Build Safety Knowledge on Construction Safety Day

April 23, 2014

Following is a guest post about Construction Safety Day from James White from Maxwell Systems.

We all know that safety comes first, but sometimes that isn’t enough. In construction, safety should come first, second and third. That is what the 7th annual Construction Safety Day is all about. One of the most important aspects of the construction industry is understanding the dangers involved and knowing how to remain cautious and safe at all times. During Construction Safety Day, that understanding and knowledge will be at the forefront of every activity and discussion. If we want to make the construction industry safer, the insight that can be gained during Construction Safety Day is a great place to start.

Who, What, When, Where and Why

On April 23, this year’s Construction Safety Day is taking place at the Washington State Fair Events Center in Puyallup. With the priority of keeping everyone in the construction industry safe, this conference will include exhibits, equipment displays and demonstrations among other activities. Just like last year, Construction Safety Day is being put on by Washington’s Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board. And in the name of making the entire industry safer, many construction companies are sponsoring the event, such as the following:

  • Korsmo Construction
  • Hoffman Construction Company
  • Teknon
  • Lakeside Industries, and more

What to Expect

With construction picking up again, learning how to prevent injuries is becoming more and more important. That is why we can expect this year’s Construction Safety Day to be an extension of last year’s event. The 2014 Construction Safety Day will introduce and explain the newest injury-prevention techniques, as well as demonstrate the safest ways to utilize new equipment and vehicles. Attendees will also learn proper leadership and communication behaviors to further protect everyone involved within the construction industry. This year’s Construction Safety Day is also likely to include a catered lunch and prize drawings.

Safety in the Construction Industry

The first step in making the construction industry safer is to understand what the biggest threats to everyone’s health are. That is why Viewpoint wants to remind people within the construction industry of the dangers of the job. For instance, the Safety in the Construction Industry graphic breaks down the “fatal four” reasons for deaths within the industry by showing falls were the sole reason for 36 percent of all construction deaths in 2012. Understanding that danger and knowing the risks can encourage people to both be cautious and create new ways to prevent falling.

Another key point of the Safety in the Construction Industry graphic is that nearly 20 percent of all work-related deaths came from the construction industry. Making that shocking number more well-known is the best way to get more people involved in taking action to lower it. The graphic also breaks down the most dangerous types of construction. Gaining the knowledge that 48 percent of construction industry deaths occurred within specialty trade between 2003 and 2012 is the most by far can help people understand where we need to attack safety ignorance in order to prevent deaths. While becoming more educated on the dangers of the construction industry will not automatically make it safer, it is a great first step that has the potential to spur action and raise necessary awareness.

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40% of Salespeople Aren’t Making Their Numbers. Can Marketing Help?

April 22, 2014

I recently read an article in eMarketer.com that dealt with sales stats in 2013, and that almost 40% of the sales forces weren’t making their numbers and it floored me. I sure wouldn’t want to be running a company based on sales of XXX and then the sales force under-delivers by that large of a difference-Yikes!

2013 wasn’t a bad year for the economy (we’ve seen a lot worse), and I can’t help but wonder what their issues were in closing the sale. One of the biggest reasons given was the sale ended in a “no decision.” What does that mean?

Here’s an interesting graphic:

It sounds to me like either the leads weren’t qualified correctly or the salesman didn’t do his homework in determining where the prospect was in the sales funnel. It also sounds like there were multiple decision makers in the process and possibly they all were not included in the sales pitch. A few other things bother me as well:

  • What I can’t understand in this report is that 31% were unable to effectively communicate value to a prospect - yes, you heard me right.
  • 26% had content that wasn’t aligned with the buyer
  • 20% didn’t have the necessary content or resources for selling

This sounds like a great opportunity for marketing to step in and help fill the content voids they are talking about. It also begs the question of whether these results were from a traditional selling model versus that of one using social media as part of the mix.

If you had good content that was searchable on the internet, chances are the right people will find that info long before they identify themselves to you as a prospect and get a lot of their basic homework done first. You’d be able to show your expertise in a market segment so they think of you as an industry expert, which will help set you apart (value of your brand) when they finally decide to contact you. Marketing can help answer those questions ahead of time if we know the different stages of the selling cycle and what’s important to address at each level.

Am I missing the boat here or do you agree?


8 Tips for Media Interviews

April 17, 2014

Today we have a blog post from Rosemarie Ascherl, PR Foreman at Sonnhalter, discussing tips for successful media interviews.

Interview

Do you ever pick up an industry trade journal and wonder why your company’s perspective hasn’t been included? Editors often rely on “round-up” articles, which entail interviewing several manufacturers’ spokespeople to develop an industry trend story. The trick to getting your company included in these stories is to portray your company as a thought leader.

Proactively developing and leveraging relationships with the media to make sure your company is included in round-up articles is fairly easy to do. Your marketing communications firm has these relationships and can facilitate the media interviews with your company spokesperson.

Once an interview is scheduled, what do you need to do?

  1. If you don’t know the editor, familiarize yourself with the editor by reviewing past issues of the publication and checking out the editor’s LinkedIn profile.
  2. Make sure your calendar is blocked for the interview and you are in a quiet office where you will not be interrupted. Most interviews are conducted in a simple 15- to 30-minute phone conversation. Editors are always working against deadlines, so cancelling or postponing an interview could mean you’re not included in the article – or worse, your competitor gets included instead!
  3. Request questions prior to the interview. Editors sometimes provide you with questions to guide the conversation. Make sure you review the questions before the interview and give them some thought. It doesn’t hurt to talk them through with a colleague that may have additional input.
  4. Sometimes the conversation will veer from the questions, but know what you want to tell the editor. The editor should be able to walk away with three to four main points regarding the subject.
  5. Follow up, or have your public relations representative follow up, with appropriate press materials or graphics that you reference in your conversation.
  6. Do not tell the media anything you don’t want to see in print. Be honest. If the editor asks you a question you aren’t prepared to answer, tell him or her you’ll get back to them with an answer [and then be sure to follow up].
  7. Do not expect to see the article before it is published. Some editors will provide you with a chance to review your comments; however, this is merely a courtesy and should not be presumed. If given the opportunity to review the article, stick to checking the facts you provided and don’t attempt to alter the editor’s writing style.
  8. Thank the editor for the coverage. And of course, offer your assistance and time for future articles that the editor might need help with.

Once the editor knows you’re a well-prepared, reliable source, they will be inclined to request your opinions for future articles—resulting in more valuable editorial content for your company!


Do You Have a Strategy for Negative Social Media Posts?

April 16, 2014

I’m amazed by the stats that more than half of those on social media don’t have a plan to respond to negative social media posts.  Social media isn’t new, isn’t going away, and if you’ve followed or read anything about this space, you know there have been numerous posts about the subject.

The February 2014 research from Social Media Marketing University substantiates the notion that people still aren’t taking this seriously.

Negative issues need to be addressed and what better way to hear about issues than on social platforms. Don’t you want to know what customers are saying about you? You’d better be monitoring them and jump in with a plan to respond. There are several monitoring options out there will help you. Here are some free ones – Social mention, Google alerts, Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.

I recently had an experience with a major faucet manufacturer about a replacement. We had to get a new tub at home and my wife wanted to update the faucets, which we did. The manufacturer sent the wrong spout and it took our plumber almost 2 months to get the replacement for it. They weren’t good at customer service, just making excuses. I made mention (by brand name) on a tweet what my frustration was, and true to form, heard nothing back.

In the short run, ignoring me may not be a big deal to them since I had already purchased the tub set, but in the long run, my wife is planning to replace all the faucets in our 3 bathrooms. Guess who isn’t going to be considered for that purchase?

In a world where we have alternative plans for everything, don’t overlook social responses to negative posts. It’s better to address them straight on or they will fester and come back to bite you when you least expect it. Have a plan in place.


Are You Using Influencers in Your New Product Launch to Professional Tradesmen?

April 15, 2014

When you’re planning your next new product launch beyond your traditional media lists that you send to, are you utilizing the Influencers in the market you’re going after?

Most times you don’t think about those bloggers out there that have big followings in the markets that you’re trying to reach.

An Influencer is someone who is able to mobilize options and create reactions when talking about a specific market or topic. They are the kinds of folks you want talking about you and your products. For example, if your target is mechanical contractors, you should be talking with John Mesenbrink from mechanical-hub. His blog is known throughout the industry and he’s a respected source of information.

Beyond getting them samples to try, they are looking for material you can provide so they can produce their own content. If possible, some exclusive little tidbits are always helpful. They can spread the word to a large number of your target audience in a short period of time…that’s the good news. The  potential bad news is you can’t send them a press release and expect them to run it as is. Influencers make and have opinions, and we always run the risk that they may not be as kind as you would in evaluating the product. They will always be fair, but to some marketers, that’s a relative term.

Long-term strategy would be to identify and start-up a conversation long before you launch that new product. Get to know them and they you. Again, it’s about relationships.


From MAGNET: Find New Talent

April 10, 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.

Employers: Find New Talent with MAGNET’s Summer Work-Based Learning Experiences Program

Judith Crocker, Director of Workforce & Talent Development, MAGNET

Now is the time for Northeast Ohio manufacturers to step up and become part of the skills-gap solution by taking part in a unique summer work-force development program coordinated by MAGNET.

MAGNET’s 2013 Work-Based Learning Experiences program (WBLE) offers work-based learning experiences to high-school students who will enter their senior year next fall.  Students from Mahoning County Career Technical Center, Polaris Career Center and Lorain County Joint Vocational School are participating in this “earn and learn” program.

This program allows Northeast Ohio manufacturers to be part of the solution and help attract and engage young people in engineering and manufacturing careers. Manufacturers can contact me, Judith Crocker, by phone (216.432.5386) or email to participate.

Prep: One- and Two-Day Shadowing Events

MAGNET student interns learn by doing under the supervision of senior product development engineers.

MAGNET student interns learn by doing under the supervision of senior product development engineers.

In addition, in preparation for the summer WBLE program, MAGNET is currently seeking companies that will welcome a student to shadow an employee for  just one or two days, to learn about the company’s products or services. This will give them the opportunity to see for themselves how what they are studying in school relates to the “real world” experience of a manufacturer.

It is our hope that employers who participate in the “shadowing” program will see the student’s potential and go on to offer that student a chance to participate in the summer WBLE program.

About MAGNET’s WBLE Program

Participating employers provide up to 150 hours of work and learning experiences related to the students’ programs of study. These include:

  • Electronics & Alternative Energy
  • Welding
  • Engineering Technology.
  • Precision Machine Technology
  • Computer Design and Drafting

Some of the eligible students are participants in Project Lead the Way. This pre-engineering program is a rigorous national curriculum that prepares students to pursue an engineering related or technical program in college. By the end of 11th grade, these students have studied digital electronics, principles of engineering and blueprint reading. They’ve also been introduced to related engineering and manufacturing skills. So they will bring this valuable background to the summer learning experience.

Students have the opportunity to earn college and high-school credit while preparing for careers in engineering

Northeast Ohio companies will be great places for a student to see how what they have studied applies in the workplace. In addition, they will see for themselves concrete examples of well-paid future career opportunities in the manufacturing sector.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

The MAGNET Work-Based Learning Experiences program is made possible with generous support from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, Nordson Corporation Foundation,Dominion Foundation, and a challenge grant from the Fred A. Lennon Charitable Trust.

Click here to read the original post.


Are You Getting Your Sales Force Involved in Social Media?

April 9, 2014

No, I’m not trying to delegate the social media tactics and implementations to the sales force, they’re too busy selling. But if you aren’t getting them involved to a degree, you could be missing some opportunities for prospecting, research, networking and branding.

Let’s face it, your sales forces are in the trenches every day solving customer’s problems. Chances are other folks are having similar problems. Why shouldn’t you share those solutions with other customers and potential new ones?

Don’t Overlook One of Your Best Resources for Great Content – Your Sales Force

Here are four things salespeople can do that will help marketing by using social media:

  1. LinkedIn - Make sure all your folks are on LinkedIn and their profiles include a uniform and concise description of the company. The marketing department can help with the wordsmithing. Messaging should be on your business and the solutions your company offers. Don’t forget to include links to appropriate videos and websites. Have your salespeople join and be active in LinkedIn groups. Chances are that one of your trade associations or users have groups already set up. Have them monitor and participate when appropriate, but make sure they aren’t selling. Have them put on their problem-solving hat and offer solutions.
  2. Social media training - We’re not trying to make them experts, but to give them an overview of what social media is and how you are using it as another tool. Once they understand the why and how, they can be a great resource for you. The training could be a 30-45 minute “go-to meeting” with refreshers possibly at the annual sales meeting. This could pay off big time with the next two items.
  3. Company blog - If your company doesn’t have one, maybe you should consider doing one. The biggest challenge is writing good content, and if you train your sales force, they will give you plenty to write about. Make sure they know you have a blog. Make them read it and make suggestions on future topics. First ask them for ideas on articles that would benefit the users. Once you get a list, identify those within the sales force that has the most experience/expertise in that product or market. In some cases, they might want to take a stab at writing it, but I’d suggest someone in marketing interview them, write a draft and get it back to them for approval. It would be ideal, when possible, to get an actual customer involved and quoted in the post.
  4. Content Generation - Your sales force is or should be the experts in the field. Are you taking advantage of their problem-solving expertise? Why not have them write down the problem and solution. Then they could do several things with it.
  • Get it to marketing to be put on a FAQ section of the web, and it also could be used for other social content down the road.
  • Share it with the other salespeople who may have customers with similar problems.
  • Share it with other clients/prospects of theirs via email that might benefit from the outcome.

 


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