Amazed at the number of views a recent blog post of mine (The Five Biggest Myths in Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) Sales and Marketing) received, I expanded on the topic in my August Circuits Assembly column:
EMS companies typically fit into one of three categories:
- Those that have excellent marketing and make every dollar count.
- Those that have a marketing budget and waste money without a clear plan.
- Those that depend entirely on the sales team for marketing.
Not surprisingly, the companies in the first category have the biggest budgets and likely get the best return on investment. Why? Because, like sales, marketing in EMS is a numbers game. People have to be exposed to a message five to seven times before they remember seeing it at all. Develop a marketing plan that schedules a series of activities promoting a consistent message over the course of a year, and your market will remember seeing it. Buy a single ad, book at the last minute at a local trade show, or post an occasional message on your LinkedIn page, and you’ll be in the crowd that complains marketing doesn’t work. Put the entire load on sales and you’ll have a frustrated, overworked team with marginal results.
Read the full article.
Here are the five biggest myths in electronics manufacturing services (EMS) sales and marketing:
Myth 1 – Cold calling works: Years ago a large magazine publisher used to run an ad with an unfriendly buyer and the headline, “I don’t know you. I don’t know your company. I don’t know your product. Now, what are you trying to sell me?” Today that buyer screens phone calls and deletes unsolicited emails. A good marketing campaign that highlights the common problems your company regularly solves can help get through that automated gatekeeping. Otherwise, cold calling is an inefficient use of sales team time.
Myth 2 – Your website should make it easy for prospects to download all your company information: Outsourcing is a relationship sell. If you make easy for someone to visit your website and download your brochure, equipment list and all other facts about your company, then they don’t need to contact sales and request more information. Meanwhile, your competition’s sales team is building a relationship.
Myth 3 – Marketing is unnecessary: Back in the 80s, most EMS companies did business through engineering networking. Now that the industry is much larger and competition has also grown; getting your company’s name out is important. That doesn’t necessarily have to translate to huge budgets, but you do need a strategy focused messages that are timed to repeat at specific intervals. With no marketing, your competitors will position your company to their advantage.
Myth 4 – Copy the Competition: In the absence of differentiation, prospects focus on price. You want prospects to focus on the specific benefits your company offers.
Myth 5 – Sell the sizzle, not the steak: Ask most successful EMS companies what clenches the deal and they’ll say it is their plant tour. The main reason that is true is because outsourcing decision makers can lose their jobs if the contractor doesn’t perform. Your marketing should sell your competencies and your plant tour should demonstrate how well you walk that talk. Too much focus on sizzle without substance may actually turn buyers off.
For over a decade, Powell-Mucha Consulting, Inc. has helped EMS companies develop marketing strategies that work and fit their budgets. Visit http://www.powell-muchaconsulting.com to learn more.
Electronics manufacturing services (EMS) is an educated sell to a cross-functional team that goes in and out of ready-to-buy mode. What does all that jargon mean? Basically, you need to have a range of messages that are strategically timed to regularly reach your market. With that in mind, here are the top five things your marketing program should do:
#1: Make Every Dollar Count – EMS is a low margin industry and there is a relatively small target market. Programs should be tailored to reach the audience relevant to EMS vs. the world at large.
#2: Create Awareness and Preference for Your Brand of EMS – No one EMS provider is good at all things. What do your customers think your company does well? Every message and image should reflect that brand.
#3: Get the Right Kind of Attention – What keeps your customers up at night? The best programs promote an EMS provider’s ability to solve critical customer challenges. And, since it is a cross-functional decision team, there should be a range of messages that appeal across the team vs. simply to purchasing.
#4: Make the Sales Team More Productive – Advertising won’t close sales, but it can help identify the prospects worth spending time with. Cold calling and sitting in lobbies hoping to catch a decision maker is an inefficient use of sales force time.
#5: Help You Keep Mindshare – How many times has a prospect told you he isn’t looking and then a few months later given business to your competitor? A good program schedules communications at regular intervals to keep in touch. That type of program also reminds prospects who are ready to talk about their challenges that you can solve their needs. A marketing program with good mindshare maintenance activities can force multiply your sales team by identifying prospects who are entering ready-to-buy mode.
If your marketing program isn’t doing those five things, visit http://www.powell-muchaconsulting.com to learn more about our services.
Years ago when I was giving a seminar on EMS Competitive Advantage at SMTAI, a person working at an OEM had also signed up. When I asked why he was registering for what was essentially a marketing class for EMS companies, he told me he wanted to hear what I was telling EMS companies about marketing. He’d been disappointed by companies who couldn’t walk their talk and basically wanted to see if I was telling companies to overstate their capabilities. The short answer was that I wasn’t. The EMS industry is selling a service-based relationship. Marketing efforts that focus on undeliverable promises do more harm than good. My February article in Circuits Assembly looks at the challenge of providing points of differentiation that track to deliverable customer benefits.
It appears my publisher is joining the rest of the retail industry in starting sales early. Only theirs is also finishing early. If you’ve wanted a copy of “Find It. Book It. Grow It. A Robust Strategy for Account Acquisition in Electronics Manufacturing Services,” but felt the price was too high, now is your chance. Pennwell Books is running its end of the year sale between now and the end of November and the book is now $25. Here is the ordering link:
Have a great Thanksgiving!
The more satisfied your customers, the more difficult it can be to get them to return a customer satisfaction survey. My column this month in Circuits Assembly discusses ways to improve that.
Mike Buetow, Circuits Assembly’s Editor-in-Chief, and I are changing up the format in this year’s Contract Manufacturing-focused session to focus more closely on industry trends and roadmaps.
Seamless Sourcing Teams: Best Practices in Information Exchange
Chair: Susan Mucha, Powell-Mucha Consulting, Inc.
Co-Chair: Mike Buetow, UP Media Group
Place: SMTA International in Ft. Worth, TX
Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 10:30 am – 1 pm, Room 203C
Synopsis: The quality of IT solutions and internal processes for optimizing production efficiency continue to grow in importance in the outsourcing equation. This session looks at trends and best practices in managing design reviews, production documentation, and material and production status. The session includes a range of perspectives reflecting both supplier solutions and iNEMI’s 2013 Information Management Systems Roadmap.
- Best Practices for Improving the PCB Supply Chain, Cheryl Tulkoff and Craig Hillman, Ph.D., DfR Soultions
- Accountability Structure in a Contract Manufacturing Engineering Department, Mike Gerner, Plexus Corp.
- Developing a Knowledge Based Risk Identification System for Sophisticated SMT Assembly Design and Development, Jingsong Xie, Ph.D., RelEng Technologies, Inc.
- Managing Information Across the Supply Chain: Highlights from the iNEMI Roadmap, Barbara Goldstein, National Institute of Standards and Technology
To register visit: http://smta.org/smtai/register.cfm.
In the February issue of Circuits Assembly, my column looks at trends in process efficiency in the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) industry. If I were to point out a single trend in EMS, it would be that range of software solutions that help EMS companies better manage their processes in real-time continues to grow and have dropped enough in price that even smaller, regionally-focused companies are adopting them. View the article for a discussion of the four areas that companies are choosing to improve via these tools.
Scottish author and reformer Samuel Smiles once said, “the spirit of self-help is the root of all genuine growth in the individual.” I strongly believe that and in my August Circuits Assembly column discuss the model the late Olin King used at SCI Systems, Inc. to foster a culture of opportunity for those willing to put in the extra hours to take advantage of those benefits.
While there is room for debate on King’s management style, I suspect that if back in the 80s entrepreneurs at more large manufacturing concerns had worked as closely with their local and state resources as King did, we might have better trained workforces, education systems that worked and a lot less government bureaucracy tied to job creation. The tuition refund program described in the column would be impossible for any company to afford now that universities have grown into bloated bureaucracies more worried about achieving academic or athletic bragging rights than educating students at an affordable cost. Similarly, many public job creation initiatives require companies to spend inordinate amounts of time on paperwork for relatively minor cost offsets, have multiple approval cycles that create unworkable lead-time or worse offer funding that unexpectedly runs out.
That said, I recognize that some EMS companies still find ways to offer employee benefits for self-improvement, in spite of the industry’s slim margins. I periodically write columns that highlight that point and given the fact that “outsourcing” is now a political wedge issue, will likely focus on the contributions EMS companies make to their local communities in column in the near future. So, if your company has a benefit program designed to increase worker skills (whether job-related or just for pure self-improvement), feel free to drop me an email or comment on this post. I’ll get back to you to discuss it in more detail before I write that column.