Early in my career in the years “B.I” (Before Internet), I began experiencing first-hand the marketing power of pumping out useful, insightful content to the marketplace. My colleagues and I proved that we could magnify the perception of a very small company as a leader, by demonstrating what they know.
Our Detroit-area agency did the marcomm and PR for a Bridgeport, Connecticut manufacturing-tech specialist and system builder, Bodine Assembly & Test Systems. Bodine had one basic carousel system format that they applied to the assembly of products in dozens of industries, from consumer padlocks and batteries to fuel injectors, to little telecommunication connectors. Fascinating to watch.
My on-going program focused on demonstrating the depth of their custom engineering genius, applied successfully for so many different product manufacturers. We created a direct mail mini-magazine, videos, advertising, PR, trade shows – a comprehensive mix. Lots of testing technology news. And we helped top executives to speak out, on subjects such as quality assurance to lean manufacturing.
The biggest element was the application stories. The trick was beating the proprietary-technology roadblocks that so many of Bodine’s customers would put up, many times for good reasons since the assembly process contributed significantly to their competitive edge. But we worked with them, or around them.
Showing the “nuts and bolts” of applications helped prospects visualize themselves as users of the technology. We also had our version of the Human Interest angle … let’s call it “Engineer Interest.” For instance, we told the story of how an older Bodine synchronous assembly machine that had been making garter belt clips, of all things, was sold and converted into a machine to make electrical products. Women’s fashions had changed, markets shifted, and the technology got re-applied.
Over five years time, we proved that our awareness-building programs worked, with metrics from publication-sponsored research, and from Bodine’s successful entry into new markets, fueled on the front-end by marketing communications.
Also see my May post on persuading top management.