Archives for Building Products

MOBILE: The State of Habit

Welcome to your new habit: MOBILEWe’re cranking up The Who’s classic hit “Going MObile” on the 8-track tape player as THE NEW STATE OF MARKETING Road Trip heads for Habit, Kentucky. It’s in the middle of nowhere so we’re also cheating a bit, setting our retro vibe aside long enough to fire up the GPS app on one of our phones. Luckily, Mobile is this month’s theme — otherwise we’d never find the place.

Going Mobile Changes Everything

The automobile wasn’t the first mobile revolution. The horse, the wheel, the train and other innovations have earlier claims on that distinction. But the car changed the way we live and work on an amazing level.

Suddenly you didn’t have to live around the corner from your job. You could get a house outside the bustle of the city, where land was cheaper (for a while) and elbow room was easier to come by. You could go anywhere whenever you liked, whether or not there was a train headed that way. It became easier to buy products from all over the country, and even the world. Business trips and family vacations became more economical, whether across town or across the country. And our beloved pastime — the Road Trip — was born.

The explosion of Mobile technology is changing the world in much the same way, only it’s not just people on the move. Now they can access information, communicate with your business, and purchase nearly anything, from any place, at any time.

Say hello to a new world of opportunity

Mobile gives B2B buyers freedom to do business anywhere.Mobile phones aren’t just for talking anymore. They’ve completely changed our habits (hence this month’s destination). For example, many people now prefer to text instead of talking on the phone. Today your phone is a portable entertainment center, a camera, a flashlight, a compass, an interactive map, a game console, an encyclopedia, and a whole lot more. You can even use it to control a flying drone.

But what matters most to your business is this: we use them to buy.

Mobile now influences every phase of the purchasing cycle, from the content prospects read when they’re at the top of the sales funnel…to the specs they review in the field…to apps and websites they use to place orders. The latest devices even process the payment itself. If all else fails, they can call still do everything the “old-fashioned” way just by tapping your phone number. If you’re mobile-friendly, buyers can do business with you just about anywhere, from Duluth to Dubai.

Here’s another trend you should be watching: people aren’t afraid to buy with mobile devices anymore. According to a study released by the Reputation Institute in April of 2016, the most trusted company in the United States (not just online) was Amazon.com. In fact, buyer trust in Amazon ranked higher than Hallmark, Johnson & Johnson, Rolex, and even Disney. Later that month Amazon’s stock surged on news that its revenue was up 28 percent.

Buyers are mobile. Are you?As Mobile becomes a universal way for customers to research and purchase everything from light bulbs to lumber, their expectations are changing. As of last year, customers who are thinking about buying are reaching for their phones and tablets more than 50% of the time. That will affect your business sooner or later, converting mobile from an option that’s nice to have into something you can’t live without before you know it.

Why wait to become obsolete? Mobile can offer your manufacturing business significant advantages right now.

See you down the road,

Your friends at FELT

p.s. Curious to see where you stand? Download our free quick start guide for No-Fat-Fingers: Improving Your Mobile UX

Download "No-Fat-Fingers: Improving Your Mobile UX"

Lori Sallee POSTED BY: Lori Sallee| Leave a comment

Click With Buyers Online

Clickin' With Buyers Online

“Breaker one-nine! Breaker one-nine! This is Java Mama rolling down I-35 from Big D on the way to Click, Texas. Any panda bears ahead?” Okay, so we may not have the ’70s-era CB Radio lingo just right, but you get the idea. We’re tuning into channel 19 as we head south from Dallas, not just because we don’t want to get pulled over, but to make a point about how Online marketing has changed your world.

Long before the CB craze went mainstream, it had its roots in the bottom line of one particular business —  long-haul trucking. Many truckers are paid by the mile, so it’s not unusual for them to try for 500 miles or more a day.

Truckers and other motorists used the CB radio to connect in a virtual world.

But that business model ran into roadblocks when the oil crisis hit in 1973. The national speed limit was slashed to 55 miles per hour and fuel shortages drove up the price of gas.

Truckers and other motorists responded by embracing the CB radio. It was the first time people could be mobile and have two-way communication. Virtual communities and spur-of-the-moment alliances formed as drivers helped each other find good fuel locations, avoid construction and foil speed traps. Many people never met in person, and yet were “friends” over CB Radio. It was more than just a fad —  it was a productivity booster for everyone except the cops.

The modern equivalent of this experience is the Online “virtual world.” Like the CB, the Internet has made it possible for people in different locations to share information easily — but on a vastly larger and more significant scale. The online world has changed the face-to-face “real world” forever, and how you adapt to this new reality can make or break your business.

Online Makes Marketing A Two-Way Street

Online marketing is the new face-to-face

Imagine picking up the phone to find a buyer who has already spent hours learning everything they need to know about your product. You didn’t do anything to find them —  no cold calls, no trade shows, no direct mail. Yet here they are with a credit card or purchase order in hand. All they really want you to do is close the sale.

This isn’t a business owner’s fantasy —  it’s happening every day for companies that have learned how to harness the most recent evolution of online power. (Hint: that ten-year-old website that you, your nephew, or some kid in the warehouse threw together doesn’t make this happen.)

Many manufacturing businesses don’t see the Internet this way. They think investing in two worlds, the real one and the virtual one, is a nuisance expense that needs to be held to a minimum. But like it or not, Online has already changed your business. Your competitors used to be up the street, around the corner, or in the next county. Now they might be anywhere in the world.

The web gave buyers superpowers

Worse, you can’t ignore the Internet anymore because it’s given your buyers new superpowers. Today’s sales conversations are shaped by how they search for products, not how you talk about them in your sell sheets or at trade shows. It’s easier than ever for price-shopping clients to throw you over for a rival who charges a penny less. And anyone with an axe to grind can literally complain to everyone they know in an instant.

But as the example above suggests, the untapped potential of the Online world is vast.  And most manufacturing firms aren’t taking advantage of it yet.

While a connected world requires every business to step up its game, the payoffs can be huge. Yet for some reason, manufacturing has been slower to embrace digital marketing than most other industries. Most are content to stick with the online resources they have —  however outdated they may be —  as long as their competitors don’t look any better.

That’s a huge mistake. In the short term, companies with a solid presence on the information “super highway” are grabbing a competitive edge and industry leadership. Soon online expertise will be part of the price of admission. Some would argue that we’ve already reached that point, but either way this much is certain: the longer you wait, the harder it will be to catch up to the rest of the pack.

A window of Online opportunity is open today. Your buyers are already profiting from it, so why shouldn’t you do the same? Take advantage of it before your competitors do. Start with a free download to see how visitors respond to your website: THE 5-SECOND TEST.

See you down the road,

Your friends at FELT

p.s. Don’t miss the FREE DOWNLOAD, THE 5-SECOND TEST

The 5 Second Test

Lori Sallee POSTED BY: Lori Sallee| Leave a comment

PRINT: New Routes for an Established Vehicle

Greetings from Typo, KentuckyThis month the FELT Road Trip has us rolling over the high, wooded hills of Typo, Kentucky. Our destination is no mistake, because this month we’re focusing on Print — though you might have trouble finding it in the AAA travel guide.

There’s something relaxing about hitting the open road in country like this, even if you’re taking back ways that are off the beaten path. It’s easy to get where you’re going — with or without fancy electronic gizmos — because you probably knew what most American road signs meant long before you learned how to drive. It’s so familiar that you can sit behind the wheel, have a conversation with the person next to you, and still find your way without even thinking about it.

When it comes to marketing your business, print enjoys all the same advantages. It’s tangible, familiar, and easy to use anywhere. And unlike new-fangled digital tools, you never have to worry about the hard drive crashing.

But just because print has been around for ages, that doesn’t mean it still works the way it always has.

PRINT: The World’s Most Versatile Marketing Tool

See things differently with printWhen you’re on a road trip, you don’t just see new things — you see old things with new eyes. It can be as simple as seeing a traffic light hanging from a cable instead of sitting on a pole. Your perspective changes when you see something familiar being used in a way that’s new and different to you.

In today’s marketplace, print is still creating a lot of “wow!” moments like that.

Fifty years ago, print was the first choice for every form of marketing from brochures and sell sheets to direct mail and advertising. All that stuff still has its place today. According to a 2015 report by the Direct Marketing Association, direct mail alone still outperforms every digital outlet combined by 600%.

But print’s versatility also makes it the easiest marketing element to integrate with other ways of communicating. It can:
• Drive buyers to online media (like the post card that may have sent you here).

• Respond automatically to conditions that make people ready to buy (like moving or starting a new business).

• Deliver a personalized experience far beyond adding “Dear firstname” to a letter, with custom content and full-color images specific to the reader’s needs and interests.

• Make buyers feel like part of an exclusive group, because print is less common than in the past.

Millennial respect printEven the Millennial generation, habitually plugged into their smartphones, sits up and takes notice when something tangible crosses their path. Raised on cheap pixels, they know that only serious companies invest in print. Recent studies have shown that young adults, 24 years and younger, are among the most direct mail responsive, and that 92% of young shoppers prefer direct mail when making purchasing decisions.

So if you’re not taking advantage of print’s new capabilities, you’re missing opportunities to reach and retain great buyers. Before you decide to take new print marketing out for a spin, look in the rearview with your free download, MANUFACTURERS’ GUIDE: LOCK & LOAD Print Marketing.

See you down the road,

Your friends at FELT

 

p.s. Don’t miss the FREE DOWNLOAD,
MANUFACTURERS’ GUIDE:
LOCK & LOAD Print Marketing

Manufacturers' Guide: LOCK AND LOAD PRINT MARKETING

 

Lori Sallee POSTED BY: Lori Sallee| Leave a comment

We Love Manufacturers

#MFGDAY15
As a kid growing up in central Indiana I had little awareness or appreciation of where my shoes were made or where our (one) family car came from. They were just there, at the store or car dealer, my parents purchased them and we used them. I could run faster and jump higher and I always had a ride to school or Baskin Robbins. End of story. Never thought about where those things came from or who made them.

Now in my forties, and with my life’s work dedicated to marketing for manufacturers, I have such a greater appreciation for where things come from and who makes them. Looking back, I can see that manufacturing was behind the making of those Chuck Taylors and that Chevy that housed our uneaten McDonald’s french fries. Back then, General Motors was the largest job creator in our town of 85,000. My grand-dad, father-in-law, uncle and many other family members retired from GM with a gold watch and strong sense of pride for the products they helped build.

This October 2nd is a day to honor manufacturing in America. Maybe you’ve already participated for the last four years. But, in case this is new(s) to you here’s the scoop and why it might matter to you and your company.

Manufacturing Day is an opportunity for manufacturers to highlight their work and their workers and to energize a future pipeline of skilled workers.  An annual event that occurs on the first Friday of October, MFG DAY is an occasion during which manufacturers open their doors to showcase the potential of modern manufacturing and foster interest in manufacturing careers.  All across the country, organizations showed the public what manufacturing really looks like through more than 1,660 open houses and events in each of the 50 states and Puerto Rico with an estimated 50,000 students, parents, and community members attending.  Manufacturing Day also resulted in thousands of articles, TV segments and interviews; participation from public officials; and proclamations across the country – including the first ever proclamation from the President of the United States.  

Supported by a group of industry sponsors and co-producers, MFG DAY is designed to amplify the voice of individual manufacturers and coordinate a collective chorus of manufacturers with common concerns and challenges. The rallying point for a growing mass movement, MFG DAY empowers manufacturers to come together to address their collective challenges so they can help their communities and future generations thrive.

This info graphic from nist.gov sheds some light on the state of Manufacturing in America and why it is central to our economic strength and a driver of innovation. Manufacturing jobs are some of the best in the country, yet the public doesn’t perceive them to be. And there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill them. But together we can help tell the real story.

#MFGDAY15

Join in this special day with your company tweets, blogposts, employees, sales teams and customers. Make a video about how your company supports manufacturing in America. It’s a great day to celebrate together and amplify the voice of manufacturers in America.

Have your own story to share? Love to hear it in the comments below. #MFGDAY15

Allison DeFord POSTED BY: Allison DeFord| Leave a comment

Get the Biggest Bang for Your Trade Show Buck


Trade shows are a unique marketing opportunity because they have short runs and attract adoring industry fans to a megaplex of exhibitors.

The Butter on Your Popcorn
The average cost of closing a sale to a qualified trade show prospect is 1/3 the cost of closing that same sale out in the field.

Trade Show Success
More than likely, you’ve already had a taste of trade show success and you’re fully aware of what it takes to achieve trade show stardom.The pre-show preparation, to ensure you look your best–on camera. A fortune spent on shipping your display. Sponsorship commitments. Travel plans. Staff coordination. Alerting the media. You’re not new to this.

And, you’ve got the metrics in place to measure just how successful the shows have been. Taking advantage of all the qualified leads you’re acquiring and tracking your ROI3 (return on investment, innovation and influence).

If, by some chance, you haven’t achieved the level of stardom you’ve hoped for, guess what?

You’re Not Alone

Maybe you’ve been treating trade shows as individual events, rather than integrating them into your overall strategy—opting for cheap and quick booth graphics, slapping your logo on a promo stress ball and calling it a day. Once you return home, you and your team get bogged down and those costly leads fall by the wayside. You commit to doing a better job next year and it’s on to the next meeting about a meeting.

Trade Show Advantage
Strategy, planning, metrics and follow thru are the way to elevate your trade show star power. With a new purpose, plan and tools in place, you can make your trade show dollars count and be an Oscar contender in no time.

Get the biggest bang for your trade show buck. Download your Guide to Trade Show Stardom and use the handy check list included to create a memorable visitor experience before, during and after the show.  Lights, camera, action!

Here’s to creating a sensation.

Allison DeFord POSTED BY: Allison DeFord| Leave a comment

Space Shuttle to Mars—Now That’s Customer Service!

Starbucks, visionary leaders! 

I don’t go to Starbucks for the coffee. 

Let’s face it, I can pick up a coffee from the local donut shop down the street. Why is it that I’m willing to possibly go out of my way, wait in a line and pay more money for a cup of coffee? It’s all the details surrounding the actual purchase of said coffee.When I grab a cup of joe anywhere else I get just that, a cup of coffee in a styrofoam cup. The end. At Starbucks I get a coffee experience!

How Starbucks Builds Trust

Starbucks knows me. They know you. They know us so well, in fact, they’ve created an experience we didn’t even know we wanted. They took the simple act of selling coffee and turned it into an art form. That’s what building trust is all about. Getting creative. Going above and beyond to consistently surprise and delight those that you love. In business it’s turning the act of selling into the art of serving. Starbucks has done this successfully by paying attention to the details surrounding the coffee. 

Consistency – coffee how you want it every time in any store all over the world
Availability – locations everywhere, including the grocery and the airport
Atmosphere – relaxed, warm and inviting
Sound – familiar tunes and new artists provide background entertainment
Trained Associates – not just coffee servers, but baristas who know coffee
Extras – healthy snacks, hearty sandwiches and decadent confections that pair perfectly
App – find a location and pay with ease
Community – local flavor breeds familiarity
Rewards – spend money, get free stuff
Communication – consistently sharing what’s happening

Notice, I listed nothing about coffee—their claim to fame.

Experience a Connection

People buy from people. People buy an experience. Every company, whether B2B or B2C, is similar to Starbucks. The unique opportunity exists to create a more powerful connection at every customer touchpoint. Fascinate, surprise and delight, just like Starbucks. Doesn’t that sound like alot more fun than “selling”!

Creating this kind of experience takes more than just special cups and a fancy title for your sales people. It takes real planning. And not the kind that happens at the annual company budget meeting. It takes clear positioning, strategy, creativity and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. In his prolific book, The Icarus DeceptionSeth Godin explains why true innovators focus on trust, remarkability, leadership and stories that spread. Starbucks has successfully created a trust by focusing on the customer experience. By being remarkable. By making their customers part of their brand story.

It’s time to re-examine every customer touch point and design a more remarkable customer experience, like Starbucks. It’s time to stop pleasing and start serving. Let’s surprise and delight, starting now. Whose with me?  

(Excuse me, I’ve got to finish my venti iced coffee with cream now—aaaaahhhh!)

Make your presence felt.

Allison DeFord POSTED BY: Allison DeFord| 1 Comment