The Thomas Blog

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Manufacturing and Industrial

The Men Behind The Maps: How Beer Cap Maps Became A Reality

Every day, more than 40,000 B2B purchase decision makers visit Thomasnet.com to source products and services and find a new supplier.

Those purchase decision makers include two engineers from Wisconsin, who recently discovered Jonco Industries, Inc, a full-service industrial supplier. Together, they created an awesome Made In America product — The Beer Cap Map — which has been a huge hit for craft beer lovers and road trippers throughout the country.

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Chat Bots
Lead Conversion

Bots Vs. Forms: An Evolution Of Lead Generation

When it comes to digital marketing, capturing leads is the ultimate goal. Always has been, always will be. How those leads are being captured, however, is changing right before our eyes. 

Contact forms — which have been the dominant lead capture tool since the days of dial up  now have some new competition: chatbots. But the fact is, industrial marketers don't need to choose between forms or bots; they just need to know how they differ, and how to use them both effectively. 

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Manufascinating Instagram
Social Media

The Social Media Accounts You Should Be Following

In the digital age, the shop floor isn't the only place that manufacturing puts in work. Today, many industrial companies are incredibly active on social media, sharing their stories and interacting with fans and followers. If you want to get in on the conversation, or see how a manufacturing company can effectively leverage social media, these are the accounts you want to follow. 

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Industrial Marketing Halloween
Content Marketing

Industrial Marketing: Trick Or Treat?

As a kid, one of the best parts of Halloween came at the end of the night, when you would rush home and dump out your bag of goodies to see what you got. Of course, you hoped that your bounty contained tons of your favorite treats. But inevitably, hidden amongst the chocolate bars and fruit snacks, you'd come across something truly terrifying — like spare change or a pencil sharpener. What a letdown!

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Sonic Branding
Business Tips

Branding With Sound And Music

Sound is a powerful tool that can stimulate certain emotions and trigger a sense of connection. It has been used in broadcast advertisements forever, incorporated into jingles that you can't seem to shake from your brain.

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Industrial Brand
Business Tips

How To Build Your Manufacturing Brand

Have you ever asked someone for a Q-Tip? Or put your garbage in a Dumpster? Or cooked up dinner on your Teflon-coated pan? These brand names are a common part of our everyday vocabulary, and they illustrate how powerful strong branding can be.

While your company may not become a household name, you can leverage branding to create a stronger association between who you are and what you offer, giving you an advantage over your competition. 

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USMCA Supply Chain
Trends

What Does The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Mean For The Supply Chain?

Late Sunday evening, the United States, Mexico, and Canada finalized the parameters of a new trade deal — the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. The USMCA, which still needs to be formally ratified by each country, would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

While it is not expected to go into effect until 2020, manufacturers and buyers in North America will undoubtedly begin to feel its effects very soon.

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Industrial Marketing With Quora
Content Marketing

How To Grow Your Manufacturing Business By Connecting With Engineers On Quora

Quora, the social media platform where people ask and answer questions, challenges the old saying that no one likes a know-it-all. Active community members (you can call them "Quorans" if you want) have earned the respect and deference of their peers by providing thoughtful and useful responses that demonstrate skill, experience and wisdom. There are thousands of influencers who have built a following on the network by regularly engaging with threads related to their passions and areas of expertise.

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Supply Chain

Getting To Know The Future Of Supply Chain

The fact is that the procurement and supply chain profession is in the midst of a revolution, getting more global, analytical, and tech-savvy than ever before. It’s also getting younger — 40% of the buyers on the Thomas Network at Thomasnet.com are between the ages of 18 and 34.

This emerging generation of professionals aren’t just up-and-comers — they’ve arrived. Many are in leadership positions, heading up initiatives and driving discussions on the other side of your negotiating table. Knowing what makes them tick can help you forge better relationships with these important players in the supply chain.

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Manufacturing Pay Per Click
SEM/PPC

Display vs. Search vs. Social Ads in PPC Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has become a popular — and effective — marketing tool for many manufacturing companies. 

However, if you're new to PPC, it's important to know that there are several disciplines that fall underneath the PPC umbrella. Understanding the differences and figuring out which industrial PPC strategy will work best for your company isn’t always easy or straightforward. We’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages to each below.

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Marketing Myths
Social Media

The Worst Industrial Marketing Advice We’ve Ever Heard

There’s a ton of bad industrial marketing advice out there. We’ve heard it all, from our competitors, your competitors, and even some of our customers. In today’s “age of information,” in which everyone and their grandma’s aunt has an opinion and a platform on which to share it, finding legitimate, proven industrial marketing advice can be tricky.

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SEO Myths
SEO

6 SEO Myths You Can Ignore

For many industrial companies, search engine optimization (SEO) is still shrouded in mystery. It’s understandable — the rules and “best practices” are ever-evolving, shifting constantly as new technologies and trends come and go. It’s no surprise, then, that there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding SEO.

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Emotional Connections through Data
Emotional Connection

Making Emotional Connections Through Data

Appealing to an audience through marketing often requires connecting with them at an emotional level; emotions are a huge influence on consumer decisions when purchasing a product or service. With this in mind, marketers must create messaging that will not only engage their audience but will also make the message feel more personal.

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Impact-Live-2018
Marketing Advice

5 Takeaways From IMPACT Live 2018

This year’s IMPACT Live event was, as the name implies, impactful. The two-day conference, held in Hartford, Connecticut, brought together 500+ marketing, sales, and business professionals, all there to learn from some of the best in the industry while preparing for the future of inbound marketing.

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Industrial-Marketing-LinkedIn
Social Media

How To Not Be Annoying On LinkedIn

In the ever-changing social media landscape, LinkedIn has proven to be a trusted resource for professionals in every industry. As such, it can be a great tool for networking, keeping in touch with old colleagues, recruiting new employees, finding job opportunities, and showcasing your professional knowledge and experience, particularly for those working in industrial marketing.

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Spam-Filters
Email Marketing

Best Practices for Steering Clear of Spam Filters

Email filters represent one of the biggest challenges faced by email marketing campaigns today. Every email sent undergoes a multitude of filtering processes, each one making it increasingly likely that your email will not reach its intended target. To make your email campaign more successful, it’s important to understand how spam filters work and how you can work with them to ensure your message gets to where it needs to be.

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Manufacturing Cyberattacks
Business Tips

The 5 Big Cybersecurity Risks Faced By Small Businesses

Over the past few years, some of the biggest brands in the world — Facebook, eBay, Target, Equifax, and many others — have become the victims of highly publicized, and extremely costly, cyberattacks. While these brazen attacks on big businesses garner a lot of media attention, the truth is that small- and medium-sized businesses are actually the biggest victims of cybercrimes and data breaches.

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Email Marketing

5 Tips for Writing Effective Email Subject Lines

The subject line’s job is simple: Get the reader to open the email.

On average, 33 percent of recipients open emails based on subject line, so it’s incredibly important to get it right — because even the most enticing email in the world won’t matter if the reader ignores it.

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There’s plenty of insight and data across the web on best practices for email marketing, but I wanted to highlight five key tips to help you write an attractive subject line that will draw in the reader.

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Southeast
Trends

Southeast U.S. Industrial Buying Trends

If you are a manufacturer or industrial supplier that serves the Southeastern United States, wouldn't it be great to know what buyers in your region are looking for? This way, instead of anticipating their needs, you can be meeting their needs — and winning their business.

Thomas recently examined buyer behavior data generated on Thomasnet.com to uncover supply chain trends in Southeast U.S. If you provide industrial products or services in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Tennessee, this information could prove pivotal in connecting with more buyers. 

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Inbound Marketing vs Traditional Marketing
Marketing Strategy

Stop Interrupting And Start Selling

Industrial marketing and advertising have a come long way over the years. In the past, buyers were relatively uninformed about their options; they simply didn’t have access to the wealth of information they do now. They couldn’t turn to Google for company reviews and testimonials, and they couldn’t access company websites for easy comparison, quote requests, and general industry information.

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Disruption In Manufacturing
Business Tips

Can Disruptive Technologies Lead To Disruption For Your Business?

As new technologies emerge, new possibilities for disruption do as well. Smartphones and apps enabled Uber and Lyft to disrupt the staid taxi business, while the widespread availability of high-speed Internet allowed Netflix to bury Blockbuster and, ultimately, become one of the most profitable companies in the world. Even brick-and-mortar industries, like hotels and hospitality, aren’t immune to disruption, as evidenced the growing popularity of Airbnb.

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Marketing Strategy

7 Project Management Tools For Industrial Marketing

Getting started with inbound industrial marketing is a challenge, to be sure, but keeping everything organized and well-scheduled is a job of its own. So how can you keep your website updates, content development, email marketing, and other initiatives in order? Better still, how can you keep them in order without losing your sanity?

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Manufacturing IP
Business Tips

Is Your Intellectual Property At Risk?

Industry 4.0 has revolutionized the manufacturing and industrial space by introducing new technologies, making it possible to enhance productivity, visibility, connectivity, and profitability like never before.

However, along with the technology, Industry 4.0 has also introduced plenty of new risks as well. Chief among these growing threats is the potential theft of your intellectual property (IP).

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Pittsburgh Buying Trends
Trends

Pittsburgh Industrial/B2B Buying Trends

If you are a manufacturer or industrial supplier that serves the Pittsburgh area, wouldn't it be great to know what buyers in your region are looking for? This way, instead of anticipating their needs, you can be meeting their needs — and winning their business.

Thomas recently examined buyer behavior data generated on Thomasnet.com to uncover supply chain trends in Pittsburgh. If you provide industrial products or services in Pittsburgh, or other cities within Pennsylvania, this information could prove pivotal in connecting with more buyers. 

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Industry 4.0 Adoption
Industry 4.0

How To Adopt Industry 4.0 In Your Shop

Fueled by new technology like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Big Data, Industry 4.0 offers tremendous potential for improving operational efficiency and spurring growth. However, many manufacturers perceive Industry 4.0 adoption as more of an obligation than an opportunity, something to be relegated to an IT department rather than presented as a strategic, company-wide initiative.

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Wisconsin Picture
Trends

Wisconsin Industrial/B2B Buying Trends

If you are a manufacturer or industrial supplier that serves the Wisconsin area, wouldn't it be great to know what buyers in your region are looking for? This way, instead of anticipating their needs, you can be meeting their needs — and winning their business.

Thomas recently examined buyer behavior data generated on Thomasnet.com to uncover supply chain trends in Wisconsin. If you provide industrial products or services in Madison, Green Bay, Eau Claire, or other cities within the state, this information could prove pivotal in connecting with more buyers. 

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Industry 4.0

Building An Industry 4.0 Workforce

With the introduction of new technologies, Industry 4.0 has changed how manufacturing works. As a result, it’s also changed who is needed to work within the industry. While traditional skills like machining and tooling are tremendously valuable, manufacturers now require employees with proficiency in fields like augmented reality, big data, and robotics, to get the most out of all the new technology.

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Manufacturing Webinars
Content Marketing

Are Webinars Worth It?

To keep up in today’s increasingly competitive industrial landscape, companies must constantly be looking for additional ways to reach their target audiences. Webinars, in particular, allow brands to connect with clients — and potential clients — on a personal level while establishing the business as a knowledgeable industry leader.

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Marketing Blogs
Marketing Strategy

7 Marketing Blogs Worth Your Follow

In the constantly-changing landscape of today’s digital world, it’s important to stay current with industrial marketing trends. Factor in the growing number of marketing agencies, each offering their own (in some cases … questionable) advice, and it gets increasingly difficult to discern the useful marketing guidance from the rest of the distracting industry chatter.

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Social Media Content Mix
Social Media

Achieving The Right Mix Of Social Media Content For Manufacturing Marketing

Playing an increasingly important role in today’s digital industrial marketing landscape, social media allows industrial professionals to meaningfully connect with their existing client base and showcase their expertise while attracting new prospects.

Posting regularly on social media is paramount to gaining broader brand awareness and positioning yourself as a knowledgeable industry leader. But just being on a social media platform isn’t enough. Even staying active isn’t enough. To really get the most out of social media, you need to truly engage your audience.

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Trends

Florida Industrial/B2B Buying Trends

What are the most in-demand industrial products and services in Florida? What are buyers based in the state looking for when searching for new suppliers? And how do local supply chain trends stack up against buying behavior nationwide?

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Website Design

Last Call For GDPR Compliance

The May 25 deadline for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance is fast approaching. If you offer your products or services in the European Union, or even if you merely possess data on residents from the EU in your contact database, the regulations could impact your business.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

3 Financial Pitfalls Every Manufacturer Should Avoid

The manufacturing industry is largely comprised of small businesses. In fact, according to the latest information from the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 98 percent of manufacturing companies in the U.S. are considered to be small (with fewer than 500 employees). Further still, nearly 75 percent of manufacturing companies actually have fewer than 20 employees. 

Within these smaller organizations, financial decisions always loom incredibly large. Every dollar counts, and one misstep can have disastrous consequences. That's why it's important to steer clear of these common pitfalls. 

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Manufacturing Marketing Mistakes
Website Design

The 4 Common Mistakes You’re Making With Your Manufacturing Website

How many websites have you visited in the past year? Probably a lot. Perhaps you searched for travel deals, or hunted for a left-handed can opener, or maybe you were scouting out the competition in your industrial manufacturing space. In any case, consider the amount of time you wasted attempting to navigate sites that weren’t professionally — or sometimes even coherently — designed. Chances are you didn’t bother returning.

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Industrial Marketing Differentiators
Content Marketing

How to Differentiate Yourself From the Competition

The primary goal of an industrial content marketing strategy is to get your company noticed and grab the attention of potential customers. To do that, you have to differentiate yourself. But, of course, your competition is trying to accomplish the exact same thing. So with everyone striving to stand out, how do you actually get that done? You need the right approach to digital marketing, and you need to tailor your efforts to match your unique goals and needs. But what does that entail?

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TexasCover2
Trends

Texas Industrial/B2B Buying Trends

What are industrial and B2B buyers in Texas looking for right now?

As a supplier, knowing the answer to this question can be incredibly powerful. By understanding which products and services are in demand, you can put your company in prime position to connect with new buyers. 

Thomas recently examined buyer behavior data generated on Thomasnet.com to uncover supply chain trends in Texas. If you provide products or services in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, or other cities within the state, this data can give you a distinct competitive advantage. 

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Manufacturing Website Update
Website Design

6 Quick Fixes For Your Manufacturing Website

It’s no secret that your website is the most important aspect of your digital marketing strategy. But are you taking the time to continually optimize its pages and features? Maybe you don’t have the budget for a full redesign, or don’t require such a drastic change right now, but even just a few simple tweaks can go a long way in boosting site traffic and engagement.

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Manufacturing Marketing Mobile Apps
Business Tips

10 Awesome Mobile Apps For Industrial Marketers

By now, most industrial and manufacturing companies understand the importance of optimizing their digital marketing campaigns for all types of mobile devices. Your buyers access information anytime, anywhere, so all of your content must be able to be easily accessed, viewed, and navigated across a variety of devices. But are you yourself optimized for mobile? Does your team have the resources to get work done while on the go?

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Email Marketing Open Rates
Email Marketing

5 Ways To Increase Your Email Open Rates

If you’re putting any amount of time and effort into your email marketing campaigns, chances are you’re paying attention to whether people are actually opening the emails you’re sending. After all, if no one is reading your messages, you’re just wasting valuable resources. So how can you boost your email open rates?

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Chatbot Industrial Marketing
Marketing Strategy

What You Need To Know About Chatbots

It’s 2 in the morning, and there you are, minding your own business, checking out a website and hunting for information. A chat box pops up — bloop! — and asks you if you need help. This surprises you, because you figured you were the only one awake at this hour. Surely their customer support isn’t available now, right?

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Social Media

Branching Out On Social Media

These days, just about everyone is on board with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But in today’s increasingly connected, evolving digital world, limiting your presence to just these three platforms can seriously impede your industrial marketing efforts. There’s a lot more out there, and most industrial companies and manufacturers can now benefit from casting a wider net.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

4 Contract Management Best Practices For Improving Supply Chain Performance & Quality

There is no question that technology has improved almost every aspect of the business process.

In theory, this is particularly true within the procurement and supply chain sphere: online e-sourcing tools make conducting sourcing events more effective and less costly than ever; online ordering portals and spend management software cut down on the time necessary to complete the entire procurement cycle. 

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Ohio Buying Trends
Trends

Ohio Industrial/B2B Buying Trends

If you are a manufacturer or industrial supplier that serves the Ohio area, wouldn't it be great to know what buyers in your region are looking for? This way, instead of anticipating their needs, you can be meeting their needs — and winning their business.

Thomas recently examined buyer behavior data generated on Thomasnet.com to uncover supply chain trends in Ohio. If you provide products or services in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton, or other cities within the state, this information could prove pivotal in connecting with more buyers. 

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BIM vs CAD What's The Difference
Data Syndication

BIM Vs. CAD Files: What's The Difference?

What's the difference between CAD and BIM? To put it simply, it depends on your project.

BIM Vs. CAD — Which To Use?

CAD is typically used for industrial design of mechanical and electrical assemblies, from airplanes to iPhones. BIM is used exclusively in the design and construction of commercial buildings like airports, office towers or schools.  BIM also includes important characteristics to allow for virtual collision detection and the discovery of construction-related problems prior to breaking ground.

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Marketing Strategy

Is Your Marketing Strategy Stuck In The Past?

There are lots of things that get better with age — wine, cheese, how you look in a monocle, etc. Unfortunately, your marketing strategy is not one of these things. On the contrary, unless you are constantly refreshing your approach and pursuing new tactics, you risk losing out on potential revenue and falling behind the competition.

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Industrial Marketing Lead Generation
Marketing Strategy

Don’t Leave Your Leads To Luck

We can all use a little bit of luck. Unfortunately, many industrial marketers seem to rely on it a little bit too much.

Instead of taking the time to implement a comprehensive, forward-thinking marketing strategy, they expect industrial buyers to find them. It just doesn’t work that way.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Are Robots Taking Our Jobs?

You've seen the headlines. Kiosks are replacing cashiers, autonomous vehicles are putting taxi drivers on the side of the road, and robots are now writing blog posts

Clearly, robots have already started to replace workers in various industries. Are they coming for industrial jobs next?

The short answer? Kind of.

The longer answer? While they will most likely change the makeup of the industrial workforce and the way people do their jobs, the situation is not as dire as many people think. In fact, it could be a positive development for industry.   

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Industrial Buying Challenges

This Is Where Your Buyers Are Struggling — And Where You Can Help

No matter how much you love what you do, there are going to be individual aspects of your job that prove frustrating. Maybe it's because they take a lot of time to complete, or come with a lot of pressure, or perhaps there aren't clear best practices for accomplishing the task.

No matter the reason, it can make your job — and your life a lot more frustrating.

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shutterstock_387990172
Marketing Strategy

Does Your Job Shop Really Need A Website?

If you're a custom manufacturer, these statements might sound pretty familiar: 

  • "We need to talk to prospects in order to qualify them.”
  • "Too much information on my site would give my competitors an advantage.”
  • "We get all of our new business from word-of-mouth.”
  • "A new website won't help me get new business because my current website doesn't, either." 
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shutterstock_400546816
SEO

Why Quality Is More Important Than Quantity For Website Traffic

It’s common sense that you need to drive traffic to your website in order to increase leads. And if you’re showing signs of growth, that’s a great start! But many companies get fooled by statistics showing heavy site traffic and essentially disregard how qualified — or unqualified — those visitors actually are.

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Industrial Lead Gen
CAD

5 Things Every Product Manufacturer Must Know To Drive Leads

Hardly a day goes by that we don’t hear about new CAD tools and features that engineers want to use with the parts and components from their most favored manufacturers. Most manufacturers rely on a website and phone number to handle these inquiries for new data, but putting the onus on customers runs the risk of losing them.

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Olympics Logistics
Business Tips

The Logistics Of The Pyeongchang Olympics

Every two years, the Olympics bring together some of the best athletes in the world. But in between the games, supply chain professionals, logistics experts, and manufacturers work to bring the event itself together.

This year’s games in Pyeongchang represented one of the most challenging logistical hurdles of any Olympics. Here’s what went into making the games a reality.

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Content Marketing

Why You Should Use Content Marketing

To understand why content marketing is important, let’s first take a look at the complete picture of the modern industrial buying process.

Industrial buying is an infinitely more complex process than it ever used to be. In the past, business relationships were forged over lunches, golf games, phone calls, and plant visits. Suppliers showcased their know-how by “talking shop” and establishing rapport.

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We Love Manufacturing
Manufacturing and Industrial

Five Reasons Why We ♥ Manufacturing

It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is definitely in the air. But at Thomas, we just have one thing in our hearts: manufacturing.

We love the industry, the companies that make it run, and the people that make it great. After all, since 1898, we’ve been helping manufacturing companies grow, so you might say we’re in a bit of a committed relationship.

There are so many reasons to love manufacturing. Here are our top five.

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Social Media Trends 2018
Social Media

Social Media Marketing Trends For 2018

If you’re looking to boost your manufacturing sales this year, social media isn’t just an option — it’s a requirement. But the world of social media is constantly changing and evolving, with new trends cropping up every day. What worked in 2017 won’t work in 2018. To stay ahead of the competition and set your company apart, it’s critical to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.

So, what can we expect in social media marketing in the year ahead? 

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Thomasnet.com
Sourcing

Two Huge Resources for When You’re Sourcing Something Completely New to You

Whether you’re someone who only occasionally needs to source a new product, component or service, or you’re an institutional buyer assigned to a completely new category, gaining the right knowledge fast is the key to sourcing success.

Through our new Thomas Insights offering, and our popular Custom Quotes® service, the Thomas Network at Thomasnet.com®  delivers the information and support you need to help you find the right product and supplier, every time.

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ab testing
Marketing Strategy

The Basics Of A/B Testing

Much like the machines on your shop floor, you want to make sure that your industrial marketing is optimized for peak performance. A/B testing (also referred to as split testing, multivariate testing, or iterative testing) can help you continuously calibrate your marketing efforts, ensuring maximum results.

Not familiar with the term, or curious how A/B testing works? Here’s what you need to know to get started.

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Digital Marketing
Marketing Strategy

The Best Online Marketing Courses to Boost Your Marketing Skills

B2B marketing evolves at a breakneck pace; with new trends, innovations, and technologies being developed every day, staying ahead of the curve can seem challenging. But keeping your marketing skills sharp and your know-how current is essential for remaining relevant among the competition.

This doesn’t mean you need to start making your own memes or communicating solely through emojis. Or that you need start using strange millennial slang in your content marketing. But it does mean you should be thinking about ways to hone your skills and increase your leads — which may even mean advancing your career at the same time.

Online marketing courses allow professionals to hone their skills on their own schedule, at their own pace, and can be hugely useful in gaining new leads. Below are five of the most popular online courses available.

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Leveraging Omni-Channel To Get Specified
Thomas Enterprise

Leveraging Omni-Channel To Get Specified

Today’s marketing world is filled with buzzwords. From acronyms like “KPI” and “CTR” to rising industry trends like “big data” and “hyperlocal,” sales and marketing leaders in the manufacturing space constantly find buzzwords left and right. So when you come across the word “omni-channel,” you may be quick to dismiss it.

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SEO versus SEM
SEO

SEO Vs. SEM Vs. PPC: What’s The Difference, And Which One Is Right for You?

The industrial manufacturing sector is constantly seeing new technological innovations and advancements as businesses compete to stay ahead of the competition and at the forefront of their industry. Similarly, digital B2B advertising and marketing practices undergo the same rapid rate of change and advancement. But with so many options and platforms available today, getting started can be daunting.

Some of the most common questions we field at Thomas involve a slew of acronyms — SEO, SEM, and PPC: What’s the difference between SEO, SEM, and PPC, and what can they do for my company?

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giphy (7)
Marketing Strategy

Industrial Groundhog Day: Marketing Mistakes That Manufacturers Make Over And Over Again

Groundhog Day may be one of the most underrated holidays on the calendar. Sure, no gifts are exchanged, and a well-trained weatherman would probably be a better source of winter prognostication than a defenseless woodchuck being yanked out of a cardboard box, but still. For all its faults, Groundhog Day is the inspiration for one of the best comedy films of all time, appropriately named Groundhog Day. And for that, I am grateful.

If you’re not familiar with the film, here’s a quick rundown: A grumpy weatherman, played by Bill Murray, gets even grumpier when he is assigned to cover the local Groundhog Day celebration. After the celebration, a huge snowstorm hits the town, and Murray is forced to stay overnight. However, upon waking up the next morning, he is surprised to find out that it is Groundhog Day again. Over the course of the movie, Murray is forced to relive the day over and over, making the same mistakes, in a seemingly endless time loop.

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Industrial Buyers
Marketing Strategy

Where Are All Your Buyers?

You know exactly who your target customers are. 

You know what you can do for them and why they should choose you over your competition.

As for when you'd like them to contact you? ASAP would be nice. 

The only problem is, you don't know where they all are. 

The good news is that we do — they're part of the Thomas Network on Thomasnet.com.

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Sourcing Packaging
Sourcing

How To Source Packaging: 3 Proven Tips

No matter what type of business you run or what industry you are in, chances are that you will need to source packaging materials at some point. 

Packaging requirements vary widely, and so do the solutions in the marketplace. For example, simple shipping needs can be addressed with off-the-shelf corrugated boxes, while custom-designed, die-cut folding packaging material may be necessary to withstand volatile shipping environments.

Whatever your packaging needs are, it helps to understand your options. Let’s take a look at three areas of sourcing flexibility to find best performance, price, and supplier.

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Industrial Social Media
Social Media

Setting Yourself Up For Social Media Success

The world of social media has changed tremendously in the past decade. From Facebook toTwitter, these social networks were originally designed as a place for users to connect with family and friends. Now these platforms are a venue for brands to reach their users and potential customers.

There are many great ways to reach your audience through social media. Here are a few tips to ensure your strategy is on the right track.

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Account Based Marketing
Marketing Strategy

An Introduction To Account Based Marketing

Have you heard about the latest trend in B2B marketing, the new approach all the cool kids in the industry are talking about?

Account Based Marketing, or ABM, is an approach to marketing that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a specific set of targeted accounts.

The idea is to clearly define the clients you want, then launch campaigns tailor-made for each of them rather than going broad.

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MFG Workforce.jpg
Marketing Strategy

The Manufacturing Workforce: A Year In Review

The manufacturing industry is one of the pillars of the American economy. It employs more than 12 million workers, accounting for about 9 percent of the entire U.S. workforce.

Therefore, a strong, growing manufacturing industry not only benefits the people and companies within it, but the entire country as well.

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Manufacturing Reshoring.jpg
Marketing Strategy

The State Of Manufacturing Reshoring Today

Over the past several years, many U.S. manufacturers have moved operations offshore in order to reduce labor costs and bring jobs closer to their raw material sources. Although this can be an efficient way of increasing profits, it does come with its drawbacks — more complex supply chains, delivery issues, culture and language barriers, and long distances to operations, to name a few, making it hard to keep track of jobs and quickly address issues as they arise.

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Persona Targeting For Manufacturing Companies.jpg
Marketing Strategy

An Introduction to Persona Targeting for Manufacturing Companies

In today’s increasingly digital world, there are numerous ways for manufacturing companies to reach potential buyers — emails blasts, eBooksblog postssocial media, and even SMS texts can all be used to connect with target audiences and increase brand awareness. But before embarking on any of these efforts, it’s crucial to fully understand the types of buyers you’re looking to target.

You may be busy crafting informative, engaging emails or penning fascinating eBooks, but if you’re not customizing your content to the needs and interests of your specific audience, all that work will have been in vain.

Establishing a well-thought-out buyer persona will allow you to more effectively reach your target audience, increasing your chances of turning leads into customers.

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Marketing Strategy

9 Steps To Successful Responsive Website Design

In just a few years, “responsive” has gone from a buzzword to the industry standard in website design — and with good reason. Responsive design offers significant advantages over traditional design, allowing for SEO improvements, streamlined development, and, of course, a better user experience across different devices.

To help you take advantage of these benefits and set you up for success, we’ll break down the basics of responsive design and offer some proven best practices.

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Marketing Manufacturing Budget 2018
Marketing Strategy

How to Make the Most of Your Industrial Marketing Budget in 2018

For many people, the new year provides a fresh start, the chance to reflect on the past twelve months and make necessary changes and improvements. In the same vein, it can also serve as a great springboard for brainstorming new marketing initiatives that will help make the most of your 2018 budget. 

In today’s ever-shifting, increasingly digital landscape, there are seemingly infinite ways to put your industrial marketing budget to use, but some strategies may not provide the long-term benefits you’re looking for. Below are a few of the most effective marketing tactics you may want to consider implementing in the coming year.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Manufacturing Trends To Look For In 2018

With 2017 in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead and consider implementing some newmanufacturing initiatives for the new year.

How much do you know about the Internet of Things (IoT), for example? Are you keeping up with developments in artificial intelligence (AI)? New technologies and other trends continue to barrel forward, bringing about new innovations that — even if you’re not yet in the position to implement — you still need to understand.

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Business Tips

The Top Marketing Conferences You Need To Attend in 2018

The new year is the perfect time to take stock of your current marketing plans, map out goals for the future, and review your budget and spending objectives. But to truly stay ahead of the pack, you need to be plugged in to the latest trends and technologies.

Industry conferences and trade shows are a great way to stay up to date on new innovations while also taking advantage of valuable networking opportunities — and maybe even enjoying a cocktail or two in a new setting. (Who says you can’t mix business and pleasure?)

But, as we all know, attending conferences requires an investment of time, money, and energy, so it’s important to choose wisely. Marketing conferences abound in 2018, all with the ultimate aim of helping companies like yours boost their marketing efforts in today’s increasingly digital landscape.

Here are a few of the top conferences we deem worthy of your time this coming year.

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Social Media

6 Things NOT To Post On Social Media

The industrial space poses many unique challenges and opportunities for marketers. In manufacturing companies comprising just a handful of employees, there’s often very little time or budget left for a full time social media manager. This leaves us with two options — contracting out social media services to an outside firm or enlisting the help of current employees to take some time out during the day to manage the social media accounts.

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Marketing Strategy

Industrial Marketing Year In Review

The manufacturing and industrial space is no stranger to change. From the assembly line to automation, there has been an unending wave of innovations that transformed the industry.

Much like the industry itself, industrial marketing has also evolved. Gone are the days of printed fliers and word-of-mouth advertising; now, it’s all about digital marketing — your website, content, emails, and social media.

But the shift from traditional marketing to digital marketing is still happening. New trends continue to emerge, and savvy industrial marketers must continue to adapt in order to stay ahead.

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Marketing Strategy

How To Boost Your Sales And Marketing Efforts In The New Year

The New Year is just around the corner. Business owners and managers should use this time to look back and reflect. Did you meet your goals? Did you try new tactics? Did they work? How can you improve upon existing efforts? 

It’s also time to set new parameters, specifically in regard to marketing and sales. How did you do with finding new business? Were your marketing strategies effective? Did you take advantage of all today’s technology has to offer? Were you afraid to try certain things, or lack the time or motivation to adopt new strategies?

A new year brings a fresh start. Here are some tips to boost your sales and marketing during this next trip around the sun.

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Business Tips

Customer Delight: 3 Ways To Ace The Last Phase Of The Inbound Marketing Funnel

There are four phases of the inbound marketing funnel: education, evaluation, and conversion. What? You say we only listed three? Nice catch. Unfortunately, a lot of marketers don’t even consider this last element and instead spend all their time and energy on the first three phases, only to forget about the fourth. But that fourth phase, customer delight, is perhaps the most important of all.

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Marketing Strategy

12 Tips To Begin PPC On The Right Foot

Incredible numbers of businesses, many of them your competitors, continue to pour time and money into paid search. The reason? There is a lot of valuable traffic and new customers to be gained there. But it’s not an easy (or cheap) process—getting a return that justifies the expense takes careful planning and precise execution. Many business owners have a lingering feeling that they should at least be experimenting with paid search but are understandably reluctant begin.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

The 7 Reasons It’s Great To Work In Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is one of the largest and most influential sectors of the United States economy. It also accounts for a similarly large piece of the American workforce — the industry employs 8.7 percent of the country, making it the third-largest industry in terms of jobs.

But what is it like for the millions of people who actually work in the industry? The truth is, it's pretty fantastic. Here are some reasons why:  

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Why You Need To Expand Your Business To New Markets

The manufacturing industry can be unpredictable. One minute you might be entering into a lucrative contract with a great new customer; the next, that customer could be going out of business — putting your own company at risk in the process.

The best way to guard against this risk is to diversify your business and expand into new markets. Here are three reasons why you should consider it in your shop:

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STEM/Next Gen

8 Awesome STEM Toys & Gifts For The 2017 Holiday Season

The holiday season is in full swing, and so is the rush to buy the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Unfortunately, we can’t help you track down that intentionally hard-to-find retro gaming system or the ridiculously overpriced squishy toys that makes no logical sense whatsoever. However, if your list includes aspiring scientists, teenage technologists, endeavoring engineers, or number-savvy whippersnappers, you’re in luck.

We compiled a list of the best Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) toys for the 2017 holiday season.

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Marketing Automation

4 Things To Consider When Choosing A Marketing Automation Tool

To stay ahead in today’s increasingly competitive B2B marketing landscape, automation is key. Essentially what it sounds like, marketing automation software allows companies to automate various marketing tasks, such as emailing specific contacts or posting on social media.

Not only is this great for eliminating the boredom factor (no more repetitive emailing jobs that leave you blurry-eyed and dazed), it’s also great for creating a more dynamic, multichannel marketing strategy. And through automated tracking and data collection, companies gain better insight into prospects, enabling them to fine-tune their offerings as needed in order to reach valuable leads.

Streamlined processes, more efficient outreach, and time and cost savings are all part of the deal, no matter which specific automation tool you choose. But how do you decide on the best option for your company? To start, consider these four key factors.

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Website Design

10-Step Checklist To Turn Your Existing Website Into A Lead-Gen Machine

There are many good reasons to update and redesign your website — to make it mobile responsive, to bring it in line with your current branding, or perhaps to move onto a new Content Management System (CMS) or Marketing Automation platform. But the most important reason of all is to improve your results and generate more leads. 

If your current site is falling short in terms of lead generation, you should probably consider upgrading. But we'll warn you: a website redesign is no joke, and it requires a lot of careful planning.

To keep things simple, we've created this handy checklist that you can use to turn your website into an inbound marketing machine.

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Business Tips

Why Manufacturing Brand Marketing Is So Important

When it comes to branding, the major players probably come to mind first — Amazon, Coca-Cola®, Disney, Gucci, and so on. The strength of their name recognition is immense. When these names come up, you immediately see their logo, and even if the logo doesn’t bully its way into your brain, you at least know what they’re selling. It doesn’t matter whether you consume their products or not; you know them. They’ve seared your mind with a branding iron. (See what we did there?)

Many manufacturing and industrial companies, however, don't think that they need to worry about branding. They prefer to rely on word of mouth and referrals to attract new business, and they feel that branding isn't important in their space. 

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Business Tips

4 Marketing Mistakes That Can Kill Your Chances Of Scoring New Buyers

There’s a ton of marketing and sales advice out there on how to grow your business, increase yourbottom line, and make your company stand out from the crowd. Keeping up-to-date on these expert tips and new industrial marketing trends is key to remaining relevant in today’s ever-changing landscape.

But even the most knowledgeable, well-versed companies make critical mistakes that can cost them new customers. Below are four of the most common B2B marketing mistakes and some tips on how to best avoid them.

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Sales Emails
Email Marketing

7 Tips for Creating Effective Sales Emails

It's no secret that email marketing is one of the best ways to drive leads to your sales team. However, most manufacturers and industrial companies don't realize that it's also one of the best ways to close those leads and convert them into customers.

So while a lot of time and energy is goes into optimizing marketing emails, sales emails are often relegated to an afterthought. In fact, the task of writing, designing, and deploying sales emails often falls on individual sales reps, who are given little guidance, direction, or support. That's a recipe for disaster, and it shouldn't be the case.

If you want to optimize your sales emails for maximum results, be sure to follow these suggestions. 

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Business Tips

The Digital Marketing Skills You Need To Succeed

In the old days, marketing was about brochures and word-of-mouth referrals. Some of the morevisionary types found a guy to dress up like a chicken and dance on the side of the road. These days, though, the internet is the medium of choice, which means companies have a much broader reach. But it also means that it's going to take a lot more than dancing chickens to be successful.

In this digital-driven landscape, success requires a particular set of skills, like these:

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Marketing Strategy

Ready For GDPR? If Not, It Could Cost You

Roughly nine out of every ten B2B businesses use inbound marketing to connect with potential customers. If you’re one of these companies, then a new set of privacy guidelines — the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — will change the way you collect, store, and use the personal information you obtain.

Unfortunately, only 22 percent of U.S. companies have a GDPR compliance plan in place. With the regulations set to go into effect in just a few months, it’s imperative for you to understand the guidelines and take steps to ensure compliance. If you don’t, it could cost you.

Here’s what you need to know:

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Pay Per Click For Your Inbound Strategy
Marketing Strategy

Why PPC Should Be Part Of Your Inbound Strategy

Successful inbound marketing campaigns should encompass a range of different elements, on various platforms and channels. While certain aspects, like blog posts and email marketing campaigns, are widely used and extremely well-known, others may be less familiar to marketers just starting out. In particular, PPC (pay-per-click), an advertising model that targets users with company ads based on their web search queries, can be an extremely valuable marketing tool. 

Through PPC, advertisers pay only when a user clicks on their ad; these clicks increase site traffic and, ultimately, also increase the chances of converting these leads into buyers. Unlike outbound marketing, which involves pushing your message out to potential customers, PPC is inherently inbound, since it brings potential customers in.

As with other inbound marketing methods, PPC has a high success rate and is quickly growing in popularity. In fact, 74% of small businesses have invested in PPC or plan to do so in the near future. Unsure if PPC advertising is right for you? Below are five compelling reasons you should consider incorporating this strategy into your marketing campaign.

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Marketing Strategy

4 Reasons You Need Digital Advertising For Your Industrial Business

A well-planned, dynamic advertising strategy can make the difference between new leads and stagnation for your industrial business. Not only does a sophisticated, compelling advertising strategy help you better reach potential leads and increase chances of lead conversion, it also illustrates that you’re a cutting-edge leader in your field. Marketers are well aware of this; in fact, studies predict that marketers will spend more than $272 billion on advertising by 2020.

It may seem like only big brands make use of advertising techniques, but that’s not the case anymore. Don’t be put off or daunted by the idea of starting an ad campaign; advertising serves to give consumers a useful overview of the various brands and products available in the market, regardless of whether they’re offered by huge corporations or small businesses. And today, digital advertising makes it easier than ever to target the leads you’re after.

Working with a limited budget or running a small operation? There’s still a lot to gain from investing in digital advertising efforts. Below are four of the most compelling reasons to get started today.

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Marketing Strategy

Creating A Video Marketing Campaign That Works

Video marketing is on the rise, and for good reason; videos have been shown to capture attention  more effectively than plain text or static pictures, and videos are shared more than any other type of content on social media. Today, 61% of content marketers are putting videos into play in order to keep up with the competition and establish their brands as cutting-edge thought leaders. If you haven’t yet made use of video in your marketing campaigns, it’s time to get going. Or, if you’re already utilizing video, it may be time to kick it up a notch.

With solid production value and engaging content, your video will position you as a knowledgeable, current, and trustworthy brand. So please, please, don’t shoot a video that makes you look like a mattress salesman (especially if you are, in fact, a mattress salesman). Below, we’ve outlined four tips to keep in mind when creating an industrial marketing video.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

6 Steps To Transforming Your Sales Organization

It’s no secret that the sales landscape has changed in recent years. The general B2C space adapted fairly quickly to new technologies and tools, but for B2B businesses, and particularly industrial companies, the adoption has been slow moving. Keeping our reliance on the old rolodex and trade show lists in mind, it’s time to re-evaluate how we can keep up with the broader trends and modern tactics. 

We’ve had tremendous success using inbound selling principles — essentially, this is the process of aligning your sales process with your customer’s buyer journey. By asking the right questions and showing how you can solve a problem, you’re that much closer to onboarding your next client. 

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Marketing Strategy

Why You Can't Rely On Word Of Mouth To Get More Leads

For small industrial businesses looking to gain new leads, old-school word-of-mouth referrals can still be effective, allowing you to expand brand awareness organically over time. But relying solely on word-of-mouth can seriously hinder your efforts to reach potential buyers. If this is currently your go-to method for lead generation, you may be missing out on some big opportunities — hurting your business and, ultimately, your bottom line.

But why exactly is relying on word-of-mouth marketing so ineffective? Below are a few of the main reasons this method shouldn’t be used on its own.

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Content Marketing

The Importance of Video Marketing for Manufacturing Companies

The most effective content marketing strategies incorporate various types of content, allowing companies to reach users at different stages throughout the buying journey. Offering informative blogs, white papers, eBooks, infographics, case studies, calculators, checklists, and other forms of content not only helps garner new leads, it also establishes you as a knowledgeable thought leader in your field. Developing fresh, new content can also improve your SEO rankings, making it easier for people to find your company.

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Data Syndication

Becoming BIM Ready: The Risk Of Doing Nothing

Building Product Manufacturers (BPM) were hit particularly hard during the Great Recession that struck the U.S. economy in 2008. With the economy spiraling downward, commercial building projects were either de-funded or put on indefinite hold. Because of this setback, many BPMs became extremely conservative financially and very insular in their sales & marketing.

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Business Tips

Smart Technology And Wearable Trends In Manufacturing

Whether tracking fitness activity or ordering a sandwich, “there’s an app for that,” as the saying goes. Wearable technology is far from new, but it’s very much now: Gadgets that were once considered “geeky” and specialized are now being used by all kinds of people, the tech-savvy and traditionalists alike. Wearable technology, for instance, has skyrocketed in popularity.

The IoT, or Internet of Things, and the wearable technology that drives so much of its functionality, has found itself smack in the middle of the manufacturing sector’s everyday workflow, and demand just keeps rising.

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Content Marketing

5 Steps To Manage Risk Before You Begin Exporting

Companies dealing with sluggish economies or saturated domestic markets often look to international expansion to manage risk. Consider this though: by expanding internationally, a company simultaneously mitigates and creates risk. There is inherent risk in expansion, particularly internationally; even mammoth retailers like Target have failed spectacularly.

Before expanding, a company must plan carefully, understand the market, staff carefully, and accept that the venture may still fail.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

The ABC's Of Making The Shortlist

As you know, industrial/B2B buyers looking to establish a long-term relationship with your business may vet you quite thoroughly. This could include visiting your facility, checking your finances, talking to customers and more.

However, before they get to that point, today’s buyers prefer to evaluate suppliers anonymously, then create a shortlist of potential partners before contacting them for further vetting.*

Of course, evaluating you anonymously as they create their shortlists means learning as much as they can about you online. This blog post will help you make sure your online presence doesn’t have any holes that leave you short of making those shortlists.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

How To Pitch Inbound Marketing To A CFO

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably implemented pieces of inbound marketing, but have realized that pieces here and there aren’t enough anymore. You need to shift resources around (or get more of them) to make the changes needed to increase lead generation, reduce costs, and grow new markets. (But between you and your vision for more effective marketing is your C-suite — especially your CFO, and in many cases, your CEO...)

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Content Marketing

Blog Posts Vs. eBooks Vs. Webinars: Which Is Best For Content Marketing?

To effectively reach buyers and generate valuable leads, it’s critical to employ a dynamic, multifaceted digital marketing strategy — and that means creating a robust content marketing campaign.

A crucial tool for collecting valuable user details, content marketing is essentially a means of trading information; users provide data — their business, goals, their contact information — and in exchange you provide them with insights and actionable advice in the form of checklists, educational eBooks, or in-depth whitepapers.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

5 Ways To Capture Marketing ROI

You probably have several different goals in mind for your marketing plan: increasing traffic, getting more leads, building your brand. But at the end of the day, what matters most to you? The answer has to be your Return on Investment (ROI). All of your marketing efforts should be based on clear, goal-oriented metrics, and how they relate to your bottom line.

With so many marketing tools at your disposal today — and a shift in buyer responsiveness from outbound to inbound marketing — it’s not always easy to lay out a plan to capture the ROI of a given campaign or program.

These five tips will help you focus your strategy on a metrics-driven marketing program – one that can deliver tangible, measureable results based on sales goals and objectives. Knowing how to measure and capture ROI helps you gauge your program’s success – and more importantly, gives you an organized, ready-to-present package for your CEO and executive team.

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Marketing Strategy

Is Your B2B Digital Marketing Strategy Powerful Enough?

The internet has conquered the world, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that a hefty portion of business, both new and repeating, stems from digital marketing efforts.

However, many businesses approach digital marketing with false assumptions and poor, shortsighted planning, leading to less-than-stellar results and few, if any, new leads.

If you’re serious about increasing your sales and garnering new leads, it’s critical to start off with a powerful, well-thought-out digital marketing strategy.

Unsure where to begin? Below, we’ve outlined a few key steps for getting started.

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5 Marketing Emails Your Industrial Business Needs to Stand Out
Email Marketing

5 Marketing Emails Your Industrial Business Needs To Stand Out

Studies show that 91% of all consumers use email, and 73% of businesses use it as their primary form of communication — and for good reason. Over 25% of sales last year stemmed from email marketing efforts. An effective but simple way to increase brand awareness, sending out marketing emails allows you to stay in touch and on top of existing clients while also mining new businesses for potential leads. 

But there’s a better way to go about this than blasting out the same formulaic message to everyone on your email list. Instead, segment your clients and prospects according to their stage in the sales cycle, and then craft an informative, engaging email that caters to each targeted persona. Emails should be used strategically and thoughtfully in order to connect with your targeted audience and convey valuable offers and services, establishing you as a leader in your field.

Below, we’ve outlined five of the most important types of email campaigns your industrial business should be making use of.

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Evaluation Driven Retargeting
Manufacturing and Industrial

Boost Your Industrial Marketing Efforts With Evaluation Driven Retargeting

Do your new customers choose you on impulse? Of course they don’t. By the time you hear from a prospect, they’ve typically gone through a significant supplier discovery and evaluation process. We understand, and that’s why we created Evaluation Driven Retargeting.

In an industry in which supplier evaluation and selection can take weeks or longer, this can be the competitive advantage you’ve been looking for.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

6 Mistakes That Doom Job Shops

Thomas has relationships with thousands of successful job shop owners from coast to coast, many going back to our days as the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers — the “big green books.”

This blog post contains some of the anecdotal insights on job shop success and failure we’ve heard over the years.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

How Big Companies Choose New Suppliers

Looking to land one of the big fish? Becoming an approved supplier for a large global company can change your business forever. But landing such a “big fish” takes far more than a hello and a handshake. We recently reviewed the supplier discovery process of a leading Fortune 500 company, and here’s how they outlined it for us:

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Marketing Strategy

5 Signs Your Industrial Marketing Efforts Aren't Working

In today’s digital-driven world, industrial buyers expect brand and product information to be easily accessible, and they prefer to self-educate online rather than speak to a salesperson over the phone.

This makes it critical to establish an engaging, strategic digital industrial marketing plan for your company. Without one, it can difficult to meet the needs of your prospects and, in turn, pretty impossible for you to generate the leads you need to grow your business.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

An Introduction To Growth Driven Design

Traditional web design is broken. Your website is your biggest marketing asset and is the centerpiece of all your marketing activities. It is often the first place people go when looking for more information on your products or services. It is the place where we drive all of our marketing efforts and is often the first place prospects come looking for information.

Additionally, your website is also your “best salesperson.” It’s been said that a prospect has already moved through 70% of the sales process before even reaching out to your sales team. Where are they finding the information before talking to someone? – Your website.

As critically important as our websites are, the way we approach building and improving our websites is fundamentally broken. 

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Content Marketing

6 Email Marketing Mistakes That Can Kill Your Campaign

There is a ridiculous amount of electronic correspondence flying around the world. In fact, more than 205 billion emails are sent every day. And there’s plenty of bad email marketing plaguing us these days. Just think about that: 205 billion emails, and most of them aren’t any good.

With all of that email static out there exhausting and annoying people, it’s essential to excel so you get the attention and business you’re trying to attract. As a marketing tool, email is one of the strategies most often employed, and it’s easy to see why. Just create the right message and send it to the right people at the right time ... right? The ROI can be up to 380 times the initial investment!

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Marketing Strategy

4 Ways Industrial Marketers Short Circuit Their ROI

Why do some industrial suppliers swear by online marketing, while others swear at it?

In many cases, industrial/B2B marketers that see a strong ROI (return on investment) from their online efforts simply have a clearer understanding of what it looks like, and a better idea of how, when, and where to look for it. In our 20+ years of helping suppliers use the internet to meet their business goals, we’ve seen four specific ways that many businesses short circuit their own ability to achieve and measure online success. Read on, and see if you’re making any of the 4 common missteps we outline on the following pages.

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Content Marketing

Content Marketing For Manufacturers: Where To Start

There’s a good chance that you’ve heard the phrase "content marketing" thrown around whenever people start talking about marketing strategies. It’s a popular approach, and for good reason: it costs 62% less than outbound marketing, but generates three times the number of leads. These impressive results explain why nearly 90% of B2B marketers use content marketing as part of their overall strategy.  

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Marketing Strategy

Boosting Your Business With A Strong Social Community

What now? If you’re like many other small business owners, that may be what you’ve been asking yourself after taking the first steps in a social media marketing plan: setting up your accounts, branding your pages, and creating and sharing content. There’s one important element missing: building your network.

And you’ve probably even begun that process. Connected with existing customers who had also taken the plunge, big OEMs with hundreds of thousands of followers, maybe some friends and family, perhaps even a celebrity or two (depending on who’s in charge of your accounts). From everything you’ve heard about social media, there must be more to it. So, what now?

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Manufacturing and Industrial

10 Ways Manufacturers Can Spend Their Marketing Dollars

Even with the manufacturing industry’s decades-long dominance in the U.S. economy, it’s still a relative newcomer when it comes to all things B2B marketing.

Now that most of the industry has evolved from print to online, tactics are changing. Instead of word-of-mouth referrals and newspaper advertisements being the most effective ways to get new business, everything is shifting onto digital platforms.

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Website Design

What Makes A Great Email Marketing Campaign?

An integral part of any inbound marketing campaign, email marketing is essential for directly connecting with current and potential customers.

Not only does an effective email campaign help keep your company on the radar, it also shows that you’re serious about your role as an industry leader and influencer.

In the United States alone, there are more than 224 million email users on the web.

This isn’t going unnoticed: Marketers are set to spend more than $3.07 billion on email marketing by 2019.

But more than 20% of marketing email recipients report marketing messages as spam.

So how can companies ensure their emails stand out, and what elements go into drafting a truly effective, lead-generating email?

Below, we’ll explore the five critical components of successful email marketing and outline how to best approach them.

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Marketing Strategy

Questions You Need To Ask When Selecting A Manufacturing Marketing Agency

A lot of time, effort, and energy goes into operating a manufacturing business. If you don’t have any left over for marketing your business, we don’t blame you. However, if you want to boost manufacturing sales and grow your company, you need a commitment to marketing.

Partnering with a marketing agency can take some of the pressure off your shoulders, allowing you to focus on running your business while they handle things like establishing your marketing strategy, content marketing, email marketing, SEO, and social media presence.

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Website Design

How To Optimize Your Website: 5 Quick Tips

Maintaining a helpful, informative website is critical for reaching your targeted audience and positioning yourself as a leader in your industry. But if your website is out of date or isn’t properly optimized for end users, you’re likely missing out on a lot of valuable lead opportunities.

To ensure your website stands out from the crowd, and helps you pull in the leads that you need, follow the five tips below for easy website optimization.

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Marketing Strategy

4 Tech Trends That Are Reshaping Inbound Marketing

A multifaceted approach focused on attracting customers through the dissemination of helpful, relevant content and thoughtful interaction, inbound marketing allows potential customers to find you through various channels, including blogs, social media, and search engines. While traditional outbound marketing aims to push products, inbound marketing allows potential clients to become aware of a company organically.

But technological innovations and general shifts in the B2B landscape are drastically changing the way inbound marketing campaigns are structured and implemented. Chances are, you’re no longer reading emails on a Blackberry or browsing the internet using a dial-up connection; with today’s technology, content can be accessed in countless ways, whether in the office or on the go.

Below are four major technology trends shaping the face of inbound marketing today and what they mean for your company’s marketing campaigns.

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Website Design

5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Website Is Out Of Date

For manufacturing and industrial companies, establishing a digital presence is no longer merely an option; it’s critical to staying relevant in today’s increasingly connected, online-focused B2B world. In the past, companies could get away with a one-shot process; once a website was designed and launched, it was done, and no changes were made thereafter. But today, users expect more. They want to know that a company is actively invested in keeping their processes, technologies — and their website — current and up to date, reflecting shifting trends and market changes.

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Just like your manufacturing operations, websites shouldn’t be static entities; a focus on constant improvement requires consistent testing and analysis. Today’s technologies and software can easily track user activity, allowing companies to see how visitors are interacting with their sites, conduct A/B tests to determine which kinds of phrasing or designs are more appealing to visitors, and make ongoing updates based on collected data.

Worried that your website isn’t hitting the mark? Below are five easy ways to determine if your site is in need of an upgrade.

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Marketing Strategy

What Makes A Great Social Media Campaign?

To successfully reach the buyers you’re targeting and garner the leads you’re looking for, inbound marketing campaigns should encompass a range of different methods and channels.

Social media, in particular, is playing an increasingly important role in industrial digital marketing, allowing companies to connect personally with fellow industry leaders and attract potential leads.

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Business Tips

HTTPS Vs HTTP: Why Your Industrial Website Needs To Be Secure

When you visit a web page, you naturally focus on what’s inside the browser window — the words, images, products and other elements on the page itself. However, when it comes to optimizing your own industrial website, you also need to pay attention to what’s happening up above in the address bar. That’s because the difference between having HTTP and HTTPS in your address can have big implications for your business.

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Trends

Thomas Index Report: Hurricane Harvey

To help buyers and suppliers stay ahead of the latest shifts and emerging trends, we constantly analyze the industrial/B2B buying activity taking place at Thomasnet.com, where every 2 seconds a buyer evaluates a supplier. This powerful, proprietary data fuels our Thomas Industrial Index.

This week we take a look at sourcing in and around the Houston area in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, with our data adding some insight into the sheer magnitude of the disaster. Here’s what we’re seeing:

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Marketing Strategy

5 Digital Marketing Tips To Reach More Buyers

As technologies continue to advance and industrial buyers increasingly turn to the internet for the information they need to find suppliers and source products, digital marketing has become indispensable in the B2B manufacturing and industrial sphere. Sending out mailers or relying on word of mouth is no longer enough to attract and convert valuable leads; now, a multifaceted approach is necessary to stay relevant in today’s shifting B2B landscape. 

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Business Tips

Nearshoring Vs. Reshoring: What’s the Difference?

Over the past few years, there’s been increasing interest in bringing U.S. manufacturing back to American shores, or “reshoring.” But “nearshoring,” or moving operations to nearby countries, rather than very far away, is becoming increasingly popular as a more economical, practical alternative to offshoring.

It’s important to have a solid understanding of both concepts when deciding on the best strategy for your company. Below, we’ll take a deeper look at these two options and compare their benefits and drawbacks.

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Trends

Thomas Index Report: Custom Injection Molding

To help buyers and suppliers stay ahead of the latest shifts and emerging trends in the digital industrial economy, we constantly analyze the industrial/B2B buying activity taking place at Thomasnet.com, where every 2 seconds a buyer evaluates a supplier on our platform. This powerful, proprietary data fuels our Thomas Industrial Index.

Here’s what we’re seeing in the Index this week:

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Marketing Strategy

How To Advertise Your Manufacturing Business Online

In today’s increasingly connected world, establishing a strong digital presence is crucial for effective brand exposure and lead generation. With more and more people accessing business and product information online, it’s no longer effective to rely solely on broadcast commercials, newspaper ads, or telephone campaigns for effective B2B marketing.

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Content Marketing

8 Manufacturing Content Marketing Ideas (With Examples!)

So you’ve realized that your old traditional and digital marketing business tactics just weren’t working, and you’ve taken steps to get your inbound marketing program off the ground.

Now what?

Well, now comes the hard part you’ll need to create content that your prospects actually want to read. Don’t panic. While this can seem like a big undertaking, understanding the inbound marketing funnel can make this process a lot more manageable — not to mention a lot more effective. Let’s take a look.

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Supply Chain

Cybersecurity In Today's Interconnected Supply Chain: Don't Build An Apartment. Build A House.

Take a moment to consider all of the components of your organization’s supply chain. Commonly, quite a few capital assets come to mind: raw materials, machinery, warehousing, logistics, distribution centers, brick and mortar sites, office locations, point of sales, and so much more.

Whether it’s keeping employees connected to one another, interacting with customers, or generally exchanging data from one system to another, interconnectivity is a crucial, but risky, component of supply chain management.

And, in a world where millions of cyberattacks happen each day, companies can no longer afford to approach cybersecurity with an “if this happens” mindset, rather establish the proper structure and protocol for when it does. 

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Marketing Strategy

The ROI Of Inbound Marketing

As the digital world reshapes the industrial world, marketing budgets are on the rise. According to ENGINEERING.com's annual survey of engineering marketers, twice as many respondents reported that their budgets were growing rather than shrinking in 2017.

As industrial marketing budgets continue to rise, more funds are being allocated to the creation of content — in the form of blogs, eBooks, email campaigns, videos, webinars, infographics, and so on — as good content is at the core of any successful inbound marketing program

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Growth-Driven Design

Left vs. Right Aligned Forms On Landing Pages

If you've ever wondered whether the forms on your landing pages should be on the left or right side of the page, you're not alone.

We decided to put this to the test on the contact page for one of our client's who specializes in custom metal stamping, Engineering Specialties, Inc. Now, you may be thinking that a small change such as which side of the page a form is on would have little difference in lead generation, but on the contrary, we've seen even simpler tweaks like adding an arrow above a form convert like crazy.

So, are you ready to see which side of the page the form should go on?

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Trends

Thomas Index Report: Private Label

More B2B buying activity takes place on THOMASNET.com than any other resource on the planet. In fact, a buyer evaluates a supplier every 2 seconds on our platform.

To help buyers and suppliers stay ahead of the latest shifts and emerging trends in the digital industrial economy, we constantly analyze all of the buying activity taking place on the platform. This powerful, proprietary data fuels the Thomas Industrial Index.

Here’s what we’re seeing on the Index this week:

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Video: Soldiers Will Get A Boost With Exoskeletons

Soldiers are about to get a big upgrade courtesy of engineers at the U.S. Army Research Lab. The engineers are creating a DARPA-funded exoskeleton suit that will help soldiers carry heavier equipment, march longer distances and improve mental acuity. 

The suit is made of pulleys and gears that help prevent and reduce musculoskeletal injuries, which is a common occurrence for many soldiers. The suit is already making major impacts as servicemen and women have reported improved endurance and reduced stress on their joints during tests. 

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Marketing Strategy

Takeaways from IMPACT Live 2017

The punchline of every presentation at the first annual IMPACT Live, a two-day conference for sales and marketing executives, this week seemed to be "If there's one thing you can takeaway from this to bring back to your own company..." Which, of course, means I have more than 15 "one things" as action items in my brain — in addition to the dozens of ideas I tweeted about and my boss logged in Trello.

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Procurement

Managing Total Cost Of Ownership In The Electrical Supplies Category

Although each category of purchasing that falls under Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO) poses its own unique challenges, electrical supplies stands out as one that appears to be tactical. However, it does grant the opportunity for significant cost savings and value enhancement when viewed from a strategic perspective.

The “Electrical Supplies” umbrella covers a broad area of products, and depending on the needs of a particular organization, the level of complexity may vary particularly with wires and cables, automation supplies, lighting, and electrical distribution equipment. From a category perspective, there are opportunities to reduce costs when determining the preferred supplier base.

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Trends

Thomas Index Report: Printed Circuit Board Sourcing Trends

More B2B buying activity takes place on THOMASNET.com than any other resource on the planet. In fact, a buyer evaluates a supplier every 2 seconds on our platform.

To help buyers and suppliers stay ahead of the latest shifts and emerging trends in the digital industrial economy, we constantly analyze all of the buying activity taking place on the platform. This powerful, proprietary data fuels the Thomas Industrial Index.

Here’s what we’re seeing on the Index this week:

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Social Media

4 Steps To Get Started With Social Selling

Looking to generate leads and connect with more customers? Of course you are!

All manufacturing and industrial companies want to grow. Unfortunately, many of them are missing out on an amazing resource that can make this goal a reality — social media.

If you don't have any social media profiles, or if you're just using them to share updates about the company softball team, then it's time to get started with social selling.

At Thomas Marketing Services, we've helped hundreds of companies just like yours turn social profiles into sales generators. Based on our experience, here are some first steps that can put you on the path to social success:

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Manufacturing and Industrial

5 Ways To Turn A Lead Into A Customer

You worked hard to market your capabilities and nurture your prospects. Now your sales team has a healthy list of leads. However, research shows that 40-50% of these leads are ignored and never followed up on, which can add up to a lot of lost revenue for your business.

Developing an effective lead follow-up process can ensure that you don’t leave leads — and potential revenue — on the table. Here are five strategies that should be a part of your process.

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Social Media

7 Social Media Mistakes Industrial Companies Need To Avoid

When done right, maintaining an active social media presence can have a significant impact on your business, helping to increase web trafficestablish stronger relationships with customers, and, perhaps most importantly, increase revenue. Social media should therefore be a pivotal part of your inbound marketing strategy.

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Unfortunately, when not done right, social media can still make an impact on your business — but not in a good way. One social snafu can cost you customers and do serious damage to your brand’s reputation, as you’ll see in the examples below.

Avoid these setbacks by steering clear of these seven common social media mistakes: 

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Manufacturing Unemployment Rate vs. National Unemployment Rate
Manufacturing and Industrial

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: June 2017

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for June 2017 (scroll down for previous releases):

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Bringing Manufacturing Back To The U.S.: A Discussion With Thomas CEO Tony Uphoff

Manufacturing is essential to the American economy. Every 100 jobs in a manufacturing facility creates 250 jobs in other sectors. Unfortunately, however, many of these manufacturing jobs – as many as two million according to estimates — will go unfilled over the next ten years.

To combat the problem and close the skills gap, the federal government is investing in apprenticeship programs. 

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Supply Chain

Forklift Sourcing 101: Know Your Options, Save Money

Though they serve as critical elements in many material handling operations, forklifts can come with many potential hidden costs, such as maintenance and operator salary — in total, costs can reach as high as $250,000 annually per machine!

Despite these expenditures, more and more companies are making use of forklifts; a recent Peerless Research Group survey of material handling managers found that 69% of respondents planned to acquire a new forklift in the near future, with a per-respondent average of seven planned purchases, up from six the year prior.

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Advertising On Thomasnet

Should I Advertise On ThomasNet? Hear Reviews From Other Business Owners

Whether you are a product and component manufacturer, capital equipment manufacturer, custom manufacturer, service company or industrial distributor, advertising on Thomasnet can help you connect with the B2B buyers and engineers you need to grow your business. In fact, a supplier is evaluated by a buyer every 2 seconds on our platform!

We've helped hundreds of thousands of manufacturing and industrial companies like yours generate exposure, leads and new business, and we can help you do the same. 

If you're thinking about advertising on Thomasnet.com and wondering how it works, check out what some of our customers have to say. 

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Social Media

Facebook vs. LinkedIn vs. Twitter: How Can Industrial Companies Get the Most Out of Social Media

Over 90% of companies, both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C), are currently making use of social media for marketing purposes. But with such a wide range of social networks to work with, and new ones popping up every day, navigating these options can often seem daunting.

Below, we’ll delve into three of the most popular social networks — Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter — and explore how industrial companies and manufacturers can make the most effective use of these versatile platforms, leading to more valuable prospects, increased leads, and, of course, boosted sales.

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Technology

MIT's Drones Pave The Way For Flying Cars

For years, movies about the future have featured flying cars, and today we're closer to seeing them become reality. However, while the concept of flying cars is tremendously exciting, it could become a nightmare.

That's because, without the safety mechanisms we take for granted on the road today – traffic lights, stop signs, speed limits, etc. — the risk of crashes and collisions is very high. 

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Video: The Best Metro Areas For Manufacturing Jobs

Think it's tough to get a job in the manufacturing industry? While that may be the common perception, the truth is that the manufacturing job market offers more opportunities than you think. 

In fact, Forbes recently looked at the state of the hiring within the industry and found that all but 18 of the country’s 70 largest metropolitan regions have seen an uptick in industrial employment since 2011. They also ranked all 357 metropolitan areas to determine the locations with the best, most thriving manufacturing employment situations.

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What Makes A Great Web Page
Content Marketing

What Makes A Great Web Page?

Web pages are among the most important types of content in your inbound marketing arsenal. They serve as your company’s introduction to potential clients.

Making a good impression right out of the gate is key — you never get a second chance to make one, as my mother says — which is why I’m always surprised by the sheer volume of poorly put together web pages I come across in the industrial sector. 

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Trends

Thomas Sourcing Trends: Steel

Buyers and engineers evaluate a supplier on THOMASNET.com every 2 seconds. All of that sourcing activity gives us valuable insight on the movements of typical patterns in the industrial market place.

Over the past few months, we've been watching raw material sourcing closely and we've noticed some interesting trends:

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5 Ways To Strengthen Your Communication Skills For Career Success
Supply Chain

5 Ways To Strengthen Your Communication Skills For Career Success

“Supply Chain is the linking of people, products and ideas around the globe. You need to be a connector.” Amanda Decook, Sourcing Associate, A.T. Kearney. Most supply chain professionals would agree. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Thomasnet.com showed that more than 90% of purchasing professionals believe communication is essential to their career and more so, 39.39% believe it is the most important skill for success.

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Get Ahead of Cost Reduction in Product Design Through Raw Material and Process Selections
Supply Chain

Reduce Costs in Product Design Through Raw Materials

It is often later in the product lifecycle that procurement teams are brought in to lead a competitive bid process and conduct negotiations accordingly. This might seem like a straightforward approach to reducing costs. However, taking a deeper look at your product design and raw materials before the manufacturing phase could be the best way to proactively optimize costs.

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The Risk Of Not Understanding Your Supplier's Supply Chain
Supply Chain

The BMW Supply Chain Breakdown: What Happened?

It's no secret that having transparency into your supply chain is essential to mitigating risk. In fact, companies are investing in supply chain visibility and collaboration tools at a faster rate than any other supply chain discipline, putting their money where their risk is. 

Clearly, companies are taking transparency seriously in an effort to stay plugged in to their suppliers. However, in order to ensure a strong, steady and productive supply chain, having visibility into your own suppliers isn't enough – you need to have visibility into their suppliers as well. This is especially true in industries that are driven by outsourcing in an effort to lower costs and shift production requirements. 

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Technology

This Robot Uses AI To Write And Play Its Own Music

The next star hitting the Billboard charts might not be who or what you expect. It might just be an AI-powered robot.

According to WIRED, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology created a marimba-playing robot with four arms and eight sticks with the ability to write and play its own composition through artificial intelligence.

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Supply Chain

TCO: Why Reshoring May Be The Smart Move For Your Supply Chain

Discussions about bringing manufacturing back to the United States are heating up as reshoring and U.S.-based manufacturing have become more lucrative. Many CEOs and CFOs are realizing that their businesses would have a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) with U.S.-based operations when potential steep tariff hikes and reshoring tax benefit programs come into play. Tech giants like Apple, Foxconn, and Offsite Networks are now looking to manufacture more affordably, locally, and, most importantly, with more integrity.

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Supply Chain

Communicate Procurement's Worth With Your Stakeholders

Did you know that only 29% of procurement organizations are viewed as valued business partners? However, when the role of procurement is elevated, businesses realize ROI improvements of up to 250%?

So why are so many businesses forgetting, or ignoring, procurement as a valued business partner, and what can be done to address the issue?

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Procurement

The THOMASNET.com Team Chats With Manufacturing Talk Radio At ISM2017

ISM2017, The Institute For Supply Management (ISM) annual conference, just wrapped up in Orlando, Florida. The THOMASNET.com team was there, uncovering the latest trends and challenges impacting supply chain professionals every day

In addition to speaking with supply chain professionals, we also spoke with the duo Tim Grady and Lew Weiss of Manufacturing Talk Radio for a series of interviews. Listen to the podcasts below. 

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3D Printing

3D-Printed, Soft-Legged Robot Can Walk On Rough Terrains

Most soft robots can only shuffle or crawl due to their squishy bodies. This makes them great for getting into tight spaces but completely unreliable when navigating rough terrains. However, according to Endgaget, engineers from the University of San Diego have flipped the script, creating the very first soft robot that can walk on rough surfaces, climb over obstacles and wiggle into confined spaces.

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Data Syndication

Building Product Manufacturers: Don't Miss The Building Content Summit

The commercial building industry has been undergoing immense change over the past 5-10 years largely driven by the adoption of BIM. 

BCS brings Architects, Engineers and Contractors together with Building Product Manufacturers (BPM’s) and Solution Providers to discuss changes in the way content is developed, distributed, selected and specified within the global BIM workflow. The needs of Design professionals are constantly evolving toward richer, data driven, multi-format product information.

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Biomedical

Researchers Find A Way To 3D Print Organs To Save Lives

Organ transplant waiting lists are known to be very long. It can take anywhere from three to five years before an organ is even available. Fortunately, this might all change with the help of 3D printing.According to Fast Company, the bioengineers from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine are developing a system for 3D printing tissues and organs that could be used for transplants. This medical advancement will hopefully solve the tissue and organ shortage that currently causes one patient to die every 30 seconds.

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Supply Chain

The 3 Causes Fueling Supply Chain Complexity

The concept of "less is more" does not so easily apply to supply chain management. As organizations look to increase revenues by expanding their product portfolos, they're also introducing complexity and risk into their supply chains. While it might seem like a good idea to just reduce your portfolio overall, that's not always an option. 

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Technology

Cobots Are Taking Over The Shop Floor

Collaborative robots, also known as cobots, are computer-controlled robotic devices designed to assist people in manufacturng facilities. They are hitting the shop floor at exponential rates. In fact, recent studies show that the number of cobots used in just the automotive industry is expected to grow by more than 40% each year over the next five years. 

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: April 2017

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for April 2017 (scroll down for previous releases):

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Trends

Industry 4.0's Arrival: 6 Steps You Need To Take Now

In 2009, there were 2.5 billion devices with unique IP addresses connected to the internet — most of these were cell phones and computers. By 2020, there will be up to 30 billion connected devices with unique IP addresses, and many of these will be industrial products. Driven by new digital technologies, cloud computing and the Internet of Everything, this new industrial connectivity is driving what’s referred to by some analysts as “Industry 4.0.”

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Budget ROI From Marketing Investment
ROI & Analytics

An Investment In Marketing Is An Investment For Your Whole Business

Producing results without the right resources is a huge challenge, especially when you’re under extreme pressure to do so. When budgets get tight, it’s even more important to be able to prove your worth.

Luckily for industrial marketers, when it comes time for budget evaluations, we can produce quantifiable results demonstrating the value of our efforts. In fact, a 2017 ENGINEERING.com market research report found a direct connection between digital marketing investment and company revenue. As a result, the majority of respondents reported being rewarded with a boost in resources.

If you find that your marketing team is still fighting for funding, here are a few things you can take to your department heads to make the business case for it.

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Self-driving Cares Are Ready For Students
Technology

Students Will Get To Test Drive Self-Driving Technology

From GM to Google, technology companies and auto manufacturers alike are investing heavily in the development of self-driving cars. However, along with creating a new technology, they're also creating an entirely new industry  one that will need knowledgeable and technologically gifted professionals in order to drive it forward and ensure its success for years to come.

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Growth-Driven Design

5 Signs Your Website Is Outdated

It used to be that simply having a website would set you apart from the competition. You could create a handful of pages, add a little background about the company, sprinkle in some images, set it, and forget it. Unfortunately, a website that works for you requires a lot more upkeep than that.

As a key driver of new business, your website is the centerpiece of your digital marketing efforts.

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Technology

Manufacturing Organizations Set Augmented Reality Guidelines For The Industry

Augmented reality (AR) is not just a tool for video games like Pokemon Go. From shortening maintenance times on the shop floor to assisting with the operation of heavy machinery, AR has the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry. In fact, the global AR market is expected to exceed $95 billion by 2023. That's why 65 major organizations, including industry leaders such as Lockheed Martin, Dow Chemical, Boeing and Caterpillar, met to develop the first set of guidelines for AR technology companies.

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Tail Spend
Procurement

Driving Compliance And Cleaning Up Your Tail

Tail spend optimization can be the key to reducing costs and increasing the overall performance of your supply chain. However, many organizations fail to properly analyze their tail spend, or they don't take the proper measures to clean it up and ensure compliance. 

Fortunately, there are some proven methods you can use to clean up your tail.

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Content Marketing

3 Characteristics Of Effective Content

Content marketing less true; content is still a foundational element of any inbound marketing scheme worth its salt.

If you’re thinking, Andrew, you’re a professional writer, you’re biased, well … you’re right. I am biased. That doesn’t make the phrase any less true, either. If a grocer told you “vegetables are good for you,” you wouldn’t respond that he’s biased and therefore his statement is untrue. Would you?

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Supply Chain

How To Successfully Make A Career Change Into Supply Chain

Deciding what you want to do with your life can be overwhelming, especially when that decision is made early in your career. In fact, an astounding majority of people don’t find their calling right away, which is why 80% of workers are interested in making a career switch.

Making that switch can be daunting and confusing. There are so many options, and the wrong move can set you back in your career and in your finances.

However, switching to supply chain can be a great option. That's because the field is broad enough to be a fit for people with a variety of technical and soft skills. It's also a growing industry, with millions of new employees being added to the workforce.   

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Technology

Predictive Modeling Can Unlock Logistics Optimization

Optimizing logistics is a priority for many procurement and supply chain professionals. However, due to a lack of visibility, it can also be a challenge.

A recent survey by Deloitte revealed that most supply chain professionals feel they do not have the visibility necessary into their own operations, their shippers, their providers and their customers  to improve pricing and flexibility in their supply chains.

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Growth-Driven Design

The Arrow That Increased Form Submissions By 76%

A cold-root rolling manufacturer wanted to increase leads on their website. A simple arrow made it happen.

The Idea

Our conversion experts came across studies which showed that directional cues are effective at drawing attention to different objects on a page. While these cues can take many forms – arrows, eyes, fingers, etc. – independent research by the folks over at ConversionXL showed that hand-drawn arrows were the most successful.

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Growth-Driven Design

What To Avoid In Your User Journey: Key Takeaways From ConversionXL Live 2017

ConversionXL Live is an annual conference that provides web designers, developers, and strategists a forum to learn from optimization experts. The event is also a fantastic networking opportunity, as it brings together more than 75,000 practitioners every year.  

This year’s conference agenda was broken into three themes:

  • Day 1: UX & Digital Analytics
  • Day 2: Optimization & Testing
  • Day 3: Growth & Success

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Procurement

Creating A Supply Chain Shortlist: What B2B Buyers Look For When Selecting Suppliers

Creating a shortlist is an essential component of the supplier discovery and selection process. But what, exactly, are supply chain professionals looking for when making their lists?

To find out, Thomasnet.com conducted an informal survey of our users – buyers, engineers and procurement professionals – to find out what factors they consider the most important when evaluating new suppliers.

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Marketing Strategy

Choosing A Marketing Automation Platform: 3 Key Differences Between HubSpot & Pardot

Similar to how automation technology has helped to increase efficiency on shop floors, the same can be said within the world of marketing.

Marketing automation technologies help companies generate, educate, and re-engage leads by setting up a system that runs with customized rules, programs, and scoring systems.

As a digital marketing strategist, I’ve had the opportunity to work in a variety of marketing automation platforms, and I’ve seen advantages and disadvantages in each. There are dozens — maybe hundreds — of tools available, but since HubSpot and Pardot are the most prevalent in the manufacturing space, wanted to offer up an analysis to help you decide what's best for your business.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: March 2017

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for March 2017 (scroll down for previous releases):

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CAD

CAD vs. BIM Files: 3 Major Differences

For decades, product design engineers have used computer-aided design (CAD) programs — such as Autodesk’s AutoCAD — to design various parts and components. These sophisticated programs are capable of creating extremely detailed 2D and 3D models.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

3 Stages Of Industrial Digital Marketing: Where Are You Now?

Digital marketing continues to grow at an astounding rate — PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts the category will grow by almost 20 percent in the next five years, with spending hitting $720 billion by 2020.

Amidst the projections of growth, what gets lost is that not all markets have adopted digital marketing at the same pace. Industrial markets have begun to aggressively embrace the approach, and we can clearly see three distinct stages in their digital marketing evolution. 

As an industrial marketer, it’s essential that you identify which stage you’re in, and ensure that you are advancing toward what should be the ultimate goal of your digital marketing — generating customers and driving revenue.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

3 Steps To Be More Sustainable On The Shop Floor

April is Earth Month, and to celebrate we wanted to shine a light on the importance of sustainability in manufacturing. Fortunately, the manufacturing industry is embracing sustainability like never before. In fact, no other industry produces more "clean economy" jobs. 

Fueling the adoption is the fact that sustainability is not only good for the environment, it can be good for a business's bottom line. Procurement departments are becoming increasingly focused on finding environmentally friendly partners, and studies show that "green organizations" experience faster growth than their less eco-conscious counterparts.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Custom Cold Head Fasteners Can Help Keep Costs Under Control

Costing is one of the most influential factors in our manufacturing world today. There is an ongoing trend among companies across the globe to become “cost driven.” By reducing expenditures in a manufacturing process, profit is therefore increased by spending less to produce a product.

But what happens when you’ve exhausted all other options, and those monthly numbers still aren’t reaching expectations? Cold headed fasteners and components have come a long way in the past 100 years, and now is the time to consider your options.

If you’re looking for an economical solution to an expensive fastener or component problem, custom cold headed parts could be the answer to increasing your bottom line.

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Supply Chain

You Can Now 3D Print A House In 24 Hours

Looking to buy a new home but have a limited budget?

The folks at the San Francisco-based startup Apis Cor might be able to help you. They just built an entire house within 24 hours using 3D printing. 

You can find the company's 400 square foot house in a small Russian town. The company used a mobile 3D printer to make the walls, partitions and buiding envelope for the house.

Unfortunately, not everything could be done with the help of a 3D printer — the roofing materials, wiring and thermal insulation had to be done manually. 

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Business Tips

8 Valuable Resources for Industrial Business Leaders

Every day, we use 2.5 quintillion bytes of data posting on social media, pinging GPS signals, downloading music — essentially, just living in the digital world. Do you know what a quintillion is? It’s one million, raised to the power of five. It’s one thousand, raised to the power of six. It’s a one followed by 18 zeros. It’s a big number. Suffice to say, we’re making heavy use of the digital resources at our disposal.

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Technology

A New Platform Will Strengthen The Health Care Supply Chain

While building a strong and risk-free supply chain is essential for buyers in all industries, when it comes to health care, the stakes couldn't be higher. Even the slightest hiccup can lead to a catastrophic loss of human life. That's why the United Nations World Food Programme and NEC Corporation joined together to help streamline and strengthen the supply chain. 

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Drone Demolition Derby.jpg
Manufacturing and Industrial

A Drone Demolition Derby

Last month, a drone took center stage at the NBA dunk competition. Now, drones are poised to compete with one another in DroneClash, the most competitive drone demolition derby ever. 

A Dutch University is sponsoring the event as a way to stimulate the development of anti-drone technology. Four teams will compete for drone supremacy, trying to shoot other drones out of the sky while evading obstacles in the arena. 

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: February 2017

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

Read More »
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Marketing Strategy

Insight on the Top Marketing Challenges for Manufacturing Companies

While most industries jumped into using social media, email marketing, SEO and other digital marketing tactics almost a decade ago, manufacturing is finally coming around.

Unlike traditional print placement and ads, we all know that creating an online presence isn't a "one and done" mentality. More and more companies in the industrial space are building up their websites and traffic — the marketplace is quickly getting crowded, so marketing is now more important than ever.

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30 Under 30

Introducing The 2016 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars

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At THOMASNET.com, we understand the vital role that supply chain professionals play in the success of their businesses and today's economy. We also want to raise awareness of the profession to ensure that it's is in good hands for years to come.

That's why we partnered with the Institute for Supply Management to create the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Star Program. The program recognizes young professionals making an impact on the supply chain industry. This year, for the first time ever, our search for the most accomplished young supply chain professionals went global, and we received nominations from all around the world. 

Want to meet the winners? Click through the slides below.  

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SEO

Why SEO Is So Important for Manufacturing Companies

We talk a lot about SEO. Whether Google is making updates to its search results page and algorithms, we're keeping an eye on new search trends and sharing industrial SEO best practices — there's no shortage of discussion points.

Since we've covered optimization techniques, tips, and trends extensively in the past few months, we thought it would be helpful for you to take a step back and address what makes good SEO so particularly important for manufacturing companies. 

Let's start at the beginning. 

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Risk Management

Infographic: The Disconnect Over Financial Risk In The Supply Chain

Mitigating risk is among the most critical priorities for any procurement professional, and one of the ways they do that is by assessing a supplier’s financial and operational stability during the supplier evaluation process.

In fact, THOMASNET.com, in partnership with Dun & Bradstreet, recently conducted a survey of more than 1,000 buyers and suppliers, and we found that 89% of buyers believe that a potential supplier’s financial stability is important when evaluating potential partners.

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Marketing Strategy

4 Ways Industrial Companies Can Get More Leads

The beauty of inbound marketing strategy is that it draws customers to you, instead of sending you on a seemingly endless search for them and blowing your entire budget without being able to gauge ROI.

That doesn’t mean we get to sit back and relax in the marketing department, though. It takes a lot of planning, trial, and error. From creating personas and content to promoting through email blasts and social media, you have a lot of opportunity to reach your prospects.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Video: Flying Taxis Will Take To The Skies This Summer

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ... a flying taxi? If you are in Dubai this summer, there's a chance you may see one in flight.

Flying cars have been on the minds of researchers and engineers for years as a means of alleviating traffic and congestion in cities. Recently, Dubai’s Roads and Transportation Agency brought that concept one step closer to reality. The agency announced that, starting July 2017, the Ehang 184 drone will be able to carry people and fly them to their destinations. 

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Adopting New Digital Manufacturing Technology Slowly Is A Good Thing
Technology

What's The Right Speed For Adopting New Digital Manufacturing Technology?

The Digital Industrial Revolution is upon us, with new technologies and trends emerging every day. Keeping up with the rapid pace of innovation can be difficult for some companies. Fortunately, a new study reveals that taking a staged and approach to adoption will prove successful.  

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) conducted a survey of 380 U.S. based manufacturers to see how companies are approaching the revolution. One of their findings was that companies need to approach adoption not as a marathon, but as a series of sprints.  

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Women In Manufacturing — Q&A With Sheila LaMothe

We sat down with Sheila LaMothe, a board member of WiM, to learn more about the organization's initiatives. Read on to find out how WiM is working towards building a stronger community for women in the manufacturing industry.

With more than 500 members, Women in Manufacturing (WiM) is dedicated to closing this gap by supporting, promoting and inspiring women who pursue or chose a career in the manufacturing industry.

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Technology

2016 Breaks Records For Robotics Sales

North American robotics orders totaled $1.9 billion in 2016, a rise of 10% compared to the previous year, according to a report from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA). The report underscores the increasingly prominent role that automation is playing in American manufacturing — and the economy in general.

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Supply Chain

How Can Procurement Teams Prepare For Cognitive Technology?

Cognitive technology, which can extend the power of information technology to tasks traditionally performed by humans, is poised to disrupt the supply chain in the near future. While the technology is only in its infancy, procurement teams need to understand it in order to be prepared to leverage it in the years to come. If they don't, they may fall behind the competition. So what skills should procurement teams focus on to prepare for this disruption?

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Marketing Strategy

Does Your Industrial Company Need a Marketing Agency?

With all of the uncertainties that exist in today's manufacturing climate, there's one thing that's guaranteed: Marketing agencies will cold call and email you to try and sell you their marketing services. And it makes sense — industrial companies are set up for successful marketing programs and typically don't even know it.

After decades of relying on word-of-mouth referrals to bring in new business, you might be hesitant to bring in someone new to your process. But marketing agencies can be very helpful in generating massive amounts of leads and helping your sales team close your dream customers, but if you don't have certain goals or a budget to put behind their services, it might not be worth it in the end.

Any business owner or person in charge of industrial marketing and sales has to do some reflection and planning to see what's right for the company, but we wanted to help get your thoughts rolling. Take a look at the below infographic to get help on answering a very important question.

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Marketing Strategy

How Much of Your Industrial Marketing Budget Should You Allocate to Print Media?

Maybe you’ve been buying print advertisements for years and you are trying to decide how much budget to allocate this year. Or perhaps you have seen your competitors running print advertisements and wonder whether you should try it. Both are common in the industrial marketing space.

In recent research, we found that for 2017, 46% of all engineering marketers plan to dedicate zero budget to print.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Video: The U.S. Army Looks To SIG Sauer For Modular Weaponry

As the U.S. Army looks for more customizable weaponry, they have turned to firearms manufacturer SIG Sauer for modular guns.

These P320/M17 guns will be tailor-made for each soldier, with only the trigger as the uniform part of the gun. All other parts can be customized, allowing soldiers to choose different pistol grip sizes, longer or shorter barrels, type of ammunition and location of the safety. 

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Website Design

7 Books Every Web Designer Should Read

Anyone in the world of web design and development knows it’s a constantly changing field. From coding with mobile in mind to catching an eye with parallax scrolling, there’s always a new feature rolling out to enhance user experience. 

To stay ahead of what’s coming next, designers have to read about their industry voraciously — even when they’re off the clock. So, as a follow up to follow up Dayna's post on books for sales and Lauren's post on books for marketers, we on the Thomas design and development team wanted to share what's on our bookshelves and recommend a few of our favorites.

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Technology

Introducing The Bat Bot

Bruce Wayne would be proud. A team of scientists just built a flying, autonomous robot designed to look like a bat.

Rightfully named the Bat Bot, this bot weighs only 3.3 ounces and is made of silicone membrane and carbon-fiber. Using five small motors and its suite of sensors, the Bat Bot can autonomously perform flap glides, bank turns and sharp dives all on its own.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

RIT To Lead National Consortium For Cleaner Manufacturing

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to head up a national consortium that will be charged with developing sustainable manufacturing technologies.

The Reducing Embodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions Institute (REMADE) is part of the DOE’s Manufacturing USA initiative and will be housed at RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, under the Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance.

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SEM/PPC

3 Industrial PPC Trends to Watch in 2017

The new year is always a time of both reflection and looking ahead, especially when it comes to search engine optimization and search engine marketing trends. This year, we expect to see the pay-per-click advertising trends established last year continue to grow.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

A Boon For Manufacturers As U.S. Navy Upgrades Fleet

On January 4, the Pentagon announced plans to build a fleet of 12 new Columbia-class submarines in an effort to update America’s ballistic missile submarine fleet.

The Columbia fleet is to replace 24 aging subs, some of which have been in service since the mid-1970s. The long-awaited Columbia class is just one part of the Pentagon's 30-year, trillion-dollar plan to upgrade the sea-air-land nuclear triad.

Preliminary cost estimates for the proposed Columbia fleet places $13 billion for R&D and $115 billion for procurement. The Navy is currently in talks with General Dynamics to head up the program, as well as with their top sub-contractor, Huntington Ingalls Industries.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

The Evolution of 3D Printing

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.

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Procurement

Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Successful CPO?

It takes a lot of skill to become a successful CPO. Not only do procurement leaders need to understand how globalization affects their department, they also need to stay up to date on emerging procurement technologies and evolving business standards. But what makes the difference between an average CPO and a CPO that goes above and beyond? 

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: December 2016

At THOMASNET.com, we are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.

But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.

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SEO

How to Increase Your SEO Traffic in 30 Days

"What’s the quickest way for me to improve my website’s SEO ranking?” 

This is a common question many SEO managers, including myself, get asked, and the honest answer is: "There isn’t one."

There is no magic bullet or quick fix for good SEO. The algorithms that search engines use to rank sites and pages — Google’s are particularly challenging — constantly change. This negates any possible SEO “hacks” you could try.

The true key to good SEO is a long-term strategy that makes use of proven best practices but remains flexible as situations change. It doesn't matter if you're well-seasoned in the search engine marketing field or are just wrapping your head around what's in store, you can start optimizing in just 30 days — it starts like this:

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Manufacturing and Industrial

A Robot For The Elderly Is In The Works For The Aging Generation

If you're scared of living alone when you are older, you can now rest easy. Business Insider reports that IBM, in conjunction with Rice University, is creating a series of sensors that would eventually take form inside a robot to help senior citizens stay safe.

The project is designed to help the growing aging population preserve their independence and their overall health with little disruption in their daily lives.

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SEO

Make 2017 Your Best Year For Industrial Marketing Yet

Throughout the holiday season, you probably saw a handful of end-of-year wrap-up blogs as well as some start-of-the-year prediction posts.

Well, now that 2017 is finally upon us and it’s time to get back to work, we wanted to bring you some actionable tips you could use to get a jump on turning it into your company’s biggest year yet.

Let’s take a look at some steps you can take right now to start generating better leads for your business.

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Cloud-Based Solutions Are The Future Of Manufacturing

Every facet of the manufacturing industry has evolved rapidly over the past two decades, and the way it is managed is no exception. The industry has gone from limited enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in the 1990s to today's intricate, cloud-based software solutions.

According to Supply & Demand Chain Executive, these cloud-based programs will be essential to the continued growth of the manufacturing and supply chain industry. 

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Manufacturing and Industrial

Five Skills That Will Lead To Supply Chain Success In The New Year

Far from slowing down, the pace of change in the supply management profession continues to accelerate. It’s critical for supply managers and for the survival of the profession itself that practitioners continually update their skill-sets to avoid being left behind. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are – if you let your capabilities fall behind while the profession continually reinvents itself, you might as well hand in your resignation today.

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Finding A Quality Partner
Procurement

12 Sourcing Tips To Connect With Quality Suppliers

When setting out to find a new supplier, you may be tempted to focus on the best price. However, concentrating only on low costs can hurt you in the long term. That's because shaving a few cents off the price of a product is no help if the quality is below standard and the component or material does not arrive when you need it.

So instead of cost, focus on quality by incorporating these 12 tips into your sourcing strategy:

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SEO

2016 Industrial Marketing Year in Review

In the world of marketing, things are constantly changing.

From amorphous Google algorithms and updated UX designs to effective emailing and retargeting methods, there is no shortage of strategies to try — especially as the industrial space continues to catch up with the rest of the B2B marketing space.

As we begin preparing for what’s to come in 2017, we wanted to take a look back at some of the biggest trends we’ve seen over the past 12 months and their impact on your business.

Without further ado, here’s our 2016 year in review.

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Marketing Strategy

Marketing & Sales Insight from a Former Honda Engineer

Many industrial companies don't trust outside marketing services because they don't believe they understand their business or audience. Honestly, that's a true assumption when it comes to most traditional marketing agencies.

But we do things differently at Thomas. Our founder, a mechanical engineer with more than 15 years of marketing experience, leads the team of marketing experts and engineers to deliver record-breaking increases in lead generation and sales. (See how we drove a 113% increase in lead generation and 60% increase in sales for CJWinter here.)

We've recently hired a new application engineer, Ryan Singler, from Honda, and while we (and our clients) have been taking in all of his insight, we thought it might be helpful for you to get to know him as well.

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