Welcome to the B2B Manufacturing Marketing Executive Podcast.

If you want to learn how leading B2B marketers are achieving excellent growth results, you are in the right place. This episode is brought to you by RH Blake, a leading B2B and manufacturing focused marketing agency. To learn more, visit rhblake.com. Now here is your host, Dan Konstantinovsky

Hello, everybody, I’d like to welcome you to the B2B Manufacturing Marketing Executive podcast by RH Blake and today we’re joined by Dominic Myers, who is an innovation advisory director with EWI.

Dominic, thank you so much for making time for us today.

Dan, thanks for having me.

So before we dive into the podcast, would you mind just kind of providing an overview of a little bit more about your background and more specifically about EWI and how you help folks?

Sure, so I am the innovation advisory director for EWI focused on automation and advising customers on how to get advancement for the manufacturing floor. My role is a bit of a hybrid from everything from being a consultant in the process, but I have a team of automation engineers that bring these solutions forward to our customers. But, I am also in a bit of business development for anyone who is in the consulting world and understands that you have to sort of sell your services as you go and also in charge of promoting the product and the marketing around that as well. So I wear many hats for EWI. EWI has a whole slew of traditional technologies that they represent from joining welding, forming non-destructive examination to multiple technologies and additive manufacturing of metals along with the automation group.

About Dominic Myers

Dominic Myers, Innovation Advisory Director at EWI, oversees EWI’s Automation and Innovation Services, which support solutions for organizations in recovery and growth of manufacturing, processing, maintenance, repair, and overhaul technology and process improvement. His responsibilities include developing and delivering new value-driven services to clients while ensuring customers receive superior service throughout our engagements. Dominic has more than 20 years of experience in service and product development for multiple markets, including aerospace, naval, commercial, and industrial products.

And any particular industries that you focus on within the automation space?

There are many industries that we typically are able to help.

A lot of where we end up is in heavy industry just from our history of welding. But we have helped with like product assembly, we’ve helped with electronics assembly, and contract manufacturing, medical. I guess I could go through a whole list. It’s not specifically in any one area based on what people are trying to put things together.

True… and where are you guys based?

We have our corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ohio; and we have offices in Buffalo, New York; and Loveland, Colorado.

Excellent. And so you mentioned you wear many hats. What are maybe a couple of challenges that you face because you are responsible for different areas of the business like that?

That’s a great question. Because of actually working with the customers and manufacturers, I get a unique perspective of what it’s like to go into multiple factories and see their processes, the challenges that they are having, whether folks are struggling and be quite hands on in the challenges of manufacturing today.

I’m able to bring that type of knowledge back to working with new customers and business development, as well as when I’m creating content for customers. I can bring a bit of that in the marketing world when we need to make sure that we’re reaching similar customers with similar problems in the same way and then broadly, with areas that are facing manufacturing today, very relevant areas like workforce gaps and skills gaps and workforce challenges like what the pandemic has brought to us and it allows me through these engagements to be able to be deeper and more understanding of what’s happened

And you kind of hit on a point there where you’re able to leverage the customer interaction in your marketing content. Across our portfolio of clients — content, of course, very important in this industry. How do you kind of internally make sure that the content that you guys are creating is of high quality and effective.

I think for us, it’s really important to have relevant topics when we’re talking to new industries like the microsatellite industry and how that’s really gearing up right now. There all about how fast they can produce some of these commercial satellites. So we’ve got to talk to them about throughput and being able to produce faster through, you know, part automation or industrial automation versus some other industry that they might do contract manufacturing from multiple industries and they need to have some flexible automation and looking for things like ai bots where they can deploy that technology one day in one place and then redeploy it elsewhere. So we have to build our marketing content around what’s relevant to that manufacture that we’re targeting and we’ll do different presentations, different LinkedIn posts based on that segment of customers.

And because you have that kind of unique ability to be in front of customers, but also you’re involved in helping create the content and also on the consulting side, do you ever find yourself in non-kind of marketing situations where somebody will say something and it spurs an idea for you? Oh, that would be an interesting blog post or that would be an interesting, you know, white paper, brochure. Do you ever come across those types of kind of moments?

Definitely. It’s funny how many people are facing the same challenges. And if you can imagine sitting at a table and having someone tell you a story about their key employee not showing up, and some challenges that they’re having filling roles and then you hear that same story over and over again, and it doesn’t take long before it triggers one or two conversations. How many other people are having this challenge? And you can use tools like surveying to see how deep that is and then we can we can continue to build those types of services that, again, are looking at ways to solve that challenge.

We’re not a company that’s going to necessarily upscale somebody and in some particular electrician’s skill or something like that but let’s say it’s something that involves assembly of electronic circuit boards we can show them all the equipment up-front, give them a taste for what they’re looking for as far as the equipment that is available out there in the market and things that they can, deploy the manufacturing right in the eye and they can deploy those things in their place and they’re readily available on the market.

I hope I answered that question because…

We pivoted more to content that people were going to absorb in real time or on our schedule versus what we would typically do in their schedule and then we back that up with the typical content that we would use to entice people. 
Dominic Myers
Innovation Advisory Director

Absolutely… No that’s excellent!

And so you mentioned with the pandemic, so because you were also uniquely involved in the sales process as well. How is that? How was this time impacted you and how are you seeing it may be impacting the automation space in general?

I think there are a lot of companies that stood the test of time through this… so to speak, they continued on their path, they weren’t affected as much and we continue to do what we’ve done traditionally for them.

There’s a lot of folks that suffer through this and they had to pivot to different products and use those opportunities go, so to speak, where the market is and change what they’re capable of doing. What we found in our marketing and general outreach practices throughout this, more folks were at home — they were remote and a lot of our content, which typically wouldn’t get as many views and get as many interactions in a short period of time got more interactions quicker.

So we would typically have content spaced out a bit more. We figured out that more people are engaging with webinars, more people are engaging with downloads, more folks are getting absorbing the social media content and so we weren’t ready for that so we had to continue to increase our ability to put that content out and adjust for that and we did get a few folks that we weren’t necessarily targeting, which was interesting, and maybe give us a chance to talk to some new folks. But we did get a lot of the targets that we might not have otherwise gotten because they were taking a minute to sit down, take some time to look and see what else is out there, how else they can solve their challenges in improving their manufacturing floor, which, you know, it’s hard to do when your day to day in the factory but when you get a few remote hours at home or days or weeks, let’s face it, you get a chance to kind of see what else is out there and we took advantage of that as much as we could.

Excellent! And so you mentioned because of the pandemic, there was increased engagement. Many folks were at home. There were viewing webinars. They were maybe viewing your website more, more interest online and so when you found that out, that information, and you took him back to the to your leadership or to the marketing and said, hey, we’ve got a captive audience, they’re interested, we need to create more content. How did you go about figuring out what content maybe to create or for which channels?

That’s a good question…because we’re marketing a lot B2B in manufacturing we find that traditionally we were sending out the same email content, sending out PDFs that could be downloaded. But when you find out that there’s a more captive audience in media, you know, we’ve pivoted a lot to webinar series. We pivoted more to content that people were going to absorb in real time or on our schedule versus what we would typically do in their schedule and then we back that up with the typical content that we would use to entice people.

So we kind of flipped our marketing on its head a little bit and spent more time on social media interaction, more time in webinars, the availability of media, YouTube videos, that type of content, and then followed it up with the papers that we were typically right to get started.

Excellent! Let me change gears a little bit, and I realize, you wear many different hats and but if you were building a marketing team today, what are some of the skills that maybe you would look for in building up those capabilities internally? What would a perfect team kind of look like?

I think, again, because we’re close to manufacturing, really, we need to have a lot more content that’s relevant to the folks building the equipment.

So in my world, the marketing team has roles and people with skills that have a good handle on technology and the types of manufacturing as a general forms of manufacturing. They have a little bit of background there. So maybe they’ve taken a few extra electives or did an internship with a manufacturing company, and they understand the basis and basic trials of manufacturing and have that as a general overview. But then they have the capability and willingness to learn about the specifics, because when you run into another industry and you need to market to them, you’re going to need to understand those specific problems and be able to learn about that — you’ve got to be willing to do that.

So I think that’s a big portion of marketing to manufacturers. Of course, they all need to be versed on the social media aspects of marketing, that’s huge more than it ever was, and they have to study how to build on those platforms and bring in those clients that are there out there and they have their finger on the pulse of all the newest and latest platforms. Maybe not to get on there right away, but to understand that there is this ramp up of these platforms as they’re coming up.

When’s the right time to use them? Some of these things are for fun today, but tomorrow they’ll be used for reaching potential clients. So you might have been reaching out on Twitter for a few years and trying to get your two hundred and eighty words right, but now you’re on TikTok and you’re trying to get that out in 15 seconds of a video and maybe that’s not relevant for manufacturing today, but at some point it could be so, you know, having somebody who’s got their finger on the pulse of that and understanding when the right time is to be doing B2B marketing on these platforms is going to be a huge help.

Excellent… absolutely But we’ve seen that trend where initially a technology maybe get started in the B2C to space or more focused on the younger generation, but then over time, it’s adopted elsewhere. So your point about keeping a pulse on what’s out there is definitely very interesting.

I think they need to be able to explain and demonstrate those benefits and have some type of leadership skills to be able to negotiate the organization and describe the importance of the platforms at the right time.

So kind of building for, the lack of a better term, a roadmap or a plan of, you know, when to start using what.

Absolutely. So thinking about it, kind of maybe any inspirations that you have in these could be people or maybe organizations or are there any out there? Not necessarily even in the B2B world that you really appreciate their marketing or their messaging you could share with us?

I’m always watching the big guys in consulting in that world. That’s like the Mckinsey’s and these guys are out there and they’re putting — I’m just impressed by the sheer amount of content that they can put out, good and bad. You’ve got to sort through that. But they have some amazing reports and they try to do a great job at delivering insight to companies in a quick way and that then integrates their customers possibly closer to them to be able to sell more. And so it’s inspiring. I don’t think, you know, little EWI can do that, but it’s inspirational anyways.

But when it comes to a few small companies and how they do that, there’s some folks out of Cleveland — NCPC that have compelling content in cyber security. So it’s not hard to get people worked up about their cyber security, especially if you put out a few key places where things have fallen over and people got in a slew of trouble. So although it’s not hard, they do a great job at putting some content out there that’s easy to digest, easy to understand and, you know, works well. I think I’m often inspired by you said business consumer world by companies like Lego and Pepsi. I’m a big fan of content that makes you laugh, makes you smile. I think that’s memorable. But probably back to the B2B, there’s a company I’ve seen, that I’m trying to remember, I think it’s MMB in Boston and their whole platform is engaging because they look for ways to capture the realism of life and that’s really I think that’s just paramount when you’re trying to connect with people, that connection with people, you get people to envision themselves in situations and draws them closer to the message. So, yeah, those are a couple of things off the top of my head I can get behind as far as content.

And maybe just the last question here from your own kind of technology stack, what does that currently look like? Are you using marketing automation? Could you talk a little bit about kind of what that looks like for you guys?

What I think of marketing automation. I think of the box that are out there. The ones that are on the websites and the ones that are pulling in data from folks visiting. We have webinar engagement tools, social media tracking, email tracking tools, CRM tools. You know, we don’t use lot of the AI in the fact that it’s really hard to engage folks in a conversation, so to speak, with a box at this point for us. There could be lots that it works well for. But no silver bullet there yet for us. I think what it really comes down to for us is more of using those tools I had mentioned, having a team that knows how to use those tools and I think the secret formula for us, again, with our team’s ability to use the information collected to our advantage to interact in a more engaging way with potential clients than anything else.

I think that could change. I think AI is making in all of our lives and some algorithm will be able to tell us things that we don’t know about ourselves. But for now, you know, in any type of reachable, affordable way, we’re banking on our team still but we have our ear to the ground and we’re looking for solutions for the future.

Absolutely. Well Dominic… Thank you so much for your time today and for joining us on the B2B Manufacturing Marketing Executive podcast. Really appreciate it. And I know the audience will appreciate that. So thank you very much again, Dominic.

Any time Dan, I appreciate you having me on and looking forward to hearing more great content.

Thank you for listening to the B2B Manufacturing Marketing Executive podcast. You can find today’s show notes at rhblake com/podcast. That’s rhblake.com/podcast. Today show was sponsored by R.H. Blake, a leading B2B and manufacturing focused marketing agency. Learn more at our rhblake.com. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to iTunes and subscribe, please make sure to leave us a review of the show…until next time.
Thank you for listening to the B2B Manufacturing Marketing and Executive Podcast. You can find today’s show notes at rhblake.com/podcast that’s rhblake.com/podcast. Today’s show was sponsored by R.H. Blake. A leading B2B and Manufacturing focused Marketing agency. Learn more at rhblake.com.