Leadtime Leader Q&A: Marketing Mania!

MoldMaking Technology's 2003 Leadtime Leaders relate their marketing and promotional efforts.

MoldMaking Technology magazine's First Annual Leadtime Leader Award Competition winners come together in this regular column to divulge their views about a variety of topical matters in the industry. The award—designed to recognize outstanding U.S. moldmaking shops and their ability to succeed in today's global mold market — highlighted six shops that showed outstanding performance in the following areas: leadtime, current and projected sales growth, innovation in the moldmaking process as well as innovation in the business side of moldmaking, technology, industry involvement and customer service.

This month's topic is all about marketing. The Leadtime Leader experts share how they get the word out about their shops' specialties and areas of expertise—whether it's via sales calls, advertising, the Internet or word-of-mouth. 

Steve Johanns, managing director, business development, Advance Tool, Inc. (Blaine, MN)
Advance Tool uses a combination of internal marketing resources and outsourcing, depending on the goal. We use marketing to accomplish two goals—make sure we are getting the right message across and then getting that message across. As for methods that we employ, we use a combination of offline and online tools to achieve our goals, including:

  1. Brochures
  2. Advance Tool website (www.advancetool.com)
  3. Advertise with Internet search tools (i.e., Thomas Register, Google, etc.)
  4. Trade magazine advertising
  5. Trade shows

To this day, some of our more successful programs come to us the old-fashioned way—word-of-mouth. It is always important to remember the best and most cost-effective marketing is the work you do and the service you offer your customer. Our customers have sent us some of our best new customers!

Jason Jepsen, Tech Centre manager, Eimo Americas (Vicksburg, MI)
Our company is both a molder and moldmaker. We have several salesmen that work toward showcasing the abilities and competencies of the entire company. Our Tooling and Technology Centre is definitely an asset that we see as a significant selling point to all existing and potential customers. We have made efforts to educate our sales force with regard to our tooling capabilities. They, in turn, are responsible for presenting this to our customers during their sales calls. In fact, we recently completed detailing the features and benefits of the Tooling and Technology Centre to be used for presentation purposes by our sales force.

Rich Burman, president, Graphic Tool Corp. (Itasca, IL)
Graphic Tool's management team coordinates a roughly sketched marketing plan. As far as getting the word out, we get our best results with locating mold build opportunities by networking—using people (within and outside Graphic) familiar with our capabilities. This streamlines the whole front-end process.

Wayne Shakal, business development manager, Ultra Tool Group (Grantsburg, WI)
We have always used an internal sales staff. We've often contemplated using manufacturing reps but have never felt that we could adequately get our message across with this approach. What we've found that works the best is full-time sales engineers with the sole responsibility of breaking new accounts. Good old face-to-face contact along with some repetition has worked the best for us. Additionally, we have found it incredibly important to have a unique selling proposition. In other words, what do we have that the ninety guys next door don't have? This can be difficult for many moldmakers to do, but if you want to grow it is a necessity with the current overcapacity that there is. For Ultra Tool, our unique selling proposition is the ability to offer molding solutions using our various patent-applied-for technologies for high-volume single and multishot molding. It is much easier to start building a relationship with a potential customer when you can demonstrate to them a 30 percent reduction in their cycle time through the use of your tooling. We also tend to only target companies that we feel can benefit from what we have to offer. By knowing who we are and what we are good at saves us a lot of wasted time and rejection.

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