business trends

Clearly we are still in the early stages of globalisation – with the great manufacturing engine that is China starting to find life difficult courtesy of re-shoring and economic downturn.

Will we see Chinese companies become more aggressive again? They already have some really big players to rival the biggest the west has to offer and other countries are riding the wave of global capital made so much more fluid now that the west has pumped out cheap money via our monetary easing policies.

However, we are also facing a range of problems around climate change/global warming, all of which potentially have technology solutions – roughly equivalent to finding ways to re-use and re-cycle materials while using less energy more efficiently – so long as it is renewable energy. Oh yes, and finding a way to reduce not only the output of greenhouse gases but also their existing levels in the atmosphere.

Now if that doesn’t speak loudly of technology opportunities, I don’t know what does – and the customers, from global power players to individual customers, are even becoming prepared to pay for the solution. Part of that solution is looking like having the businesses in place to provide the technologies.

So that is going to be a whole new opportunity – and we look forward to helping it with relevant marketing activities.

Call us to see how you can use online marketing in your business

We thought we could resist social mediaPerhaps sales people are drawn to social networking – but I believe engineers are more interested in solving problems. I have been interested in the application of social media to the industrial arena and my (very subjective) observations have led me to the following thoughts about the engagement of engineers (or lack of it) in social media.

Do we really all want to “join” groups – aren’t we already in a group of manufacturing engineers and related people? In particular we are in the group of our own company, our customers and suppliers. But I think we do want to stay connected with others, where we can dip in and out.

Social Media for engineers – essentially we want to put out a question and get a solution. The truth is it is social but in a solution based way. Like the current offering of niche “consultation based” exhibitions where visitors are encouraged to bring their problems as physical components, pictures, drawings, sketches or word concepts.

So social media for industrial manufacturing is alive and well at exhibitions and on the net – it just looks different to B2C social media – because it has a different role.

Call us – to see how you can use online marketing in your business.

Industrial reshoringI have been reading increasingly about reshoring production over the past couple of years. It seems that costs and limitations of offshore production have been increasing, and so the cost benefit has much reduced, companies are valuing shorter lead times, smoother cash flows and easier quality control that come from local manufacturing – if not UK then Europe-based.

The large order value demanded of Far East producers, coupled with long shipping times (or high air freight costs), communication difficulties (not just from language) and difficulties of ensuring speedy resolution of quality issues, have all become well known and irksome problems of supply from a long way away. Now it seems that the equation has become re-balanced such that the cost saving often no longer justifies taking on the problems.

Could this be the opportunity that UK industry has been looking for? It may take some time for UK and European manufacturers to gear up – although it seems many are already well placed to do so with lean systems in place, costs of automation coming down and more relaxed working practices the result of many years when only the fittest producers survived.

It looks likely that production within a one day round trip may yet prove the optimum. Where engineers, buyers, marketing and sales can all get together for a meeting and be back at their own office the next day and where goods can travel to their UK distribution centre within 24 or even 12 hours. Short geographic development and supply chains again reflect the need for people to work face to face and recognise that a meeting on site can get much more done in a few hours than weeks or months of e-mails or even online meeting. We are learning the hard way the limitations of e-mail and video conferencing.

Actually, the optimum mix of employment/production efficiency/cost/social benefit (recognised in the prosperity of a country/society as a whole) is once again moving in favour of small to medium local industries.

Clearly the big global corporates are also prospering but it is interesting to consider that a very significant re-balancing is taking place that could last some time – unless additive manufacturing overtakes us all!

More of that another time …

How to get started – this is the right time for industrial companies to put resources into Social Media. Why and How?

There has been much scepticism about the use of Social Media in the industrial market place – even late in 2012 I saw a paper which suggested that 30% of engineers did not use social media in their work – with the implication that this was a poor result but nonetheless also implying that 70% do use them. I myself was very sceptical for a long time until I carried out a 2 year survey and realized the possibilities – after 6 months of operating a social media plan for our major clients we found almost an 80% increase in their webprofiles gained by PR and Directory Management alone – and I knew the time was right – now nearly 2 years on it is just automatic for us to propose a social media program for any client in the knowledge that we would not be doing our best for them if we did not.

Even so I still think that the approach needed to be cost-effective with industrial B2B companies is different from that employed with B2C mainstream/retail activities – because industry always takes a little time to adapt new marketing techniques to the industrial specification and buying process – but I believe this is already changing as younger engineers come through with their greater awareness of, and comfort with, social media and the mobile devices they are best suited to work with.

Consequently we have found a way to optimize the use of Social Media for industrial SMEs by interlinking the corporate website with an active blog and posting on relevant SM sites – this Online Marketing Program compliments our PR Program of press releases and directory management.

Read the Whitepaper here for even more information.

What does Google actually do? Part 2

Perhaps one can deal with this by excluding the company name from Adwords criteria – but if you do then another company will likely show at the top of the page – especially if your name is “The Blue Widget Company” as then every competitor with “blue widgets” in their Adword campaign will be ahead […]

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What does Google actually do? Part 1

Like many others I have speculated on the world directory that we call the internet – and it’s major librarian called Google. In particular I and others have been interested to note that overwhelmingly the majority of our site traffic comes from Google – and most of that I am told comes from searches on […]

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What do Industrial SMEs do for Marketing these days?

Where do you fit in? do you do nothing? or very little? Do you rely on your sales team for your marketing? – or do you struggle between the demands of various advertisement and directory reps? These may appear low cost routes to marketing – but are actually very high cost – since the result […]

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A complete marketing campaign for around ½ the cost of a sales engineer? – yes really!

Traditionally industrial companies have relied on “sales engineers” or “reps” who were in general very experienced and capable people who could seek out new business and service existing customers – but it was always expensive to find good ones then to pay and to support them. This latter part – the cost – was a […]

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The visual content revolution is upon us!

After many years of urging clients to use video clips online I do believe that the visual content revolution is with us. Interestingly the case for video is already made – the only question is how do we get the cost down while maintaining a reasonable quality of production – but that is coming with […]

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It’s Always the right time to “out-market” the competition!

One of our clients expressed the view recently that “it’s always the right time to out-market the competition” – something we forget at our peril. And interestingly he has proved it with outstanding growth over recent years – partly of course with the support of our activities. In the down times we go for market share and […]

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