Former OEM Marketer Serves Industry’s Smaller Companies
Former OEM Marketer Serves Industry’s Smaller Companies
As Published in Feb 2023 Issue of Wire Journal International Magazine
Jackie Bozart served in key marketing roles for a wide variety of manufacturers, including FENN Metal Forming Solutions, a manufacturer of Torin spring coilers and Macbee product lines for six years. Now, as president and cofounder of Sell.Market.Win, she helps small- and medium-sized manufacturers that have done either little or no marketing. Below, she discusses her goals.
WJI: What made you decided to focus on small- an medium-sized manufacturers with marketing?
Bozart: I saw an overwhelming need for marketing resources directed at manufacturers and felt that I was uniquely positioned to provide that. I have spent my entire career working with small- and medium-sized manufacturers, so I am exceptionally passionate about helping them.
WJI:How did your background help?
Bozart: I was responsible for the marketing programs of a wide variety of manufacturers, from complex machinery to stretch wrap, textiles, extruded plastics, conveyor belts and medical devices. I often had to be creative to stretch my budget, developing strategies that would provide the most “bang for my buck.” When I needed an outside marketing agency, I frequently saw the same issues: they were too expensive, and they struggled to understand the technical products and the complicated buying processes and long sales cycles manufacturers face. It made me see the need for a no-frills, common sense marketing resource that catered to the engineering driven, highly technical businesses I understood. And thus, Sell.Market.Win. was born.
WJI: Do most customers know what they want or need?
Bozart: Clients often have a sense of what they want to accomplish but aren’t sure which tools or strategies can make it happen. Others may have no idea what they need but feel like they should have some sort of marketing plan in place. My job is to help them articulate their true needs and come up with a realistic plan and budget to meet them. My initial meeting with a client is usually a fact-finding mission. I ask a lot of questions about their products/services, differentiators, customer demographics, market and competitor landscape, sales process, and their definition of success. Similar to a doctor seeking a patient about his or her history, I follow the same approach as a marketer. What are their goals? What problems are holding them back? Without a deeper understanding of the situation, you are simply making guesses, and gambling away money. That’s not a path that leads to success!
WJI: What is the most important aspect of marketing?
Bozart: I see two critical aspects that need to be in place for any other marketing efforts to be effective. Define and build the brand. Your brand is, without a doubt, one of your business’s most valuable assets. It is the sum of how a product or business is perceived by those who experience it: that includes customers, employees or the industry as a whole. Branding is the process of shaping these perceptions. A brand is much more than just a company’s name, logo, products or price tag, and it’s even more than the marketing and advertising of them. A brand is the consistent and recognizable feeling that your logo, product or an advertisement evokes, whether it’s for a new car or a spooler or die. How a person responds to branding influences their purchasing behavior, and if you do it right, it can make them a customer. Develop the right messaging. When someone walks by your booth at a trade show or scrolls through a webpage that has your ad, you have only a few seconds to inspire someone to pause and investigate a bit longer. So, given those few seconds, what can you say? Will the audience easily and quickly comprehend who you are, what you offer, and why your company, product or service is great? More importantly, can you compel them to click a button, fill out a form, or stop to chat at a tradeshow booth?
WJI: So how does messaging work?
Bozart: The messaging you see in a tradeshow graphic or digital ad may seem short or simple, yet the process to develop it to speak to the target audience is complex. I develop an effective message by mapping out market segments, collect and analyze the voice of customer data, define the company’s value proposition, and analyze the competitors and the market. Messaging, when combined with a well-developed brand, creates a powerful, action-inducing experience for the audience. It’s well worth the investment, as this can then be woven into all your future marketing activities. Evidence of your brand and messaging should be found on everything, from your email signature to your website and beyond. If the time is taken to research, plan and execute a carefully crafted marketing campaign, it really works.
WJI: Can you pinpoint what goes into such research?
Bozart: Sure. I usually like to start with current customers, and or previous/inactive customers at their location if possible, and just have a conversation. Customers are generally very open to sharing feedback. I explain that our goal is continual improvement, and that we want to hear the “good, the bad and the ugly” and what other products or services might be of value to them. This can lead to great conversations. I go in with a list of questions, but I am as open ended as possible, letting the customer do the talking, and see where it leads. I later compile what I learned and aggregate all that information. I then reach out to other industry members or prospective customers if resources allow. When in-person meetings aren’t possible, I fall back on phone calls, with emails being my bottom preference. Generally, those who are not current or previous customers usually tend to be phone calls or email conversations.
WJI: Can you cite a typical customer experience?
Bozart: Last year I worked with a machine shop that had a novice marketing coordinator who wasn’t confident about what to do. I provided a month-long strategy workshop to help develop a fully integrated marketing plan. I like to call this stage, figuring out “where to play and how to win.” Market research exercises can include market segmentation, collecting VoC (Voice of Customer), market opportunity analysis and defining value proposition for the company, and its products. We then define the company’s brand identity by answering questions such as, “who is your company?” and “What should people think about you?” among others, before creating logos, color palettes, design elements that reflect these answers. We then decide which “outputs” or tactical marketing tools would best meet the company’s goals, using what we learned from the market research and brand identity exercises. Tactical outputs might include aspects like email marketing campaigns, websites, white papers, conferences, advertising, web and social to name just a few. Armed with a clear definition of the company’s messaging, target audience and brand, along with a roster of marketing “outputs” or tools, the marketing coordinator was much better equipped to create meaningful results using a thoughtful, integrated marketing strategy.
WJI: How many messages might a campaign have?
Bozart: Messages may be product or market dependent. For example, I am working with a manufacturer right now who is preparing to attend the MD&M show. The manufacturer serves many different industries, but since this show has a medical focus, the messaging is being developed to quickly and clearly explain how the manufacturer’s products are applicable to the medical market.
WJI: What could or should a client expect in terms of results? What defines “success”?
Bozart: Successful outcomes look different depending on the business and the nature of the project, so its important to define the starting point and desired outcome with each client before the project begins. Once the client agrees, we need to define what it will take to reach that desired outcome. I create a step-by-step plan that explains which tools and strategies I recommend. This is often a great opportunity to educate the client on what research and analysis may be involved, as well as the latest marketing tools, and how they can be applied to their business. Sometimes, the scope of the project or definition of success may shift after we have a chance to dig into the data, so good communication along the way is always important.
WJI: Should social media be part of a marketing campaign? Can a client be part of it (posting, etc.)?
Bozart: Absolutely. Social media is a free marketing tool than can be kept up with a reasonable amount of time and effort. Some basics to keep in mind when building a social media strategy: know and understand your target audience; select the right platforms to reach your audience; curate meaningful, useful content tailored to your target audience; be sure that your posts reinforce your company’s brand and messaging; include “calls to action” where appropriate …if you make a post, what do you want the audience to do with it?; and maintain a regular posting schedule to stay visible in front of your audience. My clients can be as deeply or minimally involved as they wish. For the former, I can develop a social media calendar and then provide a series of branded templates that they can use to quickly post beautiful, branded content. For the latter, Sell.Market.Win. will take on most of the responsibility for gathering adequate content (photos, videos, literature, events, promotions) on a regular basis todevelop posts. Posts are then sent for approval before I post on the company’s behalf.
WJI: What advice do you have for manufacturers that believe doing nothing is the simplest plan?
Bozart: I always say that marketing is similar to how you might view good diet and exercise: something is better than nothing. Eating healthy and exercising seven days a week is ideal, but eating well most days, paired with exercise a few days a week is better than nothing. Manufacturers should know that even if you have limited time and resources, there are many small, simple and low cost or free steps that, when taken together, can add up to measurable change. A more limited campaign may take a little more time to build traction and generate results, but the results will come. There are so many different marketing tools available, and its all about finding the right tools for each project and budget. Sell.Market.Win. can help connect companies with the right tools and resources to meet their goals, however large or small they may be.