Archive for the Industrial Marketing Category
Small US Manufacturers Hold The Future In Their Hands

Manufacturers have a long climb ahead to redefine the manufacturing equation in the US - good thing it's what we've always done, and will do again.

I recently dropped a post, ‘Here’s A Solution: Why Not Declare War On Manufacturing?,’ that put out a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that if we REALLY want the government to ‘save’ US manufacturing, they should declare ‘war’ on it. If we do that, I said in jest, maybe we’d get the same results the ‘wars’ on poverty & drugs have gotten, then manufacturing would thrive.

But the truth in that post – and in this one – is that we’re not helpless lemmings, wandering aimlessly, waiting to be ‘saved’ from extinction. Or, at least, we don’t have to be. Manufacturing in the US – particularly small & medium manufacturers – are where the bullet of innovation hits the bone. Always has been that way, ya know? And as bad as the economy or markets get, manufacturers always bounce back.

And manufacturing will lead the charge ahead. Not the government. Not the brokerage houses. Not the banks, who’ll only lend you an umbrella when the sun’s shining.

It’s up to us. And there are clear signals that point to what needs to be done. You’ve heard them before, and likely blown them off. They’re not for the the faint of heart, but we’re in this fight and those solutions are no longer alternatives – they’re necessary.

Two recent messages add to the growing voices of change, and help to define these solutions clearly. And as bedrock manufacturers we need to get onboard – to redefine and rebuild on the foundations that remain of our industries and create new ones.

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Reshoring Manufacturing To The US Is A Gradual Process

A Textiles & Apparel Company CEO explains the decisions he made in repatriating production to the US - reasoning that applies to many manufacturers in other industries.

Lonnie Kane is the CEO for California-based Karen Kane, a fashion designer of women’s clothing founded in 1979 & carried in department stores throughout North America. In a recent interview with Bloomberg Business, he shared the motivations that led his company to repatriate its production – now at 80% – back to the US, the impact of the US and Chinese economies on those decisions, and the role of government on supply chains & manufacturing.

His thoughts, experiences and advice apply to manufacturers within many industries and demand chains – not just textiles & apparel. Here are some salient highlights from the interview, my take on their importance in assessing a reshoring strategy, and the full video of the interview (you can watch it below).

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Why Compliance Is Transforming Social Media For Manufacturing & B2B

The more rigid or regulated the business or industry, the more likely we'll see tighter controls on Social Media access and communications channels.

Social Media is still in its infancy. Not to say the adoption rates are low – we’re already well on our way to critical mass now – but it’s only just developing in defining its specific roles to bring real value to myriad demographics, groups & industries. This is nothing new.

When the Internet cow left the barn in the mid-90s, its applications were basic, unrefined and simplistic. Investments were made based on potential rather than actual value. Even today, the rules are still being rewritten as to how the Web in general influences and serves behaviors and markets. And Social Media is in the same spot the Web was back then: just now leaving a period of great discovery, and entering an era of vast underutilization and redefinition.

This is particularly true for business. And especially for industries in manufacturing with complex design and supply chains.

Compliance – and for that matter, governance, too – will become the defining topics for how and why industrial and technology companies utilize Social Media over the coming decade. And it may already be effecting the results you’re seeing now, without you even knowing it.

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The Impact Of Marketing Content Types On Industrial & ManufacturingTechnology Buying Cycles

Specific media serve specific needs at various stages of the capital equipment and industrial technology buying cycles.

In 2009, Google commissioned a survey with the company TechTarget to measure the behaviors around IT technology purchases, and how content types served those prospects throughout the buying cycle.  A compelling feature of this study is that Google used actual keywords and phrases that prospects searched for, as well as the content types they selected.

In short, this is no survey – actual behaviors, keywords searched upon and content types selected were OBSERVED. Real-time, and without the fog of interpretation, memory or recall.

While there are differences between IT and industrial technology buying cycles, there were compelling and surprising conclusions drawn from this study, and industrial marketers should consider these findings to maximize the effectiveness of their marketing strategies.

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Social Media & The Industrial Technology Buying Cycle

Industrial and manufacturing prospects use media differently than general consumers, to research protracted, complex technology purchases.

In this period of great change and experimentation with emerging media, two things have remained constant within the capital equipment and custom/discrete parts manufacturing industries – the special compliance and corporate requirements of industrial prospects, and the steps they follow through their unique buying cycles.

The stages & steps they follow have remained virtually unchanged throughout the industrial age. While media and communications options have evolved to make their journeys through the cycle more efficient, they’ve remained consistent in following these steps, in virtually the same order.

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