AVA CONSULTING

The Best in Business and Manufacturing Consulting

Should Manufacturers Use Video in Their Marketing Mixes?

As a consumer, it’s nearly impossible to get away from videos, advertising or otherwise. To give you a numeric sense of our collective obsession with online moving images: Since last year, YouTube has started registering over a billion hours of video viewing every single day.

We all know the reasons we personally turn to YouTube, whether it’s to watch sports highlights, silly cat videos, cooking instructions, or power tool demonstrations. But does video — originally a consumer-oriented medium — have a rightful place in the marketing arsenal for manufacturers with a strong B2B audience?

The Data Behind Video Consumption in B2B Marketing

Clearly, a lot of people are watching a lot of video content online, and this prevalence bears out in B2B video marketing statistics, not just consumer video activity. Seventy-two percent of B2B content marketers use video content as part of their strategy, making it the third most popular type of B2B marketing content overall. This strategy frequently pays off, as B2B videos experience 41% higher web traffic from searches, 27% higher click-through rates, and 34% higher web conversion rates as compared to non-users.

The success of B2B video extends to manufacturing and industrial specific applications. In its 2017 annual report on trends in industrial marketing, IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions found that 50% of manufacturing marketers spent more money on video in 2017 than they did in the previous year. Videos also ranked in the top 10 marketing channels, with 34% of all manufacturing marketers saying they utilized video in 2017.

Even more impressive, a full 80% of industrial content marketers said they used video for marketing purposes in the Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 report. (Content marketing is a subset of marketing, which is why this number is higher than the IEEE GlobalSpec report.) Furthermore, pre-produced videos were named one of the top three most effective content marketing mediums (the other two were email and LinkedIn) with 52% of industrial marketers saying that video was effective.

As the numbers show, videos are already an important part of the industrial marketing toolbox, and are likely to be more important over time as more manufacturers learn how to effectively produce and use them.

Types of Manufacturing Marketing Videos

The key to success with any marketing tactic, including video, is having a specific plan that aligns with your overall business goals. Here are some manufacturing-specific video ideas that can help you start brainstorming ideas:

Virtual Tour

No matter how state-of-the-art your facility is, giving in-person tours isn’t always feasible, for a variety of reasons. However, videos give you a chance to create a virtual tour of your facility that people can view anywhere, any time. This content is an excellent way to highlight any special equipment or capabilities that you have, and a timelapse (such as that used in the example below) can show off an entire day at your facility. Make sure to let employees know you’ll be filming. Your public relations, legal or public affairs department can help you with any releases they might have to sign.

Video of Flying Out the Door: How Boeing Keeps Up Delivery of the Popular 737

Video of Heroes of American Manufacturing Ace Metal Crafts Company Source

Product or Equipment Demo

Certain performance metrics — e.g., efficiency, speed, or quality — can be difficult to demonstrate with words alone. Showing a product in action or going behind the scenes into the making of that product are powerful ways to show off your product’s capabilities and features. Product demo videos are also a great way to introduce a new item or service.

Video of Kingston DRAM Manufacturing Tour

Customer Testimonial

You already have case studies and quotes from customers on your website, so why not unite the power of testimonials with the power of video? If one of your customers is comfortable in front of the camera, a video testimonial can be a great way to break up the usual case study format, convey authenticity and be more persuasive because it can often better communicate emotions. Your potential customers can see and hear the enthusiasm your current client has for your product. You can also add shots of your facility and the product in question for extra impact.

Video of Customer Success Story – Tag Team Manufacturing

Educational Content

Including informational content among your marketing messages is an important part of positioning your company as a trusted industry expert. Alongside blogs and reports, educational videos can showcase your subject matter expertise. These videos may take many forms, such as interviews with subject matter experts or a how-to tutorial that answers a common question.

Video of How to Design and Manufacture a Product

Videos Definitely Belong in the Manufacturer Marketing Mix

Videos have already proven to be an effective marketing channel for B2B business, including manufacturers, and the importance of this compelling medium will only continue to grow in the future. From time-lapse virtual tours to customer testimonials, videos offer a unique, immersive marketing resource for demonstrating what sets your business apart.

About The Author

Katie Takacs

Katie Takacs is the marketing and operations manager for the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Advertisements

13 Mind Blowing As Seen On TV Products

“As Seen On TV”. . .those words bring to mind cool products, interesting items, and wacky gizmos. Sometimes, you might be tempted to spend your whole paycheck on the amazing inventions of everyday citizens. You stay up to see their pitchmen on late night TV or on shopping networks. Sometimes it’s just fun to watch!

This is a compilation of 13 of the coolest, most innovative and most awesome products ever seen on TV. Not only can you read about them here, you can click the links provided if you want to order them, without having pick up the phone. . .or stay up late watching them on TV…If you really want to…

1. Flex Seal Liquid – The Holy Grail of Sealants


You’ve probably already heard about or seen Flex Seal Liquid commercials while watching TV. It’s being touted as the ultimate way to stop leaks fast and protect almost anything. You can pour, brush or even roll it on with a roller. It’s non toxic, has a shelf life of over two years, and it won’t sag or drip in summer heat conditions or crack and peel in the winter. This is actually a great As Seen On TV product that really works! If you’re ever in the need to grab some sealant – this is your go-to product.

2. Hurricane Spin Scrubber


Everyone hates cleaning their bathtub and shower. It’s a backbreaking chore that we’d all like to skip – luckily the Hurricane Spin Scrubber could be the answer. The Hurricane Spin Scrubber has amazing power and does all the hard work for you. Just pop on one of the 3 included scrubber brushes and watch as the Hurricane Spin Scrubber’s cyclone power cuts through soap scum and grime easily. This is the perfect product for cleaning your car, kitchens and bathrooms!

3. Bowl Light – Light’s Up The Night


One of the most annoying things is being in a deep sleep and having to wake up to go to the bathroom… What’s worse is that you have to turn on the lights and stumble your way to the toilet. By the end of it you’re now fully awake again! The Bowl Light was invented to fix that problem. It’s a motion activated LED light that you place in your toilet bowl. You can also change the color to match your mood or decor, and it’s perfect for all the bathrooms in your house (especially kids bathrooms). The Bowl Light uses a soft ambient light to let you see without waking you up.

4. Finishing Touch Flawless Legs


Flawless Legs is an instant and painless hair remover that provides a smooth finish without the pain and irritation that comes from waxing. The palm perfect ergonomic design is contoured to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, and provides a no nicks, no cuts, no irritation control you can’t get with razors. Featuring four 18K gold plated heads, Flawless Legs is hypoallergenic, gentle on all skin types, and safe to the touch. Perfect for legs, bikini area, ankles, underarms, or any area prone to getting cuts while shaving. Convenient and bright LED lights help illuminate your skin so you never miss a spot. Rechargeable lithium-ion battery make Flawless Legs cordless, portable and convenient so you can be “flawless” anywhere.

5. Fixd – Save Thousands on Car Repairs


Have you ever gone to an auto repair shop for an oil change, only to have the mechanic say you need a new transmission? Or has the mysterious “check engine” light come on, and next thing you know the mechanic has a list of expensive engine parts that need replacing? Unfortunately, mechanics know taking advantage of people is easy, given their lack of knowledge about car maintenance needs. But there’s a new device you can carry with you in your car to tell you exactly what’s wrong with it. If you own a car built after 1996 then you can use this brilliant new device called Fixd to instantly diagnose any car problems. This means the next time your “Check Engine Light” happens to come on, you’ll know exactly what the issue is and the Mechanics won’t be able to lie to you!

6. 3-Second Lash (Perfect Lashes Every Time)


Want to create perfect, beautiful eyelashes in seconds? Now you can! The “As Seen on TV” 3 Second Lash Magnetic Eyelashes are an easy to use magnetic eyelash extensions that instantly accentuates your natural eyelashes in seconds.

3 Second Lash magnetic technology gently “sandwiches” your natural lashes to create bold, full lashes in seconds! The magnets snap together for secure, comfortable, and gorgeous lashes!

7. Active Bright Teeth Whitening


We all want gorgeous pearly whites, but getting your chompers chemically whitened at the dentist is as expensive as it is uncomfortable. That’s why we’re in love with this As Seen On TV natural charcoal powder! It goes on black, but leaves teeth white (up to 10 shades lighter) without any painful or harmful side effects. This stuff is worth adding to your 2018 beauty regimen.

8. Cami Shaper


Have you ever felt bothered by your wobbly bits and don’t feel comfortable showing them in front of other women? A lot of women tried unhealthy weight loss diets or even underwent harmful surgeries. Thankfully, now there’s a better way smooth out your figure instantly. Millions of women are already wearing it including most of Hollywood celebrities.

Lets face it ladies, after kids and life… and gravity takes an effect then nothing is in the same spot they were 10 years ago. I have a pair of jeans that fit great but my butt looks saggy in them and that is due to aging. However, this Cami Shaper did a great job of getting my confidence back! All in all, it takes only 5-10 seconds to make you look instantly smoother. Besides, what’s the point of not looking great in your favorite collections?

9. 1Tac TC1200 Flashlight


This specific flashlight isn’t just your run of the mill ordinary flashlight. You’ve most likely seen it on infomercials late at night. The perfect flashlight for emergency situations is the TC1200 Flashlight. This was built to withstand anything! You might be thinking that you already have a flashlight. But do the U.S. Navy Seals and the U.S. Coast Guard rely on the kind of flashlight you have? The TC1200 Flashlight uses military-grade LED technology that can illuminate a field or blanket a work area with 800 lumens of light. It can also blind an attacker. The skin is tough aircraft-grade-aluminum. Throw it, drive over it—it’ll still work. Drop it in six feet of water—it’ll still work. This tough gadget is also versatile. It comes with a strobe setting if you are stranded and need to signal for help, and you can zoom and focus its LED beam to see far, far away. 3 AAA batteries give it 1,000 hours of life. That makes it ideal for reliable, abundant light during a prolonged natural disaster or emergency…and for lots of everyday uses. This is standard gear if you want to be prepared for anything. Keep it in your car with you or your house.

10. Red Copper Square Pan


Bulky specialty pans take up tons of space in your cabinets. The Red Copper Square Pan 5 Piece Set is a one-pan solution to cooking 8 different ways, essentially clearing your cabinets of unnecessary clutter. Bake a decadent lasagna, then broil for crisped cheesy perfection. Sauté your favorite stir fry, steam dumplings, braise meats, fry cutlets, deep fry tempura veggies, and roast a ham and veggies. Thanks to the square design, the 10-inch pan up to doubles your cooking area.

11. NightDriver HD Glasses


Seriously, did you know that the vast majority of car accidents happen at night and right before dawn? A lot of that has to do with glare and the problems with vision many people experience. Maybe that’s the reason these driving glasses are selling by the truckload. Night Sight HD promises to reduce night driving glare and eye strain, and it will dramatically improve seeing at night during snow or rainy conditions. It lets you see enhanced colour, is durable, lightweight and is fully equipped with polarized lenses. Unlike clip-ons it protects your eyes from all sides, and you can just slide it over your existing prescription lenses. Whether driving, reading or golfing, these versatile goggles make seeing a whole new experience.

12. WalkFit Platinum Orthotics


Millions of Americans use regular orthotics to help give them some pain relief. The new WalkFit Platinum Orthotics takes comfort and stability to the next level with extra cushioning and odor protection. They help to align your back and shoulders, relieve lower back pain, balance your hips, reduce stress on knee joints, and cradle your feet for improved stability. Similar orthotics usually cost $200-$300, but WalkFit orthotics only cost $19.95.

13. Paint Zoom Paint Sprayer


Now you can paint like a pro and say goodbye to rollers, brushes and the mess of paint trays while getting the best coverage quickly and easily. With the Paint Zoom paint sprayer, all you do is just pull the trigger and paint. Now you can paint, stain or varnish just like a pro.

12 Must Have Products Going Viral in 2017

Must Have Viral Products. . .those words bring to mind cool products, interesting items, and wacky gizmos. Sometimes, you might be tempted to spend your whole paycheck on the amazing inventions of everyday citizens. These 12 products make great stocking stuffers with Christmas only a few months away, maybe these will give you some ideas.

This is a compilation of 12 of the coolest, most innovative and most awesome products that sold out fast in 2017. Many of them are products you’d never even expect to go viral, but they sold millions worldwide! Not only can you read about them here, you can click the links provided if you want to order them, without having to pick up the phone. . .or even leaving your house.

1. TrackR Bravo – Track Anything

trackr

When you attach this coin-size tracking device to an item and lose the item, you have a 20,000-times chance of getting it back. The accompanying app enlists the network of 20,000 TrackR users to locate your lost bag, bike or dog. You can also track your lost wallet (or whatever) yourself. The TrackR app displays how far you are from your keys or purse you dropped, and it will sound the alarm to help you pinpoint its exact location. If you realize you left your bag in another location, all other TrackR users in the network are notified, and when one passes your missing article, you’ll get an update sent to your phone. What if you can’t find your phone? Use TrackR to ring it, even if it’s on silent mode, and you’ll find your phone fast. TrackR helps you keep your stuff…especially if you’re a chronic (keys/wallet/bike/car/bag) misplacer.

2. Siren Song – Personal Protection Alarm

sirensong

Inspired by the Military, the Siren Song uses ear piercing sound (over 130 decibels) to deter bad guys and is quickly becoming one of the most sought after safety devices in America.
It will most likely be on every kid’s keychains or backpacks by the end of the year, but it should also be carried by every woman in America. With over 100,000 units sold in 2017 alone, this product makes our 2017 viral gadgets list!

But the Siren Song isn’t just to help protect you, your kids and your grandkids from an attack. It can also be used as a life saving device to call for help if you’re having a heart attack or have some other health condition that can prevent you from yelling for help.

Don’t let your worst nightmare become your reality. Safety doesn’t happen by accident. Purchase a personal alarm for yourself, for your child, or for a loved one. The Siren Song is particularly suitable for teenagers, parents, night owls, delivery route employees, business owners, and college students, or the elderly who may need to call for help. The keychain design is perfect for use with house keys or car keys. It can also be attached to a backpack or a purse.

3. KeySmart – The Future of Keychains

ksmart
You might be thinking that you already have a keychain. But it probably doesn’t compare to this new futuristic keychain. Here’s a fact everyone can agree upon: bulky keychains are both unsightly and cumbersome to handle. Not to mention, they won’t protect your pockets from getting shredded to bits by your expansive key collection.

That’s where the KeySmart comes in. This handy key organizer offers a simple, elegant solution for organizing your keys – allowing you to eliminate your keychain for good.

Let’s start with the basics: this durable key holder can hold up to 14 keys in a compact fashion, and is durable to boot. It consists of two 3mm thick plates made of aircraft grade aluminum, meaning you won’t have to worry about handling it with kid gloves.

No surprise, then, that we also guarantee that the KeySmart will take anything life throws at it. Take it anywhere – from work, to the beach, and much more – knowing it won’t get dented or scratch easily.

You won’t have to worry about the contents of your pockets getting scratched, either! For instance, you can rest assured your keys won’t scratch your phone. And as an added bonus, you’ll be able to walk around without being heard a mile away due to your keys jingling and jangling about – as they would on a conventional keychain.

And how’s this for ultimate convenience? The KeySmart boasts a built-in clip that allows you to attach it to any pocket, belt, or bag. (If you’d prefer to go without the clip, you can easily remove it.) You can even customize your KeySmart by adding accessories like USB drives and bottle openers to it, all available separately on the KeySmart website.

4. Fixd

fixd
Have you ever gone to an auto repair shop for an oil change, only to have the mechanic say you need a new transmission? Or has the mysterious “check engine” light come on, and next thing you know the mechanic has a list of expensive engine parts that need replacing? Unfortunately, mechanics know taking advantage of people is easy, given their lack of knowledge about car maintenance needs. But there’s a new device you can carry with you in your car to tell you exactly what’s wrong with it. If you own a car built after 1996 then you can use this brilliant new device called Fixd to instantly diagnose any car problems. This means the next time your “Check Engine Light” happens to come on, you’ll know exactly what the issue is and the Mechanics won’t be able to lie to you! In the United States alone, this product has done over $50,000,000 in sales in 2017, so it definitely qualifies for our viral products list.

5. Peeps Carbon Technology

peeps
This is a relatively new product that is picking up steam fast and is quickly going viral among people who own glasses. The Peeps eyeglass cleaner is designed specifically for cleaning eyeglasses, sunglasses, and reading glasses. Peeps uses a unique invisible carbon cleaning compound to safely and easily clean your glasses from oily fingerprint smudges to dust and facial oils. The Peeps glasses cleaner is the safest and most tested lens cleaning technology in the world. In fact, the technology is literally out of this world – being the only cleaners on the Space Station used for lens cleaning by NASA. It’s easy to use, compact and never expires! Their technology will clean your lenses 500 times! The perfect size eye wear cleaner to take with you – it measures approximately 4x1x1 inches and is available in 7 different colors. They are now shipping worldwide.

6. Snap Smart Cam

snapcam
This high quality full HD 1080p USB security camera also doubles as a smartphone charger and it’s getting a lot of attention on the web right now. It’s the perfect gift idea for someone with young kids or pets who needs to keep an eye on them while they’re out of the house. Think of it as a nanny cam that you can also use to charge your phone! In fact, this disguised HD video camera has been used to apprehend criminals in several home invasion cases. The Snap Smart Cam will automatically start recording and when it reaches full memory capacity, it will automatically overwrite the earliest videos recorded. Also, with cell phone wall chargers being everywhere these days, this item is sure to blend into any environment. Think it needs batteries? Nope, not at all, no batteries required, so you can be sure that you’re recording at all times as long as it’s plugged in. Perhaps we should be worried about this viral product though as we really don’t want to be spied on wherever we are!

7. Battle Flashlights

main1-e1460325372187
A strong flashlight is something you’d never think would be a viral product. But this specific flashlight isn’t just your run of the mill ordinary flashlight. It went viral in 2017 and sold over 20,000 units in just a few months. The perfect flashlight for emergency situations is the Battle Flashlight. This was built to withstand anything! You might be thinking that you already have a flashlight. But do the U.S. Navy Seals and the U.S. Coast Guard rely on the kind of flashlight you have? The Battle Flashlight uses military-grade LED technology that can illuminate a field or blanket a work area with 800 lumens of light. It can also blind an attacker. The skin is tough aircraft-grade-aluminum. Throw it, drive over it—it’ll still work. Drop it in six feet of water—it’ll still work. This tough gadget is also versatile. It comes with a strobe setting if you are stranded and need to signal for help, and you can zoom and focus its LED beam to see far, far away. 3 AAA batteries give it 1,000 hours of life. That makes it ideal for reliable, abundant light during a prolonged natural disaster or emergency…and for lots of everyday uses. This is standard gear if you want to be prepared for anything. Keep it in your car with you or your house.

8. Trusty Charge

trusty
This product is just starting to go viral and gain some traction. With all the recent hurricanes, storms, and natural disasters, we can see this product selling out quickly for the Holidays. It’s called Trusty Chargeand although it’s quite expensive, it’s definitely worth the price. It is an emergency device designed to keep you connected, no matter what the scenario is. It has a built-in flashlight and is solar powered which means its reliable when power outages occur. The AM/FM radio can provide important information in a time of crisis and, most importantly, it has a solar and handcrank powered outlet with a USB port that will charge your cell phone or any other devices.

It’s waterproof too, which makes it ideal for bringing on boats or if you’re caught in a flood. Once again, the great part about it is that it has a hand crank to manually charge the devices in the event there is no power source or it’s nighttime (the device has a solar charging feature too).

Just thinking about what I would do in the event of a disaster, if I couldn’t get in touch with my family or 911 gave me chills. They have a special going on right now so it would probably make sense to purchase more than one and give them to your friends and family.

9. Suzy Bra

suzy
This viral product is just for the women out there, or the husbands/boyfriends who want to get them the perfect gift… The Suzy Bra has already sold out twice in just a few months! It’s a strapless bra that finally offers the comfort and support women need. This is probably the last strapless bra you’ll ever need to own. Style, comfort and amazing support! You also get some lift with this Bra and you can dance the night away in that dress you’ve been saving with no fear of any slips!

10. Wow Fix It – Indestructible Screen Protector

touchfire
Another perfect gift that’s taking off across the United States and elsewhere is the new indestructible liquid titanium screen protector called Wow Fix It. Ever had that sinking feeling as your phone slips out of your hand and SMACKS on the ground? The next few seconds are excruciating. You’re absolutely dreading turning it over to see how bad the damage is. What if you never had to worry about this again? Get ready to experience advanced screen protection so powerful, it can withstand getting hammered with a stunning 13 pounds of force! This smartphone screen protector is so powerful that there have already been over 4 million sold in just a few months. It’s a revolutionary new Liquid Titanium screen protector that uses advanced Nanotechnology to protect your devices from cracks, shattering and scratches. And it only takes 90 seconds to apply. Even more surprising is that it doesn’t just protect phones, but can protect all your devices, including your laptop, tablets, smart watches and more!

11. NightSight Driving Glasses

nightsight
Seriously, did you know that the vast majority of car accidents happen at night and right before dawn? A lot of that has to do with glare and the problems with vision many people experience. Maybe that’s the reason these driving glasses are selling by the truckload. Night Sight HD promises to reduce night driving glare and eye strain, and it will dramatically improve seeing at night during snow or rainy conditions. It lets you see enhanced colour, is durable, lightweight and is fully equipped with polarized lenses. Unlike clip-ons it protects your eyes from all sides, and you can just slide it over your existing prescription lenses. Whether driving, reading or golfing, these versatile goggles make seeing a whole new experience.

12. TruDog Spray

trudog
We couldn’t have our viral product list end without including something for our best buddies, the “good boys” and “good girls” that are always happy to see us when we get home. TruDog Spray has been selling quite well in 2017 and will probably continue selling well into 2018. It’s a 4 in 1 dental spray for your dogs. Unless you brush your pet’s teeth after every meal or snack, bits of food and bacteria collect right at the gum line and turns into plaque. If this plaque isn’t removed, in just a few days, it will harden into tartar that sticks to your dog’s teeth. This ends up causing gingivitis and will rear its ugly head as bad breath. Unfortunately, in more advanced cases, tooth pulling can become necessary. Let’s take care of our dogs by using TruDog. All you have to do is spray this in your pet’s mouth 1 to 2 times daily before bed and it will help freshen bad breath and control bacteria. When used properly, you should see an improvement in only 3-8 weeks.

Bonus #1: Pest Warrior

pestwarrior
Wouldn’t it be nice if you never had to kill another spider or set another mouse trap in your house? This brand new device has already sold millions because it promises to get rid of nasty pests without killing them. It’s called Ultra Sonic Pest Warrior and it’s becoming a household item in America and across the rest of the world (especially in Australia where there are really scary bugs and animals). Unlike other products that use harsh chemicals or inhumane ways to kill pests, Pest Warrior aims to prevent the problem before it even happens. By using low frequency sound waves that are undetectable to the human ear (undetectable to dog and cat ears too), Pest Warrior produces an unbearable sound to both insects and rodents that repels them away. This means you never have to squish another insect or whip out a hazardous can of Raid again!

The SnapIt Screw – Lessons Learned from Intellectual Property Theft

The Snapit Screw Kit

Nancy Tedeschi is the inventor of the SnapIt® Screw, a specialty screw that makes eyeglass repair easy and painless. Nancy was originally inspired to create the screw after her mother broke her glasses while on vacation in Nicaragua. Thinking on her feet, Nancy’s mother fashioned a makeshift repair by inserting an earring stud through the screw hole on the side of her eyeglass frame. Soon after that, people began to ask Nancy’s mother where she had gotten the “charm” attached to her eyeglass frame. At the time, Nancy operated a title insurance company in upstate New York.

Having always been an entrepreneur, Nancy was intrigued by the prospect of creating a new fashion accessory. She initially started working on a line of eyeglass charms. She found that the process of inserting a tiny screw through an eyeglass frame was too cumbersome, taking as long as twenty-five minutes. She realized the need for an apparatus to make the job easier. The SnapIt Screw was born, featuring a long “feeder tab” on the end of a screw with a narrow neck, making it easy to snap off the tab after inserting the screw into the eyeglass frame. After performing a thorough search of the market and existing patents, Nancy found no similar products.

The SnapIt Screw first went into production in 2009. “Mass production was not an issue at all,” Nancy says. “I hired a mechanical engineer, and I took the drawing to a screw maker in Rochester.” She placed a small advertisement in a magazine focused on the optical market. “I remember getting a call from an optometrist,” Nancy recalls with a chuckle. “He was really mad, because he had personally fixed over a million pairs of eyeglasses by hand. He wished he’d had something so simple to work with!” That first phone call led to a strategic partnership. The optometrist introduced Nancy to a distributor on Long Island, who eventually bought the product distribution rights for opticians’ offices.

Even though Nancy had filed twenty-five patents internationally, she came to discover that the patents had been violated by several manufacturers. She made her first discovery of a patent violation in China, when she attended a trade show and saw an identical product being sold there. “People in this industry are thieves,” says Nancy. “They all knew that I had patents. It’s remarkable what you learn by going through this process, especially on an international level. I originally filed patents in the U.S. and Europe, but if I had it to do all over again, I would have focused my resources on enforcing my patents in China, because that’s where all the manufacturing is done. I also would have hired an in-house IP attorney from the start.” She currently has a lawsuit pending against one Chinese manufacturer and plans to file several more.

Nancy recommends working with a mentor and performing thorough due diligence on any potential distribution partners. “Make sure you go to somebody who’s done it before. People should be very skeptical about signing any kind of exclusive distribution agreement. Someone might offer to take a product into major retailers for a 10% commission. That sounds fine on the surface, but what people don’t realize is that the same salesperson might have fifty or more products that they are trying to sell at the same time. Most business owners are better off approaching retailers directly. If you do sign an exclusive agreement, it should be limited in scope to specific retailers and should be contingent on performance. Time is money, especially when you’re dealing with a patent; working with the wrong distribution partner can kill an invention.”

Inventors bringing a new product to the market should be prepared for the eventuality of infringement, Nancy says. “Patents are only as good as your ability and willingness to defend them,” she remarks. “If you have a great product, competitors are going to come after you. If you can’t defend it, don’t waste your time or your money.”

Author; Dave Baldwin of Baldwin Mangement Consultants

To learn more about the SnapIt Screw, visit SnapItScrew.com.

When purchasing either the SnapIt Consumer Repair Kit or the SnapIt for Optical Professionals we want you want to feel confident that you’re buying the genuine article. Counterfeit products can’t emulate our innovative screw, so we want to ensure that you aren’t disappointed by an imitation screw masquerading as a SnapIt.

We are the proud owners of 15 patents and several trademarks across the world. Our SnapIt is also widely protected by design registrations and we vigorously protect our rights wherever they are infringed. We are constantly monitoring known counterfeiters and have a strong team of both internal and external brand protection and legal advisors.

Please also bear in mind the following when purchasing products which claim to be the real deal:

  • Any item priced well below our RRP should be treated with suspicion
  • There will be no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors on our packaging
  • Our products are only available directly from ourselves or via approved distributors or re-sellers.
  • If would like to query a counterfeit product please contact us HERE.

United States Patent #: 8070403, 8375546, 8556556, 8997327, 9493972
Canada Patent #: 2695751
China Patent #: 2L2008 80102133.2
Philippines Patent #: 1/2010/500274, 1-2010- 500385
Australia Patent #: 2008283850, 2011101044
Russia Patent #: 2493446
South Africa Patent #: 2010/03664
EPO Patent #: EP08782656
Hong Kong #: HK1147791

Notice of Allowance:
Japan

Patents Pending:
Brazil
Korea
India

 

Would I hire me?

 

Why would I take my advice as a consultant?

Would I hire me…YES.

Would I hire me because:

 I have 30 years of experience in manufacturing…NO.

I helped open 4 factories…NO.

I was a principle leader in the development of a product that went from 500K to 30 million pieces over 16 years…NO.

I was a plant manager that oversaw 600 production workers…NO.

I would hire me because;

 someone else trusted me to do these things.

someone else trusted me with expanded responsibility.

someone else rewarded me for my skills and talents.

I am putting forth the principle that accomplishments are the key factor when hiring a Consultant.

 

This is a blog post that is open to discussion;

Do you agree with the essential tenet of my argument?

Is “in the trenches” experience valued more then education?

How do you rate yourself?

Four Marketing Action Items for Manufacturers

In today’s highly competitive marketplace, meeting customer demand isn’t enough. Small and mid-sized manufacturers must have a continuous pipeline of new sales in order to thrive and grow. However, it is becoming more challenging to connect with key decision makers to accomplish this.

Technology is constantly evolving and has changed how people communicate, research products and parts, and make purchasing decisions. In comparison to the past, your target audience now has more control over the sales process. The internet enables them to easily research information and pricing at the blink of an eye. Caller IDs, gatekeepers, spam filters, and “no soliciting” signs are making it more difficult for manufacturers to proactively connect with prospects. And the nonstop barrage of advertisements and sales pitches are making it more difficult to become memorable.

Developing a robust marketing program is crucial to increasing sales and sustaining growth. Here are four action items your business can take to improve your marketing outreach efforts.

1. Establish a Marketing Strategy

Before you start sending out e-blasts or tweeting, your marketing initiatives must be driven by a structured strategy. An organized marketing strategy provides companies with the necessary foundation required before moving forward. While the specific defined goals and objectives are unique to every manufacturer, businesses are typically looking to achieve the following:

  • Enhance brand awareness
  • Generate new leads
  • Convert leads into sales
  • Increase sales from current and former customers

It’s vital for manufacturers to have a strong marketing strategy in place, so take the time to identify your goals and create a calendar of your efforts. Your strategy should also be written down and communicated with key decision makers. It is also vital to include leveraging multiple marketing channels, as targets communicate in different ways.

2. Update your Website

Your website is essentially a “digital salesperson” for your organization. If your website isn’t consistently generating new leads and sales for your company, it’s time for an upgrade. A successful website does the following for your team:

  • Gets found by quality prospects when your products and services are looked for in search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.)
  • Establishes your industry credibility
  • Engages with and nurtures website visitors at all stages of your sales cycle
  • Depicts your brand in a positive light
  • Provides your team with data and analytics to help the sales process

In addition to dynamic graphics highlighting your brand, updating your website’s content is critical to digital success, as your content should provide a simple journey for your website visitors. Providing helpful information via checklists, white papers, blog entries, and eBooks will help you engage with your audience. Sharing case studies and testimonials validates your business.

Whether you have an internal marketing specialist or use an outside vendor, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) efforts will help you increase website traffic. In the age of smartphones, it is also imperative to have a mobile responsive design.

3. Embrace Social Media

Social networking is no longer a fad – it’s a regular method of communication and conducting business. Social media platforms can help your team connect with new prospects, showcase your products, share content, and increase your website traffic. Here are some ways manufacturers can use the most popular social media sites:

  • LinkedIn – LinkedIn has a plethora of established networking groups where people can share information, ask questions, and network. By joining LinkedIn groups, you have an ability to connect with targeted leads and gain insight into industry news and trends.
  • Facebook – This is a great way to constantly engage with customers and prospects to share content, gain feedback, and upload pictures and videos to personalize your company.
  • Twitter – While it allows only 140 characters to share a message, Twitter is an easy way to quickly distribute company news and pictures.
  • Pinterest – This platform is very visually based, so companies can share pictures of their products, parts, and processes.
  • YouTube – From product reviews and product demonstrations for potential consumers, to quick FAQ videos for current customers, YouTube can help you connect with multiple audiences.

4. Rework your E-mail Marketing Communication

Your e-mails or eNewsletters require more substance than just shooting out your sales pitch and hoping for the best. People receive a superfluous amount of emails, so yours have to be targeted, personalized, and unique. Here are five quick tips to improve your e-mail outreach:

  • Branding – Your e-mail templates should be consistent with your brand. Incorporate your company’s logo, color scheme, and messaging into your e-mail communication.
  • Content – Share information that genuinely helps your target audience. Providing how-to tips, industry news, and solutions to their problems will help you establish your credibility. All e-mails should have a clear “call-to-action” at the end and include links to your website.
  • Scheduling – Sending out a single e-mail here and there makes it challenging for your audience to feel an ongoing connection with your company. Whether it’s monthly or quarterly, have a consistent email schedule and stick with it.
  • List Maintenance –  Individuals leave companies, organizations go out of business, and professionals get promotions. Consistently cleaning up incorrect e-mail records and adding new e-mails to your database will help you keep the list fresh.
  • Analyze Results – All e-mail marketing software vendors enable you to evaluate the tracking results of an e-mail campaign including views, un-subscribes, and click activity. This information will help you when you’re developing content for follow-up or future campaigns.

Connect with the MEP Network

The MEP National Network is a public-private partnership providing business services to small and medium sized manufacturers across the country. Services offered by MEP Centers help manufacturers in various capacities, and include business growth efforts such as the development of sales and marketing strategies.

A comprehensive marketing program is essential for developing new business and achieving sustainable growth. Connect with your local MEP center to learn more.

NIST, Partners ‘Cutting the Cord’ (and Wires) from Factory Communication Networks

nist-gov-17el001_wireless_testbed

Credit: F. Webber/NIST

Providing wireless communications in a factory, plant or other industrial environment these days means more than just helping employees talk with each other while they work. By eliminating physical connections such as wires and cables from a facility’s communication network, wireless technology offers many manufacturing, chemical processing and municipal (such as water treatment) organizations a means to run their entire operation more efficiently, more productively and at less cost. However, a perceived lack of reliability, integrity and security has hampered the adoption and use of industrial wireless, especially when wireless communication can often be corrupted or disrupted in harsh industrial settings.

Through its Wireless Systems for Industrial Environments project, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is working with private-sector collaborators to overcome these obstacles and make industrial wireless communication a more viable choice. The latest milestone in this effort is a newly published study in which rigorous scientific experiments evaluated how well radio frequency (RF) signals propagated in three different factory environments: an automobile transmission assembly facility, a steam generation plant and a machine shop.

“Understanding how RF platforms work or don’t work in these harsh environments is the first step toward designing and deploying reliable wireless networks,” said NIST’s Rick Candell, the lead researcher on the study. “With the data from this research and future tests, we can define factors that can hinder RF propagation—including heat, vibration, reflection, interference and shielding—and then develop measures to address them.”

In their study of the three factory settings, Candell and his colleagues looked at three RF propagation characteristics. They made precise measurements of how the signals lost power over distance, dispersed over the factory floor and varied in strength due to absorption or reflection by the specific environment. “We clearly saw that wireless transmission of data in industrial facilities is completely different from signal propagation in a home or office setting,” Candell said. “It’s a harsh environment where reflective or absorbent surfaces, interference from competing RF signal traffic and other obstacles must be overcome if we want to deploy secure, integrated wireless platforms that perform dependably.”

The researchers performed mathematical and statistical analyses of the data from the three factory experiments and are incorporating them into a NIST test bed designed to replicate a manufacturing environment. This “factory in a box” re-creates the conditions found in a variety of industrial settings, allowing researchers to study the impacts on signal propagation in controlled laboratory conditions.

“The test bed supports the development of measurements and tests to evaluate signal performance, gives us the means to evaluate the usefulness of NIST computer models and simulations of wireless networks, and hopefully, will help us design and road test solutions to current propagation problems,” Candell said.

The NIST team also wants to hear from people involved with factories and plants about their specific industrial environments, including details about layout, structural makeup, operations and communications networking, as well as future needs and plans for wireless. “We hope that more managers will consider letting us conduct field trials of wireless in their facilities, especially ones with outdoor operations such as oil refineries or with possible signal-absorbing materials such as paper mills,” Candell said.

The Wireless Systems for Industrial Environments project will be featured in a panel session on wireless networking for industrial automation on March 13, 2017, at the IEEE Sensors Applications Symposium(link is external) at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.


R. Candell, K.A. Remley, J.T. Quimby, D. Novotny, A. Curtin, P.B. Papazian, M. Kashef and J. Diener. Analysis of Radio Propagation Measurements in Three Factories (NIST Technical Note 1951). January 2017. DOI: https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.TN.1951

The Evolution of 3D Printing

Evolution of 3D Printing.png

From reducing costs to increasing efficiency to spurring innovation, many people are excited about the impact that 3D printing will have on the future of manufacturing. However, the truth is, it already has made a significant impact on the industry.

Take a look back at the evolution of 3D printing to see how the phenomenon started and how it has helped the manufacturing industry evolve.

The 1980s: Setting The Foundations Of 3D Printing

3D Printing was only an idea in the 1980s. In 1981, Hideo Kodama of the Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute in Japan discovered a way to print layers of material to create a 3D product. Unfortunately, Kodama was unable to get his patent for the technology approved.

Meanwhile, in France, the French General Electric Company and CILAS, a manufacturer of laser and optical technology, found a way to create 3D printed objects. However, the companies didn’t see a use for the technology, and they soon abandoned their discoveries.

Finally in 1986, an American engineer named Charles Hull created a prototype for a process called stereolithography (SLA). Hull used photopolymers, also known as acrylic-based materials, to evolve from liquid to solid using ultraviolet lights. Hull patented the SLA printer and other companies followed suit. Hull is commonly referred to as “the father” of 3D printing.

Two other key technologies were patented during this period as well – Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), which uses powder grains to form 3D printed products; and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), which uses heat to layer 3D models. These 3D printing models set the foundation for 3D printing.

The 1990s: More Technologies And More Adoption

With the foundation of the technology already created, companies began experimenting, expanding and, ultimately, commercializing 3D printing.

Several new 3D printers came to market, including the ModelMaker from Solidscape®, which deposited wax materials using an inkjet print head, which was more common to traditional printing.

New processes, such as microcasting and sprayed materials, allowed 3D printing to be used for metals, not just plastics.

However, the technology was still cost prohibitive. As a result, adoption was limited to high-cost, low-volume product production. Thus, it became a natural fit for prototyping new products in the aerospace, automotive and medical industries.

The 2000s: 3D Printing Explodes

While there were iterative changes and innovations related to 3D printing throughout the early 2000s, 2005 marked the year that 3D printing went on the path to becoming more mainsteam. Many of the early patents began to expire, and inventors and entrepreneurs sought to take advantage.

A professor in England named Dr. Adrian Bowyer made it his mission to create a low-cost 3D printer. By 2008, his “Darwin” printer had successfully 3D printed over 18% of its own components, and the device cost less than $650.

When the FDM patent fell to the public domain in 2009, more companies were able to create a variety of 3D printers and the technology became more accessible.

3D printing began making mainstream headlines, as concepts such as 3D printed limbs and 3D printed kidneys were fascinating and potentially powerful.

The 2010s And The Maker Movement

As the cost of 3D printers continued to decline, the demand for the technology began to soar, and they became more commonplace in the home and in businesses.

On the shop floor, manufacturers began leveraging 3D printing in a variety of ways. Machine parts could be repaired quickly, and inventory shortages could be combatted with ease.

By 2014, the industry generated more than $1 billion in revenue. But along with the impressive financial impact of the technology, 3D printing also made an impact on how people work.

People were now free to make and create new products on their own, without relying on companies or technology firms. This empowering shift is fueling The Maker Revolution, which values creation and focuses on open-source hardware.

The Future Of 3D printing

The 3D printing industry keeps on growing, so what should we expect in the future? According to a recent analysis by A.T. Kearney, 3D printing will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.37 percent to nearly $17.2 billion between now and 2020. That means 3D printers will be found in your own home as well as in the classroom.


Another recent study determined that 6.7 million 3D printers will be shipped globally by 2020 – 14 times more than in 2016. As new technologies improve the uses of 3D printers, the technology will continue to disrupt the manufacturing industry and bring it to greater heights.

By Christina O’Handley |  January 25, 2017

 

Data and Trends in US Manufacturing

This is an excerpt from a blog by  

The survey asked a range of questions focusing on how Georgia manufacturers deploy information technologies, management practices, and production technologies. The survey also looked at the benefits of different business strategies, the use of in- and out-sourcing, and talent development practices. Just over 500 manufacturers responded to the survey. Here are some of the interesting highlights:

  • Nearly half of the manufacturers reported using some type of business assistance provider. The most common sources of business assistance came from universities and technical schools, state agencies, and private consultants.
  • Manufacturers’ needs are diverse. Marketing and sales is the top concern among Georgia manufacturers in 2016. Finding employees with the right technical skills was the second most common need or problem. Improving manufacturing processes through lean manufacturing was the third most frequent need identified. Finding employees with the right basic skills was another significant issue. Each of these four problems/needs increased significantly from the 2014 survey.
  • Different business strategies lead to different bottom-line outcomes. The most important finding from the survey is that innovation has a bottom-line benefit for companies and their employees. The following chart suggests that firms adopting a strategy of innovation have higher profitability and pay higher wages compared to firms adopting other strategies. However, the difference in the returns to different strategies has narrowed over time.

Chart: Returns to Different Business Strategies

returnonsales

  • Manufacturers are introducing new and improved products and services. Just over half of the respondents (51 percent) reported introducing a new or improved good or service within their establishment during the 2013-2015 period. Forty-five percent of the respondents reported introducing a new or significantly improved product and just under 15 percent reported introducing a new or improved service. These goods and services were split between two types: 27.6 percent were reported as being introduced before other competitors and 28.2 percent were new to their facility, but already available from competitors.
  • New goods and services represented a modest portion of total sales. On average, 12.6 percent of total sales came from goods and services that were new to the market (the median was 10 percent) and sales from goods and services new to the firm, but not the market, represented about 19 percent of their total sales (the median was also 10 percent) based on new goods and services introduced over the last three years.
  • Firms introduced a range of process innovations in addition to introducing new goods and services. Fifty-six percent of the respondents introduced a process innovation into their plant. Forty-four percent reported adopting new or improved production technologies and techniques, just under 13 percent introduced new or improved logistics, delivery, or distribution methods, and 23 percent reported other improvements including improvements in purchasing, accounting, or maintenance processes.
  • Firms engaged in innovation activities focused on their organization. Nearly 60 percent of the firms responding improved their strategic planning, improved their internal management systems, restructured their organization, and their relationships with other firms. Twenty-two percent reported new or significant changes in corporate strategy while 24 percent implemented new or improved management systems. Just over one third of the respondents reported restructuring how work was organized (35.1 percent), and 23 percent reported changing their relationship with other firms including new alliances, partnerships, outsourcing, and subcontracting.
  • Manufacturers deploy wide new manufacturing technologies and techniques. The survey asked respondents about their current or planned use of 19 manufacturing technologies and techniques. The table below shows increased deployment of these techniques compared to the 2014 survey. ERP software for scheduling and inventory control is used by seven in 10 respondents and computer aided design is used by 67%. Surprisingly, lean manufacturing, quality systems or adoption of various ISO standards were being used by less than half of the respondents.

Chart: Current and Planned Use of Various Technologies and Techniques

practiced-now-chart

This data provides a look inside manufacturing firms and their activities. The survey focuses on areas including innovation, growth, and other issues including sustainability practices, workforce investments, and the adoption of new manufacturing processes and tools. It breaks the information down by firm size and industry. In fact, the aggregate results I reported above mask significant variation across industries and firm size. It is worth scanning the report to see how your firm stacks up or to see where things stand for a cross section of companies.

Mr. Voytek is the Chief of the Manufacturing Policy and Research group and the Chief Economist with the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Your Corporation is Killing Innovation without Knowing It

Before innovation even starts, corporate alarms are ringing and walls are raised.

In the post-recession economy, markets are changing faster than the mighty corporations of old can keep up with. To combat the epidemic of nimble startups, corporations are advocating fresh thinking such as prototyping, failing fast and quick iterations based on customer feedback.

But few if any corporations have been able to point to any concrete successes, no matter the size. Why is that?

Large organizations are always going to be risk averse

A publicly traded corporation must not only appease shareholders but also Wall Street analysts and the corporation’s executives who hold the purse strings are rated predominantly on financial performance.

New ideas within corporations don’t always achieve short-term profitability, and thus it is difficult to convince decision-makers to reallocate capital from an existing cash cow to an “ugly duckling” innovation project. Corporate resources will inevitably go towards incremental established brand innovations and not disruptive new market innovations, which are inherently risky.

Remember that it was Kodak who invented the first digital camera, and chose to continue investing in film R&D over a risky new venture. Everyone knows how that story ended.

Play into the risk-averse nature of large corporations

For a corporate innovation project to succeed, it is necessary to recognize that the executive investing in the innovation project has corporate strategic goals to uphold.

The key for the innovation project’s success then becomes to fit into the corporation’s strategic goals. The following are some key factors to encourage this outcome:

1. Find out what keeps executives up at night – There are two approaches that corporations have found successful 1) use executive problems for innovation challenges and   2) tie the innovation project to or search out projects that match an executive challenge.

EMC and Deloitte have been very successful at taking executive challenges and posing them to the corporation as an innovation challenge, which employees can submit ideas for. Success is derived from the fact that executive buy-in is built in from the onset, because the ideas are directly tied to the executive’s imperatives.

The Citrix Startup Accelerator’s Innovator’s Program and recent Citrix hackathons have engaged with executive sponsors prior to kickoff and used their input on challenges as selection criteria. Much like the first approach, executive buy-in is assured as teams enter the program with ideas that match executive needs.

2. Develop a monetization roadmap – Innovation projects attain a quick death due to a rapid demand for monetization. In some instances, this is possible, but for most, a user base needs to be established before the market is willing to pay.

Ash Maurya is beginning to popularize a framework that calls attention on attaining users prior to revenue.

This model is helpful because it addresses the challenge of organizations understanding the needs of startup marketing versus established brand marketing. Additionally, the framework helps innovation project teams outline what their plans are to eventually reach revenue.

The push to monetization can also be prevented by demonstrating how the innovation project brings other forms of value to the corporation. For example, accessing a new user base to cross-sell existing brands.

3. Gauge executive buy-in throughout the process – Using executive buy-in as a gate to pivot, persevere or kill is critical, because without buy-in, the project is already dead on arrival.

The corporate innovation process should have gates where certain criteria should be met before moving on. At each of these gates, executive input must be acquired and should be used as a determining factor as to whether the gate is achieved.

It is also helpful to prime executives with what the criteria and stages of the innovation process are, so that they are aware of how to judge and assess the innovation project. Otherwise, the executive might have a higher expectation based on traditional corporate outcomes than what could reasonably be expected of an innovation project.

4. Speak the language of the executive – Not only do innovators need to have vision, they need to be able to explain it in the C-suite’s language.

Entrepreneurs are quick to state that startups are liberating versus a stifling corporate culture, but the reality is that even entrepreneurs are beholden to others. Entrepreneurs are bound to their investors, while corporate innovators are indebted to their executives. Both need to translate their vision into a language that their stakeholder understands.

That language is one based on quantitative factors. For investors, the considerations are traction, growth and revenue. For executives, the elements are cost, payback period and top line revenue growth.

5. Get Line Function Buy-In – It isn’t only the C-suite that needs to be convinced but the “doers” as well.

As much as the C-suite needs to be bought into the conversation, the other critical component is the “doers:” mid-level management. Without convincing the “doers” of the project’s necessity, these managers will continue to throw up barriers that will eventually kill innovation within the corporation.

6. Be Selective. Take Baby Steps –  Dreaming the world is great, but taking actionable baby steps is better.

Corporate innovators are great at envisioning future states, but often fail to concretely translate their vision into beneficial steps. In other words, corporate innovators tend to be perceived as dreamers, rather than doers, which relegates their concepts to the bottom of the corporate priority list.

Overcome this perception by ensuring that the initial ask is not only actionable, but also achievable in the short term. Present small projects in the language of the C-suite and deliver on them to build the groundwork for the grander vision.

Corporate innovation requires an understanding of the organization’s needs

Innovation within a corporation requires a recognition that the corporation is inherently risk averse and the only way to push innovation through is to accept this and appease it. Every move and decision a successful corporate innovator makes is based on directly reducing this risk or taking steps to bypass risk by addressing corporate challenges head-on.
By Brian Moelich Customer and Idea Implementation Lead Cisco
This article was co-authored with Eric Quon-Lee and originally published in Huffington Post

Post Navigation