Marketing & Sales Insight from a Former Honda Engineer

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

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

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

Ryan earned his Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Dayton and then served as the Interior Fit and Finish Complex Analysis Team Lead at Honda. During his four years at the company, he reviewed and optimized new model designs for manufacturability and led complex analysis of mass production quality concerns.

Now, he's here to help guide companies in the manufacturing and industrial space to use digital marketing to generate high-quality leads and reach their business goals — take a look below:

With more and more companies supporting STEM initiatives these days, it seems like people are getting experience with the world of engineering at a younger age. Did you grow up with any exposure to industry that made you want to be an engineer?
No not really. To be honest, I was never really a big fan of traditional classroom learning — I liked being hands-on, evaluating problems and coming up with solutions. I considered a few different paths, and for a while, I leaned toward becoming a mechanic.

It wasn't until I was in high school that a guidance counselor convinced me to look into engineering, and when I started visiting schools and saw some of the senior design projects, I was sold on mechanical engineering.

After graduating from the University of Dayton you went to work at Honda, which is a pretty great place to start and grow your career. I'm sure your job changed over that time, but can you talk about your most recent day to day at the company?
As a quality engineer, mass production problems were always the primary responsibility. If there was a fit and finish concern raised by our inspectors, I would be responsible for finding the root cause and working with the responsible department or supplier to develop a countermeasure.

When mass production was running smoothly, I would work on new model development — this could be anything from reviewing 3D data for future models to traveling to Japan to meet with the designers to try to design out current mass production struggles on those future models.

What advice do you have for business owners looking to land contracts with big names such as Honda?
Well, obviously I wasn't involved directly with procurement, but I did work with plenty of suppliers once they were evaluated by the buying team and brought in. I will say that I never saw a new supplier come in and go straight to the biggest contracts. Most of the time that I was working with a new supplier, it was on a lower volume part or on a new technology that they did not have a supplier for.

So the biggest piece of advice I can give is to jump at any of these odd opportunities that come up. I know companies want to land $1,000,000 deals with big companies on their first job, but it's important to take the smaller jobs to develop your relationship with the design engineers. These designers may not get the final say on who ends up getting the big contracts, but they usually try to influence the buyers to pick suppliers that they like working with.

That's great insight! What else might business owners might not know about the engineering process at big name companies?
As I just mentioned, you're probably not going to get the big contract or be the tier one supplier for your first job. You really need to work your way up through the ranks — take that $50,000 contract when you can.

I would also encourage business owners to download the Industrial Buying Habits survey we just conducted — has a lot of great insight on what procurement folks in our space are looking for and how you can best reach them.

It seems like you had such a great experience working at Honda, so can you talk a little bit about what brought you to step out of a traditional engineering role and join RPM?
As much as I enjoyed my time with Honda, I wanted a new challenge without leaving the manufacturing space completely, and I wasn’t sure what that challenge would look like until I met the RPM team.

Everyone here has so much passion for manufacturing, and they're always looking to learn more and push boundaries, which is a perfect combination for me.

I will admit that I will miss the uniforms at Honda, though — it made getting ready in the morning a lot easier.

Last question for you — what excites you most about inbound marketing and its impact on manufacturing?
In my time at Honda, I worked with everyone from design engineers and buyers to the people on the assembly line, so I know first-hand the opportunities digital marketing in the industrial space can create.

On a personal level, I'm really excited to work with our in-house team of marketers and fellow engineers to continue to best serve content to our customers and their prospects to bring in new business.

Final Thoughts

If you have any questions for Ryan, please comment below or get in touch with us here.

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