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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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Killer App Indeed: B2B Google Shopping for Industrial Marketing

Thu, Jan 23, 2014 @ 03:06 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Marketing Media Schedule, Internet Marketing, Industrial Marketing Advertising, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Marketing, B2B Advertising, Internet Development, Business to Business Advertising, Internet Advertising

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In what might be the greatest insult to industrial directories, Google is now going after the likes of ThomasNet and GlobalSpec, Grainger and eBay for the marketing and selling of industrial products.

Google Shopping takes on industrial marketing and advertisingThomasNet is well 100 years old and the granddaddy of industrial directories. Initially, ThomasNet didn't play well with Google and its pages weren't indexed. Now they have partnered with Google and are showing up too much on the first page. Is that the reason Google appears to be  out to eat their lunch? ThomasNet has never been a price-based industrial directory but that's exactly what Google wants, and eBay fears the same. GlobalSpec started out thinking manufacturing engineers wanted a single location where they could buy every nut, bolt and bracket for their wigit. But they could never please the vast differences regarding how things are made and purchased in the world.

Google Shopping debuted Jan. 21, 2013. It started with electronic components and then added test/measurement components -- mechanical componets recently followed, which include bearings, actuators and pumps.

Currently in Beta, all fees are waived for the first year. Two options later: pay or opt out. We'll sign up our clients for the first year free and see how it goes. After a year Google will show results. Currently Google is driving traffic to this industrial platform, which filters out consumer results. In the future this advertising platform will be similar to Adwords, look out Thomas Register Industrial Directory (ThomasNet). They may go to a Google Supplier Badge-type of verification. They will charge for that verification process. After that, pay per lead or click. Google partnered with Dun & Bradstreet to actually make a call and confirm that companies are legal in the US, etc. It's primarily focused on US, Germany and China now. Will open up later to global. Many top spot accounts are using this platform.

Currently not triggering on mobile yet, but will. You can type in the actual URL for now. They did this because they thought they were underserving the b2b. Fluke and Maxim semi-conductor are on board. They say this is especially good for first time, smaller businesses that are just getting started. This will be similar to TR product search, where you can input a part number and get relevant results. Will be building out filter for ISO, and other certifications like RoHAS.

Zappos Industrial Marketing AdvertisementSounds great but our clients don't sell on price. Just about everything in B2B Google Shopping has a price. Our clients products require at least a small amount of questions by the sales team. Do they need a bracket? Did you forget to tell us one of the required specifications. And shipping isn't something you can quote quickly for large bulky items. For example, you can buy a cheap home safe online with $50 shipping but what they don't tell you is that it's your responsibility to get it off of the truck and into your home. Now we all are going to have to get used to automating our sales process enough so it can be done online. Zappos, the online shoe company, founded in 2009, is now $1.2 billion in sales. If they can successfully sell women shoes (including pumps) online confidently, then we can figure out how to make manufacturing engineers happy that we asked the right questions so they get their motors or pumps delivered -- right to their plant with everything they need to install it. Even if that means partnering with local mechanical service companies.

It all comes down to the industrial marketing media schedule, how do you decide where to invest your marketing dollars? You must get your web site at least potty trained, and you must create a simple, elegant affordable adwords program, but that where it gets hard to justify. When you're sad because your company decided not to attend a trade show, what's wrong? Sure business is a big party but it's a sporting event as well.  Only a very few like MODERN MACHINE SHOP and POWDER BULK ENGINEERING have managed to survive. And that's because of great editorial. These are the trusted voice of the industry and it's an honor and a privilege to get published there.

Google Earth and Industrial MarketingIn the end our job is to provide the sales force with new and interesting companies to learn about and go visit on their regular sales treks. It's a lot easier said than done. We spent last night combing SalesGenie for leads and today using Google Earth to fly over industrial parks, inspecting what's on the trailers going to and from factories.

It just might work!


If you liked this post you may also like, The Nitty Gritty of Creating an 2014 Industrial Marketing Media Schedule

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Rocking Industrial Marketing Advertisements

Mon, Jan 06, 2014 @ 10:33 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Advertising, Technical llustration, Industrial Marketing Advertising, Business to Consumer Marketing, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Advertising, Advertising, Advertising Design, Business to Business Advertising, Business to Consumer Advertising, Advertisement Design, Advertising Literature, Advertising Agency

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How do you break through the clutter? Literally. That's our problem as we commence a new campaign for the mining business. Here'a a peek behind the creative process.

Art Dickinson Industrial PhotographyAt first we thought some great photography of their employees would stop everyone on the page. Photos of people are always effective in that respect. Even if the person's face is no larger than a postage stamp, eye-tracking software proves it makes viewers stop and look. But we're not the only creatives to note that -- it's why there are (reliably) a dozen or so such ads in every industry pub. Besides, trying to get the client to use employees is difficult. Conventional wisdom holds you don't want to promote employees for fear that they will want more money. Or worse, letting them get the idea they're indispensible. Testimonials from customers are better but don't hold your breath if your under deadline. Photo courtesy Art Dickinson Photography.

Creative Commons Industrial MarketingWhat are some other, stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks visual attention getters? Babies, dogs and scantily clad women tend to work for the roughneck set, but we don't care to go there. Recently we got involved in using Inventor and Light Wave to produce some 3D technical drawings of equipment. It inspired us to think about using the technology to use a cutaway of the machine and show how it operates. Then the question is: Does an overall picture of the machine tell the viewer instantly what the machine is good for? It's sort of like looking at a sports car versus a dumptruck. If you're selling either and the viewer is looking for that product, they will look at your ad. That's why a product line ad illustrating your product range, is normally a safe idea. Not particulary attention-getting, and actually very boring.

Thanks to Creative Commons for the photo.

Industrial marketing illlustrationSo what about an extreme closeup? Showing the technical details of how the machine works? If so, how would you make that interesting? There's a new smartphone app, Ateva, that allows you to look at a two-dimensional page and up pops a 3D object. The app is programed to identify the photo and then serve the 3D image through your tablet or smartphone. The viewer can move the phone around the page and see the different angles of the 3D illustration. We think that this just might be the ticket to getting attention. Thanks to Powder Bulk Engineering magazine for the image on the left, which could be very entertaining to rotate and zoom in on. We particularly like including a person in the illustration. But a machine cut-a-way is not personal enough to persuade. To persuade you need to strike the problem nerve.

rock and hard place 300x199What problem are you solving? What problem does the viewer have? It may not be the operation of the machine. In one recent example, the problem the customer had was the machine's size. Would it fit into the allowable space? "Between a rock and a hard place," could be a good headline for this example. And an illustration could be memorable and hopefully sharable, by poking some fun at it. A rock 'n' roll guitar plus a steel plate?  Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson paired with a diamond? On second thought, these ideas don't shock enough. The germ of a good idea is in here, contrasting items just have to tell the story of not fitting in. Or in this case, just fitting in. Thanks to Embracing My Journey for the photo.

In this example, the machine had a close fit in an underground mine. That's one of the reasons it couldn't be too tall -- it wouldn't fit in. How about a headless miner plus a punny header? "We're working hard to give you more headroom!" Or, "Let our Mega-Slam give you more headroom." The number one thing our client is known for is practical applications of these machines. This is a perfect example of that skill. If we can use the visual to tell these two stories, we'll have a home run. Practical knowledge, plus the right size for the huge capacity the customer wanted. "Fitting ten pounds in a five-pound bag,"


If you liked this post you may also like, "How to Create Emotional Marketing Communications."


Creative marketing communications

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How to Create Emotional Marketing Communications

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 @ 11:04 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Advertising, Industrial Marketing Advertising, Industrial Marketing Trade Show, Literature Design, Promotional Brochure Design, Industrial Marketing and Advertising Literature, Marketing and Advertising Fun, Advertising, Cincinnati Advertising, Advertising Design, Business to Business Advertising, Cincinnati Advertising Agency, Advertisement Design, Advertising Literature, print advertising, Advertising Literature Design, Corporate Advertising Literature, print advertisements, Cincinnati Literature Design, Advertising Agency, Ad Design

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To create marketing people love, you need to appeal to their emotions.

As said in his blog, "People buy on emotion—and justify by logic." You can learn more about emotional persuasion at the Wikipedia post where it lists these appeals to emotion:

  • Advertising
  • Faith
  • Presentation and Imagination
  • Propaganda
  • Pity
  • Seduction
  • Tradition

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This ad "connects" with the viewer because it contains a human hand. The connectors on the fingers make you think about why they are there. Are they hurting the hand? What are they doing there? Adding a body part into an ad is like adding a person. It's also one reason testimonials are successful when there's a photo of the person, looking at you, telling their experiences. If the story is good enough, your opinion will be changed.

 

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Why does this ad evoke a visceral reaction? No one likes a messy job. Here's a solution. And then, there are those hands again! You only have a few seconds to introduce the main benefit and visual that backs it up. The double entendre, from something that you can hold in your hand to a push-button effort, always helps develop the main visual and headline. Your brain looks at it like a riddle. And who doesn't like trying to solve a riddle?

 

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This is one of the most humorous ads the agency has ever produced. It was fun to do and started out as a takeoff on the Splice Girls, but the lawyers said we had to make it a parody. So out went the attractive young ladies, and in came the construction workers dressed in drag. Those husky models were a bit surprised at the costumes we had for them! Like other successful ads we've done, it was immediately ripped out of the publication and stuck on the company billboard with callouts of the likely suspects in the company identified! It's the print equivalent of going viral.


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This is the most "graphic" ad the agency produced and so were reactions. Some people really didn't like it, but most were amused and everyone remembered it. Phone calls to the client (immediately after publication) complained it cast the industry in a bad light. (The rendering business is in the business of reducing carcasses to pulp for further processing.) This ad style is hard to pull off. Industrial marketing's job is to tell a simple story with a benefit. Not to polarize the market or give the viewer any reason to go elsewhere. If you can't be funny, memorable and educational in industrial advertising, you're on thin ice. Negative ads almost always backfire in B2B. Your local TV news is all about bad news, social media is about good news. Read more about that effect in The Economic Times.


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The use of strong, evocative words can make your ad work. The play on words leads to the small application photo.


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Trade show displays can elicit feelings as well. It was a bit of a roller coaster ride for the creator of Connectosaurus Rex. Can you imagine having sold the idea and then having to build it! This is a highly conservative industry, but the final product was a big hit. We even added a sound track. As the visitor walked by the monster piped up and told a joke!

This is bull

Last but not least, this ad won awards for its direct simplicity. Rules were made to be broken and this ad was negative toward the rumors competitors were circulating about our client. The ad reiterated those rumors and then refuted them.


If you liked this post, contrast it with Green marketing communications. Where you are going to have to use your brain, at some point.

How to Create Green Building Marketing Communications, Mar Com Blog post


Creative marketing communications

Download our free guide to Creative Marketing Communications,

Chuck Lohre's AdVenture Presentation of examples and descriptions from Ed Lawler's book of the same title - 10 Rules On Creating Business-To-Business Ads

Industrial Marketing Creative Guide by Lohre Marketing and Advertising, Cincinnati

Read More