Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Lesson behind AP's 'Email' Change

Sayonara, superfluous hyphens and spaces. The Associated Press has finally acknowledged prevailing use of “email” and “cellphone” as compound nouns.

Silly and insignificant as this development may seem to some people, last week’s AP style changes hold a good lesson for any marketing communications professional.

It’s about more than punctuation dictates. It’s about communicating clearly to your audiences. And that starts with using the same words, in the same way they do. As terminology and technology evolve, you have to keep up to stay in the conversation.

A little caution is necessary, however: Jumping on every latest buzzword bandwagon also risks alienating and confusing audiences (or just seeming desperate).

As much as I might mock the AP for being unhip, there’s something to be said for their measured approach of waiting a while to see what sticks. And so it's “email,” at last—until email itself no longer exists, I suppose.

Friday, March 18, 2011

3 Reasons not to Abandon In-Person for Online

Don’t get us wrong: You definitely should be taking advantage of social media and other online channels to reach target customers cost effectively.

But an article in the latest issue of B2B Magazine is a good reminder of the importance of the flip side to these virtual interactions—real-life, face-to-face meetings.

Despite the considerable cost advantages of digital, every marketer needs to understand the value of balancing online and in the flesh. Whether at a tradeshow, a focus group or a lunch meeting, here are just a few reasons why in person is still in vogue:

· Clear communication. Tone and context can sometimes be lost in virtual interaction. People understand so much better when you can look 'em in the eye.

· Candid insights. Sitting down with customers (or potential customers) will yield more candid responses—especially beneficial when conducting research or building relationships.

· Undivided attention. People are far more likely to multitask in virtual encounters. Meeting them face to face demands their attention, increasing openness and recall.

There’s probably no better day than Friday to catch a potential customer in a good mood, so go ahead and set something up today.

Friday, March 11, 2011

3 SH Clients Earn Awards for Excellence

We’re generally a pretty happy group, especially on Fridays. And right now, we couldn’t be happier, as good client news keeps rolling in. Here’s a trio of shout-outs:

  • Plastikos Inc., for winning Plastics News Processor of the Year. Just a few reasons this custom injection molder brought in the big prize: 60% increase in customer base, 45% increase in sales and a 99.6% order-perfection rate.
  • Dickten Masch Plastics, the 2010 Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year. A custom thermoplastics and thermoset molder, DMP took home the award in the large company category for achievements including 20% top-line growth last year and adding 139 new jobs and $10 million in new business.
  • DME Company, for making the Quality Leadership 100. The global mold technologies leader earned this top-performer distinction based on scrap and rework as a percentage of sales, rejected parts per million shipped and registration in various standards, among other criteria.

Plastikos, DMP and DME—just three of the great companies we serve who are leading our economy forward. It’s an honor to work with every one!

Friday, March 4, 2011

B2B Research Insight #2: Win by Out-Recruiting the Rest

How will you make sure your organization has the talent you need to succeed, today and in the future?

If you’re like many of the 310 B2B executives we talked to recently as part of a plastics industry research project, chances are you’re not quite sure.

Of our research participants, 71.6% said recruiting and retaining talent is very important to the future of their business. But only 40.5% think they’re doing a good job of that right now. Do a better job, and your company will gain an edge in the intensifying competition for talent.

That’s one of many opportunities and trends uncovered by our research, including:

  • Steps companies have taken to strengthen their businesses, from improving operational efficiencies to expanding products and entering new geographies.
  • How companies are communicating the improvements they’ve made to both their employees and the marketplace, and how effective their communications are.

The full report, which we’ll be presenting next week at the Plastics News Executive Forum, is packed with interesting and at times surprising data for all B2B marketers.

You’ll soon have a chance to get a copy of the research report, so stay tuned.