The Relationship Campaign

Let’s face it, all business is really about relationships.

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I recently read about efforts by Galesville, Wisconsin-based Stellar Mold & Tool (stellarmold.com) to dive deeper into sales and marketing. The article piqued my interest, as many manufacturers do not place enough importance on using Internet media tools as part of their plans. So, I decided to further investigate Stellar’s marketing campaign and chatted with Daniel West, the company’s marketing and sales director, about its Web and social media presence.

Daniel refers to sales and marketing as a “relationship campaign.” He says the company wanted to change the standard marketing campaign terminology to depict what it was really trying to accomplish with its customer base. Instead of telling its employees to “sell, sell, sell,” Stellar wanted to de-emphasize selling and promote “creating a bond.”

To set this plan in motion, Stellar first committed to revising its website, as it hadn’t been changed since the early 2000s. Its very basic, text-based, informational content contained outdated information and was not optimized for modern screen resolutions, not to mention that it did not look good on mobile platforms, Daniel notes. The company’s new site is more in line with the high level of product and customer service it strives to provide. 

To support a social media presence that allows for productive customer interaction, Daniel started the “Inter-Stellar” blog as a way to connect with customers and keep them informed about what is happening at the shop as well as across the entire plastic injection molding industry. Currently, the company blogs every other Wednesday. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ pages are also linked to the company’s website with an integrated format. 

“While the campaign is only in its infancy, there has been an extreme upswing in traffic to the website,” Daniel says. “And, analytical data is beginning to come in. We are seeing interesting traffic from all over the U.S., namely in the Midwest. Now we need to decipher what is working and focus on converting these connections into new relationships.”

This data correlates nicely with the annual “Media Usage in Manufacturing” survey conducted by Gardner Research. Of interest in this year’s findings is that social media adoption has increased for the fourth consecutive year; LinkedIn and YouTube continue to be the most useful social media sites for manufacturing buyers; manufacturing professionals favor technical articles and known brands over images, ads and videos; and overall mobile adoption is relatively flat, but gains have been made in laptop and tablet usage. For the full report visit short.gardnerweb.com/media5.

Daniel’s parting tip for those shops still looking to start their own relationship campaign: “Don’t wait. If you want to compete in the global market, you have to get your brand out there.”