The Working Man’s Holiday

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter As any salesman, engineer or manufacturer will tell you: marketing has it rough. Done laughing? Well, here at Sonnhalter, we added a new twist to our vacation plan. Our team members now get one extra day of vacation, no matter their time with the company. The catch? You have to take it on a B2T (Business-to-Trade) holiday. What’s that? As you’ve probably noticed from your social media feed, almost every day has some “official” holiday designation. National Left-Hander’s Day (August 13), National Look Up at the Sky Day (April 14), Cookie Cutter Week (December 1-7). But what you might not know is there are an abundance of days dedicated to the skilled trades, like: 11981read more >

LinkedIn Groups: Your Blog Away From Blog

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter According to a recent survey from The Content Marketing Institute 89% of B2B Marketers use LinkedIn as a way to distribute content. But if a potential customer isn’t already following you, all you’re doing by posting it to your company page is having a closed conversation with friends. While that’s good for strengthening relationships, it’s not an effective strategy for growing business, brand or thought leadership in your industry. So, short of requiring all employees to share everything you post, what’s a marketer to do? Join Groups. If you’re not familiar with them, LinkedIn Groups are smaller "communities within the larger LinkedIn community where people and companies can connect by shared interest rather than work or personal connections." The advantage here is that instead of waiting for people to find you or your company, you can use your industry, process or other qualities to go out and find them. How do you find the right group, and what do you do once you’ve found them? A lot of things you’re already doing. 12124read more >

They Really Are Worth a Thousand Words

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter Use images on your website to de-clutter, increase SEO and tell a better story. One of the biggest pitfalls in manufacturers' websites (and trade shows, and product literature and more) is the overriding desire to SAY TOO MUCH. And it’s easy to see why. Most manufacturing companies are led by Engineering or Sales. Both of these disciplines are highly verbal. You want to talk about how great a new process or product is in order to show the leap you’ve made in innovation. You want to make sure the customer has all the information in order to close the deal. The problem becomes that marketing, and effective electronic communications, are becoming increasingly visual. Part of it is screen size. More than half of all internet use is by devices other than computers, the vast majority of which have screens smaller than a laptop. And some of it is just the pace and speed at which web browsers now expect information to be presented to them in the instant search era we live in. So, it’s imperative to get your value proposition across in less time than it will take someone to hit the back button and open the next search result. 12049read more >

Hands-on Marketing or Boring Booth. You Decide.

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter We’re in the thick of trade show season, and that brings up the age-old argument: Are they worth going to? The ROI of a trade show can be the trickiest equation to manage. Very few feature direct sales, and how do you prove that a sale 6 months from now had anything to do with a 10 by 20 booth? The short answer? You can’t. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go, just that you should make the most of your customer’s experience. I just finished reading a great article from Greg Zehe, from GES. It’s his review of a couple of standout booths at this year's CES and how they succeeded through “hands-on marketing." And it reminded me of some of the other key strategies to ensure your booth is a stand-out: 11983read more >

Spread the Buzz, Spoil the Game

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter Another Super Bowl, er, I mean Big Game is in the books, and like last year, we want to take a look at the ads through the lens of B2T. Are there any lessons? Probably, let’s go to the tape! You Can Protect Your Brand Too Much The NFL is notorious for protecting the brand name “Super Bowl.” In fact, I should probably trademark that last sentence, add a disclaimer about how it’s the property of the NFL and let you know that any rebroadcast without the express written consent of the NFL will have lawyers flying at you like DB’s at the QB. 11997read more >

Not Real, But Reality

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter By now, if you have a presence on social media, and are involved in sales or marketing, you’ve seen this: Well, bad news. "Fourth" isn’t spelled that way The National Sales Executive Association doesn’t exist There’s no study to be found that supports any of these statistics There’s a great blog here that goes in to more detail. But I’d rather focus on something else: Why do we want this to be real? 11937read more >

AHR Expo Heats up Vegas (and probably cools it down)

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter The AHR Expo, the preeminent trade show for the HVAC industry is right around the corner. The show runs from January 30th to February 1st at the Las Vegas Convention Center. AHR just released an optimistic 2017 forecast, based on interviews with more than 1,400 HVACR manufacturers. Because of that, this year’s show promises to be an exciting and educational affair. Here's what you can expect: Over 2,000 exhibitors in 764 product categories More than 60,000 people expected to attend 200+ education seminars and product demonstrations ASHRAE Learning Institute Courses and Certification exams An innovative mobile app complete with agenda maker, interactive floor plan and more features Of course Las Vegas has no end of off-the-show-floor options. If you need help finding best in dining, nightlife and sightseeing, check out the recently updated Sonnhalter Insider’s Guide to Las Vegas.read more >

Making a Thought Leader

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter “Free advertising,” who doesn’t want that? One of the best side effects of the boom in content marketing is the growth of brand-neutral trade magazine articles. Pay-for-play has been relegated to the back burner as more and more publications see the benefit of offering knowledge-based problem solving articles. That’s also an offshoot of the lack of skilled workers, as more and more knowledge retires, there’s an increased need to transfer that knowledge. With less opportunity for direct, apprentice-based, transfer, white papers, problem solving articles and general knowledge pieces gain added importance. So, how can your company benefit? Create thought leaders. A bragging title most people would reject, it can still help you promote your business and create a knowledge warehouse. How to Create Thought Leaders 11927read more >

Design and Construction Week is On in Orlando

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter After four year in Vegas, the NAHB International Builder’s Show and the HKBA’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show move to central Florida for Design & Construction Week . A must-attend event for the industry, these co-located shows continue to be at the forefront of innovation, with more than 2,000 exhibitors and hundreds of education sessions. Here are a few highlights: 11865read more >

Outside-the-Box Solutions for Workforce Development

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter “Train your people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so that they don’t want to.” -Richard Branson A column I just read brought that quote to mind. Jack Schron, the President of Jergens recently wrote “Grey Matters Matter” for Production Machining magazine. It’s a great piece, and I highly recommend reading the full text. Mr. Schron focuses on the fact that without a skilled workforce, all the advanced machining, Internet of Things (iOT) and new advances in precision machining are worthless. And the best way to achieve that skilled workforce is through good old experiential rather than textbook learning. And with the advances and costs, that type of training can’t be achieved by just manufacturers, or just trade schools, or any one affected segment. It requires all of them, working together to create state of the art Technical Centers. And that additionally, it required companies, vendors and partners willing to think outside the box and re-examine processes. Find out one way Jergens has accomplished this by checking out their Fastforward™ Machining Center.read more >