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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

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Great Test-Pectations - Mining Equipment Marketing

Fri, Aug 05, 2016 @ 02:37 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Branding, Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Industrial Marketing Content, Advertising, Content Creation, Content Marketing

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(This week's post is a recent article we wrote for POWDER BULK SOLIDS on a major factor in mining equipment marketing - trying before you buy! Thanks to Stedman Machine Company for the opportunity to work with them to create one of the finest marketing programs I've been a part of in my nearly 40 years in the business. Lohre also took the photos.)

Learn why it’s smart to try before you buy size reduction equipment.

By Chris Nawalaniec, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Stedman Machine Company

Why Test?

Selecting the right equipment is also a great way to save energy. Sure you could use a carpenter’s hammer to drive a railroad spike, but it is not very efficient, and while a sledgehammer is more common, an automatic spike driver can make the task nearly effortless. However if you are only driving a single spike, the additional energy required using the automatic option becomes cost prohibitive. A review of your material and process by the equipment manufacturer can help you avoid the pitfalls of under or over selection.

Mining-Equipment-Marketing-8-5-16.3.jpg(Stedman Machine Company photo of closed size reduction circuit system with the Stedman Grand Slam™ Horizontal Shaft Impactor and a round vibratory screener.)

Testing helps determine the most efficient processing technology to meet production needs. The right equipment saves time and money in the long run. Full-scale testing provides precise size reduction solutions for the exact material/s and demonstration of a specific model before purchase.

While the nuances of size reduction are infinite, commonly encountered industrial size reduction applications use equipment that achieves reduction through one or more of the following:

  • Impact -- hitting a friable material to break large parts into smaller ones
  • Shear -- tearing or ripping material
  • Compression -- squeezing and pressing down on a material until it breaks.

Design parameters that drive size reduction crusher selection include production requirements, material characteristics, project location, climate conditions, capital cost, safety and environment, the life of product/expansion plans and maintenance requirements.

Some types of machinery can last decades. Buying the wrong equipment can have long-term consequences in the cost of consumables, lack of production and downtime. Yearly consumables alone could exceed half the cost of the unit. Size- reduction equipment is typically integrated into a large system. By choosing the wrong equipment, it could inadvertently create a bottleneck that affects the productivity of the overall system.

Test facilities have hundreds of reports on file that may match your application. Saving the expenses of preliminary testing or in the selection of the proper size reduction method. Frequently the staff has experience crushing your material or a similar material. New applications are compared to existing reference data for similar applications. Past tests provide valuable insight into how to configure equipment and plan tests.

Picking the right test facility

Simple devices like the mortar and pestle and technologically complex machines like giant mining crushers perform the same basic task: making big things smaller. Finding the right equipment for this critical process step should begin with the question, “Do we need size reduction equipment, knowledge, or both?”

Choose a test facility that has a range of different size reduction methods. A full complement of hoppers, mechanical conveyors and screens enable test plant technicians to replicate both open and closed systems. Full-size crushing equipment is best for dependable results. It is difficult to scale up crushing results from a lab-size crusher. Lab machine tests may not determine the actual horsepower and machine size the project requires. 

Is the test plant set up to provide real-world conditions in which customers can view their materials being processed -- from feeding, through size reduction and discharge/separation? Does it have an open slot to allow for the installation of other machines on an as-needed basis? Are there cameras to provide live video feeds of materials as they are being processed?

Once the testing is done, toll processing, in the same facility, can produce enough product to test downstream processes, such as briquetting and extrusion, in the future facility to ensure that the process will perform as expected. Remember, the goal is to find an application solution rather than simply buying equipment.

Mining-Equipment-Marketing-8-5-16.1.jpg(Stedman Machine Company photo of open size reduction circuit system with the Stedman Grand Slam™ Horizontal Shaft Impactor and a round vibratory screener.)

What the test plant needs to know

Size reduction process design begins with an understanding of the feed’s physical and chemical characteristics and ends with the product’s physical specifications and other unique product considerations. Five things are needed to evaluate testing possibilities:

  • Feed size
  • Moisture content
  • Tons-per-hour capacity required
  • Final product size
  • Safety data sheets

A material with high moisture content may become gummy and build up on the inside of the crusher. Moisture has a cushioning effect and can cause the material to stick together reducing productivity. When material buildup is a concern, the addition of equipment heaters and air cannons can be used to reduce build up allowing for more efficient operation. Brittle materials are easily crushed, but the process may create too many fines. Heat-sensitive materials may need cooling systems. 

Getting the material to the test facility may be a problem. Can the consistency of the material change during shipping to the test plant? Can the facility restore your material to its as-shipped condition? For typical tests about 200 to 500 pounds of material are required.

What to expect during the test

First steps are sampling of the raw feed to establish the input gradation, moisture level and creating a plan for crushing tests specific to the project goals. To achieve the desired particle size and consistency, the test facility will consider: particle size distribution (the percentage of lumps versus fines) as it enters the crusher, feed control (Will it become gummy or sticky?) and how material is taken away from the crusher. If the material has a large percentage of fines, it’s more efficient to separate the fines with a screener first. Only the oversized material goes through the crusher.

Plan to spend a few days observing the testing process and all the procedures necessary to produce the required end product including preparation, loading of your material and RPM sets for fine to coarse production. You’ll witness the real-time horsepower consumption through start up and full load.

Test plants are operated in either open or closed circuit. Open circuit means the material passes through the crusher once. Closed circuit means that material is re-circulated back into the crusher if it doesn’t pass through a certain screen mesh. In closed circuits, as much as 30 percent of material may re-circulate before meeting size requirements, which increases energy use by 30 percent.

If needed, the test facility will run your material through various crushing methods and/or determine how to fine tune the crusher’s configuration for your process. Two different type crushers may effectively reduce your material at the specifications you need, but one may require much less horsepower and less cost to operate.

Mining Equipment Toll Processing(Stedman Machine Company photo provided of closed, air-swept size reduction circuit system with a Stedman Vertical Roller Mill.)

The report

The data produced from the test of your material helps estimate operating costs from power consumption to wear parts and the information needed to select the right crushing and size reduction equipment. The written technical report provided to you will include the following:

  • Raw feed particle size distribution
  • Moisture content analysis
  • Product particle size distribution gradation analysis
  • Bulk density analysis before and after crushing
  • Abrasion Test to determine if an impactor is feasible for a particular application and to estimate hammer wear life.
  • Power requirements for startup and operation

Evaluating results and scale up

Performance data obtained on test plant equipment are scalable to accurately predict outcomes achieved on production models. Once your tests are done, the sales engineer will make recommendations for equipment type and size, open or closed circuits and other equipment like air cannons or heaters to loosen caking or sticky material. The equipment selected should produce the same particle size distribution as the test unit and the energy required at the production throughput rate is scalable from the test equipment.

Size reduction expressed in the simplest form is: “Material + Energy = Size Reduction.” Experienced, knowledgeable size reduction equipment suppliers will guide a customer through the correct questions and recommend the best-suited method for any specific materials. Reputable suppliers will refer customers to other equipment manufacturers with better-suited styles of equipment when their products are not suited to the application.

In conclusion, following these simple steps when and where you define your product and process, perform testing and consider your installation, you will succeed in buying a crusher that will provide years of trouble-free processing.

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

About the author

Chris Nawalaniec is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Stedman Machine Company, the Aurora, Ind.-based manufacturer of size reduction equipment and systems, founded in 1834. Nawalaniec graduated from the University of Cincinnati (BSME, MBA) and has more than 30 years professional experience in size reduction and particle size separation. Nawalaniec oversees new machinery and system sales, as well as the full-service test plant that has been operating at Stedman for more than 90 years. (Read Chris' mining equipment marketing testimonial.)

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


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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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Very Fast. Very Light. Very Safe. Very Good.

Fri, Jul 15, 2016 @ 01:02 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Branding, Industrial Marketing Content

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Eastern_Sailplane.jpg

May 29, 2016

Dear Chuck,

    With my recent retirement, I have a little more time to reflect and felt the need to send you a “Thank You” letter. You have been doing my marketing/advertising for 15 years now. The type of ads I required were a little out of the ordinary. The combination of art and technology is always hard. For Schleicher sailplanes, First we sold expensive, exclusive recreational dreams, second we sold a level of technical sophistication for our aircraft of which Boeing would be jealous.  Combining the two is a certain balance which you understood right away. You “got it“ very quickly. Thanks. I’ve enjoyed the great ads you have created for us as well as the articles about our principal, Alexander Schleicher Sailplanes. Especially the interview with their new designer, Michael Greiner. Your article was at the start of his career. Then he went went on to create one of the most successful sailplane designs in the history of soaring.

And thanks for talking us into the digital age. Who would have known that our 50 something demographic would enjoy staying in touch on Facebook. Your posts of Schleicher news as well as our articles in SOARING MAGAZINE made for great content that grew our community.

From aerial photography to trade show graphics; ads to social media we’ll miss having fun with marketing. Retirement never comes easy and you hate to see your friends and customers get out of touch. But the soaring community always stays in touch and Linda and I look forward to future adventures with you and Janet.

Now one last plug about that new ASG 29, imagine your life is as long as a yard stick…..

Sincerely,

John Murray

Eastern Sailplane

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Review: "Designing B2B Brands" for industrial marketing communications

Wed, Jul 22, 2015 @ 11:45 AM / 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. 

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.

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.

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When was the last time you cried over your industrial marketing idea?

Sun, Mar 30, 2014 @ 10:05 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Marketing Ideas, Industrial Advertising, Industrial Branding, Industrial Marketing Advertising, Creative Industrial Marketing and Advertising

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‘Write What You Know’ — Helpful Advice or Idle Cliché?

Bookends, Book Review New York Times, March 25, 0214

By Zoë Heller

(Thanks Zoë for reminding us that we do have good industrial marketing ideas. We just have to cut the crap and speak our emotions. That's the only thing that has worked in the past. If a committee is part of the creative process, you might as well forget it.)

You should write what you really know — as opposed to a slick, bowdlerized version of what you know.

I was in grade school when I first encountered the adage about writing what you know. It concluded my teacher’s tactful comments on a story I had written about an 18th-century highwayman. Stung by her tepid response, I rejected the advice out of hand. How ludicrous, I thought. How limiting! What about science fiction? What about fantasy? What about any writing that travels beyond the borders of the author’s sex or race or age?

Several decades on, the agony of my teacher’s criticism has somewhat abated, and I can see a little more of what she was driving at.

The first mistake I made as a schoolgirl was to assume I was being asked to write exclusively about things that had happened to me. In fact, the injunction is only to know; the business of how you come by your knowledge is left quite open. You can mine your own life, yes. But you can also sympathetically observe other people’s experiences. You can read and research. And you can use your imagination. What good writers know about their subjects is usually drawn from some combination of these sources. The problem with my highwayman story, it seems safe to say, was that I had drawn on none of them. It didn’t necessarily matter that I had never robbed a stagecoach. But it did matter that I had not troubled myself to find out, or even partially imagine, anything about what robbing a stagecoach might entail.

The other, subtler error I made — and continued to make for a long time afterward — was to suppose that translating experiential knowledge into fiction was a simple, straightforward, even banal business. For most writers, it actually takes a lot of hard work and many false starts before they are in a position to extract what is most valuable and interesting from their autobiographies.

In “The Enigma of Arrival,” V. S. Naipaul describes the momentous journey he made shortly before his 18th birthday, from Trinidad to England. The long voyage — Port of Spain to Puerto Rico to New York by air; New York to Southampton by ship — seemed to present rich material for his writing, and he eagerly wrote down his observations in a special writer’s diary. But years later when he came to examine this document, he saw that he had excised all the most interesting elements of what he had seen and felt, deeming them insufficiently literary — out of keeping with the “elegant, knowing, unsurprised” writer’s personality he wished to assume. The family farewell at the airport in Port of Spain; the cousin who took him aside to tell him confidentially that he should sit at the back of the plane because it was safer there; the squabble on board the ship, when a black man was assigned to his cabin and complained that they were being lumped together because they were both “colored” — all of these scenes were absent, as was any acknowledgment of his loneliness, his panic, the “rawness” of his nerves. What he had recorded instead were those incidents and bits of dialogue that seemed to confirm an idea of the grown-up world he had gathered from books and films. “So that, though traveling to write, concentrating on my experience, eager for experience, I was shutting myself off from it, editing it out of my memory.”

Most writers have, for reasons of diffidence, or snobbery, or fear of exposure, done the same thing at some point in their writing lives — unconsciously censored themselves and thrown out the wheat, mistaking it for nonliterary chaff. In this sense, the reminder to write what you know — what you really know, as opposed to a slick, bowdlerized version of what you know — continues to be pertinent advice, not just for 11-year-old schoolgirls, but for writers of any age.

Zoë Heller is the author of three novels: “Everything You Know”; “Notes on a Scandal,” which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and adapted for film; and “The Believers.” She has written feature articles and criticism for a wide range of publications, including The New Yorker, The New Republic and The New York Review of Books.

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Are You Missing a Big Industrial Marketing Idea?

Sun, Mar 23, 2014 @ 05:16 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Marketing Ideas, Industrial Branding, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Marketing

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The Power of 'Thick' Data

Businesses need to know how a product or service fits into the emotional lives of their customers

By Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel B. Rasmussen, March 21, 2014 The Wall Street Journal. If you search on the headline "The Power of 'Thick' Data" a link will be found for a few days after publication.

Ben Wiseman

(Thanks Ben, Christian and Mikkel for illustrating that there may be the possibility there could be transformative industrial marketing ideas out there. One example is Palmer Industries in Springfield, OH. A marketer came in and combined their expertise in foundry operations and Brazil's desperate need for such skills. Their business has grown tenfold in five years. But it wasn't industrial branding. As managers we have to always realize, we may be missing the boat, but necessity is the mother of invention. Enjoy.)

At its core, all business is about making bets on human behavior. Which product is most likely to sell, what employee is most likely to succeed, what price is a customer willing to pay? Companies that excel at making these bets tend to thrive in the marketplace.

So it's no wonder that the latest fad in the business world is Big Data—massive data sets sifted by powerful analytical tools. Big Data can be an extraordinary tool, helping to gather new information about our behavior and preferences. What it can't explain is why we do what we do.

In fact, companies that rely too much on the numbers, graphs and factoids of Big Data risk insulating themselves from the rich, qualitative reality of their customers' everyday lives. They can lose the ability to imagine and intuit how the world—and their own businesses—might be evolving. By outsourcing our thinking to Big Data, our ability to make sense of the world by careful observation begins to wither, just as you miss the feel and texture of a new city by navigating it only with the help of a GPS.

Successful companies and executives work to understand the emotional, even visceral context in which people encounter their product or service, and they are able to adapt when circumstances change. They are able to use what we like to call Thick Data.

Consider the story of Lego. In 2004, the Danish firm was hemorrhaging a million dollars a day. It had lost touch with its customers and was on the brink of collapse.

At the time, there was a clear idea within Lego about what the answer might be. Modern kids, the company thought, were seeking "instant traction" in their play experience. They wanted toys that they could pick up and play with immediately, not ones that required meticulous assembly, brick by brick, as with classic Legos.

Working on this assumption, Lego started developing new action figures and other concepts, but Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, the firm's newly appointed CEO, had a nagging feeling that the ideas were wrong. He decided that he needed to start over and understand, more fundamentally, how and why kids play. He engaged our firm to do research with Lego users across five global cities. We were sent to play with kids—not in focus groups but in the context of their real lives.

After collecting countless hours of video, thousands of photos and journal entries, and hundreds of artifacts of the play experience, Lego meticulously coded everything and looked for patterns across geography and age. Slowly, a pattern emerged from all corners of the data.

Not every child wants to be a Lego builder, but those who do, the company discovered, are passionate about the play experience: They want to achieve mastery, and they want to understand where they fit in the hierarchy of Lego skills. Lego's team arrived at a moment of clarity: They needed to "go back to the brick."


Lego analyzed data and arrived at a moment of clarity: They needed to "go back to the brick." David McLain/Aurora Photos/Corbis

Today Lego is again a successful company. The turnaround has many reasons, including the recent success of "The Lego Movie," but one of them is certainly a deeper understanding of the play experience.

Since its founding in 1954, Coloplast, a medical technology company based in Denmark, had grown by double digits every year. Suddenly, in 2008, the company missed its sales targets four times in a single year. Long the global leader in the niche market for stoma bags for personal hygiene after colon surgery, Coloplast found that its products were losing market share to the competition.

Coloplast's research and development team was focused on solving the problem of "leakage" in the stoma bags. Countless studies showed that people who experienced leakage would lose trust in the product and change to something else. The general assumption across the industry was that better adhesives equaled less leakage.

For years, the engineers at Coloplast had made incremental improvements to their products, adding new features or improving the adhesive. But it was no longer enough. To get a better sense of what the company could do to provide a superior product, they decided to immerse themselves in the world of the customer. Over the course of several months, our firm worked with them to collect, sort and analyze troves of Thick Data about their customers' world.

As the executives at Coloplast worked their way through the videos, photos and firsthand impressions, they could see the actual bodies of their customers and how their products worked in relationship to them. As one executive told us, "I could pick up the photographs and the diaries, page through them, feel them. This data has a completely different texture to it."

What dawned on the Coloplast team was that the adhesive wasn't the problem. Rather, what caused the dreaded leakages was a lack of fit to the patients' diverse and changing bodies. Many patients gained or lost a lot of weight following their surgery or developed scar tissue that made it difficult to keep the stoma bags in place.

Coloplast used this insight to create three different product categories for body types. Not only did this help stop the leakage problem, it gave the company a clear perspective and direction for future innovation.

Finally, consider the case of Samsung's 005930.SE +0.87% TV business. In the early 2000s, Samsung's TVs looked like every other TV on the shelf. Samsung executives could sense that they were missing opportunities to stand out, but they didn't understand how to excite consumers. They needed to ask a bigger question about human behavior in a cultural context: "What does the TV mean in the modern household?"

We worked with Samsung to answer that question. Through hundreds of hours of interviews, videos and other artifacts, we helped the company identify crucial patterns. One interview subject said that he hid the television in a corner because he didn't like the way it looked; another said he wanted his TV to communicate "timelessness," like his meticulously crafted chair. To most people, we discovered, TVs aren't electronics. They are furniture.

From this essential insight, the Samsung team was able to develop a completely redesigned TV with an aesthetic closer to that of modernist furniture than clunky technology. They hid speakers and other eyesores. They changed the way TVs were sold, marketed and serviced. The resulting TV—now a piece of furniture—was a perfect marriage of form and function.

Working with Thick Data isn't straightforward, but the alternative is to outsource these complex business challenges to machines. Even with the magnificent computational power now at our disposal, sometimes there is no alternative to sitting with problems, stewing in them and struggling through them with the help of careful, patient human observation.

—Mr. Madsbjerg and Mr. Rasmussen are the authors of "The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Toughest Business Problems," from which this essay is adapted. Their consulting firm is ReD Associates.


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