The Manufacturing Executive
The Manufacturing Executive

Episode · 2 years ago

You Don't Have to Blog: Content Marketing for Manufacturers That Works w/ Nick Goellner


Try describing a mechanical thing with a blog post. It's not easy. It's not the right format. But try taking a 3-D model, making it photorealistic, and then doing animations of how it works. Now, you're on to something.

So when you think about content marketing, do you think blogs, social media, and podcasts? Or do you think, "What's going to help my audience?"

On this episode of The Manufacturing Executive Show, Nick Goellner, sales and marketing leader for Advanced Machine & Engineering and managing director of Making Chips, talked about content marketing in the industrial sector.

Here's what we discussed with Nick:

  • The role content marketing should play inside a manufacturing organization
  • Why content is your job even if you are not a marketer (it's all about the function of content)
  • The reason you shouldn't be scared your competitors will rip off your content
  • The books Nick's reading this summer

To ensure that you never miss an episode of The Manufacturing Show, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify, or here

So I like to think about d models and whether it's giving away a cad or animating it or making a photo realistic image as like the number one content format for my audience, which is what we built our agency for for the metalworking leader. Welcome to the manufacturing executive podcast, where we explore the strategies and experiences that are driving mid size manufacturers forward. Here you'll discover new insights from passionate manufacturing leaders who have compelling stories to share about their successes and struggles, and you'll learn from B tob sales and marketing experts about how to apply actionable business development strategies inside your business. Let's get into the show. Welcome to the official episode number one of the manufacturing executive podcast. I'm Joe Sullivan, your host and the CO founder of the Industrial Marketing Agency guerrilla seventy six. We've got a first guest here today that I'm really excited about and think it's going to help us kick this thing off with a bang. So let me introduce Nick Golner. Nick is leading a new generation of manufacturers, combining the traditional values of his family's global metal working business with innovative, modern marketing strategies. After starting on the shop floor at Hennagank Fabricating Machine Protection Components for CNC machine tools, it became a designated certified machine tool sales engineer, cmtsee, and received his BS in Entrepreneurial Marketing from the Florida Institute of Technology. Nick now serves as the sales and marketing director for advanced machine and Engineering and in two thousand and eighteen, nick became a partner and cohost of the popular manufacturing leadership podcast making chips. Shortly after joining, nick helped expand the podcast platform into making chips two, a full scale marketing agency specifically targeting the metalworking industry. He's able to combine his passion for Content Marketing and metal working by collaborating with the team of dynamic industrial marketers serving the making chips clients with results driven marketing programs. So, nick, welcome to the show. Thanks, Joe. It's an honor to be the first manufacturing executive on the manufacturing executive podcast. That's pretty cool. Well, I figured we'd start with somebody who's got some experience with this whole podcasting thing, so seems like a natural fit. So yeah, I've got a few episodes under my belt. Yes, you do, and we'll mention it again at the end, but for those of you listening making chips podcast, this is one you should all be listening to. These guys have been doing it for years and nick joined them and added a whole additional dynamic to it. So go check that out. So Nick did by introduction. Do you justice or anything you'd like to add to that? Know, it was good. I appreciate it. It's hard to say what I do, and I concise way, because I wear so many hats, like a lot of other manufacturing leaders. But really I'm just a third generation manufacturing kid from a company of that designs and builds machine tools. It was mounted by my grandfather and, you know, coming up with clever ways to optimize processes and design the machinery that does that. That's kind of like my family's DNA. So yeah, just happened. A love of marketing, specifically content marketing like this. So awesome. Well, you and I have known each other for man must be about five or six years or so, and and we met when they least yeah, maybe it was even maybe it might even longer. I think. Yeah, because I think I launched my new website that I actually called you for about five years ago and we were talking a couple years before that. Just to yeah, I was trying to yeah, yes, you were, you were and you were. I remember you guys. You came through. You and some of your crew came to St Louis, where were located, and you think go to maybe had a customer down here you're visiting, or was one of my sales guys. I'm, you know, like you mentioned, on the sales direct up to so like I was bringing one of my younger sales guys who was one of the you know, hey, we got to start doing some better marketing, and I was like, okay, we're going to go find this agency. I yea ended up finding you guys. Do like one of your guides that you create. Okay, those really well, all right, awesome, very...

...good, but I can remember we grabbed lunch down the street here in the central West End of St Louis at the Gamblin whiskey house. I can remember sitting there with you guys and hearing your story and I remember sitting here thinking I don't know how I can justify trying to sell nick and his crew marketing services, because I'm pretty sure they know what they're doing and they've got it figured out. And while there are probably some skill sets you could have used from the outside, I can remember flat out email and you the next day saying, you know what, I think you've got this and I think you know you'd be curiously your perspective, but you're a few years down the road here. I feel like I might have been right about that one. So well, yeah, so I remember being pretty disappointed because I had kind of kind of like sourced you guys out and I loved your story to how it's a bunch of journalists who created an industrial marketing company. I think journalism is like the skill, you know, the number one in demand skill for me, at least with my own agency, is people who can pull a story out of something, and so I wanted to hire you guys and I remember being kind of disappointed that you were like, you know, I don't. I don't think we're the right fit for you because you've got so many of the pieces in place and you know, you're pretty much saying like we're not just like a Bo taque writing agency who want we want to do like a full holistic you know, kind of Turnkey Marketing Program for you and I was really looking for you guys, as like the storyteller's to add an element to a program that I had already kind of built. But after that, you know, I thought about it more and I just really appreciated the honesty and, you know, in hindsight I think maybe you were right that it was better for me to kind of go through the lumps and bumps of trying to build my own program then just at the time, you know, hiring an agency to kind of guide me through it. So cool. Yeah, now makes sense. I think you've done an amazing job both, you know, on the Ame side of the business and then, you know, of course, with making chips as well. So I'm excited about this conversation because I know you and I obviously we think when we started our first conversations it's because we shared a lot of similar perspectives on things. Industrial Marketing really did. But what's interesting is we're coming at it from two different angles. You came up and manufacturing in a manufacturing family. I came up in through marketing and design. Really was where I started, and and then we've sort of found our way from different angles to this middle ground, which is the industrial marketing world, or sales and marketing for manufacturing organizations, and so so I thought, you know, this would be a really interesting conversation and I wanted to start out by talking specifically about content marketing. I know it's a passion of yours. It's a passion of mine absolutely, and so I think what what I see, and I'm guessing you agree, but one to hear your perspectives that in general, the industrial sector is lagging behind dramatically on this front. And one of the things that really stood out from our first conversations to year's back was that, you know, I felt like you were kind of all over and that was rare for me to see. Where you get it where? For most manufacturers, content is about, you know, talking about how great we are and all the things we do in our capabilities and why our competition is garbage and our customer service is better than everybody and it's all about you know, me, me, me, and what I saw from you was that you your perspective on it was we need to build and cultivate an audience by helping solve problems, answer questions, guide them through the buying process. So I'd love to hear your you talk about this. What you know? What's your perspective on what content marketing is and, specifically the role you think it needs to play side of a manufacturing organization? Yeah, so I think one way to help understand what content marketing is, at least at least to me, and you know we read a lot of the same people so that they describe it this way as well. But when the content is your product, then you're likely doing content marketing. So instead of describing the value of another product, like we make the best widget and like all the things you just said were the contents describing the value of something else, when the content is the value and when your content is the product and that product adds value to your target audience, then you're probably doing content mark and I think that's an important distinction, because that's one of the reasons why I did what...

I did with forming this joint venture with the making chips guys. You know, both of my partners have businesses where they're, you know, in the manufacturing industry and owners and operators of manufacturing businesses. But the making ships podcast wasn't about car, machine and tool or about Zenger's industrial supply company. It was about the manufacturing leader, the audience that they wanted to get to know. So they actually took the time to understand that audience. What's keeping them up at night? What are the topics that they want to talk about? How can we all build this community and grow together? And of course, you know, when it was natural and conversation, they mentioned their businesses and what they did, but the product was the making chips podcast and admission to equip and inspire other manufacturing leaders. No one would have listened to it if they just talked about how great their machine shop was or how they supply the best tools at the best customer service at a great price. It was about creating a community and to me that's when the content becomes the product and you're doing content marketing, and so I really like what they were doing and I was like, okay, how do I just let these guys know that I appreciate them? And I sent them a slut kind of a storytelling video that we created just about like the broader meaning behind our company and our mission to bring more work back to the states and why it matters and why it's an issue of national security. So those guys liked it and they're like all great storytelling. You should be a guest and you know, one thing led to another. But I think it's hard for our industry, for most people, to understand. Okay, I can't just talk about myself or my products. You kind of feel like you have to, like everything I create needs to be about me and what I do, and that's actually one of the most destructive things you can do for your marketing program is just be self centered. Totally go. They might two cense on it and well said, and it's almost just it's so natural for somebody to just jump to here's who we are and what we do and why we're great, and the reality is nobody's listening. They have their own your prospects of your customers, they have their own problems. Are trying to solve, the things are dealing with, whether their engineers or plant managers or whoever they are, they're doing with their job and what's in front of them today and the last thing they need to do is here, you know, somebody shouting some some marketing, your sales message at them, especially when it's you know, it's not something they need and right now, so that that mindset shift is when I see it happen with manufacturers. It's like this light bulb goes off and then they can start turning a corner and thinking the way they're their customers and prospects think. Yeah, and I'm a fan of product marketing. I'm a I'm like Turck. I watch commercials, I enjoy commercials. I like watching people explain the value of a product. I just don't really think that's the content marketing that all the content marketers are talking about. Yes, that's, you know, like great product copywriting and great branding, and all those things are important, don't get me wrong. It's just when we think content marketing, the product is the content itself, not the description of some other product. So now I think that's a really, really interesting and great way to look at it. So, you know, you've got making chips, you've got a me. When you think about an organization like a me or you know, maybe someone who would be a customer of the making chips agency, something that that I'm guessing you maybe here, that I certainly hear is from a salesperson or an engineer, a technical professional. They say, you know, contents, not my job. That's the marketers job. The marketers they need to go make that stuff. And and it's a red flag immediately when I hear that, or maybe not a red flag, with something that makes you say, will hold hold on a second, and here's why, and this I want to hear your take on that. Yeah, so I think it comes down to like understanding what what content does, what's the function of content, and like as if you're a salesperson and in your inner room and your your job is to communicate with these people, like whatever you say is your content. So if you're giving a powerpoint presentation to a bunch of prospects, like, that's your content. If your job is to stand up in front of a group of potential customers and DESCRI I why they should work with your business, that's your content. So if you're in a job, we're a huge part of your job, this communication, then content should matter to you and it does matter to you. I think where people get tied up is, well, I'm not...

...a graphic designer, are I'm not a great writer, I'm not more of a tactician when it comes to the content, where I actually build and create the content. That's what we have you know great marketers and Marketing Agency in creatives that they can really help with that. But, like, content is everyone's priority, whether they want to admit it or not. They think it's their priority. They just need to kind of maybe reframe how they think to understand like Oh, so you know, I have something to communicates, therefore I should care about content. And so I think one of the things that's detrimental to that kind of alignment we're trying to create is when we're dividing. Okay, marketers do this and sales people do that, and I think like Peter Drucker's got this definition of marketing, which is to create and deliver value to a target market at a profit. As I whose job is that, as at, a salesperson's job, or's that a marketer's job? Like the answers, yes, it's everybody's job. So people do too much of this in all throughout our society where they trying to kind of create distinctions and create divisions that polarize things. And I think the best companies don't really think about like well, I'm a salesperson, so I'm going to cold call and knock on doors and give presentations and I'm a marketer, so I'm going to like sit on the computer all day and I probably won't talk to customers that much, but I'll do a lot of writing and a lot of graphic design. Like those companies aren't going to get anything, though. I almost don't even like calling it a sales department in a marketing department. Just, you know whatever, call it like the customer Success Department or something like there, because I think that the division hurts. Yeah, no, makes sense. I think something you said the second ago that so to struck a chord is, you know, when you're an expert in something, whether you are a sales or marketing person in your organization, or you're an engineer or your whoever you are, the things you say are your content, right, and I think it's the marketers job, at least from my perspectives, the marketer's job, maybe the salesperson's job, to package and deliver that content in a way that might be more scalable or can reach the right people. And that's why I believe that the expertise in the brains of your company, subject matter actors have to be the source of anything that say gets published, whether it's a written piece of content, whether it's a video or in the interview like this. Right, it's and I think it's the marketers job to sort of extract that knowledge and figure out how to package it, how to deliver it, how to get it in front of the right people, but it's got to come from the expert right. Yeah, it's that's a great way to say it. It can't be like, okay, marketers write a bunch of articles about you know how I do engineering. Well, you're the one who knows that. So that's why I was talking about journalism earlier. I love journalists. It's their job to kind of distill an extract knowledge from others and recreate it in a way that more people can understand and that it can have broader appeal, and so I'm always looking for a good journalist. Awesome. So the word on the street is that you've got a little hidden gem that's been gold for you on the content front and and I wanted to hear you kind of enlighten our listeners a little bit. Yeah, we don't think of this as content marketing. Is it's not, you know, one of the you know, traditional forms of content marketing, but to me it's like the most valuable form of content marketing for my audience and that's we give away cad model. So it's a digital representation of a physical product. It describes the product, it does a job for the audience. It saves them a bunch of time. They can plug it directly in their application to see if it fits, to see if it's something they want to purchase. The you know, physical manifestation of so why is that not content? It is. And so for us, like we have a lot of engineers who need to buy our products and they need to, you know, apply them in their system and if I can get them to download my cad there's a huge chance that they're going to buy the actual product from us. So we do a lot with D models. And it's not just offering the CAD downloads for free. It's also, you know, try to like your you guys have great writers, but try describing mechanical thing with a blog post and it's not the easiest way. It's not the right format in most cases. In some cases you can elaborate on it and tell a story about it or explain it and the written format might help you. But for us we've been taking d models and making them...

...photorealistic and doing animations of how they work, and that has just been gold for my eyes. So I like to think about like d models and whether it's giving away a cad or animating it or making a photo realistic image as like the number one content format for my audience, which is what we built our agency for for the metalworking later and so I just think, okay, is it an article, the blog post? Probably not. Is it a youtube video? Maybe the animation will end up on Youtube, but it's not all the conventional forms of blogging or catent marketing that everyone thinks of, but it's what's going to help my audience. So I always like to have the story dictate the format instead of the other way around. You know what's the story you're trying to tell and what a smart way to operate. Yeah, thank you. Yeah, absolutely, you got you got to think about how you know in people who are out there talking and interfacing with customers and sales people, account managers that you know engineer to engineer conversations. These are the people who understand how your audience consumes information and wants wants to gather information, and so I think it's just such a smart way to do it. You know. Yeah, why write some longform piece of content when what they want, from everything you've experiences, is cat models? Let's put it out there and, yeah, give them what they're looking for, and that's the thing that's going to help them move forward in the buying process and earned your trust in the process. Right. Yeah, and sometimes a longform piece of content is great. It's just not always the answer. So what I found when I was looking for a lot of different marketing agencies before I had my own, was most of the proposals would be like, okay, we're going to give you this many blog posts a month or this many videos or and it's like, well, you don't really know what you're trying to communicate yet, so how do you know what format you should communicate it? And for me it was like am I'm more likely to get someone to give me an email address and exchange for a cab model or exchange for a written article that describes the CAD model? They just want the damn cad model. Yeah, so I don't why don't we just give it to him? So what would be your what would you say to someone who may be listening right now that that's saying, oh Geez, you just put that stuff out there for free. I mean could in our competitors just sort of copy that and take that and make it their own? You know, we need to keep that stuff behind closed doors for after we start the conversation. What's your answer to that? Well, you don't always have to give like the most detailed possible cad model to where they have all of your intellectual property. You know, in this industry you want to protect your intellectual property. That's important, but if they really want something, they can buy it and reverse engineer and there they have it, or they can call someone else to get the model from you, and then you know it's going to happen if they really want to get it. So why not just give it to them? And they're probably not going to reverse engineer and build it themselves if you understand like how how things cost what they cost. That would be unwise and waste the money and time. So for me it's like I'm a little bit more open innovation and open source with my thinking and I might as well be the one who gives it to him, because if my competitor gives it to him, they'll get the order anyway. Yeah, and I think it's a hard adjustment for a lot of companies to make, but the reality is in a situation like that, more often than not the reward is going to outweigh the risk because if you're not doing it, eventually, when your competitors is who's going to have their attention? The company that was scared to put it out there, the company that said now we're going to make this this buying process is straightforward and helpful as possible for our prospect and you want, you kind of want to transfer ownership before the sale, so you want them to feel like it's their thing. That's why I'm such a fan of like product selection tools and product configurators and things where you know what would what would be the questions that your applications engineer would ask before you get to the product that's being built. Is there a way to kind of answer those questions digitally and save both people a bunch of time and get closer to the solution? Or even take it a step further and actually configure the product and have a price or a price range, the final details that you would have to have that one to one conversation with somebody to get and if there is a way to do that. In some cases...'s just to customize that. It's impossible. But if there's a way to do that, what happens is that person who went through that and kind of like build their own solution. They feel like they already own it a little bit. The ownership has been transferred. It's my thing now and I want this thing. I put in all the parameters, I said no to the things I don't need, yes to the things I do, and now here I am with the price and I'm going to buy that now or I'm going to have like the final conversation with someone to hash out the last few details on then by it. So a lot of people are like hey, I just want them to call me right away. Like well, time is money. It's going to take a bunch of time to go through all that with them and if they can configure it them elves and get close, you'll save a bunch of time and that that psychological transfer of ownership, I think does a lot to make someone want to buy from you. Makes Total Sense. So I published an article recently about twelve BDB marketing and sales books to consider reading the summer and think you commented very quickly on on my linkedin post when I sort of featured the first ones that you and I've a lot read a lot of the same books, like you mentioned earlier, and first one on my list, which is is one of my all time favorites, is new sales simplified by Mike Winberg, and think your comment was, yeah, this one's mandatory reading for for my sales team, and I was curious from your perspective, what was it about that particular book, the the sort of Golden Nugget that you took away from that that made it mandatory reading? Well then it's about new sales. So it's I think in the title it can be confusing, like is it new sales simplfied, like a new book, or in what he means is like new sales, like sales you don't already have, customers, you don't have yet. It's about going and finding that next opportunity, that next relationship, the next partnership. And for me, you know, the guys I have in the field, the guys who have their head up looking around for that next opportunity. I want them to be focused on hunting that farming. So I want them to focus on getting us a new customer, not babysitting in account going on the same milk run. And that's what that book is all about. And it doesn't just say what I just said. It gives you some like actual simple but tactical ways to have success with hunting for new business. And one of those ways is the what he calls the sales worry or, you know you call it like your elevator pitch or your, you know, unique sales proposition or whatever people call it. And I liked the format of that sale story, which is number one, talk about the issues or the problems that you solve for your target market, then briefly discuss what you actually do. Like make that the shortest part of it. Here's what we offer, here's our products, here's our services. Keep that the short part and then end with what's different and unique about your approach. And so if you follow that structure and sales conversation, you'll have a lot of success. And that what I found it, being like a sales and marketing dude, is that structure works super good for marketing content as well. So so it's like that, you know, being able to tell a good story and making it about them and not yourself is consistent through sales and marketing, which is one of the reasons why I don't like to create distinctions when I don't have to. Totally love it, and I what I mentioned in that article I wrote was exactly what you just said that you know. I think it's chapter eight of that book, is this idea of the sales story, and I agree it's the best way to art that I've seen to articulate in very concisely the value you create and for who. It translates perfectly to writing positioning for your company that there's so many, so many generals out there. It's in my world as a marketer, it's in manufacturing world. You know what really sets you apart and who is the audience you serve? You need everyone's the One Stop Sha, the one source solution. I still have one of the mouse pads that we made that says like one source solution. That's like we're really not. I mean there's so many things that we don't do. So I I'm trying to squash all of that, but it goes back to what we were saying with you know what you communicate is your content, and so if you know how to communicate in a way that's audience centric or buy or Centric, and the sales story is one of those ways, then you're going to have more success, whether your salesperson or a marketer trying to help a salesperson. So love it totally. What else is on your summer reading list? Well, you know, you mentioned new...

...sales simplified, and that was the book we started with, but he wrote a follow up but called sales management simplified, and I thought that one was super good too. It's not on my list for this summer, but I re read certain sections of it when it comes time to like think about how I'm going to do my sales meeting. His structure for sales meetings was number one. You start, you don't have a long meeting and you just review the results, the actual sales that the person got. And the reason you start with results because at the end of the day, that's that's what sales is about getting, you know, getting actual sales, not doing all your activities or how many doors did you knock on or, you know, how many posts did you put on Linkedin or whatever? It ultimately comes down to the results. Did you bring revenue into the business. So you start with that. But any good manager knows you can't really manage results. This covid thing is a perfect example. It's hard to push all of your sales people and to push your company to have the best sales here, ever, when you know the economy shutdown for months. So what's next after results? That's when you review the pipeline, the opportunities that could turn into a sale, and you talk one on one with your sales person. Okay, what's in your pipeline? How to to get there and how can I help you close it? And then, ultimately, pipeline creates results. And so what creates pipeline? And what creates pipeline is like your daytoday, sales activities. So that's where let's crm systems, or however you log activity, becomes immensely valuable, because I need to see how they're creating pipeline. Where are they finding their new connections? What's on their calendar for next week? What what did they do last week? And so if the results are killing it, chances are they have a very full pipeline and that's because their activities are solid. So those meetings are a lot shorter than the meetings I have with people where, okay, you don't have results. Why not? Okay, we your pipelines out that full and okay, so what are you doing? How do you spend your time? And you know, how can we work together to figure out, okay, how you can have more success with how you spend your time? And so for me that structure totally changed everything in my sales guys know I'm going to communicate with that structure and they know what to expect and they know what's important. What's important as the results. That's why we start with the results. But you know, at the end of the day you can't really manage results, you can just create pipeline through your activities. So I thought that was really valuable for a sales manager. Yeah, totally makes sense that. Yeah, check out those books new sales simplified and sales management simplified by Mike winberger. I think any, any manufacturing sales leader would greatly benefit from either of those. Okay, we'll mick. This is been a really awesome conversation. It was great to catch up and do it publicly with the recording on, and I think you've brought a lot of the great insights to to the audience. So can you? Can you tell our listeners what's the best place to find you or get in touch with you the follow up questions? And please give your making chips podcast a plug Tocsin. Everybody here should be listening to that as well. Yeah, so, as far as making chips, you can find us at making chipscom and akimng chips hipscom. It's also available on any of the podcatchers, so itunes, stitcher, platify, you know, whatever you use to listen to podcasts. And then, as at a me and hen egg, where I'm the marketing director and the sales director, best way to communicate with me would be through Linkedin. You can just search Nick Golner Goelner and you'll find me on linkedin. That's that's the social media platform I'm most active on. Awesome. Well, Nick, thank you for taking the time to join us on our official first episode of the Manufacturing Executive and for the rest of you, we will see you next time. You've been listening to the manufacturing executive podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you'd like to learn more about industrial marketing and sales strategy. You'll find an ever expanding collection of articles, videos, guides and tools specifically for BB manufacturers at Gorilla Seventy sixcom learn thank you so much for listening, until next time.

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