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"Catch Some Rays" with Your Mining Equipment Marketing "Battery!"

Fri, May 05, 2017 @ 04:32 PM / by Bill Langer posted in Industrial Marketing, Marketing Communications, Industrial Advertising, Marketing, Industrial Branding, Process Equipment Marketing, Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Industrial Marketing Handbook, Business to Business Marketing, Industrial Marketing Content, Process Equipment Marketing News Release

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Gravel Batteries - As green energy proponents address its intermittent nature, good old-fashioned gravel may provide a solution.


Renewable energy is becoming more and more popular these days. We recently jumped on the band wagon and had solar panels installed on our home in Anthem, Ariz. On average, we have 299 sunny days per year, so it is a pretty darn good investment.

The down side to energy from solar panels and wind turbines is their on-off nature. When the wind stops blowing or the sun stops shining, the energy production stops. That is not a problem for us, because we are still connected to the grid and can get power even when the sun doesn’t shine. But believe me — they know how to charge rate payers who have solar! 

Mining Equipment Marketing Fun.jpg 

In order to make solar and wind commercially viable, there needs to be some method to store excess energy production for use when there is no sunshine, no wind, or during peak demand. Electricity cannot be stored easily, but construction of a new battery gigafactory in the United States, as well as other high-tech methods on the horizon, may be part of the solution.
 
While we wait for new technology to catch on, there are some pretty good solutions already in place. Some environmen-tally friendly methods use — you guessed it — gravel. In terms of supply chain, handling, and construction, few materials are as cost effective, easy to obtain, and simple to use as gravel.
 
The most common method to store energy is pumped hydro storage. During excess solar or wind production periods, water is pumped uphill into a reservoir. During low or non-production periods, the water flows down through a generator to a lower reservoir. Very simple; very easy. However, hydro storage takes up a lot of space. An idea is being batted around where the water and reservoirs would be replaced by huge buckets filled with gravel. Excess energy produced will be used to haul the rock uphill in a ski-lift kind of contraption. When energy is needed, gravity will carry the rock downhill, producing electricity on its downhill trip.
 
There are a few somewhat more sophisticated ideas in the works, where excess energy is converted to thermal energy and then stored in giant gravel “batteries,” thus evening out the intermittent nature of wind turbines and solar panels.
 
One example is in Steinfurt, Germany. Rather than build an expensive tank, the battery is constructed underground in a covered pit. The storage material is a mixture of gravel and water. The side walls, top, and bottom are heat-insulated. The pit has a double-sided polypropylene liner with a vacuum control to identify leaks, and the liner is protected from the gravel by a layer of fleece.
 
When excess energy is available, heated water (195 degrees F) ‘charges’ the battery, either by direct water exchange (right side of the illustration) or via plastic pipes (left side of illustration). The hot water is stored until it is needed, at which time the water flow is reversed.
 
The use of rocks for thermal storage is attractive because rocks are not toxic, non-flammable, and inexpensive. The main problem I see with gravel batteries is convincing my wife to allow me to tear up our entire backyard landscaping and fish pond so I can replace it with a big hole filled with gravel and pipes. Is that really too much to ask? AM
 
Read the original article here in AGGREGATES MANAGER April 2017, thanks Bill for contributing to our Mining Equipment Marketing blog. Have a great weekend.

If you would like to learn more about writing a process equipment marketing news release or an application story "One key to good public relations is writing a case study."


 

Trade Display Designs by Lohre Advertising to Boost Presence and Impact

 

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Social Media Guidelines

Sat, Apr 08, 2017 @ 10:21 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Industrial Marketing Handbook, Social Media Guidelines

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Socail-Media-Guidelines.jpg

(This week's post comes from the world of Burning Man, I went last year and learned a lot about how a community uses and polices social media. Just ran across this video of the Astec Dancers by fellow Earth Guardian Camp volunteer Martin Cline and on further research ran across their social media policies. I wanted to copy them here as an excellent set of guildlines for any company wanting to define their social media use for both their benefits and rules to prevent inproper use. Enjoy.)


These pages contain the Burning Man Project's policies, protocols and guidelines for the online activities of our staff and close volunteers, including the usage of official Burning Man email addresses, email lists, and social networking services in general.
 
As a staff member or volunteer for the Burning Man organization, you are expected to read and understand these policies.  Any questions or concerns about them should be directed to your manager, or to the Burning Man Communications Department.
 
1 Social Media Guidelines For Burning Man Staff
2 Acceptable Use of Burning Man Regional Email Lists
3 Acceptable Use of Burning Man Aliases and Email Addresses
4 Best Practices in the Use of Burning Man Email Lists
5 Acceptable Use of Burning Man Email Lists
 
Social Media Guidelines For Burning Man Staff
Last Update: December 2014
 
Burning Man recognizes that many of our staff members and close volunteers participate in social media services for their own personal use -- and often, to talk about Burning Man and their experiences within this culture. We feel this contributes to a richer voice about our culture, sharing an important story that we very much want to see accessible in the world.
 
And so to help you, our culture's leaders, to engage in with social networks and online communication without inadvertently causing any undue harm to the Burning Man Project or your fellow Burners, we've crafted a set of basic guidelines for for social media, including:
 
·       Scope of Social Media
·       Personal vs. Professional
·       Who Are You Speaking For?
·       Who Are You Speaking To?
·       Basic Personal Conduct
·       Employees: Using Social Media at Work
·       What To Say? What Not to Say?
 
Scope of Social Media
Social media includes websites and services that facilitate interaction and conversation between people online. This includes social networking sites (Facebook, Tribe, LinkedIn, etc.), content on media sharing sites (Flickr, YouTube, etc.), blogs, microblogs (Twitter, etc.), web comment sections, forums, wikis, and social areas of a website.
 
Personal vs. Professional
You're generally encouraged to be mindful of and responsible for how what you say will reflect not only on you as an individual, but Burning Man as an organization and a culture. Because of the hazy line between the professional and the personal when it comes to being a part of this organization, even "unofficial representatives" online can reflect on us all and hamper our ability to fulfill our mission.
 
If you use a pseudonym, you should assume that some people know who you really are. Be transparent about your connection to the organization where appropriate.
 
Who Are You Speaking For?
If you're saying something from your own perspective or stating your personal opinion rather than speaking officially for Burning Man, it's never a bad idea to specifically state that. Typically, you should not consider yourself a "spokesperson" for Burning Man, and sometimes (such as moments of crisis)? Definitely leave it to the spokespeople.
 
Who Are You Speaking To?
It's best to assume Burning Man's worst critics, biggest fans, your supervisor, your coworkers, and your mother all likely have the ability to access what you write online, even if you're not directly "connected". Never underestimate the velocity with which information jumps across networks.
 
Basic Personal Conduct
Your actions online should reflect Burning Man's values as presented in the Ten Principles, our Mission Statement, and all written policies for email list and alias usage. Walk the talk with how you behave, as well as what you say.
 
Employees: Using Social Media at Work
It's between you and your manager to determine when / how much use of social media is appropriate during work hours, and/or when you should engage with social media in pursuit of your responsibilities.
 
What To Say? What Not to Say?
We trust you to exercise common sense and good judgment in your communications. If ever you're not sure about something, check with your manager or Communications.  Here are some thoughts:
 
-       Don't Know? Don't Answer. If somebody's asking a question, and you're not sure of the answer, there's nothing wrong with saying, "I don't know," -- but there's a lot wrong with perpetuating speculation or rumormongering. Refer questions to somebody who knows the answer if you don't.
 
-       Confidential Information. Never disseminate proprietary or confidential Burning Man information (things like unannounced policy changes, legal issues, and ongoing litigation). If you're not sure it's confidential, err on the side of caution, and check with your manager or Communications.
 
-       Know Your Facts. While you might *think* you know something, there could be something in play you're not aware of, or a recent internal change. Ask around if you're not absolutely sure.
 
-       Tell the Story. Feel free to provide unique, individual perspectives on non-confidential activities or anything that's publicly observable or not proprietary to your role. Telling stories is how Burning Man's values are shared in the world.
 
-       Personal Privacy. It's common courtesy, before mentioning co-workers or other individuals involved with the Project, to check in with them to assure they're okay with being mentioned by name in association with Burning Man.
 
-       Don't Feed the Trolls. Avoid engaging trolls (people who bait you with inflammatory statements to get a reaction), or participating in a flame war. Even if you "win" you lose. Burning Man is a widely misunderstood discussion topic, and negative PR and misstatements abound, but sometimes the best response is just to let them die out on their own.
 
-       Don't Be *&$%# Offensive. If you use offensive or inflammatory language, you'll be perceived as offensive or inflammatory, and the rest of Burning Man will be too.
 
Once posted, social web content can stay in play and affect perceptions for a very long time. Think before you hit "Send".  Any questions, concerns or ideas can be addressed to Burning Man's Communications Team.
 
Acceptable Use of Burning Man Regional Email Lists
 
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines about acceptable use of Regional Burningman.org email distribution lists for sending and receiving email messages and attachments, or any Technology Department resources thereof. The policy describes the standards that users are expected to observe when using Burning Man Regional Announcement and Discussion lists for email, and ensures that users are aware of the consequences attached to inappropriate use of these resources.
 
Further, this policy serves to advise the users of those guidelines to provide a framework wherein users of these lists can apply self-regulation to their use of these resources.
 
1. Email groups are established for Burning Man Regional Contacts to utilize to organize local Burning Man communities and enable Burners to maintain a cultural connection to one another online. All email to a group should be consistent with the purpose of the group, and used to accomplish tasks related to and consistent with the values of the Regional Network and the Burning Man Project at large.
 
2. Burning Man's Technology Team, Regionals Team, or Regional Contacts/list managers may restrict access to these lists where there is reason to believe that laws or Burning Man policies have been violated. Unacceptable use of email lists includes:
• Use of email to support any inappropriate commercial advertising or for-profit activity unrelated to the Burning Man Project or the Regional Network.
• Use of email to initiate or forward chain letters. (NOTE: Most chain emails referring to viruses are hoaxes, and should be ignored/deleted.)
• Failure to use “OT” to designate off-topic posts, or abusing the option of occasional “OT” posts.
• Violations of copyright laws (unlawful distribution of copyrighted printed material, audio recordings, video recordings, or computer software.)
• Sending messages to an individual or group that are unwelcome. This includes continuing to send such messages after being asked by the individual or group member to cease doing so, even though the material itself may not be considered offensive.
• Use of email to lodge grievances that should be handled through existing Burning Man policies and procedures, such as the Conflict Resolution protocols.
• Use of a false email address or “spoofing”.
• Use of email to threaten or harass others, to cause annoyance, disruption, or needless anxiety.
• Spamming – sending unsolicited material and/or material not related to Burning Man’s mission to the lists, or using the list to cull for addresses with which to do so.
• Use of email to promote political or religious causes or events. (Note: Given Burning Man’s commitment to public service, the use of email lists to send information about governmental, civic, or charitable organizations or community-wide events such as memorial services may be an approved use.)
• Use of mass email to publicly castigate, chastise, defame, or ridicule any person, particularly any member of the Burning Man community.
•  The willful introduction of computer viruses or other disruptive/destructive programs into the Burning Man network or other networks.
• Disruption of activity related to the Burning Man mission or the mission of the user’s specific team.
• Disclosure of personal information or violating the privacy of other users. This includes publishing to others the text of a message written on a one-to-one basis, without the prior express consent of the author.
• Use of email lists to obtain individual email addresses with which to execute any of the above-outlined violations in an “off-list” manner, or to create separate lists for secondary or outside purposes.
 
3. List moderators and owners will monitor the use of these lists to ensure that the above-listed guidelines are met.
 
4. Managers will also act to restate the purpose and mission of each list on a regular basis to ensure that all members maintain an understanding of said purposes. Moderators will be responsible for assuring that new members are advised of those missions and of these stated policies, and monitoring the list for adherence to the above-outlined regulations and policies.
 
Misuse of Burningman.org Resources
Suspected or known violations of this policy, or of the law, should be confidentially reported to the Regional Committee at Burning Man, who will collaborate and/or work with the local moderator to execute appropriate action or response.
 
Violations may result in revocation of email service privileges; management or staff disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from Regional Contact role; referral to law enforcement agencies; or other legal action. 
 
Acceptable Use of Burning Man Aliases and Email Addresses
Last update: December 2014
 
This Burning Man alias (yourname@burningman.org) and email address policy exists to provide guidelines for acceptable use for the purpose of sending or receiving email messages and attachments via a Burningman.org email address or alias. The policy is also designed to specify the actions that Burning Man will take in the investigation of complaints received from both internal and external sources about any unacceptable use of email that involves Burning Man’s technological resources.
 
1. Unacceptable use of said resources may include:
a)   Use of email to support any commercial advertising or for-profit activity.
b)   Use of email to initiate or forward chain letters. (NOTE: Most chain emails referring to viruses are hoaxes, and should be forwarded to list-request@burningman.org for review. If the content of the email is determined to be real and should be distributed to the Burning Man community, the Technology Department will take appropriate action.)
c)    Violations of copyright laws (unlawful distribution of copyrighted printed material, audio recordings, video recordings, or computer software.)
d)   Sending messages to an individual or group that are unwelcome. This includes continuing to send such messages after being asked by the individual or group member to cease doing so, even though the material itself may not be considered offensive. (Note: A user may not “unsubscribe” from lists used by Burning Man for official purposes, unless the user is separating from duties and affiliation with that group.)
e)   Use of email to lodge grievances that should be handled through existing Burning Man policies and procedures, such as the Conflict Resolution protocols.
f)     Use of a false email address or “spoofing”.
g)   Use of email to threaten or harass others, to cause annoyance, disruption, or needless anxiety.
h)   Spamming – sending unsolicited material and/or material not related to Burning Man’s mission to the lists, or using the list to cull for addresses with which to do so.
i)     Use of email to promote political or religious causes or events. (Note: Given Burning Man’s commitment to public service, the use of email lists to send information about governmental, civic, or charitable organizations or community-wide events such as memorial services may be an approved use.)
j)     Use of mass email to publicly castigate, chastise, defame, or ridicule any person, particularly any member of the Burning Man community.
k)   The willful introduction of computer viruses or other disruptive/destructive programs into the Burning Man network or other networks.
l)     Disruption of activity related to the Burning Man mission or the mission of the user’s specific team.
m)Disclosure of personal information or violating the privacy of other users. This includes publishing to others the text of a message written on a one-to-one basis, without the prior express consent of the author.
n)   Use of aliases to obtain individual email addresses with which to execute any of the above-outlined violations in an “off-list” manner.
o)  Burningman.org email addresses and aliases are given for the purposes of representation of the organization for official purposes. They are not intended as “perks” and are limited in distribution to those whose roles require them to represent the organization accordingly. As such, users should bear in mind that when composing email from said addresses, one’s words can and are perceived as representing the organization, even, at times, when one claims to be expressing one’s personal opinion. Email users should take care to not give the impression that they are representing, giving opinions, or otherwise making statements on behalf of Burning Man or any team thereof unless they are expressly asked to do so. At times, statements such as the following disclaimer may be appropriate: “The opinions or statements expressed herein are my own and should not be taken as a position, opinion, or endorsement of the Burning Man Project.” 
 
2. Email resources may be used for incidental personal purposes provided that such use does not:
 
p)   Directly or indirectly interfere with the operation of computing facilities or email services.
q)   Interfere with the email user’s employment or other obligations to the Burning Man Project.
r)    Violate this policy or any other applicable policy or law, including but not limited to use for personal gain, conflict of interest, harassment, defamation, copyright violation, or illegal activity.
s)   Email messages arising from such personal use shall, however, be subject to access consistent with this policy and applicable law. Accordingly, such use does not carry with it a reasonable expectation of privacy.
 
3.  If a user has been requested by another user via email or in writing to refrain from sending email messages, the recipient is prohibited from sending that user any further messages, until such time as he/she has been notified by the appropriate manager that such correspondence is permissible. Failure to honor such a request shall be deemed a violation of this policy.
 
4.  If, due to latency, departure, or dismissal, a change in the user’s status with Burning Man occurs, email or alias privileges may be revoked at the sole discretion of Burning Man. This includes when the affiliation between the user and Burning Man comes to an end, by any circumstances.
  
Misuse of Burningman.org Resources
Suspected or known violations of this policy, or of the law, should be confidentially reported to the appropriate supervisory level for the team in which the violation occurs. Violations will be processed by the appropriate managers, and/or law enforcement agencies as necessary.
 
Violations may result in revocation of email service privileges; management or staff disciplinary action up to and including dismissal; referral to law enforcement agencies; or other legal action.
 
Alias Format
In order to promote consistency, professionalism and eliminate confusion, all new email addresses and aliases going forward in 2014 and beyond will follow this format: first.last@burningman.org
 
This policy doesn't apply to those who've already been assigned first name or playa-name aliases. Those already existing first name/playa-name email addresses are grandfathered and won’t have to be changed except in cases where, in the transition of email addresses from burningman.com to burningman.org, a duplicate exists. Then an evaluation and change to a first.last@burningman.org email address may occur.
 
Exceptions going forward may be made on a case-by-case basis for year-round staff with outward-facing customer service positions in addition to their internal roles. Examples of this could be those in the Communications Department, HR department, playa staff, or anyone else who has community-facing responsibilities.  Any questions can be directed to your department head, who will make the final call on allowing first name or playa name aliases. 
 
Best Practices in the Use of Burning Man Email Lists
Last Update: December 2014
 
1 DO NOT send attachments to a Burning Man list. Attachments should be put on the Ultranet, and linked to from there.
2 Use the letters "OT" to indicate something is "Off Topic", meaning it's personal, or about a non-Burning Man-related subject.
3 Headers should reflect the subject of your email. In the midst of a long debate, check to make sure your header still reflects the subject you're talking about.
4 Avoid cross-posting to multiple lists. When people begin to "reply to all" posters from other lists will bounce, forcing the moderator to open every attempted post to ensure it's not actually from someone on the list who might be posting from another email address. One suggestion would be to post separately to each list, but indicate you've cc:ed the other lists at the top of the body of the email.
5 If you hit "reply" to an email, you will be replying to only to the original sender, and not the list. You will need to hit "Reply to All" if you wish to reply to the poster AND the list. When you hit "Reply to All", it's also good form to remove the email address of the original sender so they don't get two replies.
6 Do not EVER take a private email sent to you and put it on a public discussion list without permission of the original sender. This is basic internet etiquette.
7 Remember ALL CAPS means you're yelling, and we don't need to do that to family and friends on a Burning Man discussion list.
8 Don't be mean to each other ... take it off list. No one wants to see others arguing in public.
9 It's very easy to dissect a person's email point by point, and in some cases this is the best approach. Sometimes summarizing your thoughts at the top can be speedy for you and for the reader.
10 Rather than including all large number of email addresses in the CC: field of a message, use the BCC: function if you must send an email to any group over 20 people that don’t know each other.
 
Acceptable Use of Burning Man Email Lists

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines about acceptable use of Burningman.org email distribution lists for sending and receiving email messages and attachments, or any Technology Department resources thereof. The policy describes the standards that users are expected to observe when using these resources for email, and ensures that users are aware of the consequences attached to inappropriate use of these resources.
 
Further, this policy serves to advise the users of those guidelines to provide a framework wherein users of these lists can apply self-regulation to their use of these resources.
 
1 Email groups are established for Burning Man committees, departments, and special projects. Email to a group should be consistent with the purpose of the group, and used to accomplish tasks related to and consistent with the Burning Man mission.
2 Burning Man’s Technology Department may restrict or suspend access to these lists where there is reason to believe that laws or Burning Man policies have been violated. Unacceptable use of email lists includes:
i Use of email to support any commercial advertising or for-profit activity.
ii Use of email to initiate or forward chain letters. (NOTE: Most chain emails referring to viruses are hoaxes, and should be forwarded to list-request@burningman.org for review. If the content of the email is determined to be real and should be distributed to the Burning Man community, the Technology Department will take appropriate action.)
iii Failure to use "OT" to designate off-topic posts, or abusing the option of occasional "OT" posts after being given feedback by list manager.
iv Violations of copyright laws (unlawful distribution of copyrighted printed material, audio recordings, video recordings, or computer software.)
v Sending messages to an individual or group that are unwelcome. This includes continuing to send such messages after being asked by the individual or group member to cease doing so, even though the material itself may not be considered offensive. (Note: A user may not “unsubscribe” from lists used by Burning Man for official purposes, unless the user is separating from duties and affiliation with that group.)
vi Use of email to lodge grievances that should be handled through existing Burning  Man policies and procedures, such as the Conflict Resolution protocols.
vii Use of a false email address or “spoofing”.
viii Use of email to threaten or harass others, to cause annoyance, disruption, or needless anxiety.
ix Spamming – sending unsolicited material and/or material not related to Burning Man’s mission to the lists, or using the list to cull for addresses with which to do so.
x Use of email to promote political or religious causes or events. (Note: Given Burning Man’s commitment to public service, the use of email lists to send information about governmental, civic, or charitable organizations or community-wide events such as memorial services may be an approved use.)
xi Use of mass email to publicly castigate, chastise, defame, or ridicule any person, particularly any member of the Burning Man community. 
xii The willful introduction of computer viruses or other disruptive/destructive programs into the Burning Man network or other networks. 
xiii Disruption of activity related to the Burning Man mission or the mission of the user’s specific team.
xiv Disclosure of personal information or violating the privacy of other users. This includes publishing to others the text of a message written on a one-to-one basis, without the prior express consent of the author.
xv Use of email lists to obtain individual email addresses with which to execute any of the above-outlined violations in an “off-list” manner.
 
     3.  List moderators and owners will monitor the use of these lists to ensure that the above-listed guidelines are met. They will also serve to re-examine list membership each year. Membership to each list is restricted to active members of that team, except as membership may be defined by an emeritus or consultant status; therefore, lists will be culled each year to ensure that membership is limited to those who have an active role in the missions of the team or of Burning Man. 
     
     4.  Moderators will also act to restate the purpose and mission of each list on a regular basis to ensure that all members maintain an understanding of said purposes. Moderators will be responsible for assuring that new members are advised of those missions and of these stated policies, and monitoring the list for adherence to the above-outlined regulations and policies. 
 
Misuse of Burningman.org resources
Suspected or known violations of this policy, or of the law, should be confidentially reported to the appropriate supervisory level for the team in which the violation occurs. Violations will be processed by the appropriate managers, and/or law enforcement agencies as necessary.
 
Violations may result in revocation of email service privileges; management or staff disciplinary action up to and including dismissal; referral to law enforcement agencies; or other legal action.
 

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If you liked this you might like to learn more about how effective industrial press conferences are at major trades shows.
 
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Strategic Content Creation Handbook by Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Lohre & Associates
 
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New Inbound Marketing Services Offered

Tue, Mar 28, 2017 @ 03:13 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Process Equipment Marketing, Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Industrial Marketing Handbook

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inbound-marketing-cincinnati.pngDo you need help with your inbound marketing initiatives? We have just launched a new marketing services selection that will work with you and your team to help you develop and execute your projects and programs.

Here are a few product services to build and repurpose content:

Dynamic White Paper
Let us turn your existing white paper into a 10-minute audio/visual experience. Our editor will create a narrated visual presentation from your white paper, and then we will promote it to your target audience for 12 months.
 
White Paper Writing Service
Let us write, design, and host a technical paper for your target audience. Consult with our editorial director and then let our technical writer work with you to create the white paper. We can host and promote your new content or you can promote to your already existing customer base and prospects.
 
Build a Tech Talk
Our editor will consult with you, construct a presentation, prepare slides, and craft a script for your company's expert, who will provide the voiceover. Our moderator will introduce your expert and close the presentation.
 
Audience Engagement Quiz
Our editor will consult with you and then write an audience quiz based on your white paper or e-book. We design and then deploy the quiz to your target audience. You receive full contact leads as well as statistics on how each registrant did on the quiz and who downloaded your white paper or e-book.
 
Let us help you to define content strategy and to distribute your new and existing material to build your brand.

To schedule a free consultation to discuss your next project, contact Chuck Lohre at chuck@lohre.com or call 513-961-1174

 
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If you liked this you might like to learn more about how effective industrial press conferences are at major trades shows.
 
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Strategic Content Creation Handbook by Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Lohre & Associates
 
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The Industrial Marketing Trade Show Dance at CONEXPO 2017

Sun, Mar 05, 2017 @ 02:10 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Trade Show Displays, Trade Show, Trade Show Displays, Industrial Marketing Trade Show, Trade Show Banner Stand, Trade Exhibit Modular Displays, Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Advertising, Trade Show Exhibits, Trade Booths, Trade Exhibits

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Everyone in the industrial market knows that the CONEXPO-CONAGG 2017 show is opening Tuesday March 7. The conference will be in Las Vegas from March 7-11 and is expecting over 125,000 attendees and 2,400 exhibitors. In terms of a conference, that is huge and provides quite the opportunity for any business. 

Radio_Conexpo_v5.jpgThe CONEXPO got its start here in Ohio in 1909, debuting as a ‘Road Show.’ The early exhibitors prided themselves on displaying ‘amazing new devices’ that could do the work of 15 horses. It continued to grow and did so at an unprecedented rate during the construction boom after World War II. In the 1970’s it opened its doors to the international community, as well as, the CON/AGG show, which also had began in the early 1900’s; by combining shows and creating CONEXPO-CON/AGG, both attendees and exhibitors alike we able to experience all the emerging products, equipment, and services in one place, maximizing time, money, and educational opportunities of the construction and industrial industries.

With so many people and exhibitions attending this show, most industrial companies recognize the importance of marketing their product or service. They know that this is an opportunity to reach other businesses, consumers, and influential individuals in the industry, which is why having a solid team, effective communication, and a game plan are so important for a trade show of this caliber.

Preparing for a Trade Show

This is the first step required for a good trade show exhibit. Everyone must be on the same page about what is required from him or her and how to, not just execute it, but to do so properly. This requires effective communication, clear guidelines, and stringent implementation.

Preparation for the show includes everything from how your booth will look to with whom you staff it; both should be of high quality.

Too many times have I been to a trade show that individuals are on their phones, talking to each other, or eating food when they should be grabbing the attention of the people passing by. This typically happens because stringent rules weren’t put into place to prevent such things from happening. Allowing such behavior to occur will only hurt the company and the reputations of those involved; possibly affecting your credibility and professionalism. Be sure to have educated employees and sales staff on hand who are dedicated to success and to achieving the purpose of the trade show: to gather leads and to make connections.

This is where effective communication comes into play. Let staffers know that they are there for a purpose and that purpose is to generate leads, not to eat McDonald’s in the back of the booth around noon. The typical trade booth staff will walk away from training with a good pitch to throw at people passing by, but an excellent staff will walk away knowing an immense amount of knowledge on the product as well as having a clear objective to what they are responsible for doing. Some booths include people who just catch the attention and move interested individuals to sales reps who know more about the product and while the assembly line is beneficial and provides an organized mechanism for all booth employees, reminding employees that everyone has the same objective helps keep everyone on track and can help prevent a lack of involvement from employees. Some companies sometimes implement contests, hoping to motivate employees and sales reps alike to drive in business.

Creating an Inviting Trade Show Booth

You want to make sure your booth looks welcoming, interesting, and clean. You don’t want something that is too ‘homey,’ people won’t take you seriously, but you also don’t want a both that results in looking so technological or industrial that a layperson can’t understand it and are too intimidated to stop by or don’t find it interesting. Having a well-balanced booth and a friendly staff of people who can clearly and concisely explain what you have to offer is the best route to go here. trade show

Providing information, good information, is crucial to the success of your booth. Pamphlets are great and are very popular at trade shows, but how many of those make it to the plane ride home? Not many, most natives to the city hosting the  trade show will tell you that most of them end up littering the streets once all visitors have left. This is where educated employees matter, reinforcing the point above. According to Skyline Exhibits 5 common Pitfalls to Trade Show Marketing blog, offering to take someone’s email address or telephone number on the spot and stating that they probably have enough to carry without you adding to their load can be a very effective means of gathering individuals’ information. Using technology, like a tablet for instance, in this situation can maximize your outreach. People may not have one of your pamphlets to throw away at the airport, but they will be able to check the email you sent or listen to the voicemail you left on the plane ride home; already making for a more personal experience and your booth, and more importantly your product, will stick out in their mind.

Effective Marketing of Your Trade Show Attendance

Standing out at a trade show is important and learning how can be difficult. According to Susan Friedmann, the Trade Show Coach there is more than one way to do this. One of the best strategies is having your company/client try and align new product announcements and trade shows together. Having a new product to premier at a  trade show is a good way to get some press prior to the show. We have had a couple of clients take this route for the CON/AGG conference and we have been shooting out press releases and public relations left and right. Most publications, whether print or electronic, are willing to take such information and publish it. They too recognize the enormity of the show and know that many people are reading publications to ‘be ahead of the game’ and to know what to expect from the trade show exhibits. Also be aware that most publications need this information well in advance, so having your own deadlines to accomplish the media announcements is necessary.

trade showUtilize social media. Make it known on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. that you will be there and that you have something new rolling out. This also will build an interest with your followers who aren’t going to the show itself and could even prompt them to come along too.

Schedule a press conference if possible. Many media outlets, local and international, will be covering the convention; such large conventions can get a lot of coverage time via the media and having a press conference about your new product or your attendance can really increase your popularity at the show; not to mention the publicity involved with media coverage.

Learning the trade show dance can be difficult, especially when the convention/show itself has been around for over one hundred years; that makes for an evolution of dance. But, surrounding yourself with a positive, well-motivated team who is willing to work hard, combined with effective marketing and a welcoming booth should create a successful experience.

See you there!

If you liked this post, you will also enjoy Trade Show Display Exhibit Booth Marketing Trends

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How to Write a Public Relations Telemarketing Script

Mon, Feb 13, 2017 @ 04:51 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Marketing Communications, Construction Equipment Marketing, Business to Consumer Marketing, Business to Business Marketing, Public-Relations-Telemarketing-Script

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Telemarketing for public relations is more than a list and a telephone.

To do it efficiently, you need clearly defined scripts for every possibility: calling, email, voice mail and snail mail.

Telemarketing is defined by the number of actions you need to take to get the job done. The number of computer screens you look at and the number of clicks you need to make. Just like any other industrial process, when you look at the full spectrum of events and actions needed to engage the customer and take action, small changes and improvements in your process can have the effect of cutting your time in half and doubling your results. It's all about clearly writing a process script.

Contact Science Telemarketing Marketing Communications resized 600

Image from Contact Science from klpz, we're a partner so get in touch if you're interested in doing telemarketing in half the time and getting four times the results.

In this blog post, we'll illustrate the process by writing a public relations telemarketing script. New product information is one of the centerpieces of industrial marketing. It's where equipment manufacturers get to tell the technical journal readers about the latest equipment. Many publications compete to publish the latest in energy and mechanical efficiencies.

The first stage in our contact process is identifing the prospects in our target industry and sometimes geographic region. We'll call the companies and get the name for the persons involved in marketing communications.

Second we will prepare a mailing of a published article along with a testimonial letter from the client. Here's the memo copy.

Hi Greg,

Do you need an innovative partner to help inspire your marketing department? That's what happened at Stedman Machine Company. Sure, it's easy to say, "Go do content marketing," but someone has to do it. And who better than a 20 year veteran. 

Public-Relations-Telemarketing-Script.jpg

 

The second major push with this campaign is to review the editorial schedule for the prospect's industry. When you can tell them on the phone that you have an article placed for them, you will get the work.

Hi Greg,

I hope you enjoyed the sample and letter last week from Chris Nawalaniec with Stedman Machine Compny. Kevin Cronin with POWDER BULK SOLIDS Magazine would like to publish your article on the selection of size reduction equipment.

Technical Article, Graphic Design, and Illustration for Stedman Machine

The final call to the prospect needs to clarify the scope of the work and the timeline.

Hi Greg,

Thanks for the conference call last week. I had watched one of the videos you mentioned and I've found the other two as well as the summary video. We can write a thought leader article on this subject by the deadline. Here's the proposed schedule.

Public-Relations-Telemarketing-Script-1 copy.jpg

This campaign is designed to keep us in touch with our clients and prospects throughout the year and every year. They all read the trade journals and sepecially the articles they wrote. We never take credit for the articles. 

If you liked this blog post, you might enjoy, "How to Write a Telemarketing Script for Trade Shows." 

 

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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, Advertising, Advertising Design, Business to Business Advertising, Graphic 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

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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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Industrial Social Media for Quarries

Fri, Jul 29, 2016 @ 04:13 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Branding, Process Equipment Marketing, Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Industrial Marketing Content

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 (Thanks to Trevor Hall, Founder, Clear Creek Digital, for this great article in the July/August 2016 STONE SAND & GRAVEL REVIEW. We thought it was just going to be another marketer that was selling industrial social media to accounts that didn't use it industrially themselves let alone actually have experience working in a quarry, but Trevor is the real deal and has some good tips for quarries to improve their community relations.)


Social Media Can Help Improve an Operation

industrial-social-media.jpgOUR ONLINE NEWS FEEDS and social media accounts are more and more filled with websites and articles with catchy titles like "Top 5 Amazing Survivor Stories," "10 Apps for your iPhone," "8 Rocks That Look Like Celebrities." We all, myself included, get caught wanting to know more about these headlines. Many times we click and visit the information.

Called "listicles," these articles blend a list with short articles, and there are lessons to be learned from them. People read them because they appear - and typically are - quick to read, have an enthusiastic tone and spur creative disruption in our own minds. Most importantly, though, they grab our attention.

Everyone online is hammered with copious amounts of information every second of the day. Figuring out how to grab people's attention, even just for a few seconds, is a very challenging task. What is most daunting, espe­cially for quarries, is understanding how to communicate a very complex process like aggregates production with many different internal func­tions and processes in a quick, eye­catching and engaging message.

Finding ways to incorporate the kind of content that catches the eye of our industry and our communities, including residents near stone, sand and gravel operations, is a vital part of any community relations plan.

Know the Social Networks

Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube pro­vide new tools for aggregates opera­tions to tell their story.

Twitter: Posts are 140 characters or less, so it's important to link back to blogs or information on a different website.

Facebook: Users can share photos, videos and updates about a quarry or company with a "page" that is dedi­cated to that company or operation.

LinkedIn: A professional social network where users post their work experience and look for jobs. Companies also create pages on LinkedIn to share content.

YouTube: Users can share and com­ment on videos, which is one of the most popular and engaging forms of media today. These digital tools can/enhance a company's ability to engage neighbors, lawmakers and regulators. Also, these networks can be used to inform a pub­lic of something they may not know much about, including quarrying.

Online media's reach is huge and increasing. A majority of the global population is on some type of social network. With the growth of mobile technologies reaching even to rural Africa, many more people are likely to join. Further, the data shows that online social dialogues and infor­mation sharing are not just for a younger crowd anymore. Social media users 65 years of age and older have more than tripled in the past five years.

Recognize and Use Social Media Trends

It is vital that aggregates opera­tions recognize the trends of the online audience and appreciate its huge and growing size. Notice, I did not suggest that companies become "masters" of digital marketing. But recognition of best digital commu­nication trends can lead you on a wonderful path to exploring how to tell the story of your operation or your products.

Online and mobile video will also play an important role for every busi­ness and operation. It is predicted that by 2020, 80 percent of people will rely on video content to form opinions and/or support for busi­nesses and organizations. Aggregates producers are not exempt from this trend, and can enhance traditional community outreach with videos and photos.

Print publications or text on a screen can be enhanced with multi­media content that is easy to share with people who both support or are critical of a quarry.

Short and Shareable is the Way to Go

Try to grab attention of an online audience by using powerful and quick information. This is especially true for social media networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram because they rely on images and photos in addition to text.

Photos and video play crucial roles in grabbing the attention of view­ers. The more engaging your con­tent is, the more likely you are to see an increase in viewers. YouTube, the popular video-sharing site, is the second largest social network­ing site behind Facebook. More people are turning to YouTube to share and gather information than ever before.

For example, every day people are watching YouTube to learn how gran­ite is quarried and crushed, and there are videos with thousands of views on how limestone is produced.

Stone, sand and gravel companies can connect the value of their opera­tions to the personal benefit of the reader and their community. Right now, there aren't many aggregates producers in the United States fully utilizing social and digital media to share company information. So there is a great opportunity for companies and quarries to produce quality and positive content about the industry.

Using Social Media to Build a Brand

In print and online communica­tions, the words we use matter a lot. The recent presidential campaign has shown how audiences react to words used in tweets and images shared on Facebook.

Some people on social networks may negatively respond to a com­pany's content, regardless of how informative and engaging posts may be. One of the best ways to safeguard one's messaging from these tribula­tions is to make your content fun. Allow your organization to pull the curtains back a bit and show the human and humanitarian aspects of your company. It is harder for posi­tive and educational content to be perceived as anything but, and using facts and information is also a great way to address negative comments you may receive.

Staying positive, engaging and edu­cational is a great way to highlight employees, the communities you work with and the dynamic ways that rocks are quarried and crushed and shipped to customers. After all, the adventures of quar­rying are wonderful stories. It's up to you to share them. •

Trevor Hall is the founder of Clear Creek Digital, LLC, a digital communications and marketing firm focused on provid­ing those resources to mining and engi­neering organizations. Visit his website at www.clearcreekdigital.com.


(Thanks Trevor, Having a high performance site is the number one industrial marketing challenge, get it right and your industrial social media will pay off big.)


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12 Questions Every Manufacturer Should Ask Themselves

Wed, Jul 20, 2016 @ 11:12 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Branding, Process Equipment Marketing, Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Industrial Marketing Content

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 (Thanks to Ken Maisch for this great article in the July 15, 2016 Cincinnati Business Courier. If you don't know the competition and the marketplace, you won't be able to grow your business.)

Ken_Maisch.jpgRecently I attended an economic briefing session to get some insight into where the economists saw us heading over a period of time. After the meeting, while I was reviewing the data we received, I began to think about TechSolve’s client companies and how they were preparing for changes in their customer’s needs, based on changing economics, and how they were and should be planning for future changes.

Over the last year, I have seen the business of some of my clients slow as much as 30%. On the other hand, I saw some of those client companies serving, growing, and thriving markets. I asked myself how each of these client groups was dealing with their particular circumstance. Our experience shows that client companies in a rapid growth mode are usually behind the curve and have to take exceptional steps to deal with this growth. It also shows that companies who see a drop in business usually go into a full blown pull back, as if their future will never be there again.

There will always be changes in our business cycles. There will always be new products and there will always be products that become obsolete. The “key” to sustaining a viable manufacturing company is based on its ability to deal with these changing environments. How nimble these companies are in changing times determines their overall ability to grow and continue a pattern of profitability.

There are twelve questions manufacturing companies should constantly ask themselves as they examine the future. Those are:

1) Are we intimately familiar with the market we serve?

2) How well do we know our competition?

3) What are the changing aspects of that market?

4) Is there a consolidation of players within that market?

5) How much of our overall revenue is represented by our top five customers?

6) Are we getting downward pricing pressure from that customer base?

7) Do we see increasing raw material costs?

8) Are we experiencing annual increases in our manufacturing costs that we can’t pass on to our customer base?

9) Are we consistently upgrading our equipment to maintain productivity?

10) Is “lean” thinking a part of our company culture?

11) Are we having difficulty in finding and keeping capable workers?

12) Is “productivity improvement” a part of our overall plan?

If you don’t know the answers to a majority of these questions I believe you will find life in a manufacturing environment to be difficult at best. Let’s take these questions and boil them down into three groups.

1) Market knowledge and marketing capability

2) Equipment capability and utilization

3) Productivity and cost control

Now let’s take a look at each area as they pertain to today’s manufacturing environment.

Market Knowledge and Marketing Capability

A thorough knowledge of your targeted market is essential. Knowing all the players, the competitive pricing levels each offers, and at what level you are competitive within this market enables more accurate quotations leading to a higher hit rate. We find this an area of weakness within some of our client base. Some know the names of primary competition, but aren’t sure at what level their pricing must be to earn new business. In the absence of this knowledge, companies price their products on what they perceive are the prices their competitors charge without a relationship between their real costs and the profit margins available at that level of pricing.

In addition to these pricing issues, it is imperative that companies understand the best way to address their target market. What is the best way to attract new customers? Is the internet and other electronic media the best way to find and get new customers? Is a more traditional sales approach preferable? Is direct customer contact better than a less direct approach. Does your product have an engineering or sales element? In all cases it is a must that you understand the “who” within your market. It is important to know who is the sales leader within your market, who is the “price” leader within your market, and which competitor has the strongest reputation and the “why” that is. Simply selecting a market in the absence of this knowledge can be a recipe for disaster. Growth in a new market or customer base can be much more successful if the answers to these questions are understood and addressed in the early planning stages.

Equipment Capability and Utilization

Businesses evolve and change over time. When manufacturing companies begin they usually locate and use the most economical equipment they can afford. Not always the most productive, but it gets the job done. Then over time they begin to invest in new technology and equipment that offers significant productivity advantages. They realize this is the long term answer to better controlling their costs. If new equipment is good, more must be better. Not always the correct solution. It is imperative that this new more productive equipment reach full utilization as quickly as possible. Otherwise the cost of having that equipment becomes a draw against profitability as our employees scramble to get it fully utilized and still keep the old equipment running.

New technology is only an advantage when it increases capacity and lowers cost. Owning and underutilizing the newest equipment will only increase cost, not improve the situation. As a process improvement company we understand and agree with consistently improving productivity, and when equipment is the answer, do the necessary economic justification and purchase the new equipment. Making sure that you understand your productivity levels and how it relates to your overall cost, is a must. And once you understand the importance of long term productivity improvements, budget to upgrade your equipment as your depreciation schedule dictates. The most productive companies we serve are those that justify and utilize the most efficient systems available and continually upgrade them as needs dictate.

Productivity and Cost Control

One of the greatest challenges manufacturing companies face is “how do I deal with the price reduction requests I get from my customers?” It would seem simple. We have to eat the loss of margin to keep the revenue. Well, you can only do this for so long. Sooner or later you run out of margin and unless you have taken steps to further control cost, you are suddenly in trouble. Once your organization has a firm handle on your real “fully burdened manufacturing cost/hour”, then cost control through productivity improvement is the answer. New equipment, as mentioned earlier, is part of the answer, but real productivity comes when our employees are empowered by understanding the real basis for our cost and the role they play in changing that basis. If your company is not actively involved in a Lean initiative, if you have not established “metrics” that confirm success, and if your company culture is not one of consistently improving performance then daily struggles can become a way of life. Having a thorough understanding of your manufacturing costs, and then implementing a plan to address those areas that need improvement, will go a long way in strengthening profitability.

In summary, our country has always been involved in “making stuff”. Our manufacturing capability is second to none. I realize this as I see companies who have off shored their production only to realize they need to come home. Back to where real efficiency is understood and embraced. Back where “being the best” is not a bad term. And Yes, based on what our economists tell us, we will have ups and downs in our business cycles. But the best deterrent to down business cycles is productivity and the ability to cost your costs to be able to meet changing price demands. Our manufacturing future has always been bright. But now it more important than ever to continue to take those steps that will allow us to continue to be most productive nation in the world.


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