Grant Marketing Blog https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog Grant Marketing Blog | Grant Marketing - B2B Brand Specialists en-us Mon, 03 Oct 2022 20:35:32 GMT 2022-10-03T20:35:32Z en-us What Is the Best Way to Market Industrial Products? https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/what-is-the-best-way-to-market-industrial-products <div class="hs-featured-image-wrapper"> <a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/what-is-the-best-way-to-market-industrial-products" title="" class="hs-featured-image-link"> <img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hubfs/best-way-mkt-b2b-2.jpg" alt="What Is the Best Way to Market Industrial Products?" class="hs-featured-image" style="width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;"> </a> </div> <h2><strong><span style="font-size: 18px;">Understanding the Unique Approach to Industrial Marketing</span></strong></h2> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Industrial marketing, or B2B marketing, is very different from consumer marketing. It deals with factor markets for highly specialized products, while consumer marketing deals with product markets for finished goods. Industrial marketing requires a strategy that accounts for these specialized products and markets, and for the typically protracted buying process, as well as the need to establish beneficial relationships with buyers and partners. </span></p> <h2><strong><span style="font-size: 18px;">Understanding the Unique Approach to Industrial Marketing</span></strong></h2> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Industrial marketing, or B2B marketing, is very different from consumer marketing. It deals with factor markets for highly specialized products, while consumer marketing deals with product markets for finished goods. Industrial marketing requires a strategy that accounts for these specialized products and markets, and for the typically protracted buying process, as well as the need to establish beneficial relationships with buyers and partners. While industrial marketing and consumer marketing<img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/best-way-mkt-b2b-2.jpg?width=500&amp;name=best-way-mkt-b2b-2.jpg" alt="marketing-industrial-products" width="500" style="width: 500px; float: right; margin: 10px 0px 10px 10px;"> both have the same goal of obtaining high-quality leads that can transition first to sales prospects and then to paying customers, how to meet that goal differs. So, what is the best way to market your industrial products? Let’s take a look.</span></p> <h2><strong><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Cover the Basics</span></strong></h2> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">The first step for any industrial marketing plan is to ensure your company’s business objectives are aligned with your<strong> marketing objectives</strong>. Also, make sure your sales team, product team, and marketing team are on the same page so that everyone understands their responsibilities when your industrial marketing campaign gets underway. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Next, you need to know the <strong>target audiences </strong>for your industrial product<strong>, </strong>including what information they want and how they consume it, as part of your overall marketing strategy. Segmenting each of your audiences into ideal customer profiles, or buyer personas, will help you develop specific marketing tactics for each. </span><span style="font-weight: bold;"><span style="color: black;"><a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/how-to-create-buyer-personas-for-your-industrial-company"><span style="font-size: 18px; color: #4472c4;">For a detailed guide, read our blog on creating buyer personas</span></a></span><span style="font-size: 18px; color: #4472c4;">.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">You also need a clear perspective on what differentiates your industrial product from the competition. </span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> </span><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">How is it unique? </span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> </span><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Will it help potential customers save money? </span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> </span><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Be more efficient? </span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> </span><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Ensure quality and safety? </span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Your <strong>value proposition</strong> helps potential customers understand what their return on investment will be if they choose your product. </span></p> <h2><strong><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Leverage a Strong Online Presence</span></strong></h2> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Your website presents your company to the world. It defines your brand, reinforces your reputation, establishes credibility, and most of all, attracts potential customers. On top of that, it is open and available to educate prospects and customers—and can process sales via eCommerce (if you are set up for it)—around the clock, 24/7. No wonder your website is your number one industrial marketing tool! </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Industrial buyers do extensive online research before making a purchasing decision. In fact, surveys have shown they have typically progressed 70% of the way through their buying process before they contact a supplier directly. Therefore, your website must offer information that is factual, reliable—and therefore, valuable—to prospective customers during their critical research and analysis stage. This is where a robust <strong>content marketing strategy</strong> is crucial. Your website should educate your target audiences with material about your industrial products in a variety of formats, including case studies, white papers, demo videos, webinars, blog posts, industry reports, and testimonials. The better you can demonstrate how your industrial product can solve the buyer’s problem and help them reach their goals, the more you will differentiate your company from competitors. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">However, all this high-quality digital content won’t be effective unless your prospective customers can find you. Make sure your website <strong>is optimized for search engines</strong> so it appears near the top of search engine results pages (SERP). It’s all about raising the visibility of your website, because increased traffic means increased opportunities to generate sales leads.</span></p> <h2><strong><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Build Relationships and Strategic Partnerships</span></strong></h2> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">One of the unique aspects of marketing industrial<img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/best-way-mkt-b2b-1.jpg?width=500&amp;name=best-way-mkt-b2b-1.jpg" alt="best-way-mkt-b2b-1" width="500" style="width: 500px; margin: 10px 0px 10px 10px; float: right;"> products is the longer buying process. It may take months, or even years, to develop relationships with prospective buyers. But the time you invest in building your credibility and demonstrating your expertise is worth it. Once industrial buyers have found a company they can trust, they will purchase from that company repeatedly. Industrial products are highly specialized, so you share common ground with your prospective customers in that you both are knowledgeable in a specific area. When you become a trusted partner whose products can solve your customers’ problems, this mutually beneficial relationship builds your reputation and creates additional opportunities through peer recommendations, testimonials, and industry association contacts.</span></p> <h2><strong><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Promote Your Industrial Products</span></strong></h2> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">The methods you use to publicize your company and your industrial products will vary depending on the needs of your target audiences, and your marketing budget. Here are some options to consider.</span></p> <ul> <li><strong style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Email Marketing</span></strong></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Keep your brand top of mind with your contact list by sending regular email newsletters. Offer useful high-quality information, such as industry news and events, or practical tips, but make sure the number of emails you send is not overwhelming. If you have a piece of new content, such as your latest blog, case study, or white paper, promote it by creating a customized email to your target audience(s). Segment your contact lists, when possible, to ensure the content is of interest to the people who need it. Make sure to monitor your email analytics for the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.</span><span style="background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;</span></p> <ul> <li><strong><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Social Media</span></strong></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Keep your social media presence fresh with your latest news, or interesting video content. Encourage your followers to visit your website and sign up for your email newsletter. If you can get their contact information, they become part of your conversion sales funnel. Consider paid advertisements on social media to further your reach and promote your brand. </span></p> <ul> <li><strong><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Webinars</span></strong></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Product demo webinars have been increasing in popularity. They offer buyers an opportunity to get on-demand info, including product details and FAQs to inform their purchasing decision. Added benefit? The audio portion of your webinar can easily be leveraged as a podcast</span><span style="font-size: 18px; color: #538135;">.</span></p> <ul> <li><strong><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Direct Outreach</span></strong></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Contacting B2B companies who may have an interest in your industrial product by phone or email can be an effective approach, if done respectfully. Production managers or operations managers are the best contacts, as they may be better able see the value of your product. Be concise and explain the key benefits and potential ROI, or the ways your product can improve safety or increase efficiency.</span><span style="background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;</span></p> <ul> <li><strong><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Trade Shows and Conferences</span></strong></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Trade shows and conferences are making a comeback since the early days of the pandemic. They allow you to connect directly with customers and demonstrate the features of your product with live demonstrations or videos, as well, to gather sales leads. Trade shows and conferences help you reinforce your brand and your reputation as an industry expert, especially if you can be a conference presenter. Encourage visitors to your booth to sign up for your newsletter and to leave their business cards.</span><span style="background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;</span></p> <ul> <li><strong><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Trade Magazine Advertising</span></strong></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Traditional print advertising in trade magazines is another marketing strategy for industrial products. The goal is for your advertisement to inspire readers to visit your website; from there, engage them with your high-quality content.</span><strong style="background-color: transparent;"><span>&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Digital Advertising</span></strong></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Pay-per-click advertisements, such as banner ads or pop-up ads on an industry website, are another strategy to evoke interest and drive traffic to your site. Google Ads are a way to create campaigns targeted to specific subsets of users. </span></p> <ul> <li><strong><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Industry Websites and Publications</span></strong></li> </ul> <p><span style="color: black; font-size: 18px; font-family: roboto; background-color: transparent;">Consider publishing high-level content on industry websites or publications, perhaps some of the ones you go to for industry content. Leverage the audience of these publishers and drive more traffic to your own site.</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><strong><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">Successful Marketing of Industrial Products</span></strong></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 18px; color: #4472c4;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">An effective industrial marketing strategy will position your company as a source of valuable information that helps industrial buyers make a purchasing decision. It will drive traffic to your website and increase the number of quality—and qualified—sales leads. Further, it will establish you as a trusted partner with a strong brand reputation that companies will seek out.</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 18px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="color: black;"><a href="https://www.grantmarketing.com/" style="font-weight: bold;"><span style="font-size: 18px; color: #0070c0; background-color: white;">Grant Marketing</span></a></span> <span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">is ready to help you develop a successful industrial marketing strategy. Give us a call at (617) 861-7412 today or</span> <span style="color: black;"><a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/contact-us" style="font-weight: bold;"><span style="font-size: 18px; color: #0070c0;">contact us</span></a></span><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;"> to set up a time to talk!</span></p> <img src="https://track.hubspot.com/__ptq.gif?a=381132&amp;k=14&amp;r=https%3A%2F%2Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%2Fblog%2Fwhat-is-the-best-way-to-market-industrial-products&amp;bu=https%253A%252F%252Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%252Fblog&amp;bvt=rss" alt="" width="1" height="1" style="min-height:1px!important;width:1px!important;border-width:0!important;margin-top:0!important;margin-bottom:0!important;margin-right:0!important;margin-left:0!important;padding-top:0!important;padding-bottom:0!important;padding-right:0!important;padding-left:0!important; "> B2B Marketing Industrial Marketing Industrial Content Marketing Industrial Marketing Strategy Industrial Manufacturers Marketing for Manufacturers Mon, 03 Oct 2022 20:35:32 GMT bob.grant@grantmarketing.com (Bob Grant) https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/what-is-the-best-way-to-market-industrial-products 2022-10-03T20:35:32Z A Manufacturing Story About Aston-Martin https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/a-manufacturing-story-about-aston-martin <div class="hs-featured-image-wrapper"> <a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/a-manufacturing-story-about-aston-martin" title="" class="hs-featured-image-link"> <img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hubfs/aston-martin-007.jpg" alt="A Manufacturing Story About Aston-Martin" class="hs-featured-image" style="width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;"> </a> </div> <h2>How Peter Sprague Saved the Aston-Martin Company</h2> <p>A venerable brand, Aston-Martin almost went out of business in the early 1970s. If not for businessman and entrepreneur, Peter Sprague, we may have missed 007, James Bond, avoiding international bandits in his Aston Martin.</p> <h2>How Peter Sprague Saved the Aston-Martin Company</h2> <p>A venerable brand, Aston-Martin almost went out of business in the early 1970s. If not for businessman and entrepreneur, Peter Sprague, we may have missed 007, James Bond, avoiding international bandits in his Aston Martin.</p> <p>We thought our audience of manufacturers would enjoy the story of saving Aston-Martin.<img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/aston-martin-007.jpg?width=300&amp;name=aston-martin-007.jpg" alt="James Bond and His Aston-Martin" width="300" style="width: 300px; float: right; margin: 10px;"> Many manufacturing companies have experienced good times and bad times, and Aston-Martin was no exception. Timing was right, as the company was about to go out of business, Peter Sprague read the story in the New York Times and decided to visit the manufacturing facility. The rest is history, a very interesting history.</p> <p style="font-weight: bold;">To read the abbreviated version of his story, continue below, or click the link to check out the full story on <a href="https://sprague.com/peter-sprague/aston-martin/">Peter Sprague's website</a>.</p> <h3><strong>SWIFT RUNNING</strong></h3> <p><strong>by Peter Sprague</strong></p> <p><strong>PROLOGUE</strong></p> <p>On Monday, December 30, 1974, people all over England went back to work after their Christmas break. In Newport Pagnell, a small town about an hour northwest of London, over 500 men and women went to work at Aston Martin Lagonda, the town’s largest employer. Some were able to walk to work; many had worked there for decades. There was a pattern to their daily lives. This Monday was different—the factory was locked.</p> <p>There had been no real warning. Things had not gone well for the previous few years; ownership had changed and seemed to have no direction. Company assets appeared to evaporate along with the sports field in back that had been taken away from the local cricket teams and sold to developers. Things had emerged in a darker shade of gray. Now they looked completely black. Everyone milled around the closed building and compared rumors and misinformation.</p> <p>The name Aston Martin conjures up images of elegance and power. These images are not supported by the factory visage in Newport Pagnell; a hodgepodge of brick additions sprawled inelegantly around “Sunnyside,” the headquarters building, a dilapidated small faux Tudor house of modest pretensions built for Mr. Salmons early in the 19th century.</p> <p>An announcement was posted on a few doors that told everyone to meet at the cinema in town the next morning. Ironically, the theater was owned by the daughter of one of the Salmons family descendants.</p> <p>At the meeting, marketing manager Fred Hartley welcomed everyone and introduced Michael Clark. The company was pronounced bankrupt, and Michael was the receiver. The creditors were in control. The terms of redundancy were explained. In most cases, there were no jobs to go back to. The Service Department would stay open, but the factory would remain locked.</p> <p>Craftsmen had been making wheeled vehicles in Newport Pagnell since 1820. Before Aston Martin there was Tickfords, who made carriages, and then later bespoke automobile bodies, and before Tickfords there was Salmons who made bread wagons and hearses. A few of the men and women at the cinema that day had family who had worked at the same location for four generations. The pubs must have been busy that gloomy Monday evening.</p> <p>The next day, the press announced to the world that Aston Martin was bankrupt and closed. There were few places so obscure that the news was not heard and repeated. James Bond’s car had been finally destroyed by the villains of commerce. Ten thousand Aston Martin owners wondered about the future of their cars. People who had owned Astons in the past were given to reminiscing. People who had dreamed of owning a new Aston in the future knew that there would be no new Astons. Another famous automobile company had died.</p> <p>That evening, Walter Cronkite delivered a eulogy for Aston Martin on the <em>CBS Evening News</em> wearing a black tie. It has been reported that he rarely did this for man or beast.</p> <p>I am sure that there was much in the news that day to get upset about. There usually is. But Aston’s demise really bothered me.</p> <p>In 1962 I had bought a used 1960 DB4. The ads said it could go from 0 to 100 and back to 0 in less than 26 seconds. It could and did. It became my wife Tjasa’s car. At the time, I had an Alfa Romeo Spyder that eventually wore out. When we moved to New York in 1962 with our son Carl, we sold the Alfa, and the Aston was our only transportation. Son Steven soon arrived, and we would pile the kids in the back, on a foam-covered plywood panel, where they rattled around in pre-child-seat bliss. Finally, sons Kevin and Michael arrived, and we bought a larger car. But the Aston remained in the family. We still had the car in 1974.</p> <p>I had been to the factory in the early 60s with my future brother-in-law, and again in the late 60s when we shipped the DB4 to Newport Pagnell to acquire a sunroof. I had wanted to take a factory tour but was not important enough to get one. I still had a sense of the people and the craftsmanship from my visits, a feeling that anyone who visited “the Works” in those days must have felt. It was far from Detroit mass production; far from the microelectronics that I was involved with—it was a special place that brought to life prewar photographs of a different world.</p> <p>I emerged from the tub frustrated by Aston’s demise, and announced the news to my family in the kitchen with the comment, “Why did that have to happen?” Off and on over the next two days, we kept returning to the question of why Aston had to go out of business. Finally, Tjasa brought my complaining into focus: “Why don’t you do something about it?” I had been up to my neck in hot water when I read the news. I did not realize that this was just the beginning.</p> <p>I turned to a young friend who was staying with us, Morris Hollowell, and said that if he could get me the name and telephone number of the managing director in England, I would call him up and possibly go over to England after the weekend. Morris tracked down Rex Woodgate, who represented Aston in the U.S. Rex volunteered the name of Charles Warden, along with his phone number. I called Charles and briefly introduced myself and set up a meeting at the factory on Monday morning.</p> <p><strong>AMERICAN MILLIONAIRE TO THE RESCUE</strong></p> <p>I was the perfect person to get involved in Aston Martin. I was 35 years old. I knew nothing about any aspect of the car business. I had never been inside the factory or met any Aston luminaries other than Rex Woodgate. I was not as impressed as I should have been that the British economy was in terrible shape, <em>The Financial Times</em> stock index was at 176—today it is over 4,000. There were even discussions of a possible intervention by the World Bank. Things were grim, but I was cheerful—I truly did not understand the situation.<img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/aston-martin-evening-standard-1976-big.jpg?width=600&amp;name=aston-martin-evening-standard-1976-big.jpg" alt="Aston-Martin Evening Standard 1976" width="600" style="width: 600px; margin: 10px auto; display: block;"></p> <p>On the positive side, I had had some experience with startups and troubled companies. At the ripe age of 26 I became chairman of National Semiconductor when the company was coming out of receivership. By 1970, National was on the NYSE. I had learned entrepreneurship by starting a chicken farm in Iran with Iranian, Lebanese, and American partners. I had also become involved in several enterprises along the way, both failures and successes. But no car companies, large or small.</p> <p>My education consisted of political science at Yale and MIT and economics at Columbia. My first job at age 17 was as a photographer for <em>The Berkshire Evening Eagle</em> in Pittsfield, Mass. I continued as a photographer with United Press International (UPI) in Russia in 1959 covering the “kitchen debates” of Khrushchev and Nixon. Tjasa and I visited Outer Mongolia for UPI in 1960. We were the third and fourth Americans to make the trip after WW II.</p> <p>In 1970, I lost a Congressional race against Ed Koch in NY. A less-than-perfect background for the upcoming events at Aston. I did have a lot of energy. I did not have enough money to buy a car company.</p> <p>It is possible that I would not have become seriously involved with Aston if I had not been ensnared by the British press. When I arrived late in the morning of January 6, 1975 in Newport Pagnell, I was astonished to find 30 to 40 reporters and photographers elbowing each other in an enthusiastic scrum around the V8 the company had sent to pick me up. One question that was asked was, “Who are you?” I announced that I wasn’t anybody. That really raised the interest level. Charles Warden desperately wanted to keep alive the possibility that Aston could be saved. It seems that I was the first to show interest. He had called members of the press and announced that “an American” was coming over to save the company. I was a thin straw to grasp.</p> <p>It appears, in retrospect, that nothing of any importance occurred anywhere in England, or perhaps even in the world at large on Monday, January 6, 1975. There being no other news, my visit to Aston made the front page of a wide variety of newspapers including <em>The Evening News</em>, who trumpeted a page-one banner headline, “Millionaire to the Rescue.” The article began, “A millionaire without a name toured the Aston Martin factory this afternoon and said that he hoped to save the company. The man, an American aged about 35, bearded and wearing spectacles said, ‘I cannot reveal my identity at this time.’” I did not actually say that, but that’s the quote.</p> <p>There was a dramatic picture on the front page of me clutching a pipe, with my tie in the wind, looking rumpled. If they didn’t know who I was, it is curious to know how they concluded that I must have had a million of something. They did not specify the currency.</p> <p>The following day, the press knew my name. I was, in fact, not anyone in particular. I decided I could not leave England after having raised everyone’s expectations without taking a thorough look. I felt then, as I do now, that you do not play with people’s emotions lightly. Aston Martin Lagonda meant a great deal to a wide variety of people. From owners to dreamers, from craftsman at the works to suppliers, from small boys to their older equivalents, Aston was important to a wide cross-section of people. As a result, it became important to me.</p> <p>Charles Warden took me for a walk through the factory. It was an experience that I still vividly remember. A week before, everything had stopped without warning. We started with the raw material, racks of sheet metal and leather and parts, walked down the production line and I imagined the process of a car coming to life. Except there was no life, only an eerie quiet with a background aroma of leather and oiled metal. I wanted to see it come alive again. I did not know how difficult it would be or how long it would take, but I became emotionally hooked.</p> <p>I determined that I would put in a month to better understand what had gone wrong and what could be done. Facts were hard to come by. Aston Martin Lagonda had been acquired by Company Developments Ltd. William Willson, the principal of Company Developments, had installed a receiver (Michael Clark). They did not seem too happy about my arrival and inquiries. Most of my time in Newport Pagnell was spent in an uncomfortable wooden chair in a small office in the unprepossessing headquarters building in front of the factory. The receivers’ frugality on behalf of the creditors included not providing heat. It was January and damply chilly.</p> <p>Aston’s employees were at least able to liberate their tools. Newport Pagnell is a tight community. Everyone knew everyone, and most of Aston’s former employees lived in town. The night watchmen turned a blind eye, and tools and tea mugs migrated to their rightful owners. Jack Hilliam, one of the lead panel beaters, rescued his hand crafted “flatters, chasers, flippers, tuckers, and shrinker fitters” among his other tools.</p> <p>Several Aston craftsmen found jobs at Rolls Royce in Willesden, North London that involved a long bus ride on buses that Rolls Royce sent daily to Newport Pagnell. Jack Hilliam recalls, “We were all in a state of shock and we were really down working at Rolls Royce. Their panel beaters had been on strike for a long time, but we AML people were treated like Gods. I would finish our weeks’ work by Wednesday—I couldn’t work any slower!”</p> <p>William Willson showed up occasionally, wearing a yellow windcheater and orange socks, or perhaps it was the other way around. I later learned that in the dying days of Aston, Wilson had spent a week or two in Japan enjoying the £1000-a-day Presidential suite at the Okura with a butler and limousine patiently waiting around the clock. The subsequent bill was sent to the Japanese importer and contributed to his later bankruptcy. Photos of Willson enjoying the nightlife of Tokyo somehow had found their way to the factory floor a few days before its closing. That had not inspired the work force. If he had been a more impressive executive, I might have been discouraged.</p> <p>There were obviously a lot of assets: 110,000 square feet of manufacturing, 14 acres of land, and a new service center that had achieved a profit of £250,000 a year. Over a million and half pounds sterling of parts, £760,000 of work in progress, and 60 completed or nearly completed cars at the factory or in the U.S.</p> <p>I went looking for partners. Almost every day some new consortium or individual would come forward, usually through a press release, with a stated interest in doing something. I was open to all possibilities, including bowing out gracefully, if I could find someone determined to go ahead on their own. I would not have been unhappy if someone else brought the factory to life. I could go home and buy a car from the new owners.</p> <p><strong>THE PROBLEM</strong></p> <p>The basic underlying problem was that it appeared Aston Martin Lagonda had never in its history made a profit. One of my favorite David Brown stories, possibly apocryphal, was that when approached at a cocktail party by a gentleman who asked if Brown could arrange for him to buy a car directly from the factory, at factory cost, the reply was, “Certainly—that will be two thousand pounds over retail.” Much later on, Alan Curtis and I often used the same response in similar circumstances. In addition, I did not have a team with whom I could develop a plan. The previous management was scattered to the winds. Aston employees were on the dole looking for work, the panel beaters were temporarily at Rolls Royce enjoying a two-hour, round-trip bus ride from Newport Pagnell. I would occasionally walk through the cold and empty buildings and these solitary walks still inspired me to keep going.</p> <p><strong>GETTING ASTON MARTIN BACK ON TRACK</strong></p> <p>It was difficult to answer the question: “If others have failed, why do you believe you can succeed?” I could not find a convincing reason why it could not be done. I needed enthusiastic support. I found it in the person of George Minden. George was the Aston distributor for Canada. He was a complete and knowledgeable enthusiast of Astons, Bentleys, etc. He had lived in Toronto but had recently moved to England with his wife and two young daughters.</p> <p>George had a specific problem. A few weeks before Aston went into receivership, he had purchased six new Aston V8s from the factory. He was given no warning of the impending financial problems. He knew that he would have major problems selling the cars if the company was permanently going out of business. He called his own press conference in Canada to announce that he was interested in putting a consortium together to save the company. His news conference received wide coverage. I called him up to tell him that I was glad that he was going to save the company and offered to support his efforts. George was surprised by the interest that his press conference had stirred up. He was also surprised by my call. He did not intend to save the company on his own. We met in London at the Dorchester and agreed to work together.</p> <p>I flew up to Toronto from NY and met with the head of George’s operations, John Cox, a cockney former welterweight boxer who added his enthusiasm and convinced me that we could do a better job marketing the cars.</p> <p>We stayed in regular touch after our first meeting. I had someone whom I could talk to who did not feel that my goals were completely quixotic. Without him, I might have simply fallen off my white horse from frustration and exhaustion. George said that he would invest working capital if we were able to acquire the assets from the receiver. I had well over 100 meetings during the first six months of 1975 in pursuit of cash or partners in an effort to restart the company.</p> <p>I met with investment bankers in NY and London. With dozens of individuals and groups, from Jarvis Astaire the gambling impresario, to Aston Martin Owners Club enthusiasts, and many who seemed only to be interested in tagging along for publicity that involvement in Aston always seemed to engender.</p> <p>I was searching for “yes.” I rarely got a “no,” people usually just drifted away, though after two meetings with Jacob Rothschild, he was polite enough to offer a proper “no.”</p> <p>The major problem that I faced was the fact that William Willson, Company Developments, and their receiver refused to set a price for the assets, avoided negotiations, and seemed to have little interest in reaching a conclusion. Willson had stated on numerous occasions that his goal was to help bring the company back to life. He eventually lived up to that commitment. But it took a while.</p> <p>My own finances were improving. My major asset, National Semiconductor stock, rose significantly during the spring of 1975. I went to National’s bankers, The Bank of America, where I met a courageous banker who agreed to loan me £600,000 against the 60 mostly completed cars.</p> <p>In late May I decided that I would try to purchase the assets on my own, and then sort out the situation afterwards.</p> <p>I managed to get myself invited to William Willson’s home in the country for a weekend. I had heard that he was planning to sell the company to an American company called Robert Carl Associates. My assistant, Carla, managed to track them down to a Detroit-based industrial liquidator who had created Robert Carl Associates for the occasion. I called a few of the journalists I had met in the springtime, gave them Willson’s home telephone number, and suggested they call during the weekend and inquire why he was selling the company to a liquidating firm after his promises to help put Aston back in business. As part of my diplomacy, I let Mr. Willson beat me at ping-pong. At least that is the way I like to remember it. By the end of the weekend, we had agreed on a price he would support; he even volunteered to help with the financing by providing a short-term loan.</p> <p>There was £300,000 in the receivers account, I had £600,000 committed by the Bank of America, and I agreed to provide an additional £170,000—for a total of £1,070,000. That was my offer, and after weeks of discussion, they accepted it. There were no other bidders and no one else had come forward during the previous six months. Effectively, I was buying all the assets of Aston Martin without liabilities for £170,000 cash. I could have kept the name and the service business and sold off the assets for a few million pounds.</p> <p>Because we needed a company with which to buy the assets, Slaughter and May<img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/aston-martin-lagonda.jpg?width=400&amp;name=aston-martin-lagonda.jpg" alt="Aston-Martin Red Lagonda" width="400" style="width: 400px; float: right; margin: 10px;"> produced TruShelfCo #23. We changed the name to Aston Martin Lagonda (1975) LTD after we acquired the assets. Five years later, we were allowed to drop the (1975). I needed an English shareholder for some of the transactions. A trustworthy friend of long standing, Jan Dauman, became that shareholder and I believe for a very brief time became the owner of Aston Martin, or at least a part of it.</p> <p>I arrived for the closing in Birmingham on a rainy Friday afternoon in a parking lot outside an office block in Sollihull. For reasons I never understood, we could not meet indoors where some enterprise of William Willson’s had an office.</p> <p>William Willson, Michael Clark, my lawyer, his assistant, and I stood in the rain exchanging documents. Suddenly, my attorney blurted out. “We can’t have a closing.” It seems that we could not have a closing unless the check was from a British Clearing Bank. A cashier’s check on the Bank of America was not good enough. What would happen if they went broke over the weekend and the check did not clear on Monday? I suggested that we close “subject” to the check clearing on Monday. My very thorough attorney then spent the next 20 minutes explaining that a closing “subject” to anything was not a closing. I enjoyed the lecture on the finer points of British jurisprudence, as my spirits became as damp as my suit.</p> <p>I agreed with everyone in sight, apologized for the Bank of America, admitted that I was disastrously ignorant, and eventually we sort of “closed.” A little groveling sometimes goes a long way. The Bank of America did not go bust over the weekend, World War III did not break out, and I officially owned the company on Monday.</p> <p>As far as I was concerned, I owned it on Friday. The sensation was strange. I was glad the six months were over. I had no real plan for the next six months. I felt more empty than elated. The following morning <em>The Daily Mail</em> ran a wonderful cartoon showing a small boy praying beside his bed with his mother standing behind him. The caption read, “You needn’t include Aston Martin tonight dear, it’s being saved.” What was I going to do to live up to the expectations of the small boys of England and beyond?</p> <p>I felt thoroughly daunted.</p> <p>I still needed a fully active partner at Aston. George Minden has one foot out the door into retirement. I needed someone who would be fully committed. Of all the people who I had talked with that spring, one individual stood out. I called Alan Curtis. His teenage son, who was an Aston fanatic, answered the phone, and in a reverential tone said to his father, “Peter Sprague is on the phone.” Alan later said that he agreed to join in the effort because he couldn’t disappoint his son. Alan had been in construction and loved airplanes. He flew the only British Bulldog aerobatic airplane in private hands. He had earlier insisted that he had no interest in cars and would not invest.</p> <p>He was the right man for the job. I asked him to come and visit the factory before he turned me down again. He agreed. The evening before the visit, we had dinner at the Dorchester. By good fortune I had ordered a Chateau Becheville Bordeaux, which turned out to be his favorite wine. I ordered my lamb rare; Alan had his well done. I reached over the table to sample a burnt specimen. This isn’t done in England. Alan later admitted that he decided to become my partner because it was unlikely that anyone else would.</p> <p>The next day we went to Newport Pagnell. Once more, I walked through the empty factory, which this time I owned. The gloomy dead factory once again worked its magic. Alan signed on and agreed to invest and join the Board. The rest of this story involves Alan at least as much as it involves me. I had a partner and a new friend. I needed both.</p> <p><strong>RESTARTING THE COMPANY</strong></p> <p>Slowly we began to restart the company. Fred Hartley led the effort. We had an auction of the exotic bits and pieces that were lying around. Members of the Aston Martin Owners club showed up and bought £17,000 worth of stuff. We used the money to buy drafting tables and restart the engineering team. We began to complete the last few cars on the line. They were finished in the Service Department. Slowly, laid-off members of the factory team began to rejoin the company.</p> <p>As we started to put the company back together, we put more and more trust in the workforce—the men and women who actually built the cars on the line. Former “managers” with British public-school educations and unclear job descriptions were simply not rehired. Our extraordinary production manager, David Flynt, went to the workforce and stated the obvious. If we keep operating as we had in the past, we will go out of business again. We had to make changes and become more efficient.</p> <p>One of my favorite examples of the inefficiency of having a labor force that does not communicate was the case of the “excess bracket.” We found that one craftsman with great care was welding a bracket on to the frame. An equally fine craftsman was removing the same bracket with equal care three stages down the production line, about 40 feet away. They had tea together every day. No one knew what the bracket had ever been used for. In the old way of doing things, there was no motivation to change this procedure, because eventually, it might lead to a loss of employment for one or both of the two people involved.</p> <p>David Flynt changed this and the fundamental mindset behind it. In the first six months, there were over 2,300 engineering change orders, most of them initiated by the workforce. Years later, at an event at Silverstone race circuit organized by Alan Curtis where all the employees and their families had a picnic and everyone got to drive in an Aston (most for the first time), one of the employees was interviewed by ITV television. When asked what he thought, he stated, “It used to be them and us—now it’s us.” The change began when the factory restarted. The company picnic was on a Wednesday. Alan asked everyone if they could make the same number of cars that week in four days that normally took five days. They did, and it was a great success.</p> <p>Around 1978 there was a major strike at Lucas, our major source of electrical and lighting parts. Lucas was often unkindly referred to as the “Prince of Darkness.” We had few parts on hand, and if we could not continue to be supplied, we would have had to cease production in a few weeks. Alan drove up to Lucas in a new convertible V8, with the top down. When he arrived at the door, there were 100 or so pickets with the usual paraphernalia of corporate strife. Alan introduced himself and explained what he was there for: Aston needed two-week supply of parts. They opened the gates; then Alan filled the boot and back seat with what we needed and drove off. The parting words of the gang at the gate were, “See you back in a fortnight, Guv’nor.” We survived.</p> <p>In general, I always had the feeling that almost everyone we dealt with wanted to see us continue to survive. There were a lot of Aston enthusiasts who could not afford to buy a car, but had a sense of ownership because they were personally involved.</p> <p>Over the next few years, it became crystal clear that the greatest asset at Aston never made the receiver’s balance sheet. The men and women were extraordinary—driven away from production lines and towards craftsmanship by their intelligence and curiosity. I would have guessed that their IQs would have gotten most of the employees into a good university in a more democratic world.</p> <p>We expanded our Board of Directors. In addition to Alan Curtis and George Minden and myself, we were joined by Dennis Flather. Dennis had made his industrial fortune in the steel business in Sheffield. We had been getting a lot of small donations from children who would send a few pence or occasionally a pound or two. Dennis sent a check for £50,000, with the note that we would probably need it. Neither Alan nor I had ever met Dennis. We called him up and arranged to meet him at the factory and have lunch.</p> <p><strong>THE FUTURE</strong></p> <p>A few weeks after the 1975 Earl’s Court Motor show, we began to discuss the future. As a team, we had only begun working together for three or four months. We knew that we needed a new model. One obvious choice was to put a new body on the V8 chassis. The existing body design had been around in one form or another since the introduction of the DBS in 1967—and was getting tired.</p> <p>Moreover, the V8 chassis had too many separate parts and was very expensive to build. Michael Loasby had just rejoined the company as head of engineering; he believed he could develop a much-improved chassis that would be less costly to produce.</p> <p>We then debated whether we should create a brand-new coupe to replace the V8, or revive the Lagonda marque around a four-door car. A major concern was that if anyone learned that we were building a new two-door to replace the V8, the market would stop buying the existing model while they waited for the new one. In the interim we could go out of business. I remembered the fate of the Osborne computer company, which had just failed, en route to the future. They had announced a new model months before they could produce it. Everyone waited for the new and ignored the old. The company ran out of sales and cash.</p> <p>Later that fall, we had another meeting for a presentation by William Towns. He produced a drawing of a spectacularly radical four-door design. We decided to go for it. I believe that the decision was made in a day. The four company directors all felt that we wanted to own the car in William’s drawings. We would never be able to drive it if we didn’t build it. Thus, the Lagonda was conceived. We had a little over nine months until the next motor show, and we had 11 exceptional engineers. We decided to keep the whole project a secret.</p> <p>I have been asked many times whether we had done any market research, was there a detailed budget, and what gave us the confidence that we could do it? Basically, we looked at William Towns’ extraordinary drawings, and we asked Mike Loasby if he and his team could build it. They said, “Yes.” We had confidence in the team.</p> <p>As the Lagonda began to take form, I added my own special contribution—related to my background in microelectronics. The car looked amazingly modern, why not add an all-electronic, computer-based information and control system, and really join the 20th Century? It was an excellent idea—but ultimately about 15 to 20 years ahead of its time.</p> <p>Under William Willson, the company had not kept up with the safety and pollution requirements of the U.S. and Japan. We needed those markets to survive, and began to re-qualify. Despite our production of less than 250 cars a year, we had to meet the same requirements in England and the common market countries—Switzerland, the U.S. and Japan—as Toyota and General Motors. We had only a one-man team led by David Orchard to accomplish the nearly impossible. General Motors probably had more people working on these issues than Aston had employees.</p> <p>We were assured by engineering that meeting the U.S. requirements would be a piece of cake. We had six months before time and financing ran out. We failed the six-hour endurance drive around an oval track in Ann Arbor, Michigan twice. With two weeks left, the piece of cake was getting stale.</p> <p>This became a typical Aston story. The night after the second failure, the two Aston engineers who were with the car in Ann Arbor were easing their frustration with a few beers. Next to them at the bar was a 19-year-old driver who coincidentally had been driving the test Aston that day. He worked for the EPA.</p> <p>The engineers introduced themselves. The driver began to express his opinion of Aston Martin Lagonda in forceful terms: “You cheap bastards, if you want me to drive reliably and steadily around the same boring oval for six hours the least you can do is put in a music system.” We had shipped a stripped-down car without a radio. The engineers called me in Lenox. They were out of money. I wired cash through Western Union. The engineers bought and installed an 8-track cartridge player. The driver loaded his own cartridges. Three days later we passed the test. We sold the cars, paid the loan, and did not go directly to jail. We had dodged another bullet and our luck had held.</p> <p><strong>BACK IN PRODUCTION </strong></p> <p>Back at the factory, we were producing four to five cars a week and paying our bills with difficulty. We maintained the myth that we were completely sold out for a year. Otherwise, we feared that no would have felt the need to buy a car. We needed the world market</p> <p>We finally re-qualified to sell our cars in Japan. As usual, this wasn’t easy. The bureaucratic “official representative” of all foreign carmakers in Japan was chosen, not by the car importers, but by the Japanese government.</p> <p>One of the tests required was that we place a four-inch board covered by a nylon stocking two inches from the end of the exhaust pipe while the engine ticked over at 1500 rpm—for two minutes. If the stocking burst into flame or melted, we would be required to redesign the exhaust system. Presumably this was to protect Japanese women from spontaneous combustion if they found themselves with a stocking-clad, wooden leg lingering behind an Aston. But we eventually passed. At least we didn’t have to crash-test the car. All that hand-hammered metal crunching a concrete block! That was a requirement in both the U.S. and Britain.</p> <p>Aston had previously sent over an English mechanic, Dennis Nursey, to Tokyo. He reported that there was a James Bond tape in every car that came in for maintenance. <span>Despite the fact that the Japanese drive on the same side of the road as the English, they ordered left hand steering wheels to emphasize the foreign source of the cars. </span>They needed the panache of James Bond to put the extra four feet of metal into the onrushing traffic to see if they could pass. On the other hand, most Tokyo traffic didn’t allow the driver to get out of first gear.</p> <p>In 1974-75, Dennis worked with Eastern Motors, the Japanese Aston distributor. He heard about the collapse of Aston on Japanese radio. No one had informed him that the company he worked for was no longer in business. He returned to Newport Pagnell, where it felt like a ghost town.</p> <p>In late 1975 Dennis rejoined as a service engineer. Chubuyashima took over the distribution from Eastern Motors and ordered 40 cars a year for 1976 and 1977. Aston had been selling eight to 12 cars a year in Japan. It was a brave order and very helpful. They still had a large inventory in 1978.</p> <p>We had a worldwide network of dealers. Alan kept them all involved and interested. They kept us alive.</p> <p>In the States, Morris Hallowell took on the responsibility for distribution, and we opened a retail store in Greenwich, Connecticut. Rex Woodgate eventually returned to Newport Pagnell where his great technical skills and knowledge were devoted to special projects.</p> <p>The Lagonda was beginning to take extraordinary shape. By now we had 17 engineers, most of whom were working on the project. The car was not designed by a committee—William Towns was responsible for the entire design, inside and out. The result was a striking piece of mobile sculpture. The Lagonda looks as modern today as it did 25 years ago.</p> <p>The nine months our team had to get the car ready for the 1976 Earl’s Court Motor Show seemed enough time, considering that it was about the same length of time that it took for other designers and craftsman to build the first Spitfire during WW II. We came very close. There was a great deal of improvising. The pop-up radio popped up with the aid of a mousetrap mechanism that had been found at the last moment, and the lid of the box between the seats used a hinge that was taken off a toolbox that was conveniently nearby.</p> <p>Two weeks before the Motor Show, we had a special press preview. Our secrecy was such that there was not even a rumor that we were doing anything radically new. Alan arranged for a lunch at the Bell Inn in Aston Clinton, near the famous hill climb that gave Aston Martin its name. Lionel Martin had won the hillclimb there with his car, and it became known as the Aston Martin. There were about 120 people at the lunch. Geoff Courtney, our creative PR genius, had rounded up the British motoring press, who, while doubtful that we would produce any real news, were confident that they would have a very good meal while enjoying each other’s company. Geoff also rounded up members of the Lagonda Club who brought with them a beautiful selection of mostly prewar Lagondas. All the Aston directors were there along with many of the men and women from the Works who had been present at the creation. My wife and children flew over for the occasion. I was thrilled, proud, and excited.</p> <p>The curtain was pulled back, and you could hear the intake of breath. Nobody expected what the team had accomplished. Resplendent in silver, the car glistened like a jewel under the lights. We had kept the secret—and it had been worth keeping.</p> <p>As the show was a “preview,” we tried to embargo the news until the morning of the Motor Show. We admitted to the press that the car was not a “runner.” It lacked a transmission, but the displays and most of the rest worked. The press agreed to restrain themselves until the Motor Show opened.</p> <p>The BBC broke the embargo on the evening before the Motor Show. We expected they would broadcast the film they had taken on the morning of the show. Instead, they showed the car traveling gently through a section of seductive English countryside. The rest of the press was furious. <em>Not only had we not enforced the embargo, but we had lied to them about the car. It obviously ran, despite our assertion that it didn’t.</em> We assured them that despite the evidence to the contrary, the car did not run.</p> <p>The truth was that we had taken the car out on a low loader (flatbed trailer) to the top of a pristine hill somewhere near the Works. The BBC placed some construction blocks into the boot to compensate for the weight of the missing transmission and had then filmed the car as it rolled gently downhill through the countryside, complete with driver. It looked great on the evening television, even if they had scooped the rest of the press by a few hours. We apologized profusely to all and sundry.</p> <p>Motor Show day finally dawned. The Lagonda was on a platform under spotlights. It<img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/aston-martin-road-track.jpg?width=500&amp;name=aston-martin-road-track.jpg" alt="Road &amp; Track New Lagonda Cover" width="500" style="width: 500px; float: right; margin: 10px;"> deserved its limelight. I believe it is fair to say that we stole the show. Prime Minister James Callaghan sat in it and Colin Chapman of Lotus brought over his chief engineer Mike Kimberley to have a look—and asked him why Lotus couldn’t have the same exciting instrumentation.</p> <p>The high moment of the day came when a smiling American came by and complimented the car. A BBC reporter recognized him and asked if he would comment for attribution. “It is a magnificent achievement; we tried to make the new Cadillac shear, but they made it shearer,” said William Mitchell, the legendary head of General Motors Design. His generous comments resonated all over England.</p> <p>The press photographed it, TV filmed it, and everybody wrote about it. The notices were sensational. It looked like the Aston show might enjoy a longer run than expected.</p> <p><strong>BACK IN BUSINESS</strong></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>It may not have been reflected in our balance sheet, but as far as the public was concerned, Aston was back in business. We were back on the front pages all over the world. </em></p> <p>The team at Aston had risen to the occasion and deserved the applause.</p> <p>More importantly, we received 76 orders at the 1976 Motor Show, mostly for Lagondas. Nick Mee and Colin Thew remember driving from embassy to embassy collecting deposit checks.</p> <p>But, we still had much work to do. The car still wasn’t a runner. We had a backlog of customers from around the world and a non-working prototype. We needed to start making Lagondas.</p> <p>In 1977, when we were ready to deliver the first Lagonda, the delivery was not going to be a secret. We told the press that we had a mystery customer and would release the first car at a midday event at Woburn Abbey. We had been very optimistic about our completion schedule. It is easier to build a prototype than to build production automobiles on a manufacturing line.</p> <p>The night before the delivery, I visited the factory with Lord Tavistock at about 3 a.m. There were 14 people still working on the car. Six or seven of them had their hands in the engine compartment. I commented that it looked like they were taking an appendix out. They replied the situation was worse than that—they were trying to put an appendix back in.</p> <p>It turns out that National Semiconductor’s IMP-16 computer board had developed a glitch. It didn’t work, and the car would not run. Back then, we were not surrounded by teenage computer wizards.</p> <p>As the day dawned, it became clear that we were in trouble. The Lagonda was supposed to drive to Woburn Abbey at 11 a.m. We had invited the press. All the TV channels were planning to send crews. The food and drinks in the Sculpture Gallery were already being laid out. People were on their way. Expectations were high. The car was low. We seriously considered canceling the event, but by then that was impossible.</p> <p>Plan B was to hope for divine intervention before 11 a.m. As such, we needed Plan C, which was to send the car to Woburn on a low loader again and hope that no one would notice.</p> <p>So the car was towed to Woburn Abbey, which has a magnificent mile-long driveway to the front of the house. The back entrance wouldn’t work, either. It is hard to smuggle anything as conspicuous as a Lagonda. When the car arrived, the press was already there. Our clandestine arrival did not fool anyone. To describe the situation as embarrassing would be to understate the obvious. Alan Curtis looked at me and decided that this would be my turn as co-chairman to “Meet the Press.” There were more than 100 people in attendance and the cameras were running.</p> <p>Our mystery purchaser was Lady Tavistock, who had arranged with Diner’s Club to buy the £25,000 car on her credit card and then give the Lagonda to Lord Tavistock in honor of their 25th wedding anniversary.</p> <p>I stated the obvious. “We goofed,” or, more specifically, “I goofed.” I held up the malfunctioning computer circuit board by one fiberboard corner and explained that the computer had packed it in. It had been my bright idea in the first place; the engineers and the factory were innocent. Everything about the car was magnificent with the slight problem that it did not run. It was not the fault of the Aston workforce. It would run the following day.</p> <p>Late that afternoon, Lord Tavistock drove one of his functioning cars to the factory to thank the workforce. He apologized to the Lagonda team for putting them under such pressure. It was a kind and thoughtful thing to do. One witness remembers that there were tears in the eyes of some of the men.</p> <p>The press were remarkably gentle. They were willing to give us another chance. As usual, no one wanted to see Aston fail.</p> <p>In a strange way, the botched introduction worked in our favor. Everybody was pleased to see the car running, and the reaction was enthusiasm and occasional applause. Robin commented that when he drove his Bentley, he tended to stay away from the curb in parts of London because he could feel a kind of class hostility. With the Lagonda, he drove close to the curb so people could enjoy seeing the car. We were not just an expensive car for wealthy aristocrats and rock stars. We had a broader audience of people who were glad to see that a small British company could produce a beautiful car that made people smile.</p> <p>Kingsley Riding-Felce, who then worked in the Works service department, remembers driving PUR 106R, a gray Lagonda, down to London and having pedestrians applaud. On one occasion, all the passengers on a bus moved to one side for a better look and it almost tilted the bus into an accident. There were thumbs up all around.</p> <p>One of the principal reasons that we had committed to the Lagonda project was that the engineering force had cautioned us that it would be very difficult to turn the V8 coupe into a convertible. Our dealer in Beverly Hills, Chick Vandergriff, had assured us that he could sell all the convertibles we could build, provided the top was automatic and worked easily.</p> <p>Alan Curtis informally discussed the possibility of a convertible with Harold Beach, the legendary Aston engineer, who was helping with a number of special projects. Harold saw no reason why a convertible would not be possible and introduced Alan to George Mosely, who had designed the Bentley convertible mechanism. For £5000 and £150 royalty per car, George gave us a design, including structural reinforcement of the chassis. The structural parts of the top mechanism were designed to be made in wood, an excellent choice for limited quantity production, both stable and rust free. Harold provided engineering support.</p> <p>Alan met with the workforce and gave them a challenge. Build one car clandestinely on the production line following the new design. Keep the car covered when it was not being worked on. When completed, we would surprise the engineering group. The design engineers were in a small building across the road from the factory, about 100 feet away.</p> <p>As usual, the factory team met the challenge. Over a two-month period, they kept the secret and completed the convertible prototype. I happened to be in England at the time. We rolled the car out of the factory. The workforce came out to watch. Alan jumped in the driver’s seat, and we drove across the street. Alan leaned on the horn. The engineering group came out to check on the commotion. The latches were released, a button was pushed, and the top went down. Even better, it also went back up with the push of a button. The “Volante” was re-born and went on to be a great success. The workforce had done it again.</p> <p>We knew that we needed new machinery. It has been commented that one of the unfortunate results of WW II was that Japan and Germany had their industries destroyed and then subsequently rebuilt with new equipment. England carried on with what they had. Aston was building advanced cars with prewar machines that had been used to build the great cars of the 20s and 30s, from Bentleys to Bugattis. It was wonderfully romantic, but very inefficient. Worn machinery cannot maintain the tolerances that were necessary for fabrication and were time consuming to use. Sometimes our “stately factory” seemed more appropriate to museum tours than modern automotive production.</p> <p>We simply did not have the capital resources to acquire modern numerically controlled machinery. So we too carried on with what we had. It was much better than the alternative of not carrying on at all.</p> <p>One of our most consistent supporters through thick and thin was Prince Charles. He drove a DB6 drophead and we took pride in the fact that, despite the bankruptcy, we never lost his “three feathers” personal endorsement. Prince Charles once came for a tour of the factory. He arrived at around 10 a.m., piloting himself in a military helicopter.</p> <p>The day before I had given three different sets of friends and customers a tour of the factory. I began to feel more like a tour guide than a chairman. On the third tour, I met a man working a drill press who I had not talked with before. I rather sheepishly said that I was practicing for the Prince Charles visit. He remarked, “It’s got to give you a lot of pleasure, sir. You worked hard enough for it.” Considering how hard the men and women in the factory worked, I was very much moved by his comment. I wouldn’t mind that quote ending up on my gravestone.</p> <p>Prince Charles spent about two hours in the factory. I was very impressed by his interest, curiosity, and knowledge. He had something different to say to almost every person he met. I have watched numerous American politicians move through a room with the same, “Glad to meetcha,” for everyone.</p> <p>Life has taken many twists and turns since that day for all of us, but on that day, he was truly a Prince.</p> <p>Fortunately, the company directors were not Aston Martin’s only customers. We sold about 200 to 250 cars a year. Despite the macho image, about 20 to 30 percent of our customers were women. Oddly enough, very few people took advantage of our ability to make bespoke cars to their precise specifications. When customers wanted an Aston, they wanted it as quickly as possible. If they walked into Sloane Street, Tony Nugent could easily convince them that while the green car they had in mind was a lovely idea, why not buy the red one that they could drive away today, as there had been a sudden change in circumstances and despite our usual backlog, the car had suddenly become available—a circumstance that might not last until that evening. In addition, there might be a price increase on the near horizon …</p> <p>To gain customers, we needed to remain in the public eye. We couldn’t afford to advertise, but we needed all the publicity we could get. The major car magazines helped enormously. We provided the cover art and the centerfolds that helped sell them. Ford, BMW, Mercedes, and General Motors provided the advertising. The Lagonda was tailor-made for selling magazines. It provided the drama; the latest Ford Escort did not provide the same excitement. I broke our “no advertising” rule once with a full page, $50,000 ad in <em>The Wall Street Journal</em>. It stated, “147 Proud Englishmen Could Build a Better Car with Their Bare Hands than the Most Advanced Assembly Line in the World.” The ad generated exactly two inquiries and no sales. That was the beginning and the end of our advertising campaign. Fortunately, Alan and Victor were both extremely adept at feeding the press machine.</p> <p>In retrospect, it is clear to me that the Lagonda was a crucial component for the company’s survival. Arnold Davey has tracked down all the Lagondas built since the first launch of the marque in a 500-page magnum opus. His wife Wendy typed the entire book on a manual typewriter. According to Arnold, there were 633 V8 Lagondas built.</p> <p>Of these, 164 were shipped to UK customers, 160 were shipped to the Gulf States, 150 to the U.S., 89 to Europe, and 30 to the Far East. In the early 80s, they represented the majority of the cars produced at Newport Pagnell. Customers in Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Taiwan, Sweden, Morocco, Jordan, Iraq, Haiti, Gabon, Congo, and Brunei each bought one car. The concept of a Lagonda in the brutally corrupt and poverty-stricken environs of Haiti is particularly unattractive. Hopefully it ended up in the South of France where dictators go to spend their ill-gotten gains.</p> <p>The Lagonda put Aston Martin back on the automotive map and attracted badly needed new attention. The factory eventually got it right, and I hope that current and future owners will find that its value as a classic will begin to reflect the passion and commitment that went into its development.</p> <p><em>END</em></p> <p style="font-weight: bold;">To read the original, unedited piece, visit <a href="https://sprague.com/peter-sprague/aston-martin/">Peter Sprague's website</a>. You can also visit <a href="http://linkedin.com/in/pesprague">Peter Sprague's LinkedIn</a> account to learn more and connect.</p> <img src="https://track.hubspot.com/__ptq.gif?a=381132&amp;k=14&amp;r=https%3A%2F%2Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%2Fblog%2Fa-manufacturing-story-about-aston-martin&amp;bu=https%253A%252F%252Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%252Fblog&amp;bvt=rss" alt="" width="1" height="1" style="min-height:1px!important;width:1px!important;border-width:0!important;margin-top:0!important;margin-bottom:0!important;margin-right:0!important;margin-left:0!important;padding-top:0!important;padding-bottom:0!important;padding-right:0!important;padding-left:0!important; "> Industrial Manufacturers Tue, 20 Sep 2022 20:09:36 GMT bob.grant@grantmarketing.com (Bob Grant) https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/a-manufacturing-story-about-aston-martin 2022-09-20T20:09:36Z Grant Marketing Art Director, Grant Penny, featured in Carolina Home + Garden https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/grant-marketing-art-director-grant-penny-featured-in-carolina-home-garden <div class="hs-featured-image-wrapper"> <a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/grant-marketing-art-director-grant-penny-featured-in-carolina-home-garden" title="" class="hs-featured-image-link"> <img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hubfs/grant-penny-orange-3.jpg" alt="Grant Marketing Art Director, Grant Penny, featured in Carolina Home + Garden" class="hs-featured-image" style="width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;"> </a> </div> <p><strong>A Digital Designer Innovates in a Non-Digital Medium</strong></p> <p>Grant Marketing’s art director, Grant Penny, is also a successful artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. He was recently featured in <em>Carolina Home + Garden </em>magazine in an article titled “Whimsy Is Hard Work.”</p> <p><strong>A Digital Designer Innovates in a Non-Digital Medium</strong></p> <p>Grant Marketing’s art director, Grant Penny, is also a successful artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. He was recently featured in <em>Carolina Home + Garden </em>magazine in an article titled “Whimsy Is Hard Work.”</p> <p>We all enjoy seeing his non-digital pursuits and are very supportive that he remains dedicated to his deep passion, creative art.</p> <p><img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/grant-penny-orange-3.jpg?width=750&amp;name=grant-penny-orange-3.jpg" alt="grant-penny-orange-3" width="750" style="width: 750px;"> Grant’s niche is in contemporary paper collage and his style and technique are sophisticated, innovative, and minimalist, with a vein of whimsy running through them—along with the names he gives each piece.</p> <p>As the article states, Grant’s works have “amusingly mysterious titles.” They are generally inspired by life occurrences that may coincide with finishing a piece: <em>Golden Three</em>; <em>We Might Just Laugh Forever</em>; <em>Delightful Like Yo-Yo Ma</em>, as examples. Grant is a fan of comedy. He follows comedians like one might follow sports’ happenings. Of his titles, he says, “I place a high value on humor in a lot of ways. My intention is not for my work to be ‘funny,’ but often there’s a bit of a wink and a little smile in there somewhere.” (That’s the Grant we know!)</p> <p>He uses special paper handmade in Nepal, and his sought-after “figurative designs are as much about negative space as the familiar shapes that appear against it: bicycles, traffic lights, electric fans, paper airplanes. More recent works center around house and home, but the subject matter is depicted in increasingly abstract ways—including his intricate Nests and Windows pieces and a series called Legs that emphasizes chair legs.”</p> <p>The magazine article provides information about Grant’s inspirations and motivation—simplicity being at the forefront, with some life lessons and homage to his late mother, Marsha, also woven intrinsically into his “Soup” projects.</p> <p>As he tells it, “When there wasn’t enough food from a meal to constitute leftovers, my<img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/grant-penny-gallery.jpg?width=500&amp;name=grant-penny-gallery.jpg" alt="grant-penny-gallery" width="500" style="width: 500px; float: right; margin: 10px 0px 10px 10px;"> mother would put select remainders into a large Tupperware and stick it in the freezer. A cup of peas, some leftover potatoes, maybe cut up an extra piece of chicken. Once that Tupperware filled up, it was time to make soup. She would assess the ingredients and add if needed—maybe chop up a carrot, a little stew beef, a bay leaf or two—add stock and bring to a low boil.” Grant notes that the meal was always delicious, never the same—as the exact combinations were never repeated—yet familiar because they came from meals they already enjoyed. He continues this tradition with his family and has embodied that spirit into his Soup series.</p> <p><em>Carolina Home + Garden</em> tells us that Grant’s Soup collages are made from “leftover pieces of other works combine in unexpected ways.” Grant has completed a half-dozen Soup series pieces to date and has plenty of leftover material to continue the series. He says, “It’s great fun to let loose with those wildly abstract pieces in contrast to my more controlled, minimalist work.”</p> <p>Grant weaves his artist’s sensibilities into his work at Grant Marketing, and does a fantastic job when branding, designing collateral or layouts for clients. We’re thrilled for his success as an artist and are excited to see him getting the notoriety we know he deserves.</p> <p>Read about his story in this link to <a href="https://carolinahg.com/whimsy-is-hard-work/"><em>Carolina Home + Garden</em></a>. Find out more about his catalogue, exhibitions, process, and inspiration on his website, <a href="http://grantpenny.com/" style="font-weight: bold;">www.grantpenny.com</a>, or follow him on Instagram: <a href="https://www.instagram.com/grant_penny" style="font-weight: bold;">www.instagram.com/grant_penny</a>.</p> <img src="https://track.hubspot.com/__ptq.gif?a=381132&amp;k=14&amp;r=https%3A%2F%2Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%2Fblog%2Fgrant-marketing-art-director-grant-penny-featured-in-carolina-home-garden&amp;bu=https%253A%252F%252Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%252Fblog&amp;bvt=rss" alt="" width="1" height="1" style="min-height:1px!important;width:1px!important;border-width:0!important;margin-top:0!important;margin-bottom:0!important;margin-right:0!important;margin-left:0!important;padding-top:0!important;padding-bottom:0!important;padding-right:0!important;padding-left:0!important; "> B2B marketing agency Brand Consultant Brand strategist Brand Ambassador B2B Branding Mon, 19 Sep 2022 15:21:52 GMT cam.mirisola@grantmarketing.com (Cam Mirisola-Bynum) https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/grant-marketing-art-director-grant-penny-featured-in-carolina-home-garden 2022-09-19T15:21:52Z HubSpot and Aircall Integration https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/hubspot-and-aircall-integration <div class="hs-featured-image-wrapper"> <a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/hubspot-and-aircall-integration" title="" class="hs-featured-image-link"> <img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hubfs/HubSpot-Aircall-Integration.jpg" alt="HubSpot and Aircall Integration" class="hs-featured-image" style="width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;"> </a> </div> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;"><strong>Maximizing the Efficiency of Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service Teams</strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;">Since 2016, HubSpot, a leading CRM platform, and Aircall, an adaptable cloud-based phone solution, have partnered to help small- and medium-sized businesses grow by providing them with leading-edge technology to enable better customer experiences. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;"><strong>Maximizing the Efficiency of Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service Teams</strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;">Since 2016, HubSpot, a leading CRM platform, and Aircall, an adaptable cloud-based phone solution, have partnered to help small- and medium-sized businesses grow by providing them with leading-edge technology to enable better customer experiences. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;">Recently, HubSpot strengthened its strategic relationship with Aircall, allowing HubSpot’s<img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/HubSpot-Aircall-Integration.jpg?width=500&amp;name=HubSpot-Aircall-Integration.jpg" alt="HubSpot-Aircall-Integration" width="500" style="width: 500px; float: right; margin: 10px 0px 10px 10px;"> customers to integrate its CRM and Aircall’s voice communication platform. As the most installed phone app on the HubSpot platform, Aircall was designed to make phone support transparent, collaborative, and easy to manage.</span><span style="color: #444444; background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="color: black;">HubSpot and Aircall’s integration underscores their shared mission to maximize the efforts of their customers’ sales, marketing, and customer service teams. So how can this integration benefit small manufacturers? Let’s take a look.</span><span style="color: black;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><strong>What is the HubSpot and Aircall integration?</strong>&nbsp;</p> <p style="font-size: 18px;">The HubSpot and Aircall integration allows sales reps, marketing teams, and customer service representatives to increase productivity, streamline call workflows, and track customers along the entire customer journey.<span style="background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;">Aircall’s phone system instantly integrates with HubSpot to create an all-in-one platform. Call data is viewable while calls are in progress, call information can be automatically synched into HubSpot, and audio recordings are automatically linked to HubSpot contact records. Because contact data can be captured and leveraged more effectively, inbound and outbound sales and marketing efforts are maximized.<span style="color: black;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: black;">What are the some of the benefits of the integration?</span></strong></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="color: black;">With Aircall’s technology, all phone conversations—as well as missed calls, voicemails, and texts—are automatically logged and tracked using <strong>key call data,</strong> such as phone number, call duration, link to call recordings, comments, and status. Again, all this data is instantly synched to HubSpot. </span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="color: black;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="color: black;">Before sales and service reps answer incoming calls, Aircall automatically provides the core information they need. <strong>Customer history</strong> is immediately available via HubSpot, offering complete context of the call, which enables better conversations and improves the overall customer experience. </span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="color: black;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="color: black;">In addition, the iPhone and Android mobile app provides the ability for HubSpot data to be updated while <strong>working remotely</strong>. Call quality can be maintained, and data can be preserved even if team members are out of the office. </span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="color: #444444;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; vertical-align: baseline; padding-left: 0in;"><strong>How can the integration improve productivity? </strong></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; vertical-align: baseline; padding-left: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; vertical-align: baseline; padding-left: 0in;">The HubSpot and Aircall integration provides several features designed to improve the efficiency of sales and customer service teams. Here is a sample:</p> <ul> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in;"><strong><span style="border: none windowtext 1.0pt;">Tag syncing:</span></strong>Aircall tags allow HubSpot records and Aircall workflow to be fully integrated and enable calls to be easily sorted.</li> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in;"><strong><span style="border: none windowtext 1.0pt;">Automatic ticket creation:</span></strong>Choose a pipeline and specific status for new tickets, and then log call details.</li> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in;"><strong><span style="border: none windowtext 1.0pt;">Custom properties:</span></strong> Automated HubSpot workflows can be built with information entered into new custom contact properties.</li> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in;"><strong><span style="border: none windowtext 1.0pt;">Click-</span></strong><strong>to-call:</strong> This feature provides incoming call alerts onscreen to allow instant conversations without switching tabs.</li> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in;"><strong><span style="border: none windowtext 1.0pt;">Insight cards:</span></strong> Every inbound call on the Aircall phone displays data pulled automatically from the HubSpot CRM allowing customer calls to be personalized.</li> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in;"><strong><span style="border: none windowtext 1.0pt;">Omni-</span></strong><strong>channel capability: </strong>Monitor call status in HubSpot, make instant adjustments, and reduce distractions for team members.</li> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in;"><strong>Interactive voice response:</strong> Route customers to the correct team automatically by creating a smart directory.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black;">In today’s competitive marketplace, small manufacturers need to leverage the best tools available to delight their customers and grow their business. The combined power of HubSpot and Aircall’s integration offers a valuable resource for companies looking to increase productivity, improve efficiency, and provide an outstanding customer experience.</span><span style="color: black; background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black;">To learn more about the integration of HubSpot and Aircall, </span><a href="https://app.hubspot.com/documents/381132/view/428943935?accessId=340ebf" style="font-weight: bold;">click here</a> <span style="color: black;">to view a summary document, or contact Grant Marketing at (413) 259-0319 today.</span></span></p> <img src="https://track.hubspot.com/__ptq.gif?a=381132&amp;k=14&amp;r=https%3A%2F%2Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%2Fblog%2Fhubspot-and-aircall-integration&amp;bu=https%253A%252F%252Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%252Fblog&amp;bvt=rss" alt="" width="1" height="1" style="min-height:1px!important;width:1px!important;border-width:0!important;margin-top:0!important;margin-bottom:0!important;margin-right:0!important;margin-left:0!important;padding-top:0!important;padding-bottom:0!important;padding-right:0!important;padding-left:0!important; "> Thu, 08 Sep 2022 16:37:47 GMT bob.grant@grantmarketing.com (Bob Grant) https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/hubspot-and-aircall-integration 2022-09-08T16:37:47Z How a Content Marketing Strategy Can Expand Your Business https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/how-a-content-marketing-strategy-can-expand-your-business <div class="hs-featured-image-wrapper"> <a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/how-a-content-marketing-strategy-can-expand-your-business" title="" class="hs-featured-image-link"> <img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hubfs/Content-Marketing%20Strategy_Boston.jpg" alt="How a Content Marketing Strategy Can Expand Your Business" class="hs-featured-image" style="width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;"> </a> </div> <p><strong>Building Trust, Credibility, and a Customer Base Through Helpful Content </strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; color: #202124; background-color: white;"><span style="font-size: 20px;">Gone are the days when a home page and some contact info were all you needed for your company’s online presence. Today’s customers are conducting sophisticated searches for the information they want, making it</span> <span style="font-size: 20px;">more critical than ever to stand out from your competitors with valuable and engaging content on your website.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; color: #202124; background-color: white;"></span></p> <p><strong>Building Trust, Credibility, and a Customer Base Through Helpful Content </strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; color: #202124; background-color: white;"><span style="font-size: 20px;">Gone are the days when a home page and some contact info were all you needed for your company’s online presence. Today’s customers are conducting sophisticated searches for the information they want, making it</span> <span style="font-size: 20px;">more critical than ever to stand out from your competitors with valuable and engaging content on your website.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; color: #202124; background-color: white;"><span style="font-size: 20px;"></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px; color: #202124; background-color: white;">This is where an effective content marketing strategy is a must. To<img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Content-Marketing%20Strategy_Boston.jpg?width=750&amp;name=Content-Marketing%20Strategy_Boston.jpg" alt="Content-Marketing Strategy_Boston" width="750" style="width: 750px;"> grow your business, you need to begin by attracting more traffic to your site. The more traffic, the more opportunities to convert visitors to customers. But the content you share is the key to those conversions. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px; color: #202124; background-color: white;">You need to understand your audiences to be as helpful to them as possible, and make it as easy (frictionless) to get the information they need quickly and efficiently. This requires knowing:</span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: #202124;"> </span><span style="color: #202124; background-color: white;">What they want</span></span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: #202124;"> </span><span style="color: #202124; background-color: white;">How they want to receive it</span></span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: #202124;"> </span><span style="color: #202124; background-color: white;">How to keep them engaged</span></span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 20px; color: #202124; background-color: white;">And for content targeting current and future customers, you need a plan to: </span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: #202124;"> </span><span style="color: #202124; background-color: white;">Create it</span></span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: #202124;"> </span><span style="color: #202124; background-color: white;">Maintain it</span></span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: #202124;"> </span><span style="color: #202124; background-color: white;">Promote it </span></span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 20px; color: #202124; background-color: white;">Let’s examine the specific benefits of a content marketing strategy and how it can contribute to your business success. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px;"><strong><span style="color: #202124; background-color: white;">Educate Your Audiences</span></strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px; color: #202124; background-color: white;">Your audiences are seeking information, so give them what they want. A strong content marketing strategy will help you educate prospective customers about your products and services using a variety of content formats. Your goal is to be considered an expert in your field, so establish your areas of expertise by posting blogs, demo videos, e-books, and white papers. When you consistently provide valuable, useful content, including press releases, infographics, FAQs, and best practices, your customers and prospects will seek you out when they are making a buying decision.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px;"><strong><span style="color: #202124; background-color: white;">Build Credibility and Trust</span></strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px; color: #202124; background-color: white;">Providing factual, pertinent information establishes your company’s credibility and builds trust with your target audiences. For example, case studies and customer success stories are examples of content that demonstrate how your products or services have helped other customers, and can therefore be relied on. Another way to build credibility is to publish content on important, relevant industry topics to promote your company as a thought leader. Keep an eye out for timely industry issues or challenges, and address them through content you post. And if your company is experiencing the same challenges, talk about it—the good, bad, and ugly. People will appreciate and trust your transparency. When you are seen as a source of reliable, valid, and trustworthy content, your company’s reputation grows. Reliability, credibility, relevance—all qualities you want your current and prospective customers to associate with your brand. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px;"><strong><span style="color: #202124; background-color: white;">Increase Visibility</span></strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px; color: #202124; background-color: white;">Prospective customers are looking for you—help them find you with a content marketing strategy that includes search engine optimization (SEO). Help them self-identify as a good fit for your business or services. Reveal to them that you are the solution they never knew they needed. Of course, optimizing your content helps search engines, like Google, find you easily. Search engines are also looking for sites with regularly published new content, which demonstrates that a website has a good activity level. This contributes to your search engine results page (SERP) ranking. Content that provides thorough, in-depth information, with naturally placed keywords in the text, as well as internal links to other relevant sources, also improves your site’s rank. The quality of the content you post also significantly impacts SEO, which can both improve your website’s SERP ranking and raise your online visibility. Higher visibility leads to increased lead generation, and the potential for business growth. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px;"><strong><span style="color: #202124; background-color: white;">Return on Investment</span></strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px; color: #202124; background-color: white;">According to 1827Marketing, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates five times as many sales leads. That means the investment you make in creating high-quality, engaging content in a variety of formats will pay off because it will attract visitors to your site again and again over time. In marketing, this is called “evergreen” content. After the initial work is done to prepare it, it continues to do its job—even after you’ve gone home for the day … day after day, and on and on. It also allows website visitors to find the helpful information they need at their convenience. This is a big win for you both. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px; color: #202124; background-color: white;">The latest news updates will attract visitors who are interested in the latest technology and trends, long-form pieces will interest potential customers who want in-depth information, and best practices and success stories will engage prospects who are looking for a company with credibility. Think about it. Low costs, high return on investment. Another way a content marketing strategy can expand your business.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px; color: #202124; background-color: white;"><img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Does%20Content%20Marketing%20Really%20Work.jpg?width=1430&amp;name=Does%20Content%20Marketing%20Really%20Work.jpg" alt="Does Content Marketing Really Work" width="1430" style="width: 1430px;"></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="font-size: 20px;"><strong><span style="color: black;">Get the Word Out</span></strong></p> <p style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: black;">A robust content marketing strategy should also incorporate tactics to promote the excellent content that can be found on your website. Social media is the key to encouraging conversations about your products and services. Posting your latest news item or blog on one or more social media channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., encourages engagement with current and future customers, publicizes your brand, and drives more visitors to your site. </span></p> <p style="font-size: 20px;"><strong><span style="color: black;">Converting Visitors to Customers</span></strong></p> <p style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: black;">The content you provide to the consumers who visit your website or view your social media helps them make a purchasing decision. This is confirmed by research done by the Content Marketing Institute, which states nine out of 10 buyers say content effects purchasing decisions, and that 80% of decision makers prefer getting information from articles versus advertisements. Further, according to Aberdeen, companies that put their primary focus on content marketing had five times higher website conversion rates. A well thought out content marketing strategy will help to lead visitors along the steps of the journey that convert them from browsers to buyers. </span></p> <p style="font-size: 20px;"><strong><span style="color: black;">A Content Marketing Strategy Impacts the Bottom Line</span></strong></p> <p style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: black;">The point of a content marketing strategy is to attract high-quality leads that result in more sales and increased revenue. And that means sharing content that will:</span></p> <ul style="font-size: 20px;"> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><span style="color: #202124; background-color: white; font-size: 20px;">Capture the attention of your key audiences</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: #202124;"> </span><span style="color: #202124; background-color: white;">Demonstrate why your company is unique</span></span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: #202124;"> </span><span style="color: #202124; background-color: white;">Impress them with your expertise</span></span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: #202124;"> </span><span style="color: #202124; background-color: white;">Convert their interest into sales </span></span></li> </ul> <p style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: black;">That’s how a content marketing strategy can expand your business. </span></p> <p style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: black;"><a href="https://www.grantmarketing.com/"><span style="color: black;">Grant Marketing</span></a></span><span style="color: black;"> offers a workshop to help you create a content marketing strategy for your company. We can hel</span><span style="color: black;">p you develop a content library to attract more visitors to your site and generate more qualified leads. Grant Marketing can also help you distribute and promote your content on a variety of social media channels. Let us show you how a well-designed content marketing strategy can help you grow your business. </span><span style="color: black;"><a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/content-marketing-assessment"><span style="color: black;">Click here to get started!</span></a></span></p> <p style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="color: black;"><span style="color: black;"><a class="cta_button" href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/cs/ci/?pg=808ced1f-b528-4e29-9dca-1c9eafd27026&amp;pid=381132&amp;ecid=&amp;hseid=&amp;hsic="><img class="hs-cta-img " style="border-width: 0px; /*hs-extra-styles*/; " alt="Get Your Free Content Marketing Assessment" src="https://no-cache.hubspot.com/cta/default/381132/808ced1f-b528-4e29-9dca-1c9eafd27026.png"></a></span></span><span style="color: black;"><span style="color: black;"></span></span><span style="color: black;"><span style="color: black;"></span></span></p> <img src="https://track.hubspot.com/__ptq.gif?a=381132&amp;k=14&amp;r=https%3A%2F%2Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%2Fblog%2Fhow-a-content-marketing-strategy-can-expand-your-business&amp;bu=https%253A%252F%252Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%252Fblog&amp;bvt=rss" alt="" width="1" height="1" style="min-height:1px!important;width:1px!important;border-width:0!important;margin-top:0!important;margin-bottom:0!important;margin-right:0!important;margin-left:0!important;padding-top:0!important;padding-bottom:0!important;padding-right:0!important;padding-left:0!important; "> Thu, 01 Sep 2022 21:30:05 GMT bob.grant@grantmarketing.com (Bob Grant) https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/how-a-content-marketing-strategy-can-expand-your-business 2022-09-01T21:30:05Z Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software for Manufacturers https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/customer-relationship-management-crm-software-for-manufacturers <div class="hs-featured-image-wrapper"> <a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/customer-relationship-management-crm-software-for-manufacturers" title="" class="hs-featured-image-link"> <img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hubfs/hands-keyboard-crm.jpg" alt="Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software for Manufacturers" class="hs-featured-image" style="width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;"> </a> </div> <h2 style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: black;">Understanding the Benefits for Manufacturing Businesses</span></strong></h2> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black;">Customer relationship management (CRM) software for manufacturing provides tools for manufacturers to gather specific customer information, including phone numbers, addresses, and demographics, and then use it to manage relationships and interactions with current and prospective customers. CRMs allow companies to:</span></p> <h2 style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: black;">Understanding the Benefits for Manufacturing Businesses</span></strong></h2> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black;">Customer relationship management (CRM) software for manufacturing provides tools for manufacturers to gather specific customer information, including phone numbers, addresses, and demographics, and then use it to manage relationships and interactions with current and prospective customers. CRMs allow companies to: </span></p> <ul style="font-size: 18px;"> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><span style="color: black;">Gain a better understanding of their customers’ needs</span></li> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><span style="color: black;">Identify sales opportunities </span></li> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><span style="color: black;">Streamline the production process</span></li> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><span style="color: black;">Improve the customer experience </span></li> </ul> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black;"><img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/hands-keyboard-crm.jpg?width=600&amp;name=hands-keyboard-crm.jpg" alt="Learn More About Your Customers with CRM Software" width="600" style="width: 600px; margin: 10px auto; display: block;">Manufacturing is one of the top five industries using CRMs to grow their business. To help you evaluate whether CRM software would be beneficial to your manufacturing business, here is a deeper dive into the advantages, features, and elements to consider.</span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: black;">What are the Benefits of Manufacturing CRM Software?</span></strong></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: black;">For all teams:</span></strong></p> <ul style="font-size: 18px;"> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black;">Collaboration and cooperation:</span></strong><span style="color: black;"> CRMs allow all functions within your business to access identical customer information. When everyone is working off the same page, collaboration between teams improves. Customers have a consistent, personalized, and seamless experience, which makes them more likely to buy again.</span></li> </ul> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: black;">For sales:</span></strong></p> <ul style="font-size: 18px;"> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black;">Sales pipeline visibility: </span></strong><span style="color: black;">A CRM for manufacturing streamlines the process of tracking each lead through every stage in the sales pipeline. CRM software provides tools to analyze and visualize the pipeline data for a specific account, and to summarize an overall view of the entire pipeline. CRM also allows companies to automate their sales pipeline. </span></li> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black;">Higher quality leads: </span></strong><span style="color: black;">Lead management is a critical component of the sales process, and CRM software helps sales reps more easily identify high-quality leads by tracking the responses to marketing campaigns. CRMs analyze the data to identify which sales leads are most likely to convert to contacts, thereby improving the efficiency of the sales teams, and ultimately increasing sales. </span></li> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black;">Better sales projections: </span></strong><span style="color: black;">A manufacturing CRM tracks the details of every order placed by your customers, including historical peak order times and downtimes. The software analyzes the buying patterns and trends of each customer to compile accurate sales forecasts, helping the sales teams decide what to sell and when to sell.</span></li> </ul> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: black;">For customer service:</span></strong><strong><span style="color: black;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <ul style="font-size: 18px;"> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black;">Post-sales experience: </span></strong><span style="color: black;">CRM software organizes customer data, including warranty, repair, or service issues, allowing you to respond to questions and requests more quickly and efficiently. Manufacturing CRMs provide case management functionality so companies can create a system to track customer issues to ensure they are addressed and resolved promptly. These capabilities help you better engage with and retain customers.</span></li> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black;">Product quality: </span></strong><span style="color: black;">CRMs allow manufacturers to gather direct customer feedback about the quality and consistency of their products. Companies can use this information to identify errors in processes that may be contributing to product defects and make changes to improve product quality.</span></li> </ul> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: black;">For production:</span></strong></p> <ul style="font-size: 18px;"> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black;">Production planning: </span></strong><span style="color: black;">Manufacturing CRMs leverage sales forecast information to help with production planning. A detailed production plan not only allows you to budget correctly for production costs, but also for overall company expenditures. </span></li> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black;">Demand forecasting: </span></strong><span style="color: black;">Sales forecast data provided by CRMs also allow manufacturers to allocate production resources to manage inventory and meet projected customer demand. </span></li> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black;">Supply chain visibility: </span></strong><span style="color: black;">CRM software provides data on operations, distribution chains, order processing, and inventory and warehouse management to help you manage material supply and production schedules—ultimately informing effective supply chain decisions.</span><span style="color: black;"></span></li> </ul> <p><span style="color: black;"><img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/glow-finger.jpg?width=600&amp;name=glow-finger.jpg" alt="Improve Sales and Customer Service with CRM Software" width="600" style="width: 600px; margin: 10px auto; display: block;"></span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: black;">Is HubSpot CRM Good for Small Businesses?</span></strong></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black;">There are three types of CRM software: operational, analytical, and collaborative. Operational CRMs are beneficial to businesses that have linear sales processes—like small manufacturers—that are looking to automate their workflow.</span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black;"><span>HubSpot’s operational CRM can simplify and streamline your main business processes: it's sales tool, marketing tool, service tool, and an operational tool that also provides historical and real-time analytics, allowing for team collaboration and oversight for seamless customer interactions. The software will help generate leads, convert leads into contacts, and their customer service infrastructure helps you engage with and retain your customers.</span></span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black;"><img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/hubspot-logo.png?width=300&amp;name=hubspot-logo.png" alt="HubSpot Logo" width="300" style="width: 300px; margin: 10px auto; display: block;"></span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black;">Specifically, HubSpot’s CRM provides <strong>marketing automation</strong> to simplify tasks such as email campaigns, reaching out to contacts, and distributing content offers. It also features <strong>sales automation</strong> to streamline the sales process and free up time for sales team members. This includes email scheduling, tracking sales calls, and workflows. HubSpot’s CRM provides total visibility of the sales pipeline on a “Deals” dashboard so you can see your entire sales funnel in real time. </span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black;">An important feature of HubSpot’s CRM is that it provides <strong>service automation</strong> designed for an optimal customer experience. It allows direct correspondence between customers and service reps and includes designated email inboxes, chat bots, and live chats. Service automation can include ticketing systems to delegate service tasks, and features such as FAQ pages. In addition, customer interactions are tracked automatically no matter the method—calls, email, social media. </span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 11.25pt; padding-left: 0in; font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: black;">What Are the Key Features of Manufacturing CRM Software?</span></strong></p> <span style="color: black;"> </span> <ul> <li><strong><span style="color: black;">Forecasting tools: </span></strong><span style="color: black;">built-in algorithms allow manufacturers to project sales and manage inventory</span></li> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black;">Sales territory management: </span></strong><span style="color: black;">location-based customer data enables market segmentation and account planning </span></li> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black;">Channel management: </span></strong><span style="color: black;">manage relationships with partners and distributors</span></li> <li><strong><span style="color: black;">Custom dashboard and reports:</span></strong><span style="color: black;">&nbsp;view distributors, suppliers, resellers, and customers, and identify new trends and opportunities, monitor sales goals, and analyze team performance</span></li> <li><span style="color: black;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black;">Configure-price-quote (CPQ) application: </span></strong><span style="color: black;">includes quote management and generation, product catalog, inventory tracking</span></li> <li><strong><span style="color: black;">Integration options:</span></strong><span style="color: black;"> connect your CRM with your ERP</span></li> <li><strong><span style="color: black;">Business process management:</span></strong><span style="color: black;"> build workflows and automate processes</span></li> </ul> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black;">When deciding whether a CRM is right for your manufacturing company, there a few key considerations. If you are using a manual process to manage leads, orders, and customer service issues, a CRM is a good idea. Make sure you can justify the return on investment and be aware that if you have some CRM functionality in an ERP system, it may not be enough. </span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black;">Grant Marketing can help you make this decision. Download your free copy of our eBook, </span><span style="color: black;"><a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/click-to-download-your-crm-benfits-guide-0">Benefits of CRM Marketing for Manufacturers</a></span><span style="color: black;">, to learn more about how CRM can power your marketing activities.<span style="color: black; background-color: white;"> Give us a call </span><span style="color: black;">at (413) 259-0319 or</span> </span><span style="color: black;"><a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/meetings/bobgrant30?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%2F">check out our schedule</a></span> <span style="color: black;">to set up a time to talk!</span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/click-to-download-your-crm-benfits-guide-0"><img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/crm-cta-image-1.jpg?width=500&amp;name=crm-cta-image-1.jpg" alt="Download Our E-Book" width="500" style="width: 500px; margin: 10px auto; display: block;"></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <img src="https://track.hubspot.com/__ptq.gif?a=381132&amp;k=14&amp;r=https%3A%2F%2Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%2Fblog%2Fcustomer-relationship-management-crm-software-for-manufacturers&amp;bu=https%253A%252F%252Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%252Fblog&amp;bvt=rss" alt="" width="1" height="1" style="min-height:1px!important;width:1px!important;border-width:0!important;margin-top:0!important;margin-bottom:0!important;margin-right:0!important;margin-left:0!important;padding-top:0!important;padding-bottom:0!important;padding-right:0!important;padding-left:0!important; "> Customer Relationship Management CRM Software Tue, 09 Aug 2022 20:15:04 GMT https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/customer-relationship-management-crm-software-for-manufacturers 2022-08-09T20:15:04Z Grant Marketing The 5 Biggest Alignment Challenges Facing Marketing & Sales Teams https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/the-5-biggest-alignment-challenges-facing-marketing-sales-teams <div class="hs-featured-image-wrapper"> <a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/the-5-biggest-alignment-challenges-facing-marketing-sales-teams" title="" class="hs-featured-image-link"> <img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hubfs/abm-team-puzzle.jpg" alt="The 5 Biggest Alignment Challenges Facing Marketing &amp; Sales Teams" class="hs-featured-image" style="width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;"> </a> </div> <p>There’s a reason why talk about marketing and sales team alignment is top-of-mind for many businesses these days. It’s the basis of so many important and emergent marketing and sales trends: the move from lead gen to demand gen, the shift to rev ops from siloed ops, selling to a committee vs. an individual with account-based marketing (ABM), and making a move towards asynchronous selling.</p> <p>There’s a reason why talk about marketing and sales team alignment is top-of-mind for many businesses these days. It’s the basis of so many important and emergent marketing and sales trends: the move from lead gen to demand gen, the shift to rev ops from siloed ops, selling to a committee vs. an individual with account-based marketing (ABM), and making a move towards asynchronous selling.</p> <p><img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/abm-team-puzzle.jpg?width=600&amp;name=abm-team-puzzle.jpg" alt="Make Sure Your Team is Aligned with Our ABM e-Book" width="600" style="width: 600px; margin: 10px auto; display: block;"></p> <p>While there are many upsides to this alignment, there are just as many obstacles facing teams as they try to get on the same page. Read on to break down the top five challenges facing marketing and sales teams as they try to align, as well as a few solutions for making team alignment a reality.</p> <h3>1. Marketing-to-Sales Handoff</h3> <p>The marketing-to-sales handoff seems simple enough: when a lead becomes qualified for sales (a sales-qualified lead, or an SQL), it’s the job of the marketing team to ensure that their sales colleagues know about it.</p> <p>What could go wrong?</p> <p>The answer is … <em>a lot</em>.</p> <p>To generalize, there are two areas where this handoff can go awry.</p> <p>The first is the qualifying criteria or the agreement around when the right time is to hand the lead off to sales. Think about it:</p> <ul> <li>What are your marketing-qualified lead (MQL) and SQL criteria?</li> <li>What are you using to ensure that these criteria are met for handoffs day-to-day?</li> <li>How nuanced are the qualifications?</li> </ul> <p>If your sales and marketing team may have different answers to these questions, the result can be handoff nightmares.</p> <p>The second problem area involves the <em>mechanism</em> for your handoffs:</p> <ul> <li>Are your marketing leads rotated automatically once qualified, or do they already have an owner before they ever get to that stage?</li> <li>Do you assign your sales rep a task, push a notification, send them an email, notify them in Slack, or some combination of these options?</li> </ul> <p>Tools like Marketing Hub and Sales Hub are great at facilitating this process, but the process only works insofar as it has been <em>defined</em>. The marketing-to-sales handoff must be thought through and agreed upon by both teams to be successful–a task made much more difficult if your teams are not operating in the same systems.</p> <p><img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/abm-baton.jpg?width=600&amp;name=abm-baton.jpg" alt="Ensure a Successful Handoff" width="600" style="width: 600px; margin: 10px auto; display: block;"></p> <p><strong>The Solution to Difficult Marketing to Sales Handoffs</strong></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: #3c4043; background-color: white;">To address a less-than-perfect handoff from marketing to sales, have a meeting between your marketing operations and sales operations teams to agree on the complete parameters of your lifecycle stages.</span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: #3c4043; background-color: white;">Variables to define with your team regarding the timing and manner of the handoff include: </span></p> <ul> <li style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: #3c4043; background-color: white;">Deal stage</span></li> <li style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: #3c4043; background-color: white;">Lead score</span></li> <li style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: #3c4043; background-color: white;">Buying committee makeup</span></li> <li style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: #3c4043; background-color: white;">Ideal customer profile (ICP) tier play in the timing and manner of the handoff? </span></li> </ul> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: #3c4043; background-color: white;">Handoffs can change from team to team, ICP tier to ICP tier, and product to product.</span></p> <p>Next, pull some reports to see at what lifecycle stage sales became involved in winning opportunities to objectively determine what has been most successful to date.</p> <p>Finally, once everyone agrees on the terms of your lifecycle stages and when and how sales should be tapped to jump in, update your CRM, marketing automation platform, and other technology to accommodate these newly agreed-upon handoff guidelines.</p> <h3>2. Disparate Systems</h3> <p>There are literally hundreds of tools that your sales and marketing teams could use to run their individual motions.</p> <p>What’s the result? A list of tech tools the size of a Cheesecake Factory menu for your marketing operations team to deal with.</p> <p>For marketing and sales activities – especially those that require a handoff – data accuracy is everything. And the more tools you have, the lower the chances are that your data is reliable.</p> <p>Too many systems can lead to:</p> <ul> <li>Too much context switching and the necessary info not being added to the correct tool</li> <li>System syncing issues and resulting data gaps</li> <li>No single source of truth for decision making about the success or failure of your efforts</li> <li>Misaligned handoff and scoring criteria</li> </ul> <p><strong>The Solution for Disparate Systems </strong></p> <p>Disparate systems can be one of the harder problems to solve because organizations may have multiple internal stakeholders and decision makers involved. Nevertheless, there are a few ways to address this issue.</p> <p>First, you can look at moving all of your marketing and sales operations into a single tool like HubSpot, where Marketing Hub and Sales Hub can accommodate all of the needs for marketing and sales alignment and provide a seamless experience for your customers.</p> <p>If combining systems is not an option, consider doing an audit of where information is not being collected, synced, and updated between systems. This can impact things like lead scoring and lifecycle stage updates, which are crucial to keeping sales and marketing aligned. Reporting can also be impacted and lead to decisions made on incomplete information.</p> <p>Additionally, you will want to do a capabilities assessment of your current systems to ensure that they can achieve all of your goals. Can your systems trigger actions in one another to ensure that both sales and marketing stay on the same page? If not, check outside of your tools’ native functionality using platforms like Zapier or Workato.</p> <h3>3. Inconsistent Data</h3> <p>When you have too many tools, weak processes for using your tech, a lack of operational leadership or any combination of these things, your data suffers. When you can’t trust your data, you are flying blind when it comes to making decisions that impact your customers.</p> <p>Bad data doesn’t just lead to bad calls because you can’t properly forecast your sales team’s pipeline.</p> <p>Bad data means that we don’t personalize campaigns, we get the handoff wrong, we put people into the wrong segmented cohorts, and that we over or under-touch our prospect accounts.</p> <p>The truth is, data drives your revenue engine. Everyone in your revenue operations – marketing leaders and implementers, sales managers and reps, and customer success teams–needs data to drive decisions around how they interact with customers.</p> <p><strong>The Solution to Inconsistent Data </strong></p> <p>Often, solving the issue of disparate systems will also solve your data problems. But in instances where that’s not the case, other solutions are in order.</p> <p>If you are not getting the data you need for sales and marketing to align and make insightful, helpful decisions, your data collection <em>processes</em> might be in the way.</p> <p>The first thing you will want to do when you’re thinking about your process is to interview your team to see what obstacles are preventing them from adding data. Do you have the most commonly populated properties in the left-side views of the correct records, broken down into sections? If not, then note this down as something you can improve.</p> <p>Next, take a look at how you can use automation to tighten up your processes and keep your data clean in the process. For example, can you use automation to create records or move them from stage to stage of a pipeline to ensure that the data surrounding those activities stays accurate? Can you duplicate or update properties using workflows to reduce manual entry?</p> <p>Finally, make sure that all of your systems are sharing data regularly and automatically. This will ensure that everyone and every automation has the right data at the right time. And of course, condensing your tech stack will help you to keep data consistent.</p> <p><img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/abm-strategy.jpg?width=600&amp;name=abm-strategy.jpg" alt="Strategize Over Goals with Your Team" width="600" style="width: 600px; margin: 10px auto; display: block;"></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>4. Misaligned Goals &amp; the Battle Over MQLs</h3> <p>All marketers are familiar with this play: gate content to capture an MQL to then send to a sales/business development rep (SDR or BDR, respectively). That SDR/BDR then prospects in concert with marketing to move this person into the coveted SQL lifecycle stage.</p> <p>Once the lead becomes an SQL, the account executive takes over and closes the deal, won or lost.</p> <p>This play seems fair enough on its face. It has been used thousands of times by thousands of marketers. But if we’re talking about alignment, this play relies on a process laden with potential land mines.</p> <p>Think about it: if the marketing team has a goal to drive MQLs and they are assessed based on their ability to meet that goal, their sole focus will be on how to get as many gated content downloads as possible.</p> <p>What’s the issue with that? Well, it turns out that the audience most likely to <em>read</em> your content is not necessarily the audience that wants to <em>buy</em> your product now.</p> <p>If sales is judged by the number of MQLs they convert to opportunities, company friction is baked into the system: the marketing team meeting their goals is out of alignment with sales reaching their goals.</p> <p>Teams focusing on generating MQLs rather than revenue and demand will continue to struggle with alignment and will leave themselves ill-prepared to run ABM campaigns or to provide a seamless experience for their customers.</p> <p><strong>The Solution to the MQL Battle</strong></p> <p>Reach out to your sales counterparts and have a conversation about how you can set up processes, regular stand ups, and other means of listening to and learning from each other.</p> <p>Sales can teach marketing a lot. For instance:</p> <ul> <li>What happens on calls with MQLs?</li> <li>What objections does the sales team run into over and over?</li> <li>Which content assets do people make mention of in calls?</li> </ul> <p>On the other hand, sales can learn from their colleagues on the marketing side of the house. Good insights to gather:</p> <ul> <li>What content is marketing serving and why?</li> <li>How have they altered the targeting, and how is sales seeing it play out in sales calls</li> <li>What content is consumed most in deals that result in “closed-won” outcomes?</li> </ul> <p>Once sales and marketing have more understanding of one another, they can make informed choices that help both teams win. Once there is mutual understanding, the teams can begin to have conversations about important choices that can greatly impact pipeline:</p> <ul> <li>Should we focus on <em>capturing </em>MQLs or should we ungate content to drive demand?</li> <li>Should we define an MQL differently than we currently do?</li> <li>How can we support asynchronous buying and get prospects to SQL or sales-qualified opportunity (SQO) status <em>before</em> getting sales involved?</li> </ul> <p>This is a much more productive line of questioning than, “Why did you send me so many junk leads this month?”</p> <h3>5. Running Successful ABM Plays</h3> <p>The final alignment challenge in this series is the challenge of running successful ABM plays with misaligned teams. At the end of the day, you just can’t do it!</p> <p>All of the problem areas outlined above–poor handoffs, disparate systems, inconsistent data, and arm wrestling over MQLs–prevents an organization from running successful ABM plays, especially at scale.</p> <p>Why is it so hard to knock your ABM goals out of the park when sales and marketing aren’t talking? It’s because ABM requires that you’re not only aligned on one single MQL or SQL definition–you have to define an entire buying <em>committee</em>. This means even more handoffs, system, data, and goal alignment.</p> <p><strong>The Solution to ABM Alignment Issues</strong></p> <p>If you are a HubSpot user, you likely know that you have a plethora of HubSpot tools to use for your ABM plays:</p> <ul> <li>Target Account property</li> <li>ICP Tier property</li> <li>Account Overview</li> <li>Suggested Target Account AI tool</li> <li>Prospects tool to see accounts who have visited your website</li> <li>ABM and Target Account dashboards</li> <li>Company scoring</li> <li>Buying role properties</li> <li>Workflow automations</li> <li>Chat bot or live chat</li> <li>Automated lead rotation</li> <li>Ads conversion events</li> </ul> <p>Here are 5 steps you can take to align your team for ABM:</p> <ol> <li>Verify that you have been collecting job titles and buying roles. If you have not, go back through your last quarter of closed deals and manually enter this information or update via workflows. For example, you can make sure to indicate that a certain job title is always a decision maker.</li> <li>Create a dashboard to understand the buying roles that have been involved in your recent deals and who usually shows up to the buying table first.</li> <li>Have a meeting between sales and marketing to review this information and agree upon the buying committee and who to prioritize.</li> <li>Follow the other solutions outlined above to ensure that your teams are aligned on goals, lifecycle stage definitions, handoff protocol, and that your data is clean and your systems are talking.</li> <li>Finally, use your Target Account and ABM tools to set up a campaign to support the alignment built between sales and marketing.</li> </ol> <p><a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/how-to-execute-abm-with-hubspot-guide"><img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/abm-with-hubspot-ebook-cta.jpg?width=752&amp;name=abm-with-hubspot-ebook-cta.jpg" alt="How to Execute ABM e-book" width="752" style="width: 752px; margin: 10px auto; display: block;"></a></p> <p>Who says that sales and marketing can’t play well together? More often than not, alignment is within reach and just takes a little bit of learning and listening, followed by consistent action, to achieve.</p> <img src="https://track.hubspot.com/__ptq.gif?a=381132&amp;k=14&amp;r=https%3A%2F%2Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%2Fblog%2Fthe-5-biggest-alignment-challenges-facing-marketing-sales-teams&amp;bu=https%253A%252F%252Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%252Fblog&amp;bvt=rss" alt="" width="1" height="1" style="min-height:1px!important;width:1px!important;border-width:0!important;margin-top:0!important;margin-bottom:0!important;margin-right:0!important;margin-left:0!important;padding-top:0!important;padding-bottom:0!important;padding-right:0!important;padding-left:0!important; "> ABM ABM Marketing Strategy Account-Based Marketing Wed, 03 Aug 2022 19:54:37 GMT https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/the-5-biggest-alignment-challenges-facing-marketing-sales-teams 2022-08-03T19:54:37Z Grant Marketing The Best Online Directories for Industrial Companies https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/the-best-online-directories-for-industrial-companies <div class="hs-featured-image-wrapper"> <a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/the-best-online-directories-for-industrial-companies" title="" class="hs-featured-image-link"> <img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hubfs/Using%20Online%20Industrial%20Directories.jpg" alt="The Best Online Directories for Industrial Companies" class="hs-featured-image" style="width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;"> </a> </div> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: #333333;">Listing Tips for Industrial Companies</span></strong><strong><span style="color: #333333;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: #333333;">Online business directories play an important role in the marketing strategy of industrial companies. They increase your company’s visibility by providing key information to the prospective customers who are searching for your type of industrial products. But which directories are the most appropriate for your business and will drive the most traffic to your website?</span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: #333333;">Listing Tips for Industrial Companies</span></strong><strong><span style="color: #333333;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: #333333;">Online business directories play an important role in the marketing strategy of industrial companies. They increase your company’s visibility by providing key information to the prospective customers who are searching for your type of industrial products. But which directories are the most appropriate for your business and will drive the most traffic to your website?</span><span style="color: #333333;"> </span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: #333333;">More specifically, the overarching question is:</span><span style="color: #333333;">&nbsp;<img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Using%20Online%20Industrial%20Directories.jpg?width=750&amp;name=Using%20Online%20Industrial%20Directories.jpg" alt="Using Online Industrial Directories" width="750" style="width: 750px;"></span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: #333333;">Are Thomasnet, GlobalSpec, and IQS good online directories for industrial companies to advertise via HubSpot?</span></strong><strong style="background-color: transparent;"><span style="color: #333333;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: #333333;">Let’s examine the world of business directories and take a closer look at three of the most effective directories for industrial manufacturers.</span><span style="color: #333333;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: #333333;">How online business directories work</span></strong><strong><span style="color: #333333;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: #333333;">A business directory is an online index of businesses grouped by categories or industry types. It includes key information about your company, such as the name of your business, a link to your website, website description, product categories, contact details, address, and hours. Business directories offer this data in an easily searchable format to help their user base locate and contact companies that meet their search criteria. Directories may also provide social media links for users to post reviews of your business or share information.</span><span style="color: #333333;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: #333333;">To have the greatest impact, businesses should register with the most relevant online directories. It is important to carefully select the categories that are the most suitable for your industrial company. <strong>General directories</strong> include business listings that are not specific to a particular industry, and they have their place. For example, you may want to list your company in a broad directory such as Google Business, or local directory of businesses in your community. However, to increase your visibility to yo</span><span style="color: #333333;">ur target audiences, <strong>niche directories,</strong> which are specific to a certain industry, may be more appropriate. Make sure the directory is relevant to your niche before your business listing is submitted.</span><span style="color: #333333;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><strong>How online directories help grow your business<br><br></strong></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;">Search engine optimization (SEO) is by far the most critical advantage of online business directories. How do they drive SEO? It all starts with the paragraph that describes your company and your products. The keywords in this description will drive search results. The companies that manage online directories regularly purchase key word domains that are pertinent to specific industries to improve those results.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;">SEO increases the visibility of your company in online directories, which not only contributes to awareness of your brand, but also drives traffic to your website. As we discussed in a different blog, <a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/measuring-your-websites-effectiveness-with-a-website-grader">website traffic is the key to converting visitors to customers</a> and to building lasting business relationships with your B2B partners.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11px; color: #4472c4;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><strong>Advertising in online directories with HubSpot</strong></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;">As a HubSpot solutions partner, Grant Marketing advises clients to use HubSpot to track website visits and leads from all advertising sources, including industrial directories. It is important for advertising and marketing to be as transparent as possible. Whether it’s social media, trade publications, pay-per-click advertising, or industrial directory advertising, companies need to know the sources of lead generation, and ultimately, customer acquisition.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;">Here are the advantages of three of the most effective online business directories for industrial companies.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><strong>Thomasnet</strong>: For 120 years, originally Thomas Register of American Manufacturers, has been the top platform for industrial sourcing. Prior to the internet, the print version of Thomas consisted of 25 volumes of product and company information on thousands of manufacturing companies. Thomasnet is a niche directory that helps connect manufacturers with technical buyers, procurement managers, and MRO professionals. For buyers, the advantage of Thomasnet is their database of more than 500,000 manufacturers, and the ease of filtering searches, comparing suppliers, and sending RFIs. For manufacturers, being listed on this online directory means their information will be available to millions of industrial buyers. Thomasnet is also committed to vetting listings and keeping them updated, which benefits both buyers and suppliers.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><strong><span style="color: black;">GlobalSpec</span></strong><span style="color: black;">: GlobalSpec’s Standard Directory Listing program provides online visibility for manufacturers and industrial suppliers to engineering, technical, and industrial communities. Like other directories, in addition to key business information, listings provide product details, including images and descriptions. GlobalSpec boasts more than seven million registered users, who can search the directory by technical specification and have the option of visiting the manufacturer’s website, sending an email, or requesting a quote. </span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><strong>Industrial Quick Search (IQS):</strong> The IQS directory provides information about OEM industrial manufacturers and suppliers to industrial engineers and buyers. IQS holds several search engine technology patents, enabling the company to offer unique functionality for users, such as detailed company descriptions, visual company previews, and the ability to search by geographic location. IQS search is often based on specific product URLs and delivers links to company websites that are promoted in those URLs, such as <a href="http://www.electric-heaters.org">www.electric-heaters.org</a>.</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 18px; color: black; background-color: white; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Since backlinks are an important source of good SEO, online business directories are a key component of an industrial marketing strategy. They can be a powerful tool to boost the reach of your business by enhancing its performance on search engines to increase website traffic, leads, and conversions, as well as creating a better experience for potential customers. </span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="color: black; background-color: white;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="color: black;"><a href="https://www.grantmarketing.com/"><span style="color: #4472c4; background-color: white;">Grant Marketing</span></a></span> <span style="color: black; background-color: white;">is here to help you decide which online directories are most pertinent for your industry, and to work with HubSpot to advertise your business. Give us a call </span><span style="color: black;">at (413) 259-0319 today or</span> <span style="color: black;"><a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/meetings/bobgrant30?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%2F">check out our schedule</a></span> <span style="color: black;">to set up a time to talk!</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="color: black;"><a class="cta_button" href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/cs/ci/?pg=1b12b9d8-0ea1-4a2c-8ee3-6701619031db&amp;pid=381132&amp;ecid=&amp;hseid=&amp;hsic="><img class="hs-cta-img " style="border-width: 0px; /*hs-extra-styles*/; " alt="Book a Time to Talk" src="https://no-cache.hubspot.com/cta/default/381132/1b12b9d8-0ea1-4a2c-8ee3-6701619031db.png"></a></span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;"><span style="color: #484848; background-color: white;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <img src="https://track.hubspot.com/__ptq.gif?a=381132&amp;k=14&amp;r=https%3A%2F%2Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%2Fblog%2Fthe-best-online-directories-for-industrial-companies&amp;bu=https%253A%252F%252Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%252Fblog&amp;bvt=rss" alt="" width="1" height="1" style="min-height:1px!important;width:1px!important;border-width:0!important;margin-top:0!important;margin-bottom:0!important;margin-right:0!important;margin-left:0!important;padding-top:0!important;padding-bottom:0!important;padding-right:0!important;padding-left:0!important; "> Industrial Marketing Industrial Manufacturers Business Development Marketing Strategies Wed, 06 Jul 2022 20:15:18 GMT bob.grant@grantmarketing.com (Bob Grant) https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/the-best-online-directories-for-industrial-companies 2022-07-06T20:15:18Z How to Create Marketing Content that Targets Specific Job Titles https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/how-to-create-marketing-content-that-targets-specific-job-titles <div class="hs-featured-image-wrapper"> <a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/how-to-create-marketing-content-that-targets-specific-job-titles" title="" class="hs-featured-image-link"> <img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hubfs/Target%20Marketing%20Content%20to%20Specific%20Job%20Titles.jpg" alt="How to Create Marketing Content that Targets Specific Job Titles" class="hs-featured-image" style="width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;"> </a> </div> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: black; background-color: white;">Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Content Strategy</span></strong></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black; background-color: white;">Marketing content is definitely not one size fits all. Each type of customer represents a different audience with unique interests. For example, an engineer is looking for different information than a CEO, and a CEO may not be interested in the same content as a buyer.An effective content strategy addresses the precise needs of each of your business audiences with customized information. Read on for a complete guide to creating content for your specific audiences.</span></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><strong><span style="color: black; background-color: white;">Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Content Strategy</span></strong></p> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black; background-color: white;">Marketing content is definitely not one size fits all. Each type of customer represents a different audience with unique interests. For example, an engineer is looking for different information than a CEO, and a CEO may not be interested in the same content as a buyer.An effective content strategy addresses the precise needs of each of your business audiences with customized information. Read on for a complete guide to creating content for your specific audiences.</span></p> <ul style="font-size: 18px;"> <li><span style="color: black; background-color: white;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black; background-color: white;">Define your target audiences<img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Target%20Marketing%20Content%20to%20Specific%20Job%20Titles.jpg?width=500&amp;name=Target%20Marketing%20Content%20to%20Specific%20Job%20Titles.jpg" alt="Target Marketing Content to Specific Job Titles" width="500" style="width: 500px; float: right; margin: 10px 0px 0px 10px;"></span></strong></li> </ul> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black; background-color: white;">First things first. Who are you trying to reach? Decide the types of customers your business wants to target—most companies have multiple target audiences. Your content strategy should factor in the needs of each of these audiences. Your ability to define exactly who your audiences are enables you to maximize the effectiveness of your content and make the best use of your budget.</span><strong style="background-color: transparent;"><span style="color: black; background-color: white;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <ul style="font-size: 18px;"> <li><span style="color: black; background-color: white;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black; background-color: white;">Develop buyer personas </span></strong></li> </ul> <p style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black; background-color: white;">A buyer persona is a detailed, fictional description of your target customer. Companies typically define several basic personas depending on the markets they serve. In addition to demographic information, buyer personas include behavioral tendencies and interests. Understanding who your customers are and what they want allows you to develop customized messaging. This targeted content is the key to attracting the attention of the right audience and, ultimately, generate more high-quality leads. </span><span style="color: black; background-color: white;">Not sure how to create buyer personas? </span><span style="color: black;"><a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/how-to-create-buyer-personas-for-your-industrial-company" style="font-weight: bold;">Read our blog post</a></span><span style="color: black; background-color: white;"> on this topic for a complete guide.</span><span style="color: black; background-color: white;">&nbsp;</span></p> <ul style="font-size: 18px;"> <li><span style="color: black; background-color: white;"> </span><strong><span style="color: black; background-color: white;">Understand challenges and offer solutions</span></strong></li> </ul> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0.5in;"><span style="color: #231f20;">Now that you have a clearer understanding of your target customers, it is time to understand what they need. What challenges do they face? What are their pain points? When you understand the problems of your audience, you can develop content that educates them on how your product or service can solve that issue. This also creates an opportunity to differentiate your company from your competitors, informing your prospects and customers on what makes your solution better. Promote your brand message in your content to demonstrate why your company is unique, and why your product or service is worth buying. </span></p> <ul> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt;"><span style="color: #231f20;"> </span><strong><span style="color: #231f20;">Choose the right content format and channels</span></strong></li> </ul> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0.5in;"><span style="color: #231f20;">Different audiences consume content across different formats and channels, so make sure you are using the most effective approach. For example, podcasts have grown in popularity, but if your target audience doesn’t listen to them, don’t waste your time and money. Instead, ensure you are reaching your specific audiences with the options they prefer. Refer to your buyer personas for that valuable information when deciding the format of your content and the channels you will use to publish.</span></p> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0in;"><strong>Content Creation for Specific Company Roles – Three Examples</strong></p> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0in;">Let’s examine the unique needs of three separate audiences, and how to apply the content creation principles discussed above.</p> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0in;"><strong>Creating content for a technical buyer</strong></p> <p><span style="color: #231f20;">Technical buyers have very specific needs and the content you create must address them. While the buyer persona for this audience will provide you with comprehensive guidance, here are some of the key elements to consider when targeting this type of customer. For a detailed guide on how to market your business to technical buyers, </span><span style="color: black;"><a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/marketing-your-business-to-technical-buyers" style="font-weight: bold;">read our blog</a></span><span style="color: #231f20;">. </span></p> <ul> <li style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 5pt;"><span style="color: #231f20;"> </span><strong><span style="color: #231f20;">Website usability </span></strong></li> </ul> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 5pt; padding-left: 0.25in;"><span style="color: #231f20;">Online information sources, such as supplier and vendor websites, are favored by engineers when they are considering the purchase of a work-related product or service. Make sure your site’s usability is up to speed. </span></p> <ul> <li style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 5pt;"><span style="color: #231f20;"> </span><strong><span style="color: #231f20;">Technical credibility</span></strong></li> </ul> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 5pt; padding-left: 0.25in;"><span style="color: #231f20;">Engineers are annoyed by sales teams that lack technical expertise. Ensure your marketing and sales departments are in sync with consistent messaging and valuable content that demonstrates technical credibility throughout the sales process.</span></p> <ul> <li style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 5pt;"><span style="color: #231f20;"> </span><strong><span style="color: #231f20;">Content preferences</span></strong></li> </ul> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 5pt; padding-left: 0.25in;"><span style="color: #231f20;">Engineers have reported that data sheets, CAD drawings, and product demo videos are the most useful content for making a purchasing decision. Research also shows a high percentage of engineers are willing to complete an online form to receive technical material, so consider providing gated content as a method to gather information from online visitors so you can collect leads through your website. </span></p> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0in;"><strong><img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Content%20Marketing%20to%20Specific%20Job%20Titles.jpg?width=750&amp;name=Content%20Marketing%20to%20Specific%20Job%20Titles.jpg" alt="Content Marketing to Specific Job Titles" width="750" style="width: 750px;"></strong></p> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0in;"><strong>Creating content for a CEO</strong></p> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0in;">Another important target audience is C-level executives. If you are creating content to reach a CEO, make sure to refer to the buyer persona for a helpful framework of their preferences. Here are some additional insights.</p> <ul> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt;"><strong>Offer valuable information</strong></li> </ul> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0.5in;">To capture the attention of a busy CEO, your content should be worth reading. Do you have a unique point of view? Are you presenting original content in an interesting and compelling way? Your content needs to be something they are willing to invest their limited time in reviewing.</p> <ul> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt;"><strong>Focus on board-level issues</strong></li> </ul> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0.5in;">Your content should address the business concerns and priorities of the C-level. For example, providing information about the latest innovation or how to make the best use of technology may secure their interest. In general, content that focuses on the benefits to the CEO, such as insights on growth opportunities, how their company can be more profitable, or ways to help them be more effective, can be seen as worthwhile.</p> <ul> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt;"><strong>Be concise and engaging</strong></li> </ul> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0.5in;">Ensure your content is expressed in a direct, efficient way. Your content should also speak their language. Research their key marketing messages and social media posts for insights into how to develop content that will be both engaging and appropriate.</p> <ul> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt;"><strong> CEO content format</strong></li> </ul> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0.5in;">Your buyer persona for this audience will offer guidance, but research has shown executives prefer to consume content via webinars, eBooks, guides, and white papers.</p> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0in;"><strong>Creating content for a purchasing manager</strong></p> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0in;">Purchasing managers are experts at researching and gathering information to make buying decisions. Credibility is key, and content should be developed with the buyer’s journey in mind.</p> <ul> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt;"><strong>Provide credible, educational information</strong></li> </ul> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0.5in;">Purchasing managers will be searching your website for practical, relevant information on your products and services. Besides making sure your website is up to date, ensure your brand is presented consistently in all your channels.</p> <ul> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt;"><strong>Make your information easily sharable</strong></li> </ul> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt; padding-left: 0.5in;">Purchasing managers rarely make a buying decision by themselves. Buyers may need to discuss the information they gather with members of their management team. Offer content that can be easily emailed or shared through conversations or collaborative documents.</p> <ul> <li style="vertical-align: baseline; margin-top: 12pt; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 12pt;"><strong>Support the three stages of the buyer’s journey</strong></li> </ul> <p style="padding-left: 0.5in;"><span style="color: black;">Develop content that addresses each of the three stages of the buyer’s journey. During the </span><strong><span style="color: black;">awareness</span></strong><span style="color: black;"> stage, the buyer is searching for information to solve a potential problem. Your content should educate the buyer and help them understand their problem. This is where effective search engine optimization can help buyers notice your company’s website. Potential buyers in the </span><strong><span style="color: black;">consideration</span></strong><span style="color: black;"> stage understand their problem and are researching solutions. Content that encourages buyers to consider to your product or service is useful at this stage, including FAQs, brochures, or videos that explain or demonstrate how your product or services can solve the problem. When the buyer has reached the </span><strong><span style="color: black;">decision </span></strong><span style="color: black;">stage, they understand what they want for a solution, and are looking for the one that best fits their needs. For this stage, your content should persuade buyers to purchase your solution versus a competitor’s. Case studies or success stories, tutorials, and product documentation are examples of content that will provide clear evidence of how your product or service has helped others with a similar problem and is, therefore, the best choice. </span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: black;">The Value of a Target-Specific Content Creation Strategy</span></strong></p> <p><span style="color: black;">The purpose of your content creation strategy is to generate quality leads. The effort you put in to defining your target audiences, developing buyer personas, and creating customized content that positions your company as a source of credible solutions to specific types of customers will maximize the effectiveness of that strategy. </span></p> <p><span style="color: black;">Grant Marketing is ready to work with you to develop a specialized, effective marketing approach for each of your defined audiences. Give us a call at (617) 861-7412 today, or&nbsp;</span><span style="color: black;"><a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/contact-us"><strong><span style="color: #5574c1;">contact us</span></strong></a></span><span style="color: black;">&nbsp;to set up a time to talk!</span></p> <p><span style="color: black;"><a class="cta_button" href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/cs/ci/?pg=1b12b9d8-0ea1-4a2c-8ee3-6701619031db&amp;pid=381132&amp;ecid=&amp;hseid=&amp;hsic="><img class="hs-cta-img " style="border-width: 0px; /*hs-extra-styles*/; " alt="Book a Time to Talk" src="https://no-cache.hubspot.com/cta/default/381132/1b12b9d8-0ea1-4a2c-8ee3-6701619031db.png"></a></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <img src="https://track.hubspot.com/__ptq.gif?a=381132&amp;k=14&amp;r=https%3A%2F%2Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%2Fblog%2Fhow-to-create-marketing-content-that-targets-specific-job-titles&amp;bu=https%253A%252F%252Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%252Fblog&amp;bvt=rss" alt="" width="1" height="1" style="min-height:1px!important;width:1px!important;border-width:0!important;margin-top:0!important;margin-bottom:0!important;margin-right:0!important;margin-left:0!important;padding-top:0!important;padding-bottom:0!important;padding-right:0!important;padding-left:0!important; "> Thu, 09 Jun 2022 15:54:15 GMT bob.grant@grantmarketing.com (Bob Grant) https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/how-to-create-marketing-content-that-targets-specific-job-titles 2022-06-09T15:54:15Z Marketing Your Business to Technical Buyers https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/marketing-your-business-to-technical-buyers <div class="hs-featured-image-wrapper"> <a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/marketing-your-business-to-technical-buyers" title="" class="hs-featured-image-link"> <img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hubfs/Marketing%20to%20Engineers%20and%20Tech-Buyers.jpg" alt="Marketing Your Business to Technical Buyers" class="hs-featured-image" style="width:auto !important; max-width:50%; float:left; margin:0 15px 15px 0;"> </a> </div> <h2 style="font-size: 18px;"><strong>How to Capture the Attention of Engineers</strong>&nbsp;</h2> <p style="font-size: 18px;">Engineers are an important target audience for marketers. Understanding the needs of technical buyers—how and where they get the information they need to make work-related decisions—can help you decide where to invest marketing resources for optimal results.<span style="background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;</span></p> <h2 style="font-size: 18px;"><strong>How to Capture the Attention of Engineers</strong>&nbsp;</h2> <p style="font-size: 18px;">Engineers are an important target audience for marketers. Understanding the needs of technical buyers—how and where they get the information they need to make work-related decisions—can help you decide where to invest marketing resources for optimal results.<span style="background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-size: 18px;">A recent report issued by GlobalSpec and TREW Marketing, “2022 State of<img src="https://market.grantmarketing.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Marketing%20to%20Engineers%20and%20Tech-Buyers.jpg?width=450&amp;name=Marketing%20to%20Engineers%20and%20Tech-Buyers.jpg" alt="Marketing to Engineers and Tech-Buyers" width="450" style="width: 450px; float: right; margin: 0px 0px 0px 5px;"> Marketing to Engineers: Reaching Technical Buyers in an Ever-changing Environment,” aims to provide a better grasp on the trends, buying behaviors, and preferred channels of technical buyers and engineers. The survey gathered responses from more than 800 participants, 85% of which held engineering/R&amp;D positions. The remaining 15% of respondents were in manufacturing staff or product management roles. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings and areas of focus.</span></span><span style="font-size: 18px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;"><strong>Key Takeaways</strong><strong style="background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;</strong></span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Website usability</strong></span></li> </ul> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0.5in;"><span style="font-size: 18px;">When engineers are conducting research to purchase a work-related product or service, they turn to online information sources first. By an overwhelming margin, they prefer supplier and vendor websites as their direct source of information. Because websites are such a vital source of information for technical buyers, site usability has never been more essential. If you are marketing to this target audience, make sure the usability of your site is up to par. </span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Technical credibility of the sales team</strong></span></li> </ul> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0.5in;"><span style="font-size: 18px;">Not surprisingly, engineers find a lack of technical expertise as the most annoying sales behavior. Marketing and sales teams need to work together to develop high-value, consistent messaging that establishes technical credibility early in the sales process and maintains it throughout the purchase. </span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Consider gated content</strong></span></li> </ul> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0.5in;"><span style="font-size: 18px;">Engineers are willing to share their information to get access to content with a high perceived value. If you have developed content that took a significant level of technical effort to create, and your target audience cannot easily find it elsewhere, consider requesting the completion of a form to access it.<strong style="background-color: transparent;"><span style="color: #70706f;">&nbsp;</span></strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;"><strong>Where engineers are most inclined to find work-related information</strong>&nbsp;</span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Supplier/vendor websites</strong> – This was clearly the number one information source—chosen by 69% of engineers—when researching a product or service.</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Online trade publications (46%)</strong></span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Industry directory websites (41%)</strong></span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Publication emails and e-newsletters (37%) </strong></span></li> </ul> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0.5in;"><span style="font-size: 18px;">Of the survey respondents, 89% said they subscribe to at least one e-newsletter, and 55% said they receive at least three e-newsletters. E-newsletters that feature in-depth technical information were preferred by 70% of engineers, with 55% interested in the latest industry news and trends. </span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Industry and association groups (35%)</strong>&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;"><strong>Videos, webinars, and podcasts</strong></span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Videos – </strong>96% of engineers refer to videos for work-related information, with 53% watching more than one hour each week, and 43% watching less than one hour per week.</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Webinars – </strong>The survey asked about the ideal length for webinar content, and 42% </span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;">of respondents said 30 minutes. Twenty-four percent 60 minutes, and 19% said 15 minutes. </span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Podcasts – </strong>73% of engineers said they listen to work-related podcasts each week, with 50% spending less than an hour on podcasts, with 23% listening for an hour or more. Of these, 54% subscribe to between one and five podcasts, and 36% are listening without subscribing. Younger engineers listened to more podcast content with 30% of engineers 35 years of age and under listening to one hour or more of work-related podcasts each week. </span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;"><strong>Social media has a place, but …</strong>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; padding-left: 0.5in;"><span style="font-size: 18px;">While social media are the least likely sources of work-related information for engineers, they do have a place. Engineers indicated they look to <strong>YouTube</strong>, <strong>LinkedIn, </strong>and <strong>GitHub</strong> to help them stay current on technology and the latest trends. In fact, 81% of engineers said they spend time reading and sharing information with their LinkedIn networks. More than 50% of engineers said they spend less than one hour on LinkedIn each week, so companies looking to grab their attention should consider posts with images or a video, which are more likely to be read or shared. Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, and Clubhouse were the least popular sources.<span style="background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;"><strong>Content preferred by engineers</strong></span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Most useful</strong> – Data sheets, CAD drawings, and product demo videos were considered most useful when making a purchase for work. White papers and how-to videos were also mentioned. Least useful? Corporate overview videos. There may be a negative business impact for companies that do not provide enough content, or enough variety, to potential technical buyers. </span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Gated content – </strong>One of the most popular and effective ways to garner leads through your company website is to provide gated content which requires the completion of a form. Eighty-three percent of engineers said they were willing to fill out a web form to receive technical content. White papers (37%) and CAD drawings (35%) ranked as the two most valued gated content assets, with webinars and in-depth case studies rounding out the top four at 30% and 29%, respectively.&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;"><strong>How Engineers Prefer to Engage with Vendors</strong></span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Online research </strong></span><br><span style="font-size: 18px;">The survey showed 51% of engineers preferred to conduct online research when they knew a sales representative from the vendor company was available to help if necessary.</span></li> </ul> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Online buying process</strong></span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;">Once they have narrowed their product selections, 26% of engineers said they typically meet with a technical salesperson. Only 16% indicated they prefer to meet with a salesperson early in the buying process, and only 8% prefer a completely digital experience. Twenty-seven percent of engineers spend more than half of the buying process online, while 38% spend between 25%-50% of the buying process online.</span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Communication</strong></span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;">The survey asked, “When you are ready to speak with a salesperson at a vendor company for the first time, which of the following is your preferred method of communication?” Email was the clearly preferred method of first contact with sales reps by 53% of engineers across the board. Of the 25% of engineers preferring a phone call, the majority of were engineers over the age of 55. Only 8% of engineers opt for face-to-face meetings, and only 7% prefer virtual meetings. </span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Most annoying behaviors</strong></span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;">Engineers indicated the top three most irritating behaviors of vendors are lack of technical expertise, poor responsiveness, and contacting them too frequently. </span></p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 18px;"> <strong>Most important behaviors</strong></span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;">Survey participants said the ability of a vendor to demonstrate technical expertise was the most important factor in their decision-making process, followed by responsiveness and customer service, and having innovative technology. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;"><strong>Develop a Strategy</strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black;">Engineers and technical buyers require a specialized marketing approach to communicate your technical credibility and get their attention. Grant Marketing can work with you to develop an effective strategy for this important target audience. Give us a call at (617) 861-7412 today, or </span><a href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/contact-us" style="font-weight: bold;">contact us</a><span style="color: black;"> to set up a time to talk!</span></span><span style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black;"></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="color: black;"><a class="cta_button" href="https://market.grantmarketing.com/cs/ci/?pg=1b12b9d8-0ea1-4a2c-8ee3-6701619031db&amp;pid=381132&amp;ecid=&amp;hseid=&amp;hsic="><img class="hs-cta-img " style="border-width: 0px; /*hs-extra-styles*/; " alt="Book a Time to Talk" src="https://no-cache.hubspot.com/cta/default/381132/1b12b9d8-0ea1-4a2c-8ee3-6701619031db.png"></a></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; color: black;">&nbsp;</span></p> <img src="https://track.hubspot.com/__ptq.gif?a=381132&amp;k=14&amp;r=https%3A%2F%2Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%2Fblog%2Fmarketing-your-business-to-technical-buyers&amp;bu=https%253A%252F%252Fmarket.grantmarketing.com%252Fblog&amp;bvt=rss" alt="" width="1" height="1" style="min-height:1px!important;width:1px!important;border-width:0!important;margin-top:0!important;margin-bottom:0!important;margin-right:0!important;margin-left:0!important;padding-top:0!important;padding-bottom:0!important;padding-right:0!important;padding-left:0!important; "> Tue, 17 May 2022 15:56:53 GMT https://market.grantmarketing.com/blog/marketing-your-business-to-technical-buyers 2022-05-17T15:56:53Z Grant Marketing