, “What does your company do?” “How does this machine work?” “Where would I see your products in my everyday life?” and many more. The exhibitors were more than happy to answer their questions.DSC_0278
  • Manufacturing growth and technology advances were evident everywhere I turned, from the world’s first 3D-printed car [more on that here] to highly advanced machines and robotics and many other areas that I’m excited to learn more about.
  • Having an Insider’s Guide to a trade show city is incredibly helpful. It can be intimidating to find a place to have dinner or grab a drink when a city, like Chicago, has so many options. The Insider’s Guide to Chicago definitely helped many IMTS attendees find some great places.

Did you attend IMTS this year? What were the highlights of the show for you? Will you be at IMTS 2016?


Blogging Tips to Increase Marketing Efforts to the Professional Tradesmen

September 17, 2014

For those who follow me on a regular basis, you know I’m a big supporter of blogs. It seems that most companies now are at least considering doing a blog.

Here are a few good reasons you should consider a blog for your company:

  • Websites are mostly static - Once a contractor has been to your website, why does he need to go back? He knows who you are and what you do. If you don’t get him to follow you on an RSS feed or fill out a form to be on a mailing list, you basically have lost most visitors.
  • Thought leadership - One of the main objectives of a blog is to set you and your company apart. What better way to increase your brand awareness and generate new leads?
  • Keep your customers/prospects coming back - When you publish new content on a regular basis, customers and prospects keep coming back. It also allows for interactions with both categories.
  • Re-purpose content - You can take a current post and use it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to gain additional exposure.
  • Blogs can provide additional in-links - Once you establish yourself as a thought leader in a category, others will begin to link back to you and this will alert search engines that you must be saying something important.

Blogging is a collaborative process. You need and want to interact with your audience.

Here a few tips on writing a good posts:

  • You need a catchy title - Like anything else, if you can’t spark an interest, folks won’t click on to read your words of wisdom.
  • Know your audience - Know what issues are affecting them on a regular basis.
  • Have an opinion - People follow you because you give them a unique insight. Set yourself apart.
  • Be yourself - Let your personality shine through. Write like you talk. Inject some humor when appropriate.
  • Engage your readers - Ask for opinions, or if the subject matter is somewhat controversial, ask for a counter viewpoint.

Blogs are a lot of work, but if done properly, can set yourself apart in your market and ultimately get you new customers.

 


What Are You Doing to Drive Opted-in Emails?

September 16, 2014

Let’s face it, we’re all in this for the same reason. To talk with people who share the same interest and could possibly be or refer us a new client.

So in order to get them to give up their email, we better come up with some interesting and helpful stuff that will make them want to be in our book for future gems. It’s not only what you have to say, but how you say it. Beyond being potential customers, these contacts can be your best friend by sharing it with their peer group.

I recently read a blog post by Ramsay Taplin in Copyblogger, 5 Subtle Writing Strategies That Drive Email Signups that I thought had value for the B-to-B community. While all may not be applicable to your world, he raises some good tips for us to consider:

  • Use time-sensitive language – people are afraid to miss out on something. An example, for a webinar, space is limited, sign up now.
  • Standing out from the crowd – tell unusual stories to get your point across. This is especially true when talking about more technical or drier topics. Add a personal touch or a little humor. Everyone loves a laugh.
  • Include social proof – demonstrate that they won’t be the first. Put up comments from other subscribers as to what they are getting out of it.
  • Develop and test different landing pages - Yes, you will ultimately end up with the names, but how you might ask for them will bring different results.
  • Write for people and search engines - Yes, your message is ultimately for people, but search engines help spread the word to others looking for similar information.

Oh, by the way, if you want to get more gems from me, sign up here for my monthly newsletter.


Highlights from the Fifth Annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive Round-Up

September 11, 2014

Thanks to all that supported Sonnhalter’s 5th Annual Tool Drive to benefit Habitat for Humanity.
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We recently completed our fifth annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Thanks to everyone’s generous support, we received more than $35,000 in tools and building supplies. Since Sonnhalter began its efforts in 2010, it has collected more than $141,000 in donations.

We thought we’d share some highlights.

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Organizing the donations that arrived at our offices to fit in the Habitat for Humanity truck on collection day.

Trade industry participants included Contractor Magazine, Council Tool Company, Gerber Plumbing, KNIPEX Tools LP, Lakeside Supply, Osborn, RIDGID, Samsel Supply, Sutton Industrial Hardware, WD40 Company, Welch Packaging, Wolff Bros. Supply, Woodhill Supply and Work Area Protection Corporation.

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Work Area Protection’s donation of traffic cones.

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Gerber’s donations of plumbing fixtures.

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Loading the RIDGID donation during the round-up.

Community participants included the Berea Recreation Center, Café Ah-Roma, Cuyahoga County Public Library-Berea Branch, Edward Jones Investments, Perk-CUP! Café, St. Mary’s Church of Berea, St. Mary’s of the Falls, Sylvester’s Auto and Light Truck Service, Tony K’s Bar & Grille and many community members.

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Pick up from one of our community drop-off locations at Perk-Cup Café.

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Round-up stop at community drop-off location Berea Branch, Cuyahoga County Library.

It was a huge success and we are very thankful for the generosity of everyone that helped!

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Sonnhalter employees are not afraid to get their hands dirty during the tool round-up.

Click here to read more about the Sonnhalter Fifth Annual Tool Drive.


Are You Leveraging Social Media Across Your Manufacturing Business?

September 10, 2014

There are all kinds of buzz words out there—integrated marketing, 360 degree marketing, etc. They all have the same goal in mind, and that is to take your marketing message and share it across all methods of communication. Place your customer in the center of your efforts and then deliver your information in various ways so they can get it in the format they prefer.

Heidi Cohen had an interesting post recently, 360 Degree Social Media Marketing, where she shared 37 different tactics that you can use.

Here are some highlights that manufacturers should consider:

  • Be consistent - Develop content on a regular basis so you can start to build a relationship.
  • Selective use of social media - Use the appropriate media to get in front of your prospects. Make sure you use photos and videos in making your points.
  • Utilize customer service - they are talking to customers all the time. Create a FAQ segment to share. Give your customers options on ways to contact you other than on social.
  • Collect customer feedback and input for research purposes. Hear firsthand their compliments and complaints on your products/services.
  • Utilize social in your PR efforts - We all have brand advocates. Work with them to help build your visibility. Start a blog to establish thought leadership.

If you like this subject, you may want to reads:

Are You Getting Your Sales Force Involved in Social Media?

How Does Social Media Impact a B-to-B Purchase?

 


We’ve Always Done it That Way!

September 9, 2014

OutsidetheBox

I cringe when I hear someone say that phrase. Past actions will not ensure future success. Manufacturers who have this mindset are missing out on many opportunities. You literally need to think outside the box.

In today’s market, there are so many other options to consider. Some may not be appropriate for you, but you have to evaluate and pick the ones that might be useful for you. One basic change we all need to make is change how we reach out to potentials. If you’re trying to sell features/benefits to a prospect, you’re going to disappointed.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Take a different approach - Instead of talking about you, help your customer solve a problem. Always answer the question from your customer’s perspective of  “What’s in it for me?”
  • Friendly website - If you count on your website as a way of selling your brand, come at it from a customer’s perspective and make sure that your site is responsive (have different versions for smart phones and tablets). Make it easy to find what they are looking for.
  • Limited social media - Most manufacturers don’t need to utilize all the options that are available to you. You should focus on those areas that will bring you the most bang for the time you have. You already may have existing things like how-to videos (YouTube) or Power Point presentations (SlideShare) on the best way to solve a particular problem. If you’re in specific market segments, join and participate in the conversations (LinkedIn). If you have the resources, starting a blog would be an ideal way of setting you apart from your competitors and putting you out as an industry expert. Places like Facebook and Twitter, for the most part, are not ways to communicate with contractors and professional tradesman.

The key is to do something different, and as I’ve shown you here, in most cases you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You have valuable info and insights on how to solve your customer’s problems. Don’t keep to yourself – share it.


From MAGNET: MAGNET Helps SIFCO Streamline And Stay “SMART”

September 4, 2014

Each month we’ll be featuring a blog post from our friends at MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network). MAGNET’s mission is to support, educate and champion manufacturing in Ohio with the goal of transforming the region’s economy into a powerful, global player. You can visit MAGNET online at manufacturingsuccess.org.

MAGNET Helps SIFCO Streamline And Stay “SMART”


SIFCO Forge Group found themselves with longer-than-desired turnaround and delivery times and needed a lean program to help them reduce these times and their costs. In partnering with MAGNET, SIFCO went far beyond a typical lean program and redefined their company culture with the SIFCO SMART program. In this video, you’ll learn more about MAGNET and SIFCO’s development of SMART and how it positively impacted not just SIFCO’s bottom line but every single member of its workforce.

Click here to read the original post.


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