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Industrial Marketing Public Relations (PR) in the Information Age

Fri, Jan 24, 2014 @ 12:26 PM / by Lauren Campbell posted in Industrial Marketing, Public Relations PR, Industrial Marketing Media, Industrial Public Relations PR, Internet Marketing, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Marketing, Industrial Marketing Content, Internet Development, Marketing Media, Cincinnati public relations

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Public Relations (PR) have gone hand in hand with marketing for decades. Over the years, both industries have seen huge changes with the advent of technology, the development of the internet and the rise of the social media phenomenon. In addition to keeping up with the ‘Jones’, globalization has increased, not only the markets available, but also the competition, making it more difficult to have a competitive edge.

Our Cincinnati Marketing and Advertising AgencySurviving in the Information Age has been difficult for industrial PR and marketing firms; the ever changing landscape of print media, digital media, and technology have made it more important than ever to ‘know your stuff.’ Because I am new to both of these industries, I haven’t been around to experience these changes myself and have not had to adapt to a changing landscape. My job here at Lohre & Associates is my first ever marketing gig, and even though we are a Marketing and Communications Firm, we also do a little bit of PR for our clients, introducing me to both fields of work and teaching me how to navigate through both. But, after all, the map is not the territory and no matter how much information is fed to me about ‘how this should be done’ or ‘this is how it used to be done,’ I had no idea what was needed to be successful in these industries until I started working here.

Given my short experience working here, there are some important best practices that I have picked up on. Practices that aren’t taught in college, nor are they often regularly discussed at large firms, but here at Lohre & Associates, they are discussed. Maybe this goes back to the longevity of this firm, but even though these may be considered ‘Old School,’ they are valid, useful and pertinent for a lasting company.

Build a rapport with editors and publishers:

Sending out email after email to individuals regarding your client and/or their product requires a lot time in these industries. When I think about how long we’ve been around, some of these individuals have known our company for decades, making for lasting relationships. This is why being polite, genuine, and patient are so crucial for success. You must recognize the individual on the other end of the email/phone are people too, with lives and events happening all the time. When you interact with them, be polite, listen and be genuine with your statements. When they don’t get back to you immediately, be patient. As someone in charge of the PR for a client/company, you represent them as well, don’t forget that. No one wants to deal with an impersonal, time crunching, fast-talking marketer. It isn’t going to do anything but waste people’s time, and that isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Be organized!        Important Marketing concept: passing the football

When reaching out to publications or a person about your client/product keeping up with all forms of interaction is crucial, especially in PR where publication dates, submittal dates, and advertising dates reign supreme. I regularly reach out to dozens of publications, sometimes daily and keeping track of who has responded, who works for whom, what deadlines are for what publication and what information is required for those publications, can be a daunting task. This is why keeping an organized spreadsheet or something similar is important. This helps keep track of whom you need to contact and whom you are waiting on to respond to you. In the industry, this is referred to as ‘the football’ and keeping track of the football can make or break a sale or worse, a client’s involvement.

Lastly and most importantly,

Don’t let the internet fool you.

Again, I didn’t know much about Industrial Marketing and PR when I started here, but luckily I have a great teacher, Chuck Lohre, who has taken me under his wing to teach me; but I, being the Millennial I am, do have a full understanding of the internet, social media, and how hard one must work to obtain valid information from both.

Yes, online Public Relations is a huge, booming business. Yes, everyone says that print media is dying. Yes, online content creation is important. But, big BUT here guys, don’t let the internet fool you. Print media is alive and well in the industrial sector. People who work in these sectors are more than happy to pick up a magazine and read the articles. Even though most industries aren’t seeing such staying power in print media, there is still something to be said about it. Not to mention, the validity that these publications provide. Even in digital form it is important to find a credible news source.

Industrial Marketing Advertisement from the Precast ShowFinding valid, credible resources online can be a little discouraging. With everyone giving their opinion on topics and social media blatantly bombarded with ‘news’ all the time, sifting through the BS, if you will, can take up a lot of time. That is time well spent for consumers, businesses, and individuals to compete for the attention needed to see your product. Utilizing legitimate resources for your PR outreach is imperative to establishing credibility and maintaining that credibility. If a valid news source has a digital presence then PR outreach should be done; those types of suitable sources probably send out e-newsletters and other forms of electronic communication with their subscribers. These avenues are great for PR and can be useful in reaching your targeted audience.

One thing that the internet can’t always provide for PR outreach is quality information. That is why it is important to remember that just because something has a lot of ‘likes’ on Facebook, or is trending on Twitter doesn’t make it useful, valid, or credible.

Hopefully the newsworthy information that is available on these social media platforms will begin to take a hard right turn towards validity; focusing on objective, trustworthy, and responsible publication, at least I hope they do.

If you enjoyed this blog post, you would also enjoy Industrial New Product Introduction.

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The Nitty Gritty of Creating an 2014 Industrial Marketing Media Schedule

Fri, Jan 03, 2014 @ 12:05 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Marketing Media Schedule, Public Relations PR, Industrial Marketing Media, Industrial Public Relations PR, Marketing Media, Cincinnati public relations

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Seven steps to a relevant, customer-focused industrial marketing media schedule.

From the headline of this post you know a checklist is coming as you prepare to create a media schedule. Here it is:

  1. Survey your customers
  2. Check out where they hang out
  3. Place the frequency to match the use
  4. Use blogging best practices to create content
  5. Establish a metric to track
  6. Test new media
  7. Rinse and repeat

Industrial marketing survey formIt's easy to survey visitors who request information from your web site. Contrary to giving information away, many industrial sites request contact information for Material Specification Data Sheets and other proprietary information. Those request forms are a perfect place to ask where your customers "hang out." You'll quickly see that one third of your leads come from the dominate industry publication, another third from search engine, whlle the other major industry publications deliver the balance.

There are additional questions you'll want to ask yourself before planning your 2014 campaign.

  1. What are your goals?
  2. How do you compare with your competitor's sites?
  3. How does your PR compare?
  4. How does your advertising compare?

Normally the goal of an industrial marketing site is to increase traffic and thus gain new customers. The site that a plant manager finds and gets a quote from quickly has a very good chance of getting the order, but it takes a combination of efforts from sales reps, manufacturing and financial approvals. One site we did generates sales from around the world, letters of credit are essential for your protection.

Hubspot Marketing GraderHubspot's Marketing Grader is a good place to compare your site against others. Maybe you can't have as many indexed pages or links to your site as a multi-national, but you must have a site that loads quickly, has unique content and uses the keywords you want to be found on.

PR is a topic that is coming back. The new inbound marketing concepts are really a throwback to a strong PR program. Good writers can always find a new spin on an industrial product and that's what will get your reader engaged.  They'll remember you when they are looking for your product. Take a look at a good list of how to blog and it's practically the same as the PR manuals from a century ago. Also, PR is put in front of traditional advertising for a reason. You must prove your media with PR and only then will the media be worthwhile for paid display advertising.

Finally your display advertising budget needs to go to the publications your customers read, the directories they refer to and the ones that provide sales leads. The old-fashioned bingo card is back in digital from and just as relevant.

Now for dicing up your budget. The 80/20 rule works here as well. So, 80% of your budget should go to the top 20% of your markets. The 20% left can be used for PR. For a small manufacturing firm with say a $100,000 budget for round numbers use $10,000 for industrial directories that will provide about 50% of your web traffic. Your site should produce about 50% of your sales leads. Another $70,000 goes to display advertising that provides a similar 25% of your leads. And the final $20,000 split between adwords and PR which will generate the final 25% of your leads. Typically, your PR is a compelling visual and description appropriate for the media's editorial schedule. As you update your PR also update your site site content. In fact, the PR can be a blog post that's distributed to the media and linked to inside the site.

McGraw Hill ManThe process of industrial marketing media changes incrementally and slowly over time. You need to stay in front of you regular customers, but also need to continue to explore new markets. You never know where those will come from, but then again we invented the Internet to solve that problem! So your 70% traditional media marketing goes to your regular customers and 30% goes to keep your name out there in the best industrial directories, search engine ad words and potentially new media and businesses with PR. Thanks to Business2community.com for the McGraw-Hill magazine ad, "I don’t know who you are. I don’t know your company. I don’t know your company’s product. I don’t know what your company stands for. I don’t know your company’s customers. I don’t know your company’s record. I don’t know your company’s reputation. Now…What was it that you wanted to sell me?"


If you liked this post, you may also enjoy "10 Step: Process Equipment Website Marketing Communications Review."


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Industrial Marketing Media Schedule Planning for 2014

Tue, Dec 10, 2013 @ 10:11 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing Media Schedule, Public Relations PR, Industrial Marketing Media, Industrial Public Relations PR, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Marketing, Cincinnati public relations

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Now is the time to fine-tune your 2014 industrial marketing editorial schedule. The trend's toward digital newsletters produced by industrial publications versus strictly print ads.

This might seem a bit old fashion but industrial marketing is slow to adopt consumer trends. These days consumer email boxes are brimming with newsletters from their favorite stores and brands. Not so much with industrial marketing. Industrial marketers know, though, they can contribute expert-authored articles to technical trade journals. The best publications factcheck and vet the articles for their audiences and everyone wins, right? Well, you still must make some decisions about where you're going to place your space for the year.

Common wisdom tells you to pick the top two publication in your industry and schedule twelve time frequency in both. To do that effectively you need to place the largest ad you can three or six times and fill in with classifieds or calling card size ads. Now we need to include the publication's digital newsletters as well. For the best short summary of industrial marketing techniques, download Business Marketing Association Director Rick Kean's presentation, "Marketing Skills Assessment," delivered to the 2005 AdVenture Electrical Industry Marketing Conference.

This blog post will give you some tools to help evaluate digital media.

Alexa Industrial Marketing Media Schedule resized 600

Alexa.com is a great site to evaluate large internet sites like Thomasnet.com and Globalspec.com. We've included Google.com and Skf.com as control sites. They rarely change and are nearly linear in their internet industrial marketing media. For that matter Thomasnet.com and Globalspec.com are too. A modest Thomasnet program can increase traffic almost as much as a good ad words program. The ad words program will be more targeted and deliver about twice as many sales leads.

But here is where the comparison really points out what is happening in internet industrial marketing media mix - the number of indexed pages of a publication. The following charts illustrate the difference between Thomasnet.com and Globalspec.com.

Industrial marketing media thomasnet.com resized 600

Industrial Marketing media globalspec.com resized 600

Thomasnet.com has 2.8 million indexed pages and Globalspec.com has 5.8 million. Even though Globalspec is just a media baby compared to Thomasnet it has almost twice as many indexed pages. This is mainly because Thomasnet.com and Google didn't get along and Google couldn't index their huge number of pages. Thomasnet has since made aliances with Google and has started to recover in the industrial media wars. Thomasnet being almost hundred years older has a leg up on Globalspec. Globalspec was recently purchased by IHS, a global industrial intelligence service company. The jury is still out on how that will affect its industrial product sites.

If you're considering investing in digital newsletters for your industrial marketing media schedule for 2014, you need to be sure that they are indexed by Google and have a life of their own by continually being present on the interent. Here's an example of a Powder Bulk Engineering's newsletter and its proof that Google has indexed it.

Industrial marketing media Powder Bulk Engineering resized 600

Industrial marketing media Powder Bulk Engineering Google resized 600

You don't want to invest in any media that can't pass this sniff test. Pick out a unique sentence from the newsletter and search on it in Google by putting quotation marks on either side. If it doesn't come up, your customers won't be able to find it either. "Not allowing content to be indexed by Google" is the single biggest mistake media makes in trying to provide digital services.

Our recomendations for industrial marketing media schedules for 2014 include moving 15% of your media budget to digital newsletters. We don't recommend banner ads on publication home pages. The internet is only reached by searching on keywords and those searches shouldn't take you to home pages. They should take you to the page with the specific search keyword you searched on.

If you liked this blog post you may also like, "How To Realign Your Marketing Communications with Sales."


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