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Category Archives: Insights for Manufacturers

A Rose by Any Other Name? 4 Signs It’s Time To Rename Your Manufacturing Company

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Posted on April 21, 2017 at 17:38 PM

rename your manufacturing companyIs your B2B company suffering a failure to thrive? Don’t underestimate the power of your name. And when it comes to rebranding, don’t underestimate how detrimental a bad name can be, either. B2B companies are quick to list reasons why their businesses are stalling – limited marketing budgets, saturated markets, changing demands – but rarely do they associate a bad name with a stalled out company. It’s just a name, right? The thing is, even though you are selling to another business, you’re still marketing to another human being. And words have meaning. (You know, the whole pen mightier than the sword thing? Yeah, that.) So how do you know if it’s time to rename your manufacturing company? Here’s a cheat sheet.

4 Signs That It’s Time to Rename Your Manufacturing Company

  1. Your name is too plain. Basic names only work when you 1) are the first company in the field, and 2) have years to establish yourself, like General Electric. But imagine if a company like Amazon had been named GeneralOnlineRetailer.com. They would have been hard-pressed to stand out in the online boom of the 1990’s. (Amazon has an interesting naming story, by the by.) Take note of your competition and your standing before you choose a name like “Universal Plumbing Standards Corp.”
  1. Your name is meaningless to anyone but you. Initech, anyone? We understand that there are some names that have inside meaning or a rich personal history for your B2B company. But what does that mean to an outsider? It’s this logic that lead Quantum Computer Services to change their name to America Online, which directly translates their product and elicits an emotional response. Unless your name resonates your brand positively on an emotional or literal level, it’s just white noise.
  1. Your name is hilarious… and not in a good way. We’ll just glance at Analtech, who despite a near 50 year legacy, is rebranding to iChromatography – which not only explains what they do, but keeps those pesky web filters from blocking them in search.
  1. Your name is scandalous. It’s no surprise when a company like ValuJet has to rename and rebrand to AirTran after their crash in 1996. But if your business, innocently (and coincidentally) enough, happens to be called Lewinsky Auto Supply, it might suffer simply from association.

The right name for your brand will both value your heritage and leverage your position. Think it might be time for you to rename your manufacturing company? Drop us a line.

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Know Your Enemies: A Checklist for Manufacturers

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Posted on February 23, 2017 at 12:36 PM

marketing advice for manufacturers

In the early stages of developing a Marketing Plan, it is crucial for manufacturers to understand not only who their target audience is and what they desire, but who else is within the realm of consideration. Sometimes you think you know your competitors well. But you can learn a lot from doing a robust competitive analysis and a little core user research.

START WITH A RE-EVALUATION OF YOUR COMPETITIVE SET

The competition can change from year to year, so it’s very important you don’t gloss over this part. Perhaps one of your competitors switched their main focus from defense to aerospace. That affects you in one way or another, so you’ll need to do a bit of homework. Knowing each competitor’s game plan is essential.

There are many questions you can ask when evaluating your competitors, but these four are required in order to position yourself correctly:

  1. What’s their primary message?
  2. How do they position themselves?
  3. What do they do differently than you do?
  4. What do you do better than they do?

Evaluate your competitors with as much depth as you would your own brand. Make a list of your major competitors. Go over them one by one, and ask yourself the questions above. Then look at their websites, their social media sites, their ads. Leave no stone unturned. And have a very detail-oriented person on your team create a spreadsheet to house all of this information. This way you can evaluate over time. By the end, you’ll have a thorough assessment of where your brand stands and how you can stand out to prospects.

CONDUCT CORE USER RESEARCH TO GET MORE QUALITATIVE INSIGHTS

Beyond the competitive set, core user research can give you more qualitative insights into how you are regarded in comparison to your competitors. The second part of your checklist is aimed at what you want to find out from your core users. Keep in mind, these are people who like you, so they may be reluctant to tell you what they like about your competitors. That’s why it’s always wise to get a third party involved to gather this research.

You’ll want to ask:

  1. Who did they consider partnering with before they chose your company?
  2. Why did they choose to work with you over the others?
  3. What do they like about the other manufacturers that you didn’t offer?
  4. What are all the aspects they consider, and in what order, before choosing a manufacturing partner?
  5. Who in their company makes decisions?

These are just a few questions to get the ball rolling. You can make your research as robust as you’d like as long as you don’t take up too much of your customers’ time.

Once you have both your competitive analysis and core user research done, you’ll know your enemies (er, competitors) better than yourself. And you can start building personas and a Marketing Plan that’s more effective than ever. May the force be with you.

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A Letter to Santa from Joe Manufacturing, CEO

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Posted on December 22, 2016 at 16:05 PM

b2b needs 2017Dear Santa,

I’ve been pretty good this year, right? We’ll probably give out some bonuses. We were in the black, not the red. So that’s good. I’m grateful for everything I got in 2016.

So can you make sure that 2017 is even better? I mean, I don’t want to push it. You never know what the year can bring, but if you have any pull up there in the North Pole, I have a list of a few things I’d like to see “under my tree.”

  • Love. I’d like to see a little bit of love between my Marketing and Sales Departments. If you can pull that off, there is no one on earth that would doubt your existence.
  • Creativity. Not just in the marketing department, but in every department. I want to see creative thinking from everyone who walks into my office.
  • Trade Show Advice. This year was better than the year before, but I want 2017 to be the best year we have at trade shows, even if it means cutting a few.
  • Insights. Particularly on which opportunity markets are worth pursuing. And which ones to forget about.
  • Leads. A giant bag of leads would be most appreciated.
  • Good Tidings. Preferably in the form of a good report from Mary in Accounting.

Can you fit all that on your sleigh this year? If you can, I’ll have some cookies and milk waiting for you in the conference room.

Yours Truly,

Joe Manufacturing

CEO, Acme Widgets

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