B-to-B Marketing: Is There Room for Humor?

August 13, 2014

Everyone knows that B-to-B  marketing is serious stuff. Maybe sometimes too serious! We need to write white papers and do microsites that talk about all the features and benefits. All good and necessary stuff, but is it memorable to a prospect looking at your brand? Now I agree that not all things may be appropriate for a humorous take, but most are and there are plenty of companies reaching out and taking the leap.

The president of our agency earlier this summer attended the annual BMA Conference in Chicago where one of the presenters was Tim Washer with Cisco. His topic was humor and why it’s important  to use it.

Here’s an example from Tim Washer on how Cisco used humor introducing a new router .

Another example is Kinaxis who used the idea of a dating scenario to bring home the points on supply chain management.

Here’s an example of how Kinaxis puts humor into the use.

The challenge to all you conservative folks out there is to keep an open mind. I’m not suggesting you drop all the traditional stuff, absolutely not. But it’s not bad to show folks you’re human.

  • These don’t have to be Hollywood productions.
  • The key is delivering a key message using humorous situations.
  • Keep it focused and under two minutes.
  • Take a risk and dare to be different.

Let’s face it, we’re all humans here, and with all the things going on in the world, everyone enjoys a laugh. Make your brand stand out from the rest.


Are You Having Success With the Likes of Amazon Supply?

August 12, 2014

AmazonSupplyNew

It’s been two years now that Amazon decided to get into the industrial space and compete with the traditional brick and mortar stores. Google shopping even jumped in for a while (though they recently discontinued their pilot program).

I’ve written a few posts over the last couple of years asking you, the manufacturer, if you’ve jumped on the band wagon. For those that have, I’d be interested in what kind of results (sales) that you’re getting from this channel?

A bigger question is, are the big boys, Grainger, MSC, Fastenal, etc., becoming a bigger percentage of  your sales number?

What’s your forecast going forward? Are the independents still going to be a vital part of your go-to market strategy?

I know these are lots of questions, but I’d like to get a feel for where folks are going to be focusing on in the future. Here are some of my thoughts Distributor Strategy: What’s yours?

What’s yours?


Host a Successful Manufacturing Day Event

August 7, 2014

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer

What are you doing October 3rd?

I hope your answer is hosting (or attending) a Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) event.

Not sure what MFG Day is? Here’s the short answer:

MFG Day, started in 2012, addresses common misconceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers the opportunity to open their doors and show, through a coordinated effort, what manufacturing really is and what it isn’t. Manufacturers can address the skilled labor shortage, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.

For the long answer, visit MFGDay.com.

If you’re planning to host an event for MFG Day in October, here are some tips for making it successful:

  1. Set goals for your event. Do you want to improve your image in the community? Do you need to recruit new talent? Do you want to contribute to changing the image of manufacturing? Figure out what you want to accomplish with your event and then create your plan.
  2. Identify your target audience(s). Based on the needs of your organization, some potential audiences to invite include local technical school and high school administration, faculty and students; local and regional politicians; local and trade media; family and friends of your employees and/or the local community as a whole.
  3. Put together a simple agenda. Include time to introduce your company and tailor your event to the audience that you’re inviting.
  4. Plan informative and interactive activities. Facility tours, brief presentations on different roles and Q&A sessions are easy to arrange and are effective.
  5. Promote your event. Be sure to list your event with mfgday.com, use your network to promote, and personally invite your target audience and promote your event through your existing channels including on your website and social media.

October 3 might not be a good date for your company. No problem! Pick a day that works for you and invite the people you want to reach to an event or open house and talk to them.

The manufacturing sector still faces a myriad of misconceptions. Initiatives like MFG Day provide a great opportunity to dispel myths and shed some light on what the industry is really like.

Whether or not you have a successful event on October 3 (or another day) depends on your goals.

I had the opportunity to write a story on a highly successful MFG Day event that was planned on very short notice. Check out Production Machining Magazine to see what a successful MFG Day event looked like for Thuro Metal Products.

What are you doing October 3rd? Save the date for MFG Day!

 

 

 


Do’s and Don’ts of Content Marketing

August 6, 2014

So everyone knows what content marketing is. But do we know how to get the best results out of it? I know I’ve been doing this for over three years now and have hardly touched the potential of what is available. I’ve been to webinars, seminars and summits on the subject and continue to learn new ways to capitalize on content marketing.

I recently read Joe Pulizzi’s book Epic Content Marketing. As usual, Joe does a great job explaining how to use and integrate into overall marketing plan.

epiccontentmarketing-pulizzi

This is a good book for the beginner or for those already engaged to reinforce the right way of doing things. It’s easy to read, has lots of examples, from defining your strategy to developing and managing content to marketing your stories, and I’m sure you’ll get tons of useful tips on how to get more out of your content marketing.


Do You Repurpose Your Content?

August 5, 2014

We all work hard on developing content for your blog, but what happens after it’s posted? Yes, you optimize it for search and you use various social sites to promote it, but is that all?

Repurposing is taking an existing piece of content and communicating your ideas in different ways using different media (i.e. SlideShare, infographic, podcasts) to deliver the same message from several different angles. Not all content should be repurposed though. You should stick to your core message that’s not time sensitive.

I recently read a post by Darren Rowse, How to Repurpose Your Content and Why You Should Do It that gave great insights on not only Why but How to do it effectively.

Here are some of his key takeaways on doing it correctly:

  • Choose your content carefully - make sure it’s central to your key messaging and is not time sensitive.
  • Think carefully about the medium - some people like to read, others would prefer a podcast and yet others are drawn to infographics.
  • Use a different angle - while the subject matter would be the same, there are several ways you can approach the subject.

Some other suggestions from Darren are:

  • Spread out the repurposed content over a period of time to give the reader time to absorb it.
  • Repurpose as you write original content.
  • Utilize your archives. Check out what has had good response in the past and work with that.
  • Keep it visual.
  • Make sure to cross link back to original content.

 


5th Annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive to Benefit Habitat for Humanity

July 31, 2014

- Rosemarie Ascherl, PR Foreman

Habitat for Humanity does great work in local communities to help improve both individual’s lives as well as the community in general. This is our 5th year of the tool drive to help out this worthy cause. Last year we raised more than $31,000 worth of tools and building materials and have collected more than $106,000 in donations since our tool drive efforts began in 2010.

23 Group

 

Since Sonnhalter’s major focus is on manufacturers who make things for contractors, 5 years ago we decided to help support our local chapter of Habitat for Humanity and hosted a tool drive in the month of August to try to raise money, and more importantly, to gather tools (both new and used) to help in their building efforts, as well as to support them through their ReStore.
This August… tomorrow, we’re kicking off our Fifth Annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive! If you’d like to join us in our efforts, visit sonnhalter.com/tooldrive to find out more.

You can also contact me at rascherl@sonnhalter.com (x126) or Rachel Kerstetter – rkerstetter@sonnhalter.com (x130) at 440.234.1812.

Or, if you’re interested in finding a local chapter so you too can help out in your area, click here.
Thanks in advance for your support!

Are You Asking Contractors for Feedback?

July 30, 2014

We’re all focusing on the next greatest product or making sales numbers for the month, but often overlook the very source of those sales.

Consistent contractor feedback is a key in establishing a long-term partnership. Let’s face it, we all have competition and contractors have choices. I think we’re missing opportunities to cement relationships and differentiate our brands. When was the last time you talked to a contractor that didn’t have an opinion?

It doesn’t have to be a complex program and your field sales guys can certainly help in this regard. Here are a few questions they should ask:

  • What’s working - Find out what you’re doing right. Are they getting the tech support they need? Is customer service taking care of them in a timely manner? It’s a great way of finding out their level of satisfaction with you.
  • What’s not - Here’s your opportunity for you to find out ways of things that need to be improved. After talking with several contractors, you will find out rather quickly if a pattern is emerging.
  • What can we do to improve our relationship - Show them that you are proactive. It might surprise you. Together you may identify new opportunities.

Of course, the info you collect will be worthless unless sales and marketing compile a spreadsheet of all answers to review. Action items and process improvements. If you’re not ready and open to making changes, don’t waste your time or the contractors. When talking with tradesmen, there’s not a one of them that would love the opportunity to share insights. Wouldn’t you rather they share them with you instead of your competitors?

 


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