Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Modern B2B Marketing - It’s About Adding Value and Being the Best Source of Knowledge in your Industry

If you have a product you believe in, how do you let people know about it? This was the question we asked ourselves in April of 2014.

Historically, in capital equipment sales like CMMs (and B2B in general), the answer has been: Go to trade shows, collect “interested” names and send email blasts about your products after the show.

You may have noticed, as we had, this narrow strategy has been losing it’s effectiveness.

So, we had to figure out a way to increase leads and get more impact for the dollars we were spending on marketing - on all channels including email and trade shows.

To do this, we took a multi-faceted approach that started with figuring out how we could market to current and new customers AND add value, by being a source of industry knowledge.

We began by looking at the analytics from our website traffic to initially target keywords and current web page views.

Just like running a “Before & After” calibration on a CMM  it’s important to know where you’re starting from when formulating an web marketing strategy.

A website should focus what your customers want - It is not an online brochure


Our first course of action was to redesign our website with three things in mind, in order of importance:

  1. Make it more user friendly
  2. Make relevant content easier to find
  3. Reinforce the Wenzel brand image
One of the first points we had to figure out was how to capitalize on the strong history of being known as Xspect Solutions here in the United States while making it fully known that we now were Wenzel America (and had been since 2007 became part of the Wenzel Group family.) 

So we changed the color scheme and layout to better reflect our new corporate identity. We were able to incorporate the Xspect name within some of the content and also piggyback on the searches still taking place for that name by consolidating the various domains to our WenzelAmerica.com home base.


We then tried to make the main pages require as little scrolling as possible to make information quickly accessible and make the user experience consistent from page to page.


We then revamped Menu and organization of the content on the site. We added traditional metrology equipment segments and product sections plus we created a menu items for and application type to allow visitors to easily find solutions based on their view or experience - not ours.

We also kept a major focus on our pre-owned equipment, as this heritage is important to our customers and to us.

Dipping our toes in the ocean called -  “social media"


With our marketing partner, LeDuc Creative and web host partner, NS Group, we decided to try our hand at social media marketing. 

Would this work for industrial B2B? 

When we started, the social media posts were a bit generic and we didn't really have a lot content that was very meaningful or helpful to our prospective customers.

Then, in late fall of 2014, we started our metrology newsletter and after some... creative stabs at a title, we introduced Metrology Matters: The Journal of Precision Metrology. From those humble beginnings we’ve built what we think is a pretty successful integrated marketing strategy that we continue to augment as it grows.

Metrology Matters - Building a whole strategy from a solid foundation


The newsletter enabled us to build a comprehensive marketing strategy with a solid foundation at the base. Although, email open rates have shrunk from the heyday it is still the most important channel any company has to communicate to its customers. What’s more, it is a channel you fully own and control and can serve several functions.

Firstly, in order to create a coherent message for each newsletter issue, we needed to sit down and decide what content we would have every month and base all the articles around a theme. Second, it forced us to produce valuable content that added value for our customers -- and that we could then repurpose into relevant content on other channels.

We learned from our marketing partners and our own experience, that the subject matter of the newsletter couldn’t just be a regurgitation of product brochures or sales promotions.

We wanted to become a resource for people - for you - to give further insights into the CMM industry and manufacturing in general.

We decided to have four specific content segments in each issue: 

  • Who is Wenzel? - Specific items about Wenzel. 
  • Under the Surface - Metrology specific topics. 
  • Shared Economy -The manufacturing market and economy from our perspective. 
  • People and Places - Spotlight on specific people and places in the industry.


Your Email Newsletter is just the base - How do you build on it?


Having specific content every month allowed us to re-introduce this content on the various social media channels, our metrology blog and other online channels.

At first, the effort to create this additional content was substantial, but as time has gone on, it’s become easier. The truth is, this is content and guidance mirrors the activities and information we, as salespeople, talk about with our customers and each other in our daily work.

Producing it every month for the newsletter is just an extension of better serving our customers and industry by making our knowledge available to everyone - not just in our one-to-one interactions.

Having the newsletter content as the base has also allowed to begin building our social media platforms organically. Even though the content requirements and audience for each channel varies we can tweak the much of it to meet their specific needs.

For example, the pulse rate for Twitter is much quicker than other channels, requiring multiple posts a day to stay top of mind - this has meant more than 6 posts a day on average. But the content is also lighter because of the 140 character limit. Whereas on LinkedIn, the pace is a bit slower and besides the regular short updates, we can (and do) also publish longer form posts like we do on our own blog. And Facebook has a whole other flavor and speed.

Diving a bit deeper into Twitter, growing a relevant following was a very specific exercise. We initially followed companies that were our customers or companies that we wanted as customers. Not all of those companies follow back, but it is definitely a great place to start. We then continued to identify potential customers, people, companies and industries that we wanted to reach. We had several sessions where we would add lists of companies, then wait and see. Eventually, we trimmed out some of the entities that we followed to try to focus on active Twitter users. 

These are our Twitter metrics today:

  • Tweets - Over 2500 in 2015
  • Followers - 1,475 (averaging 100 new per month)
  • Following - 1,663
  • Link Clicks - Averaging 3 per day (This is where the rubber meets the road and shows our audience is clicking through to content we share - including our website and this blog.)
You can take a look at all of our  channels here. You'll notice an important component is the consistent branding and corporate identity across all channels.

Wenzel America Twitter



What does a marketing strategy based on "adding value" get you?


Today we’re getting a steady stream of sales opportunities via our multi-pronged marketing strategy. Based on the metrics we also think we’re adding value to our current customer base and email subscribers. We are constantly looking to evolve and adapt our message to what our customers and followers need and want and learn new things all the time.

The real test comes from what you think - What do you like about our content? 

Is there any type of content you’d like to see more of?

Anything you’d like us to stop doing? 

Is there a specific type of info you’d like us to start talking about? Anything we should change?

Let us know.

Our marketing, like everything we do at Wenzel America, is 100% focused on helping you do what you do - only better.







Wenzel America’s Year in Review

2015 has been a successful and interesting year for us at Wenzel America!
In looking back at the year that was, I would say there are 8 things that stand out:
  1. New Customers 
  2. New Partners 
  3. New Market segments 
  4. Becoming the 5-axis kings 
  5. Metrology Matters! 
  6. Social Media & Marketing that adds value 
  7. Good business - Always focus on Win/Win 
  8. Great team - Delivering great service 

A solid foundation keeps them coming back


It’s good business to have repeat customers and many of our orders this year came from existing Wenzel CMM users such as Whirlpool, GE, and Pratt & Whitney. It’s customers like these that give us a solid foundation and challenge us to continuously push the envelope in measurement technologies and always providing comprehensive service to even the largest enterprise companies.


Reaching out to new customers -- in a big way


But, the truth is there are not too many players out there who buy multiple CMM machines per year. It’s therefore our job to spread our message of precision metrology as far and as wide as possible to reach the tool shops and manufacturers who haven’t heard of us.

In such a vast geographical market - all North America, from Canada down to Mexico - we cannot know who all our potential customers are. And even if we could the question becomes, “how do we reach them?”

Well, we’ve been busy all year using some of the more ‘modern’ methods of getting our message out there – social media, blogs and the web. This has been an interesting challenge for our team and whilst we wouldn’t consider ourselves experts we have certainly learned a lot!


To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question


As we end 2015 we have 7 times the Twitter followers @WenzelAmerica than we had at the start. We focused a lot on re-tweeting industry information we thought added value to our followers plus some of our own Wenzel news. We are closing out the year with over 2,000 tweets! Not bad for a bunch of seasoned engineers.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s video worth?


We've added 20 new videos to our YouTube Channel this year, including 9 locally produced videos. 

Eight of the new videos were from our Metrology Matters Live! Open House in June. We had a great turn out for the Live event where we compared the capabilities of 7 systems on the same unique part. But the videos have racked up a nearly 1,400 views since! There’s no way we could have reached that many people through just an Open House.


Marketing that adds value -- all by itself


The material from that event also helped us to produce our 3rd white paper of the year  - A 7 Systems Analysis. It was a great team effort from the Wenzel America crew and our marketing partners at LeDuc Creative. We think we put on a great show, and apparently, so do you.

The next piece of our marketing tour de force is our Metrology Matters! Newsletter and the accompanying Blog, which you are obviously aware of - since you’re reading it now. This article and the 3 others we posted this week mark 50 total articles published in 2015!

Alongside these web-based marketing efforts we of course attended a number of industry trade shows and placed ads in important industry journals - but always with a tie back to our expanding Internet presence.


New partners - good business still depends on great people


Part of the solution for reaching all your potential customers must include the Internet, social media and attending your industry’s shows. But, no matter your business you’ve got to have people who can meet your needs on the ground. Without the help our sales and service partners we couldn’t deliver the level of service our customers need everywhere they are. This past year we’ve the pleasure of working with a new partner in the Northwest called Vantage Measurement, and their knowledge of the region, its needs and customers helps us reach people we otherwise would not. Even more breaking news on the sales partner front - just last week we signed on a new Midwest partner – watch this space for more news.


Styling studios are seeing the power of Wenzel’s experience


One of Wenzel’s strongest products is our styling studio solutions.  Our styling studio solutions are a combination of expertise producing good value horizontal arm CMMs plus a specialized DesCAD software built specifically to help clay modelers along with laser scanning, clay milling, and other accessories made for this unique application.

We cracked the U.S. market this year with orders from independent studios, makers of off-road vehicles, motorbike makers and truck manufacturers. We are delighted to be finally delivering Wenzel’s unique precision solutions here. 


Just call us “The 5 Axis Kings"


While we’ve been involved in 5 Axis Scanning from the very beginning, 2015 was our best year ever for delivering Renishaw REVO systems – we’ve delivered 10 so far and we expect more orders before the year’s end. Most of these deliveries were to traditional REVO customers in Aerospace and Automotive applications, but some went to new applications and sectors in metal spinning and long shaft measurement with the help of the surface finish attachment and the 800mm long RSP3 extensions.


REVO 2 brings a whole new range of accessories that open up even more applications for Renishaw’s game changer.


Good business - before & after the sale - always win/win


Our Aftermarket business has grown 15% in 2015 – we achieved that by offering high value for the money services and the most aggressive pricing on Renishaw accessories in the market. This has been real WIN/WIN/WIN - A win for us, a win for you, and a win for our partners at Renishaw.


A great year built by a great team that brought it all together


One of the things that gratifies me most about this past year is that we have maintained our staff here throughout 2015 – this proves to me that our people like working with our products and we’re a good company to work for. Of course we offer fair pay and top-end benefits, as we should but I think the part that helps us keep great people is their belief that working in a family-owned company is really like being part of the family.

We have ambitious targets for 2016, so stay tuned in! Our internal team and our partners look forward to working with you and all of our new customers delivering the Wenzel standard of machines and service while building the future - together.


Andy Woodward
President
Wenzel America

Metrology is a Team Sport and We’ve Got a “Deep Bench”

While, Wenzel America is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Wenzel Group in Wiesthal, Germany and we don’t manufacture the CMMs and metrology machines we sell, we do EVERYTHING short of that.

Primarily, you could view Wenzel America as a support organization for the factory - delivering state of the art metrology products made in the various Wenzel factories in Germany and around the world.

That said, we have the full capability to engineer and assemble any Wenzel-made machine and just about any other brand CMM in the industry.


Highly trained, International in scope - Wenzel America’s Engineering Team



Our “deep bench” of metrology experts includes some 35 very experienced and highly trained personnel. On our team roster are engineers who’ve come to us from Wenzel’s main German manufacturing facilities along with many other factory-trained engineers who went there to train.

In addition to those key players, our entire service team is also factory trained and certified by Renishaw on all of their products.

ISO Certifications and full life cycle services provided


Another key component of our support are quality systems approved under ISO 17025, which allows us to issue the Quality certifications you need.

In order to ensure customers keep winning with our products we also provide full life cycle services - starting at the front end to proof of concept application and contract inspection service all the way through CMM assembly, installation, maintenance and rebuild.

Not ready for a brand-new CMM, but still need modern metrology equipment - We’ve got you covered


Any team has a mix of superstar home-run hitters and reliable workhorses that just get hits - every time. The same goes for our product mix. The Aftermarket team buys, rebuilds and supplies used CMMs and all services needed to deliver the highest value best precision and accuracy for your dollar.

For your average tool shop these offerings give them superior inspection machines than what they could otherwise afford. It also means, when you are ready for a completely new Wenzel CMM you can get attractive offers for your trade-in.

Innovation solves CMM legacy issues every time


Additionally, because of our deep well of metrology knowledge and experience, we pride ourselves on offering innovative solutions to the legacy issues experienced by most of our customers when buying a new CMM.

CMM Support & service hotline - because breakdowns don’t stick to the schedule


Moving over to the service side we operate a Metrology Support Hot Line. By leveraging WebEx and our major-league service team can resolve most of our customer’s issues immediately without the needing to call in field service to save the game.
 

Combining this real time service with the renowned reliability and stability of the Wenzel machines makes for happy customers.

Just like today’s major league athletics teams depend on statistics and data to help them build winning clubs and beat their opponents we do the same with vital info about our customers’ metrology needs. A critical component of our service department is the meticulous records we maintain for all of our customers - details of all communications and service history that can be immediately viewed whenever you call in need of support.

Our Support Hot Line Manager, Mark Guest controls this whole data gathering process and talks to most customers personally when they have service issues. His vast knowledge of Wenzel CMMs and systems is matched by his personal commitment to solve any problem presented by a customer as quickly and permanently as possible.

He is also in constant real time communication with his technical peers at Wenzel Germany. Mark also maintains continuous communication channels with Renishaw’s Chicago service group and, through them, direct to Renishaw headquarters in the UK.

What this adds up to for you is the deepest bench of metrology experts in the industry. Through the power of this network you have access to the largest CMM support team in the world and yet with Mark here with you at the sharp end, you still get the personal service you’d expect from a family-owned company like Wenzel.


One of the most experienced applications & contract service teams anywhere


Our contract services team can cover a full range of CMM configurations and uses. From conventional touch and scanning systems to high speed Revo 5 Axis and PH20 5 Axis systems, they know them all.

For other inspection needs we have a whole range of optical and laser scanning systems both universal and dedicated optical production machines. The applications and contract services team can truly help identify the exact customer needs whether simple or complex.

We even offer cutting edge metrology with industrial CT or Computed Tomography. Our Applications Manager, Giles Gaskell talks about and regular demonstrates this a truly impressive and powerful product that has the computing power of six linked, quad cell computers! The level of inspection point clouds it offers is unrivaled.

This integral part of the Wenzel America team offers systems and contract services and proof-of-concept capabilities. We can provide the complete turnkey package including software required manipulate and handle these very large data files and complex geometries


Technical Know-how plus a sales team ready to handle any job - personally


In addition to all the technical know-how and the deepest bench of metrology experts you’ll find anywhere, our front-end sales and office staff is also large enough to handle any job that comes our way but we’re small enough to be friendly, attentive and truly helpful.

Ready to put us in, coach? Give us a call 248-295-4300 and ask for Andy, Steve, Drew, Patrick or Bryn.



Successful Companies Always Have Successful Partners & Customers

And for us... so does successful marketing.

When we started writing Metrology Matters at the beginning of 2015, we had one simple goal: To provide our readers with a better understanding of who Wenzel America is while delivering interesting content relative to manufacturing.

Maybe you can argue that’s two goals, but I say that if we do it right, they are one in the same.

Though we are very interested in all things CMM related, like our Granite, 5 Axis Probing Systems, and the intricacies of Fixturing, we realize that your world may not revolve around those things.

That’s why we’ve tried to include content that relates to other facets of manufacturing and industry, beyond Quality and black impala granite.

To do this, we’ve relied on guest contributors to help share information in areas where we may not be experts. These guests all represent companies, products, and technologies that contribute to the greater manufacturing world we live in. We asked them to participate because we thought their expertise had relevance to our customers, and because they just had great content!


Tech Financial Services - Helping You Finance Capital Equipment Purchases



Starting off in January we featured an interview with Matt Borman of Tech Financial Services. He shared highlights of leasing capital equipment, the pros and cons of leasing vs. buying including some of the reasons that leasing might make more sense for many buyers.

The information he shared was not only relevant to people interested in purchasing CMMs but for any capital equipment purchases you might be needing. Matt and his team had made the process very easy for our customers before we published his article and even more so since. To read more on the topic, Click Here.


Turbocam - Innovative 5-Axis Manufacturers



In February, we began a two part series featuring our customer TURBOCAM INTERNATIONAL. Because of their expertise in both 5-Axis machining and 5-axis scanning, we thought the team at TURBOCAM had a great story to tell about letting your manufacturing processes drive the technology you adopt throughout your plant.

They also explain how that approach can create a lasting impact on your productivity and ability to grow within your market. If you haven’t checked them out yet, you can find Turbocam Part One and Turbocam Part Two on the Wenzel America blog. You might just be inspired.


Fisher Unitech – Streamline Production with 3D Printing



Without a doubt, one of the most exciting areas of manufacturing right now is Additive Manufacturing, or as most people call it - 3D Printing. The applications and opportunities for innovation right now look pretty limitless. So we decided to partner with a local Michigan company, Fisher Unitech, to learn more about the 3D Printing world and how our metrology expertise fits in to its future.

In fact, we learned so much from them, we decided to partner for our open house, Metrology Matters Live! That crazy part you see in the videos was designed and manufactured by the team at Fisher Unitech to our unique specifications for our 7 Systems Analysis. The 3D printed part helped us to perform measurement comparisons that had never been done before. To learn how 3D Printing and additive manufacturing might relate to your business, check out our original post, How 3D printing could streamline your production floor.


Automation Alley – A Powerful Resource for Southeast Michigan Businesses



Another exciting partner story in 2015 was our collaboration with Automation Alley, a Southeastern Michigan business group whose mission is to grow the technology and manufacturing businesses of the region. One of their key initiatives this year has been providing start up support and guidance to young companies in the area. You can learn more about their support offerings in the article, What’s it mean to think locally and act globally?


Working with the team at “The Alley” has opened doors and provided opportunities to us that we would have been challenged to find otherwise, and has highlighted for us how important it is to be active in your local business community. We are fortunate to have Automation Alley here in SE Michigan but they are by no means the only group of their type. Every state and business hub in this country has similar groups that can offer resources, support, and networking opportunities to help you grow your company and your manufacturing community. Go find them! You won’t regret it.


Good partnerships - Guarantees mutual success


Finally, we dedicated numerous posts this year to the products, services, and support provided by our most trusted partners - Our Sales Reps, our Gear partner, Liebherr, and, of course, Renishaw

These partnerships are very important to the continued success we have enjoyed and our growth in the future. But, they are also companies that provide services and products our customers need beyond CMMs and metrology. They all have other facets to their business that we think make them worth knowing for you.

Everything from; calibration services, equipment, and automation systems to tools and accessories for your manufacturing floor - Our partners can make a difference in your processes.

So here’s a special shout out and thanks to our contributors, partners and colleagues who helped make this a most successful year for Wenzel America.

And Thank You - our readers too!

Whether you’re a customer or you’re just enjoying our content - hopefully we’ve succeeded in providing you with some new ideas or insights while showing you who we are at Wenzel America. We hope that the info we provide is engaging and relevant to the challenges you face in your shop and we hope you keep coming back to learn more. See you in 2016!



Thursday, November 19, 2015

Success in the Marketplace - It’s NOT Just About the Economic Indicators

by Andy Woodward

Current economic indicators in manufacturing are at the lowest levels for years, but why do Wenzel America sales continue to grow?

Is it products, market sectors served, our focus or our ‘family approach’ or might it be a combination of all of these factors?
The purchasing managers’ index sits at 50.1 in October – this is the lowest value since May of 2013. The only time it fell to below 50 (indicating a recessionary forecast) in the last 5 years was in November of 2012. So there’s not too much optimism about short-term future expenditure out there.

The USMTO reported the lowest quarterly orders for Q3 2015 since the recession of 2008/9 also and in some parts of the country the order acquisition is at historically low levels – the South-Central region (which includes Texas) has been hit particularly badly.

Both Gardner Business media and the USMTO are forecasting that machine tool sales will be down in the region of 16 or 17% in 2016 when compared to 2015.

So why is it that is these quite uncertain times that Wenzel America continues to thrive and grow? I believe it's a combination of factors


FOCUS :

I think we understand our products well and we understand in which sectors we sell well compared to our competitors. We sell REVO CMM’s and CORE-DS high speed, optical scanning systems to aero engine manufacturers, we sell solidly-built, mechanically accurate, granite CMM’s to job shops and we sell good value horizontal arm machines to sheet metal pressing companies and styling studios. We know where we can be successful and we stick to our job. Our target customer base is doing well which is good for us, but we target them for this reason too.

GEOGRAPHY :

We know where our customers and potential customers are and we go and visit them to explain what we can offer them.


PRODUCTS :

We have products that stand up well to the requirements of our target customers. We show them the pay back and most times they buy from us.

FAMILY :

Perhaps customers trust a family-owned company to stick to the job when times get a little tougher. Maybe they understand that we are in it for the long haul and we won’t cut back or shy away from our responsibilities.

All of the above are contributing factors to our continued success, but I think most of all it reminds me of a mantra we used to use a while back in the Wenzel family – “Wenzel – big enough to support you, but small enough to care”.