The Thomas Blog

shutterstock_163283732
Business Tips

How To Think Like A Buyer To Get More Leads

No matter what your role is — sales, marketing, operations, or leadership — you have a lot to accomplish.

So do your buyers. 

By understanding what your buyers have on their plates, you can more easily accomplish one of the most important thing on yours — generating more leads.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
shutterstock_457491976
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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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? 

Read More »
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.

Read More »
ab testing
Social Media

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.

Read More »
Digital Marketing
Social Media

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.

Read More »
Leveraging Omni-Channel To Get Specified
Data Syndication

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.

Read More »
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?

Read More »
giphy (7)
Business Tips

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.

Read More »
Industrial Buyers
Business Tips

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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
Manufacturing Reshoring.jpg
Business Tips

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 anefficient 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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
website-design.jpg
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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
Social Media Mistakes.jpg
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.

Read More »
12.14.16 Beer Cap Maps.png
Manufacturing and Industrial

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

We love helping to create connections between buyers and suppliers through our supplier discovery platform. A recent connection brought together two engineers in Wisconsin with 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.

Read More »
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.

Here are the trends that shaped industrial marketing in 2017. Make sure you're all caught up. 

Read More »
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.

Read More »
Customer Delight.jpg
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.

Read More »
PPC Best Practices.jpg
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.


Probably the single most compelling characteristic of paid search is the tremendous amount of data you’re able to collect in order to make decisions and improve the performance of your campaigns. But when you’re just getting started you don’t have any of that data, so starting off on the right foot is challenging. What’s more, it’s in the interest of the search engines to get you to spend as much money as possible right out of the gate so their default settings—and the advice of their representatives—are often at odds with your own goals.

We put together this list of 12 tips that will give you the best chance of starting off on the right foot before you have any data at your fingertips to make increasingly more informed decisions. This guide is intended to be closer to a FAQ than a complete list of all the considerations inherent in launching PPC. That said, we think that if you follow these tips you’ll be off to a great start.

Read More »
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:  

Read More »
Website Content.jpg
Marketing Strategy

Website Content Creation For Custom Manufacturers

By and large, most custom manufacturing businesses and service providers have an extensive list of their capabilities, services, materials, machines, and certifications. These are the basics that help potential customers understand what you can do for them.

Unfortunately, the basics don't separate you from the competitors and non-competitors in your space. That’s right, we said non-competitors. Remember, your potential customer may see that you do the same type of machining as another company, work with the same materials, have the same machines, and have secured the same certifications — they won't see a difference.

How will they know that your specialty is very small medical parts, with extremely tight tolerances in very large volumes? It is tough for them to make this distinction without talking to you … and odds are you won’t get that chance.

So how do you fix this problem? Through smart content marketing.

Read More »
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:

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
Manufacturing Branding.jpg
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. 

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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. 

Read More »
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:

Read More »
GDPR Compliance.jpg
Business Tips

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:

Read More »
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.

Read More »
Industrial Advertising.jpg
Advertising On Thomasnet

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.

Read More »
Content Marketing

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.

Read More »
Sales Organization.jpg
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. 

While we don’t anticipate an overnight adoption, we did pull together some tips to incorporate tactics that fall under the inbound sales umbrella, which will help you get started and become more competitive in the current market.

Read More »
Business Tips

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.

Read More »
Video Marketing.jpg
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.

While you may be providing an ample amount of written content for your site visitors, you might be missing one crucial component — videos. Increasingly important in today’s digital landscape, video content allows for efficient dissemination of complex information while providing an interactive, engaging user experience.

Below are the four of the most compelling reasons to start incorporating video into your content marketing campaign.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
Manufacturing Wearable Trends.jpg
Trends

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.

Read More »
Exporting Risk Management.jpg
Exporting

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.

Read More »
Manufacturing Short List.jpg
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.

Read More »
Pitching Inbound Marketing To Your CEO.jpg
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...)

Read More »
Blogs vs eBooks vs Webinars.jpg
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.

Providing this type of content not only helps you get a better idea of where users are in their buying journeys — allowing you to better tailor your content and offerings — it also helps establish yourself as a knowledgeable thought leader in your industry.

Three of the most popular, versatile content offerings — blog posts, eBooks, and webinars — can be highly effective for gaining leads and keeping your company top of mind among industry professionals. While it’s critical to offer a mix of different types of content, it’s important to first have a solid understanding of the various pros and cons of each type.

Read More »
Content Marketing

4 Easy Tips For Creating A Lead-Generating eBook

Creating an eBook for your business is one of the best ways to generate leads and increase brand awareness among potential buyers. In fact, 65% of today’s B2B businesses are incorporating eBooks into their content marketing campaigns.

Allowing for the dissemination of in-depth, detailed content, eBooks enable businesses to connect with a target audience based on their specific stage in the buying journey.

Whether offering valuable industry tips, troubleshooting, product details, case studies, or comprehensive service overviews, eBooks can be used to address everything from product components to company best practices.

However, eBooks can be time-consuming and, in some cases, somewhat expensive to produce, so it’s important to keep a few simple tips in mind to ensure optimal return on investment (ROI).

Read More »
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 fromoutbound 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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
shutterstock_660470434.jpg
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.

Read More »
shutterstock_400528315.jpg
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:

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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. 

Read More »
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!

Read More »
ROI & Analytics

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 4 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.

Read More »
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.  

Read More »
Social Media

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?

Read More »
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.

Marketers and business owners are utilizing pay-per-click, content creation, email blasts, and many other tactics to their advantage, but to some, these methods can feel overwhelming. With so much opportunity comes tough decisions on how to direct your time, energy, and money.

Let's take a look at 10 common ways manufacturers spend their marketing dollars to give you some insight on your company’s options and — most importantly — what they will cost to execute.

Read More »
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.

Email_Marketing_For_Manufacturers.jpgIn 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.

Read More »
pasted image 0.png
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.

Select A Manufacturing Marketing Agency.jpgPartnering 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.

Of course, there are a lot of marketing companies out there eager to offer you their services — and even more eager to take your money. So how can you narrow down your choices and select the marketing agency that’s right for your manufacturing business? It helps to ask the right questions.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
marketing-technology-changes
Trends

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.

marketing-technology-changesBut 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.

Read More »
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.

old_website.jpg

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.

Read More »
Data Syndication

Don’t Get Left B2Behind: Why Product Manufacturers Need to Embrace A B2C Mentality

When industrial buyers aren’t at work, they behave as everyday consumers; they shop online, they compare products for deals that best balance quality and value, and they shop independently, relying on freely available resources rather than salespeople to help them in their decision-making processes.

b2b_v_b2c.jpg

These business-to-consumer (B2C) buying preferences and experiences are also influencing the way buyers shop for products and equipment in the business-to-business (B2B) marketplace; industrial specifiers and buyers now expect to have the same experience as they specify or source bearings as they have shopping for a camera. The lines between B2B and B2C — once considered disparate markets — are beginning to blur. And not only are end users’ habits changing and evolving, but so are distributors and original equipment manufacturers’ (OEMs).

To stay ahead of the curve, manufacturers should now be focusing on offering rich, discoverable, and manipulable product data. Below, we’ve outlined a few of the main reasons why this is so important.

Read More »
Social (1).png
Social Media

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

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.

In the United States alone, organizations are spending $18 billion on social advertising, and this number is expected to reach $23.6 billion by 2019.

But establishing a social media presence means more than just creating a profile, adding some followers, and posting company updates every so often.

Below are a few key tips to keep in mind when creating an effective social media marketing campaign.

Read More »
IS-YOUR-SITE-HTTPS.JPG
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.

Read More »
Harvey-Thomas-Index-Thumb.jpg
Manufacturing and Industrial

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:

Read More »
Social Media

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. 

Read More »
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 reshoring_nearshoring.jpgAmerican 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.

Read More »
CustomThumbnailV2.jpg
Manufacturing and Industrial

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:

Read More »
Social Media

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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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.

Cybersecurity In Today's Interconnected Supply Chain

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. 

Read More »
ROI & Analytics

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

Read More »
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?

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

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:

Read More »
Marketing strategy.jpg
Marketing Strategy

5 Steps for Successful Industrial Marketing

Inbound marketing is the art of driving customers to your business’ products and services through a coordinated strategy of design, content, social media, and SEO tactics. Seems like something that would be more suited toward consumer goods and B2C rather than manufacturing and industrial companies, right? Wrong. 

Marketing strategy.jpgIn fact, most industrial manufacturers are practically already set up for an inbound marketing program — they just don’t know it yet.

Think about all the spec sheets, research, data, and product catalogs you have just lying around on a desk or in a drawer somewhere. These materials can be converted into valuable marketing tools to help drive your business forward — these materials just need to be set up the right way. 

We’re here to lay out some steps to turn the resources you already have into powerful tools for lead generation.

Read More »
Business Tips

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.

Tony-Uphoff-Impact-Live.jpgBut if you're reading this post, you probably weren't there or feeling as inspired as we all are (or maybe you did attend and you want to re-live the magic), and I think it's unfair for me to not share at least some of the knowledge I gained from: networking with 150 marketing, sales and business professionals; listening to presentations from big names such as Marcus Sheridan, Mike Volpe, David Meerman Scott and Mark Roberge; and bouncing ideas off of the Thomas team.

There were plenty of pointers on being genuine in your company and discussions on the importance of taking risks, but if I were to write out all of the takeaways from the event, this blog post would be about 25,000 words. So, I'll keep it short (but you can get a full recap on IMPACT's blog) — here are a few considerations for you:

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

The Cure For Ineffective Industrial Marketing

According to HubSpot, just 67% of companies in North America believe that their marketing strategy is effective. Even worse, 61% of marketing professionals — the very people responsible for implementing and executing these strategies agree. 

So if your current marketing strategy isn’t helping you reach your business goals, you’re clearly not alone.

cure-for-bad-marketing.jpgThe good news is that there is a cure for ineffective marketing — it’s called inbound. Organizations that adopt inbound marketing are 30% more likely to feel that their marketing strategy is effective.

Let’s take a look at how – and why – it works.

Read More »
Procurement

Managing Total Cost Of Ownership In The Electrical Supplies Category

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. These three strategies can help optimize the purchasing channels to achieve your category goals:

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

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:

Read More »
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:

Read More »
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.

Read More »
social-media-mistakes.jpg
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.

social-media-mistakes.jpg

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: 

Read More »
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):

Read More »
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. 

Read More »
Procurement

Forklift Sourcing 101: Know Your Options, Save Money

Assessing Your Options For Sourcing Forklifts

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.

When it’s time to add or replace a forklift at your facility, it’s important to not only consider these costs but to take into account usage, initial investment and equipment availability as you assess your different acquisition possibilities. With these factors and respondents' average forklift purchase quantities in mind, we’ve outlined the four best options for acquiring a new forklift for your facility.

Read More »
Thomasnet.com

Should I Advertise On THOMASNET.com? Hear Reviews From Other Business Owners

THOMASNET.com Home Page

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. 

Read More »
Social Media

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

shutterstock_194468681.jpgOver 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.

Read More »
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. 

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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.

What Makes A Great Web PageMaking 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. 

To help give your web copy a bit of direction, here’s a breakdown of the main elements every page should have.

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

5 Ways To Strengthen Your Communication Skills For Career Success

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.

However, mastering communication is not easy. For some, it’s not a natural skill, And even if it is, a third of respondents believe it is the one skill they consistently need to work on. “Communication is king. It’s the key to success, and it will make or break things on so many levels depending on if it’s there or not.” Sara Robichaux, Strategic Sourcing Category Lead – Services, Apache Corporation.

So how can supply chain professionals practice effective communication with colleagues, stakeholders and suppliers? These 5 tips could be a career game changer.

Read More »
Get Ahead of Cost Reduction in Product Design Through Raw Material and Process Selections
Procurement

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.

Read More »
The Risk Of Not Understanding Your Supplier's Supply Chain
Risk Management

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. 

Read More »
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.

Read More »
Supply Chain

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

Why Reshoring May Be The Smart Move

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.

Read More »
Supply Chain

Communicate Procurement's Worth With Your Stakeholders

Showcase Procurement's Worth With The Right Communications Plan To 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?

Read More »
Procurement

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

podcast.png

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. 

Read More »
Technology

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.

Read More »
Events

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.

BCS-2.jpg

Read More »
Technology

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.

Read More »
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. 

Read More »
Budget 2017.png
Marketing Strategy

Where Industrial Marketers Are Increasing Spending In 2017

As marketers, we know that the shift to digital is nothing new.

For years there has been a steady march from print media — brochures, newsletters, and direct mail pieces to online assets like emails, eBooks, and blog posts. According to ENGINEERING.com’s annual survey of engineering marketers’ plans for the 2017 calendar year, the fruits of our digital content labors have been confirmed.

Budget 2017.pngThough the complete transition to digital still has a ways to go, it’s certainly being reflected in marketing budgets more and more. The survey, comprised of 85 engineering marketers across a range of industries (primarily manufacturing and design software), resoundingly showed that marketing budgets are on the upswing.

Twice as many respondents reported growing budgets than shrinking budgets, with software marketers landing the top spot at 41%.

The vast majority of these budgets? Content. When segmenting marketers out into Top Performers, Industry Average, and Laggards, the survey found that Digital Enthusiasts (those investing more than 70% of their budget into digital marketing efforts) comprised the bulk of Top Performers at 41%. Conversely, Digital Skeptics (those investing less than 30% and far outspending other groups on print and offline activities) were least likely to be Top Performers at 25%. 

So, what exactly is it they’re investing in? Let’s take a look at some of the details of the findings and where this money is going. 

Read More »
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. 

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: April 2017

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Report: 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):

Read More »
businessman hand working on laptop computer with digital layer business strategy and social media diagram on wooden desk.jpeg
Manufacturing and Industrial

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.”

Read More »
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.

Budget ROI From Marketing InvestmentLuckily 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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
Supply Chain

A Chat With Dan Kaskinen, Rising Supply Chain Star Megawatt Winner

Kaskinen, Dan-1.jpg

In 2014, Dan Kaskinen sat in the audience of ISM2014 and learned about a brand new program launched by THOMASNET.com and ISM called the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program. Three years later, Dan has not only been named a Rising Star, he’s this year’s Megawatt winner.

“When I was chosen as a winner, I was really excited and so appreciative," he said. "I had the chance to meet a few of last year’s winners, so knowing how impressive they were made me really appreciate winning the award.”

We got the chance to catch up with Dan and learn more about his supply chain career, his advice for success and the future of the industry. Take a look at what he has to say:

Read More »
workplace room with computers.jpeg
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.

workplace room with computers.jpegIt’s where many people will hear about your company for the first time, where you will build industry credibility and thought leadership, and where you will capture new leads. It’s therefore critical that your pages are optimized for conversions.

Even in the manufacturing industry, where some companies are still playing digital marketing catch up, having a website is not enough; it’s equally important to ensure you’re staying up to date on crucial best practices.

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

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.

Read More »
Tail Spend
Procurement

Driving Compliance And Cleaning Up Your Tail

Tail Spend
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.

Read More »
Light bulb against man writing in notepad.jpeg
Content Marketing

3 Characteristics Of Effective Content

The phrase “Content is king” has largely been dropped from the corporate lexicon — you hear it much less now than you did a year or even six months ago. Of course, this doesn’t make it any less true; content is still a foundational element of any inbound marketing scheme worth its salt.

Light bulb against man writing in notepad.jpegIf 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?

Luckily in this case, my bias carries with it some benefits.

When you are knee deep in content generation seven days a week, you tend to pick up on some things — things like the fact that not all content is created equal and even the most fool-proof content plans don’t work if the content isn’t spot on. 

Do you want spot on content? Of course you do. Let's take a look at three important characteristics:

Read More »
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.   

Read More »
Technology

Predictive Modeling Can Unlock Logistics Optimization

Logistics Analytics.png

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. So how can this issue be resolved?

According to EBN, cloud-based analytics tools can be the answer.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
RPM-CXL.jpg
Manufacturing and Industrial

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

Read More »
TB_Shortlist-1.png
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.

Read More »
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 prevalant in the manufacturing space, wanted to offer up an analysis to help you decide what's best for your business.

Read More »
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):

Read More »
BIM

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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

3 Steps To Be More Sustainable On The Shop Floor

Three Ways 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. 

Clean Economy Jobs By Industry.png
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.  

If you want to embrace sustainability and reap its benefits, it helps to know where to start. Here are three proven steps you can take to be more sustainable on the shop floor. 

Read More »
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.

Read More »
Technology

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. 

Read More »
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.

Read More »
black magnifying glass over white viewed from the top.jpeg
Content Marketing

3 Tips to Getting Your Dream Customer's Attention With Content

If there’s one thing better than leads, it's leads from dream customers — those perfectly ideal potential clients with perfectly ideal potential orders. The problem is that dream customers probably seem more like unicorns or Bigfoot to you than actual, achievable contacts.

black magnifying glass over white viewed from the top.jpegYour dream customer surely does exist. That said, I can’t offer any one secret trick for finding them, unfortunately. There is no magic bullet for hooking a dream customer, just as there are no magic creatures.

You’re probably asking: How do I find them, then? 

Well, it takes some work and a dedicated, well thought out plan, but it comes down to targeting. If you target your content the right way and to the right audiences — the audiences that your dream customers are in — you can start to pull in those big-ticket leads you want.

Read More »
Technology

A New Platform Will Strengthen The Health Care Supply Chain

New Supply Chain Platform Helps Prevent Global Health Care Risks

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. 

Read More »
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. 

Read More »
Untitled design (3).png
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 »
HubSpot_marketing_for_industrial_stats.png
Manufacturing and Industrial

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.

Read More »
Closeup image of a businessman hand holding bills of US dollar in fist.jpeg
Marketing Strategy

How Industrial Companies Can Spend Their Marketing Dollars

Industrial manufacturing has been a driving force behind the U.S. economy for decades, but when it comes to digital B2B marketing, it's typically behind the curve.

Closeup image of a businessman hand holding bills of US dollar in fist.jpegThe reliance on word-of-mouth recommendations and cold calling is no longer the only option for companies, and marketers have been slowly stepping up their game in the past few years.

With new techniques and platforms emerging every day, it can be hard to keep up with it all — or even know where to begin.

We've recently published an eBook called "10 Ways Manufacturers Can Spend Their Marketing Dollars," but to help get you started, let's dive right in to a few of them:

Read More »
STEM/Next Gen

Introducing The 2016 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars

30U_17_006_Social-Media-Banners_blog (2).jpg

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.  

Read More »
Business people using mobile phones and laptops, calculating and discussing charts and diagrams for financial report.jpeg
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.

Business people using mobile phones and laptops, calculating and discussing charts and diagrams for financial report.jpegSince 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. 

Read More »
DNB THOMASNET.com survey graphic_2-v4 side1v2.jpg
Procurement

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.

Read More »
Tablet pc with text Get More Leads with blue background.jpeg
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.

Tablet pc with text Get More Leads with blue background.jpegThat 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.

There are a number ways to kick start your strategy and begin harnessing the power of inbound to drive more leads for your business. To begin, let's talk about four tactics you can jump on right now.

Read More »
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. 

Read More »
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.

Read More »
Cognitive Technology.png
Technology

How Can Procurement Teams Prepare For Cognitive Technology?

Cognitive Technology.png

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?

Read More »
Industrial marketing agency chart-1.jpg
Manufacturing and Industrial

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.

Read More »
Img 1 - % of Budget in Print.jpg
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.

Img 1 - % of Budget in Print.jpgIn recent research, we found that for 2017, 46% of all engineering marketers plan to dedicate zero budget to print.

In this post, we'll provide some data to help you with your decision on whether to use print advertising. The data comes from:

  • A survey of engineers on where they get work-related information
  • A survey of industrial marketers about their success with print
  • Advertising industry data

We'll also unveil a critical piece of information courtesy of the top performing engineering marketers. 

Read More »
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. 

Read More »
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 RPM's design and development team wanted to share what's on our bookshelves and recommend a few of our favorites.

Read More »
Bat Bot.png
Manufacturing and Industrial

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.

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

The American Inventions That Revolutionized Manufacturing

February 11 is National Inventors’ Day, which celebrates the tremendous impact that American inventors have had on the United States and people around the world. 

The manufacturing industry has also felt the impact of these innovators who were willing to push the possibilities of their times and technologies.

In honor of National Inventors’ Day, we wanted to take a look back at a few of the awesome American inventions that have shaped the industry.

Read More »
eng marketing trends.png
Sales

Top Tools For Sales & Marketing Collaboration

Love versus hate. Good versus evil. Heaven versus hell. Sales versus marketing?

eng marketing trends.pngIf you’ve ever worked in or with a sales or marketing department, you know that the statement above might not be as ridiculous as it first seems.

It can be easy to get caught up in a constant back and forth of finger pointing: Typically, sales says that marketing doesn’t produce enough leads or, if there are leads coming in, complains that they’re not good quality. Marketing maintains that they produce plenty of high-quality leads and it’s sales that doesn’t know how to close them.

What seems like an insurmountable gap can actually be bridged quite easily, with a little transparency between the teams going a long way toward better understanding — and better transparency can be achieved with as little as a few carefully chosen collaboration tools.

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

RIT To Lead National Consortium For Cleaner Manufacturing

Sustainability.png

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.

Read More »
Gearmotors.png
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.

Industrial PPC Trends.jpgIt's no secret that 2016 was for PPC, with Google making a number of changes to AdWords. Notably, PPC ads were permanently moved from the sidebar to the main section of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), and the newly launched Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) dramatically increases potential ad real estate.

In the manufacturing and industrial space, where common and important keyword phrases can be competitive, this was a big adjustment for those who weren't prepared.

We don't want you do fall prey to a similar fate this year, too, so let's talk about some PPC shifts can we expect in 2017. We've got our eyes on a few key trends:

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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? 

Read More »
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.

Read More »
Awesome mfg company.png
SEO

How to Increase Your SEO Traffic in 30 Days

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

Awesome mfg company.pngThis 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:

Read More »
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.

Read More »
Email Marketing

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.

2017-marketing-imblogv2.jpgWell, 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.

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

Cloud-Based Solutions Are The Future Of Manufacturing

Cloud-Based-Solutions.png

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. 

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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:

Read More »
Year in Review.jpg
Social Media

2016 Industrial Marketing Year in Review

In the world of marketing, things are constantly changing.

Year in Review.jpgFrom 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.

Read More »
Automotive manufacturing.png
Manufacturing and Industrial

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.

Automotive manufacturing.pngBut we do things differently at RPM. 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.

Read More »
Data Syndication

Who’s Downloading CAD Files?

Over the last few years, you’ve probably noticed that the phone doesn’t ring as often in the Sales Engineer bullpen.

There are still prospects out there, though — they’re just now seeking the information they need online rather than calling manufacturers directly.

Read More »
Lead Conversion

5 Simple & Effective Industrial Lead Generation Tips

The internet is, increasingly, the place that things happen. Socializing, news, sales. Yes, even in industrial sectors — as the median age of engineers, design engineers, and facility and plant managers decreases, their use of the internet to find the parts, products, and services they need increases. 

Industrial Lead Gen.jpgTo stay competitive, not to mention solvent, you need to tap into the digital realm for your lead generation. Not only is the venue different, but the methods must be as well. Passive methods no longer work — you can’t publish a website and wait for leads to roll in. You must be proactive, seeking and courting leads instead.

Lead generation was tough to begin with, and the evolving digital sales and marketing landscapes make it even more so. Luckily, there are a number of industrial lead generation tips you can use to kick start your efforts and get the ball rolling.

Read More »
willshire-grand.jpg
Manufacturing and Industrial

Earthquake-Resistant Building Materials for Seismically Sound Structures

When designing new architecture in seismically active regions, engineers must carefully consider the types of earthquake-resistant building materials necessary to create a safe and sturdy structure. The entire length of the West Coast, for example, experiences frequent tectonic shifts, so architects and engineers from Washington state to Baja California are commonly faced with this task. 

Read More »
Mentoring.png
Supply Chain

Why Mentorship Matters In Supply Chain … And How To Maximize It

Mentoring.pngMost people understand the value of finding a mentor. For young people or those new to an industry, a mentor can provide inspiration, guidance, a roadmap for success and the ability to expand their professional network.

However, being a mentor also offers several significant benefits for the mentors themselves and the organizations in which they work. That’s why it’s so important for experienced workers to become effective mentors.

Read More »
Rodon Group.png
STEM/Next Gen

3 Ways Manufacturers Can Give Back This Holiday Season

It's hard to believe, but the holiday season is already upon us. Even if your business is slowing down at this point in the year, it can still be quite hectic.

You're probably planning your first big industrial marketing campaign for 2017, tweaking your PPC strategy for the holidays, scheduling social media posts, writing plenty of content to generate leads — all while trying to squeeze in as much family time as you can.

Still, it's nice to pause and think of what we can do to help others this time of year, and we wanted to showcase a handful of manufacturers who have already taken the lead.

While there are so many manufacturers and industrial companies positively impacting their communities, the next generation and the environment, take a look at three examples of how companies can give back:

Read More »
TT 11.16.16 IEN.png
Manufacturing and Industrial

Video: Snakebots Could Be The Key To Safer Surgeries

The concept of snakebots is not new. These modular robots, which are comprised of connected-but-independent parts, are able to manipulate their shape according to their surroundings. This is extremely helpful for projects that require a closer view of areas that may be difficult to access or dangerous to enter. But Nabil Simaan, Vanderbilt University bioengineering professor, now wants to use the technology to make surgeries safer.

Interested in learning how this technology would work in the OR? Find out more from our partner Industrial Equipment News

Read More »
CON_16_006-Header (2).jpg
Manufacturing and Industrial

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: October 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.

Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for October 2016 (scroll down for previous releases):

Read More »
Marketing Strategy

4 Industrial Marketing Takeaways from INBOUND 2016

While most manufacturers and industrial companies attend industry shows such as IMTS or FABTECH and some CEOs and presidents make their way to various networking events, very few in the industrial space make an effort to attend marketing-focused trade shows and conferences.

This is somewhat understandable, considering how different the industrial world is from other B2B areas; the same marketing tactics that work for many companies won’t always apply to you. (For example, while I love Snapchat and understand its value for marketing campaigns, I have yet to receive a buy-in by overlaying a “dog filter” on clients giving shop tours.) But there is still value in attending these more generalized events.

This week, 15 folks from Thomas spent the week at INBOUND — HubSpot’s annual conference, which brought together 19,000 marketers from 92 countries. And believe it or not, there were actually a few hundred of your fellow industrial companies — maybe even some of your competitors — in attendance.

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

Industrial Buying Trends for 2016

So you want that $1,000,000 deal, right?

Your company's website is a conversion machine — you're doing SEO, PPC and email nurturing, and you're following all the inbound marketing best practices. Months go by, and you're seeing some really great prospects come through. You get a fair amount $10,000 or $50,000 contracts, but you're still searching for that dream contract that's going to pay for your kids' college.

Well, hate to be the one to tell you this, but you have about a 0.8% chance of getting that big million-dollar contract from a first-time customer. Think about your own business — do you give out big contracts to people you've never worked with before? Nope. You want someone you've vetted with a few smaller projects before you trust them with more of your business, and your customers are no different.

Read More »
Mikaela Tierney.jpg
Blogging

How To Create Effective Content For Industrial Companies

You’ve likely heard it before, but we’ll say it again: Content is king.

Even in the manufacturing and industrial space — where relationships and word-of-mouth referrals kept companies going for so long — content marketing is the most effective way to drive high-quality leads and dream customers to your website.

Mikaela Tierney.jpgCreating strong content and engaging prospects is so essential to businesses that there are numerous books, webinars and entire conferences dedicated to getting marketing and sales professionals from across the globe up to speed.

Read More »
Plastic_injection_molding_example.png
Social Media

4 Steps to Expanding Your Industrial Network on LinkedIn

Chances are you’re already using LinkedIn to keep an up-to-date roster of contacts, check out what connections are up to, scout out potential hires, and send messages.

This powerful tool serves as much more than a social network or recruiting outlet, though — it can play a major role in generating leads and sales for your industrial company.

There are a few steps for you to take to benefit from using LinkedIn to connect with people in their industry, so we wanted to lay out a few tips on how to get started. 

(We do want to note that although there's a paid version of LinkedIn known as LinkedIn Sales, we know you’re as budget-conscious as you are business-savvy, so we’ll be solely focusing on harnessing the power of free LinkedIn in this post.)

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

Can A DDoS Attack Impact The Supply Chain?

Last week, an unprecedented cyberattack crippled many popular websites — including Twitter, Netflix, PayPal and Reddit. While the size and breadth of the attack made lots of headlines, the truth is that similar cyberattacks are waged every single day, and they could pose a risk to your business or your supply chain.

While there is no way to completely mitigate the risk of a cyberattack like the one carried out last week, understanding the nature of the attack and taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity, can prove helpful — especially as businesses (and even factories) become increasingly connected to, and reliant on, the web.  

Read More »
SEO

6 Industrial PPC and SEO Best Practices You Should be Following

There's a lot to keep track of if you're marketing in the industrial space: You need to send out regular email marketing campaigns, follow best practices on social media, keep your website up-to-date, push out paid advertising campaigns and make sure you're getting plenty of organic traffic.

We talk pretty regularly about all of the topics mentioned above, and as RPM’s Director of Search, I make a point to bring you important insight to search engine optimization and pay-per-click strategies in particular.

In the past, we’ve covered a bunch of different SEO and PPC topics: industrial SEO basics, what gets your site in the SEO penalty box and how to get out, and the interconnected relationships between SEO, AdWords, and PPC.

But in light of Google’s search result page and AdWords changes earlier this year, not to mention their constantly evolving search algorithm, this seemed like the ideal time to loop specific best practices into one post.

Read More »
Procurement

4 Lean Procurement Strategies For Small And Mid-Sized Businesses

Many small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) don't have dedicated procurement teams in place. In fact, thanks to limited resources and tight budgets, sourcing responsibilities often fall on the shoulders of one or two individuals — many of whom juggle responsibilities other than procurement. As a result, monitoring existing contracts and sourcing best-in-class agreements can be a tremendous challenge for these SMBs.  

So how can SMBs optimize their procurement efforts despite the lack of resources? The key is to be Lean.

Read More »

4 Industrial Marketing, RPM Updates to Celebrate

As we bring you the latest SEO, PPC, social media and other industrial marketing news, we sometimes forget to mention other exciting industry happenings — what is happening at our very own company.

So, as we approach our four-year anniversary of being in business, we wanted to give you a quick rundown of what’s been happening at RPM over the past few months.

Read More »
Content Marketing

The Components of a Successful Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing can penetrate the internal politics of a potential customer and influence buyers at every stage of the buying cycle, so it's important to understand the essential elements that make up a successful strategy.

This isn't limited to the types of content or channels you use to promote — many other moving pieces like sales, traditional marketing tactics, and brand evangelists play into it. Everything works together, so it's time you connect the dots.

Let's jump right in:

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update: September 2016

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 »
Manufacturing and Industrial

Celebrating Manufacturing Day

October 7 is Manufacturing Day, an annual celebration of the North American manufacturing industry and the accomplishments of the people who work within it. 

We partner with thousands of manufacturers to help them reach their business goals, and we spoke with a few of them to find out why a career in manufacturing is cause for celebration:

Read More »
Content Marketing

Checklist: How Content Marketing Will Work For Your Business

Do you know where your expertise lies? How about the channels through which you want to communicate? Are you ready to execute a content marketing strategy?

If you answered yes to the first two questions then you're almost there! Even if you've familiarized yourself with the higher-level strategy through blogs and eBooks, it's important you don't miss a single step.

So, let's take a look at how to ensure success in promoting your business through content marketing:

Step 1: Set goals.

Don’t create content without laying out a strategy for success. Is the end result to get more customers to contact you, or to attract better qualified customers? Do you want to promote your core product line, or build your reputation in a new market? Determining these goals will help you better understand your audience and consequently strengthen your content.

Step 2: Develop a voice.

Do you want to be perceived as casual, formal, conversational, technical, or something else? Pick a tone and style that makes sense for your company and brand, and don't stray. 

Read More »
cjwinter-product-page-example.png
Website Design

3 Ways to Optimize Your Product Pages

All roads lead to your product pages. They are, arguably, the most important pages in your entire site.

You’ve already attracted and educated prospective buyers, you’ve had positive interactions with them — now they’re on your product page, on the verge of transitioning from “prospect” to “client.” But will your product page, as it is, secure the conversion?

Luckily, as with all things in the digital realm, your product pages can be optimized. There are a number of best practices for product pages that will help you to increase conversion rates — let's take a look at three key ones that will be easy for you to implement immediately:

Read More »
Content Marketing

Millennials In Manufacturing, And The Problem With PDFs

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials have overtaken baby boomers to become the largest living population.

Inevitably, this shift is reflected in the B2B sector. As half of all product researchers are now millennials, industrial manufacturers must reconsider their current marketing methods and retool to appeal to a new set of digital demands.

Read More »
Procurement

Nominating A Rising Supply Chain Star: What's In It For You?

Katy__Dave.png

Two years ago, David Allen, who at the time was Functional Excellence Lead in Shell Oil's Downstream Contracting and Procurement Operational Excellence Group, nominated a young colleague, Katy Conrad, for the THOMASNET.com and ISM 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program. Katy was not only selected, she was also named the Megawatt Winner for 2014.

Now, David is encouraging other supply chain professionals to participate in the program, as it has proven a rewarding experience not only for Katy, but for David and the Shell organization overall. Here's what he had to say about the program, his experience and why it's important to recognize the next generation of supply chain professionals.

Read More »
Manufacturing_day_2016.png
Manufacturing and Industrial

Everything You Need to Know About Manufacturing Day 2016

Manufacturing Day is an annual North American celebration of modern industrial manufacturing, intended to shake off the industry’s antiquated reputation by educating and inspiring the next generation of innovators and manufacturers.

Manufacturing_day_2016.pngWhile the official day is typically celebrated on the first Friday of October — this year’s MFG DAY is October 7 — companies and communities are encouraged to schedule events throughout the week or even the month to encourage maximum participation and insightful experience. (Last year’s event hosted more than 400,000 attendees!)

So whether you’re a seasoned engineer hosting an event or a curious student looking to explore what the industry has to offer, MFG DAY has something for you. Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s activities:

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

Video: Army Helicopters Getting Big Upgrade

The United States Army's fleet of helicopters is about to get a major upgrade.

After eight years of development, recent advancements and grants are about to culminate in the development of a new centerline engine for Black Hawk and Apache helicopters. The advanced design includes a 3,000 shaft horsepower turbine engine, which will mean big improvements longevity and fuel efficiency.  

Read More »
Search_results_page.png
SEO

How PPC's Latest Updates Impact SEO

Pay-per-click marketing and search engine optimization have an interesting relationship — the two tactics can be rivals, work together seamlessly or simply coexist. 

While many companies tend to treat them as completely separate entities, Google's most recent updates cemented tangible overlap between the two, which needs to be considered in every search engine marketing strategy.

Read More »
Swim.jpg
Manufacturing and Industrial

What You Might've Missed in Marketing and Manufacturing This Summer

Well, folks, we’ve passed Labor Day Weekend, which means summer is officially over.

Amidst the craziness of July 4, summer vacations, and family barbecues, it can be hard to stay afloat of industry trends. As you settle back to the usual work routine, you’ll want to catch up on everything that’s been happening in marketing and manufacturing while you were away.

Here’s a roundup of the biggest industry trends you may have missed this summer.

Read More »
STEM/Next Gen

Why STEM Outreach Is Important

A strong manufacturing industry is critical to our economic success as a country: every dollar spent in manufacturing adds $1.37 to the US economy, while every 100 manufacturing jobs create 250 jobs in other sectors.

The Manufacturing Institute recently stated in a report this alarming fact: “Over the next decade, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs likely need to be filled. The skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled.”

Manufacturers have reported a significant gap between the talent they need to keep their business growing and talent they can actually find.

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

Manufacturing At The US Open: How Tennis Rackets Are Made

The tennis rackets that you'll see on display at the US Open this week are nothing like the clunky, wooden rackets used years ago. That's because today's game is faster, with average serve speeds of 124 to 140 mph, and engineers are tasked with creating rackets that can not only accomodate these speeds, but can withstand forces as great as 50 kilos while being lighter and more aerodynamic than ever before. So what technologies do companies use to create these modern marvels of engineering? 

While different brands use their own distinct materials and techniques for creating tennis rackets, the manufacturing process is mostly consistent. Check out the step-by-step process of creating a tennis racket below:

Read More »
Content Marketing

The Basics of Content Marketing

You ask, "What's content marketing?"

Joe Pulizzi, a content marketing evangelist and thought leader, answers, “[It's] the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling.”

Wait a second. If content marketing doesn’t “sell,” then how does it help my business? Here's your answer: Content marketing helps industrial companies’ bottom lines by building their brand image and forging meaningful connections with buyers.

Read More »
TT_Video_082416.jpg
Technology

Video: A New And Improved Corvette For A New Generation

The decade-old rumor of a new and improved Corvette is finally coming to fruition. A sleeker model of the classic American sports car will come out as early as 2018. The dramatically changed car will have a mid-engine design, allowing better handling and responsiveness and more flexibility while incorporating a potential plug-in hybrid powertrain or all-wheel drive. 

Read More »
ROI & Analytics

Dial Into Your Phone Calls When Measuring Industrial Marketing ROI

When it comes to measuring the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing activities, it’s essential that you’re actually measuring all of it. Thanks to the increasing prevalence of digital marketing, most marketers look at things like clicks, open rates and conversions. But if you’re like many industrial suppliers, you could be overlooking an essential piece of the marketing metrics puzzle – phone inquiries.

Read More »
Marketing Strategy

6 Marketing Activities to Jump On During Summer Shutdown

Summer shutdown is upon us.

When production on the floor halts this season and all your machinist colleagues are off-the-grid, you can do so much more than kick back while your MRO manager cleans and evaluates the shop floor.

This is a great time to get introspective about what you've accomplished this year, how you can continue growing as a marketer and re-evaluate what's left to meet Q3 and Q4 goals. Let's take a look at your opportunities.

Read More »
dale-carnegie-quote_11-1.jpg
Sales

The Secret To Effective Sales Email Outreach

This is a heartfelt love note to all of the sales people out there that strap on the battle armor every day and ride out to find new opportunities that will help the business grow.

Your effort is the biggest driver to success, but style sure can improve results. Let’s take a look at an all too common challenge that all sales people face: the cold email fail.

We get them in our inbox all day and they largely do not incite a response other than to hit the “delete” button, right? Why is that? To begin, take a look at a few cold email openings that have hit my inbox lately:

Read More »
Racing Summer Games.jpg
Manufacturing and Industrial

5 Supply Chain Lessons We Can Learn From The Summer Games In Rio

More than 10,500 athletes from 200 countries will compete in front of the cameras at the Summer Games in Rio. But those numbers pale in comparison to what’s going on behind the scenes, where two warehouses spanning 105,000 square meters will store more than 30 million items. These items include 10,000 smartphones, 54 boats, 32,000 tennis balls, 250 golf carts and 70,000 tables. Making it all possible is a team of almost 7,000 employees and 70,000 volunteers who will handle everything from registering and recording the arrival of the goods to organizing their final delivery.

Read More »
social-media-search.png
SEO

4 Reasons You’re Not Ranking on Page 1 in Google

Every business has different products and services, but they share the same marketing goal: to rank on Page 1 in Google.

So if you don’t see top spots for your business in organic searches, it can be frustrating — especially since Google will never reveal its search algorithm’s secret sauce. This algorithm contains more than 200 unique signals that factor into your website’s ranking.

Luckily, Google has shared clues to the algorithm signals in its own publications for SEO and marketing experts to leverage. Sharing these clues ensures a better Internet experience for all Google users and allows marketing agencies like RPM to develop content and website structuring strategies that deliver higher organic ranking performances.

Read More »
Copy_of_TT_Video_07132016.jpg
Technology

Video: Brew Up Your Own Craft Beer At Home

You can now bring the bar to your house with the latest technology from Australia’s Coopers Brewery and their BrewArt offering. With the use of two pieces of equipment and your smartphone, you make your make favorite craft beers in the privacy of your own home.

Read More »
Data Syndication

3 Reasons ISO Standards Aren't Enough To Get Specified

International standards like ISO, ANSI, NEMA are well-established across businesses in the industrial market.

enterprise-iso-standards.jpg

These standards, developed by technical experts in national and international trade associations, influence market requirements and have become the benchmark for quality among manufacturers.

However, the standards must be broad enough to apply to different businesses and applications, and thus define form, fit and function at only generic levels.

Because ISO and other standards merely establish a baseline, we’ve seen manufacturers lose bids by relying on standards alone.

Read More »
Website Design

Tips for Designing a Homepage that Converts

The importance of homepage design cannot be overstated.

It is, in most cases, the first page website visitors see, and consequently the determining factor of whether visitors will stay on the site, explore additional pages, and become a lead by submitting a form. It can be fun to design a homepage, but it’s also critically important to lead generation.

Read More »
Social_media_tool.jpg
Social Media

Is Twitter Worth it for Industrial Companies?

This might be a question you’ve wondered yourself — do you really need to invest time and money into social media? Are any of your customers or associates even online, anyway?

Social_media_tool.jpgThe answer to these questions is a definite YES. Your customers are online, and they’re eager to connect.

Even if you’ve set up a Twitter account, that doesn’t mean it will automatically be seen by the right people. Building up a strong following takes time, effort, and more than anything else — strategy.

So, where should you start?

Read More »
ROI & Analytics

3 Ways To Cut Through The Marketing ROI Clutter

When it comes to measuring marketing ROI, there’s no shortage of data available. In fact, over the last five years, more than 3,600 martech vendors have entered the industry, giving business owners and marketing teams the ability to track every move their customers make, from opening emails to viewing pages to commenting on social media.

As a result, companies are armed with more data than ever before. Unfortunately, however, there’s so much information available that it can be easy to lose focus on the marketing metrics that really matter to your company. To help keep you from falling down the data rabbit hole, here are three things you can do to cut through the clutter:  

Read More »
Content Marketing

5 Tips for Revision and Self-Editing

Having trouble writing a blog post or can’t seem to create a piece that flows? Remember what comes after writing a first draft: revising and editing.

Writing_and_editing.pngIf you don’t consider yourself a natural writer, these steps are crucial for creating great content. It can be difficult to transform thoughts into intelligent, flowing sentences during the drafting process; however, revising and editing make this unnecessary. 

Don’t get caught up in writing the perfect sentences. Focus on transcribing your thoughts and ideas. You can always make it better during the revision process.

Transform your mediocre rough draft into a stellar final copy by following the tips below.

Read More »
Data Syndication

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

Our team receives the “BIM vs. CAD” question a lot — many people mistake a BIM file as simply a 3D CAD file.

However, BIM files and CAD files serve unique industries and involve different software tools utilized by their users. BIM (Building Information Modeling) has significantly changed the way the construction community designs, documents and builds a commercial building. It is not just a 3D CAD file, as the information in a BIM file includes key performance characteristics, specifications and connections that are important to building design and construction.

Read More »
Business Tips

How to Successfully Grow Your Industrial Business

Periodically, we hear from you regarding industry-related issues, and we strive to answer your questions based on our decades of experience and exhaustive understanding of the manufacturing space.

Industrial_business.jpgLately, your questions have centered around business growth and how you can achieve it.

We’re eager to share some good news: there’s more than one way, and sometimes it happens as an unintended result of excelling at what you already do. 

In other words, keep being a rock star, and you might achieve business growth through that alone.

There’s one particular success story that comes to mind, and will hopefully provide you with some additional context on what I just mentioned.

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

Celebrating The Independent American Manufacturer

In honor of the Fourth of July, Thomas is not only celebrating Independence Day, but also celebrating the independent American manufacturers that contribute so much to our country throughout the year. And while there are a multitude of reasons to appreciate these small and mid-sized businesses, we wanted to highlight two in particular — job creation and innovation.

Read More »
ThinkstockPhotos-454305393-721421-edited-2.jpg
SEO

How to See if Bad SEO is Causing a Drop in Website Traffic

If your content marketing strategy is progressing while your website traffic slumps, your reaction will surely be one of confusion. We've all been there.

With Google’s constant changes to its algorithm and the shifting nature of the internet, search engine optimization is, frankly, a phenomenon the masses don’t fully understand. This is especially true in the manufacturing and industrial space.

ThinkstockPhotos-454305393-721421-edited-2.jpgDon't get discouraged. There are a handful of individuals in our industry that have mastered SEO, and there are plenty of resources available for you to review to gain a better grasp.

Read More »
Business Tips

Want To Help Grow Your Manufacturing Business?

The manufacturing industry is going through a revival, and now may be the perfect time to think about growing your business.

There’s a lot to be considered when deciding whether or not to expand your business, like if you have enough employees to take on new work, if you can afford to hire more employees or pay current workers overtime, if you’re in a good position to get loans or credit, and where you can even find new clients.

If you decide to take the leap, consider these tips to help you get started and tackle common challenges along the way.

Read More »
inbound_marketing_cover.jpg
Marketing Strategy

9 Books Every Marketer Should Read

As I’ve said beforemarketing is a busy career.

A characteristic of any good marketer is keeping yourself busy, especially in periods of downtime, by constantly working to improve your skills. One of the best ways to do this is to consume literature that will increase your understanding of the field.

If you have an Amazon account; are in possession of a library card; or can transport yourself by plane, train, or automobile to a bookstore, you should absolutely pick up one, or all, of the following books:

Read More »
Data Syndication

"The Phone Doesn’t Ring Anymore"

Your phone used to ring off the hook with sales opportunities. But there’s a problem — it isn’t ringing anymore.

Cold Calling Doesn't WorkThis doesn’t mean sales opportunities are dwindling. It’s a sign that phones have been replaced by a new tool — your website — and other dynamic sales tools like eCatalogs.

It’s also a reflection of our times where younger millennials look to self-service, digital sources to drive their workflows.

Read More »
Manufacturing and Industrial

5 Awesome Made In America Products You Can Buy Right Now

The manufacturing sector is constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation and technology, and that in turn is fueling the demand for local sourcing and reshoring.

However, for U.S. manufacturing to continue its momentum, buyers must be able to purchase these awesome made-in-America products, and that's what Thomasnet.com is all about.

Every day, we help buyers connect with qualified suppliers who can deliver exactly what they are looking for. Here are some of the amazing U.S.-made products that are being produced by suppliers on Thomasnet.com right now.

Read More »
mothersofinvention1.jpg
Content Marketing

Impressive Brand Awareness Campaigns from 3 Big Manufacturing Companies

As a manufacturing professional, you’re more than familiar with industrial companies large and small. But if you ask someone who isn’t intimately involved in the space which company he or she thinks of in relation to manufacturing, the results will surely be limited. Perhaps a couple of the biggest names — General Electric, John Deere, et cetera — will come to mind. The list, I can almost guarantee, will not go on long after.

Read More »