34 min read

How Manufacturing Marketers Impact Rep Growth

Learn how manufacturing companies can better support their channel sales reps through content, marketing programs, and the martech stack.

 

 

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Ellen Albright, Marketing and Communications Director at E-T-A Circuit Breakers, is a resourceful North American marketer of one, backed by a corporate marketing team out of their company headquarters in Germany. 

Marketing plans start with new product introductions which are then supported by industry/application campaigns specific to regional needs. Every campaign has an element of sales support, whether through content assets, multi-touch email workflows, or other downstream activities. Automation is key for Ellen in areas such as lead scoring, lead routing, and targeted email workflows.

During the episode Ellen shares how the pandemic offered an opportunity for her to play a more active role in training channel sales reps on digital marketing and selling, and creating new programs for them to leverage. One of these was a multi-touch email campaign personalized to the rep company utilizing content from E-T-A. This was a win-win, as Ellen had more control over the message, the rep leveraged marketing automation functionality not found in-house, and both could gain a fuller picture of which prospects were engaging and more likely to convert to customers. 

 

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Transcript

Today's episode is full of insights of how manufacturing companies can better support channel sales reps through content marketing programs and the Martech stack. While our guest is focused in the electronics industry, the episode is certainly relevant to any of you in a technical industry where manufacturers are using distributors and sales reps to get their product to market.

Let's do this. Welcome to Content Marketing Engineered, your source for building trust and generating demand with technical content. Here is your host, Wendy Covey.

Hi, and welcome to Content Marketing Engineer. On each episode, I'll break down an industry trend challenge or best practice in reaching technical audiences. You'll meet colleagues, friends, and clients of mine who will stop by to share their stories, and I hope that you leave each episode feeling inspired and ready to take action. Before we jump in, I'd like to give a brief shout out to my agency, TREW Marketing. TREW is a full service agency located in beautiful Austin, Texas, serving highly technical companies. For more information, visit trewmarketing.com and now on with our podcast.

Hey, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Content Marketing Engineered. I'm joined today by Ellen Albright. She's the marketing and communications director at ETA Circuit Breakers. And I recently met Ellen at the Era conference that stands for Electronics Representatives Conference, and she was part of a panel focused on channel marketing collaboration between manufacturers, distributors, and sales reps. And we'll be getting into some of that material because it's really good, Allen, really good. But first, I was hoping you could just tell me a bit about you and your role at ETA.

Sure. So as you said, I'm the marketing and communications director from ETA. I actually started with ETA almost 19 years ago.

Oh, wow.

Yeah. It's wild to think it's been that long. So I did some external marketing internships right out of College and then joined ETA as the marketing specialist. So if you want to go back and do the math, you can figure out about how old I am. And over time, my role has evolved from really just being part of a marketing team to then really leading the North American marketing and communications for ETA. I also work pretty closely with our German headquarters in their marketing Department. So I have like a dotted line, I guess you could say, because I'm a native speaker in English. So they lean on me a little bit just for translation and context when they're creating collateral materials. But it's been a really great experience. As you said, we're a German company, so we have a really exciting and interesting culture that I've been able to be involved in. Yeah.

So I've worked at a global company where the headquarters is in North America. And so I've seen the dynamic right from the other side. But for owning North American marketing, do you have a team or are you a marketer of one?

I am a marketer of one. So I have tried to automate a lot of my work through some marketing technologies, but I am a marketing Department of one, which is helpful then to have that dotted line connection to Germany because they have an entire staff of graphic designers, web developers, and so forth that I can tap into if I need to. So that's really nice to have them as backup for skill sets that I just don't necessarily have.

Yeah. And time that you don't have, obviously, too.

Sure.

Well, I want to learn more about your role in that dynamic. But first, I'm dying to ask a question. So when I look at your company name on your website, it's E-T-A. And so the branding person in me is like, okay, what's that about?

What does PTA stand for? Yeah. And I have to tell you, it's a real pain to try to give anybody my email address. Right. Because it's E. T. Dash. It's crazy, but yeah, the ETA with the dashes is actually a German word for electrotechnic appareta, which is sorry for my German, but that's the long name of our German parent company.

But you don't have to write that out on your marketing materials.

It's actually shortened it, too now because we are registered in the US as ETA circuit breakers. But now our product offering has evolved, so we no longer just build circuit breakers. We also do relays and power management systems. So in a lot of things, I've just shortened it to ETA just period. Because our market sales people feel that circuit breakers limits our offering as well.

And would you say your brand is known just as ETA anyway?

I would say yes, but in North America, I would say that we are most known for our circuit breakers.

I see. Okay.

Good and bad, right? Yeah. High brand recognition for circuit breakers. But we don't want to limit ourselves because a lot of the technology that's coming out of our development is more smart relays, software based. Technology based, as opposed to traditional circuit breakers.

Yeah. So maybe eventually there'll be a formal change. So we all live in that messy middle.

Exactly. Going forward. Yeah.

Well, given that the company is based in Germany, how are marketing initiatives shared? Do you guys have annual planning as a global group, or is it sort of dictated to you or what does that look like?

It's a great question. So a lot of our collaboration in terms of marketing essentials around new product introductions. So we have an annual plan with a product roadmap of what is going to be coming out that year. And then there's what they call an MEP process, which I will not say what that is. I mean, the words are so long, I can't even what that acronym is. But we kind of go through this MEP or new product introduction process throughout the year, and then our marketing plans aren't planned in parallel globally around those new product introductions. I also have autonomy here if we want to then focus on a specific market or focus on a specific product. We have our own plans here as well that I developed with my market sales managers.

I see.

We have a market sales manager for each of our primary industries, and then I develop marketing plans directly with each of them.

Okay. So you have some product campaigns and some industry vertical or application campaigns as well that you're running. And then, of course, there's a dynamic on top of that of you utilize the channel for both distribution and sales. So there's some marketing needs that play into that as well. So is that represented through your relationship with each of those sales vertical people?

Yeah. So primarily it's going to sound like we have a lot of layers, but we also just have a general sales manager. So he and I work directly with the distributors and the manufacturer's reps, and then we take the feedback from our market individuals and then develop plans for our channel mostly also centered around either vertical markets or new product introductions.

So it all rolls back to product and all rolls back. It's a bit of a matrix, but at the end of the day, how you're deploying the channel is one piece of those product campaigns, right?

Yeah. We're obviously doing a lot of account based marketing and really understanding people's activity on our site and then developing content and outreach programs based off of that as well. So we're entering a new focus just based on the way that our structure is and what our sales people need. Okay.

Well, I'm already overwhelmed on your behalf to be a marketer of when accomplishing all this, because recently I'll have to send you the link that I had on Joe Quinn, who's an expert at ABM. And it's hard, it takes a lot of time to do ABM. Right. And of course, there are different levels, but to imagine all your product introductions and having to serve the different markets and distributors and then ABM, that's a lot. How do you find time or how do you divide up your time between strategy and execution and these different areas?

That's a great question. So I think, like I said, a lot of what I have done is tried to optimize things that can be automated. So we use the marketing automation platform that we do. A lot of that wrote activities like routing leads, scoring leads, things of that nature. So anything I joked that if I could automate my entire job and just get paid every day, that would be great. I know it's not possible, but it does allow me to then focus my time more on that strategic type of activity where those more just things that need to be done. I've tried to automate as much as possible. Yeah.

It's very helpful, I'm sure. Yeah.

And I think too what's helpful is that necessary. I am doing most of the execution on my own, but I consider my salespeople partners. So if I'm going to start focusing on an account based marketing strategy, I am working one on one with the strategic account manager to really get an understanding of what's going on, getting all of that information and intelligence from them for me to then develop and execute those programs. So a lot of the heavy lifting comes from our sales people. And then I'm just there really to understand and execute and to provide content that maybe they share and things like that.

Was your relationship with sales always this wonderful?

I mean, yes, they're all wonderful people, but I think that any marketer would agree that there often is a little bit of tension between marketing and sales. So John Geattons, who I think maybe you also met at the Era conference, he and I work very closely together, and we've made it a very deliberate plan to bring me to the table with the sales team, to position myself as a partner or a place where I can someone who can help them, as opposed to a marketer that's just going to say, here, guys, here's this really cool new thing.

Yeah.

So I think that we've built that report back and forth where I can create something, they can provide feedback, and then we come out with maybe a better outcome. That's another thing about a German company, maybe you may know, is they're very open to feedback, and you need to be open to feedback.

Oh, yes. Because you're getting it.

It doesn't matter. I guess one of their rules of thumb is if you want to provide somebody with feedback, you're supposed to ask them first, like, are you open to some feedback? And then you can actually say yes or no. But I mean, you don't say no, but that's kind of ingrained in our culture that something isn't working. Rather than just kind of letting it go, you just have a constructive conversation. And I think being able to build that type of relationship between myself and sales, we're coming out with better programs that support what they're trying to accomplish.

Yeah, absolutely. Well, speaking of German companies and Germans and engineers for that matter, it goes by measurement.

Right.

Where is the data? How are we doing? And I'm sure your salespeople, you build more trust by demonstrating the outcome of your efforts. So tell me a little bit about how you approach measurement or dashboards and that sort of thing.

Yeah. So it's a great question. We don't have the best mechanism. I will be completely honest with you because our marketing tech stack is a little bit disjointed.

Well, you're certainly not alone in the world.

And I've made huge improvements in it because we have a Lotus Notes based CRM system that's.

Oh, joy, I remember those.

That's part of our German headquarters.

Okay.

Everybody uses it. We have all sorts of databases. So that being said, it's incredibly difficult then to tie our marketing automation platform into that. Our sales enablement platform into that. So most of the measurement is coming from marketing engagement type of measurements that I'm able to provide to my sales people. I believe our gap is that closed loop. Right. So our sales people live in CRM where that doesn't necessarily communicate with my system. So it's really hard to get that total end to end measurement. It really is difficult. But like I said, the measurement that's coming from me to them is coming out of our marketing automation software is coming out of outreach and then a number of leads and even your lead scoring. It sounds like engagement. I've also built in some workflows. If one of their target accounts goes onto our website, then they get an automated email saying, hey, so and so from XYZ company just was on our website and did this. Those types of measurements, but definitely a place I do have to say I'll throw myself on the sword and say something probably improve upon.

Hey, you deal with the cards you have and then let's make incremental improvements when you can. So that's a big change to move out of. Obviously, the CRM, that's a corporate thing, right?

That is. But I did actually this year accomplished for the first time ever getting one of my marketing technologies to connect to CRM. So I felt like that was a little the tip of the iceberg. That was nice, at least. So we're getting there. Yeah.

Good. I'm excited for you there. Well, tell me about your relationship with the channel. How much do you interact with the reps or distributors? And I remember something about co marketing initiatives, and I'd love to hear a little bit more about what you're doing there.

Sure. So what we've tried to do, in addition to making that connection with myself and ETA sales people, also to make that connection with our manufacturer's reps. So we have monthly meetings online with our rep network. So I have gone on a few times just to kind of share with them what we have available. And during COVID, everybody was trying to figure out how they were best to engage with people digitally. And what we ended up doing was really offering a lot of what we have in house to our reps, as opposed to them going out and getting their own marketing automation platform or something like that, because to get yourself acclimated with one of those systems takes a long time, et cetera. So what we did was we basically were providing them with email nurture programs where they would provide us with their list of contacts and we would put it into our marketing automation system and send out email nurture programs that were branded to them. Right. Coming from our channel, but obviously it was coming through us that gave them the benefit of not having to have that type of capability in house immediately because it takes time.

But also, I think I shared this during our talk at Era was as a manufacturer, I hold very dear to me controlling content. So this also allowed me to control the message that was coming from our channel out to our customers. So maybe that's a little bit of my type A coming out. Hey, I hear you.

And measurement. Right. You have more insight into how engaged those audiences were. So lots of benefits for everyone, it seems like.

Yes, exactly. So that was one thing that we did for our reps just to kind of help them through. And then from the distributor side, we definitely mostly centered around you product introductions. We'll work with our more national or online distributors to really work with them in parallel with our new product introduction. Okay. And we also do market specific. So we just did one last year with one of our distributors in the Northeast with our medical content driven program. So white papers and a brochure to try to utilize their contact list to promote our medical products.

So again, your content, their lists that are related to prospects for this. It sounds like a really nice win win.

Yeah. And I think for me, when we were preparing for our talk at Era, I think something that really came into my view was we can't be successful without one of the three. Right. So manufacturers are responsible for product content, technical, the rep is responsible for their local network. Right. And then the distributor, also their customer base, but also oftentimes our ecommerce channel, where people actually buy our products. So to be able to optimize that relationship is imperative. Right. And make sure that everybody's speaking the same language, we're all on the same page, and together we win or together we lose. So that was something that was really important when we were kind of preparing with Mary, Allen and Zach to talk through that.

Yeah. It seems also that it provides a competitive advantage for you versus other manufacturers because you're providing this additional content and resources and support. I would think those reps, now that we're beyond covet, still want to do these automated emails and still have learned something about digital marketing and the fact that you've provided that they're now wanting to come back to you over perhaps others.

Right. And I think that, yes, for sure, they're still coming to me and saying, hey, do you have anything on automation products or whatever? But I think that's really nice because it then shows that I can be considered a resource. And I think it's really hard for reps because they have so many lines. So how are they supposed to create content for all of those lines? I mean, it's hard. So as a manufacturer, selfishly, I have the content, and I would love for them to just reuse it as opposed to try to do it themselves. So it works for me because, again, I can control the content and it works for them because they don't have time to do that because they have 16 other product lines that they need to focus on as well. So hopefully it gives them an easier way to work with UTA.

Okay. So I imagine when you're introducing a new product, that's a time where you're sharing. Okay, here's your content resources, here's some training on how to sell it, all that. But then let's fast forward a year or two. If they say, oh, I have an opportunity for this product from way back, where do they go to find content? Do you have a good solution for just storing a repository for content that they go find? Is it on this note?

No, it is not.

I had that.

Yeah, it is not. So what we've done over, I don't know. It's been an evolving process, but we have what we call our ETA sales portal, which is a password protected portal on our website, and we load everything in there that we possibly can. So videos, white papers, product training modules. So those are like short product training videos for them if they need a refresher on a certain product group. I also post like, you can embed LinkedIn posts on a web page. So I've done that as well. And all they have to do is go to that section and go to share, and then they can share it on their LinkedIn to going to our page on LinkedIn, all of our data sheets and everything is there. So it's kind of a one stop shop. In addition, we also have on there all of our pricing and all of that. So it really is just a place where they can go to get anything they need from ETA. I guess it's great for them, but also it goes back to trying to automate everything. Right. So it really is a time saver. If I just say just go to the portal, it's all there.

Do you get the calls, go to the portal, go to the portal?

Yeah. I mean, they're fairly well trained now, but, yeah, it's definitely a time saver because they just know that for the most part, if it's not something specialized that they would be able to go there to do. So also on that portal, I guess I called them trigger email campaigns. So it basically is a Marketo marketing automation landing page where they can add in a contact into the landing page and it sends out an ETA branded email. So again, another way for them to communicate ETA products without having to build an email. And then it goes out from them under their name. But it's ETA content as well. Wow.

You've really invested a lot of time into supporting your channel. These are great suggestions. I'm sitting here thinking, what advice do you give to someone from a manufacturing company, a marketer that's looking to be more sophisticated and you've just given twelve examples. I think my question instead should be if someone's walking in and there's just a lack of everything. Fundamentally, what do you think are the top areas to tackle first? Because, for instance, ABM might be something that's longer down the chain or working distributors. What are fundamentally the top three things that have to be tackled?

First, from a manufacturing standpoint, I would say that it really comes down to being able to position and communicate your products through content. I think that's where you need to start because that then you're able to repurpose into all of your different marketing channels and then you can obviously have that then be used by your reps and your distributors as well. So I think that really is the place to start and really having a good grasp on what product content you need based off of solutions. Right. So what your customers need. So obviously all of that persona type, building and mapping your products to those personas with those benefits, I think that's where they need to start and develop that content. And often what you can do is build long form content. So we have a lot of white papers and then from there you can take like little sections. So we have one that the twelve most common mistakes and specifying circuit breakers. You can turn that into twelve different LinkedIn posts if you wanted to. Right. One problem a day.

Like twelve blog posts for that matter.

Yes. So I think that it's the content and making sure that you have done a really good job in positioning your products and your content together is where to start.

Good advice. And then, okay, those listening that are trying to do marketing for, let's say, reps, and they're not getting support like you described from manufacturing, how might they reach out or what does that look like?

I think that my best advice is to ask your rep principal, sorry, ask the manufacturer who you're working with, who their marketing person is. Because building that relationship between the manufacturers marketing Department and the rep has really helped us. And I think that maybe reps feel like they have to be creating this content because the manufacturer isn't pushing it down on them. But it doesn't mean that it's not there. They maybe just aren't. It depends on how the organization works. If the sales side of the business has bought into or really even that direct connection between the rep and the manufacturer's marketing, I think it would be really helpful.

Good advice. I love that. And I could even imagine. I know some rep firms don't have a marketing person, but the ones that do, even that person understanding. Wow, look at what Ellen is providing. I know exactly how to execute on this. I know the value of it and the time. However many manufacturers they're working with, that's very much a full time job just leveraging the available content and other resources.

Right. Exactly. And I think that was something that we all heard at the era conferences that the apps see a huge responsibility to be focused on marketing which is great. I 100% agree. And I think that if we can coordinate that between manufacturer and rep and then be able to get their materials from the manufacturer, it'll save them so much time. One of the speakers was like, oh well you should just go to the manufacturer's website and pull down their material. And I said, yeah, absolutely. You can do that or just get in touch with the marketing person and they will inundate you with everything that they have. Right. So rather than going and doing it yourself, reps call the marketing people and just say, hey, we want all of your white papers. They have links to everything. You don't need to do it. The marketing people have it. It's just asking the right questions.

Yeah. And there may be additional content resources that you're not finding like you mentioned medical before, vertically oriented things that would be such great benefits.

Yeah, exactly.

Good. Well, Ellen, where can our listeners go to learn more about ETA and to connect with you?

Sure. Well, ETA is Echo. That's our website. You can find me on LinkedIn at just Ellen Albright and my email is Ellen Albright@edga.com and I'll be at eds. I was at the era conference so I'm a member of women of electronics. I like to participate in industry events just to learn and meet new people like you.

All right. Well, I recently joined women in electronics so I'm excited to meet everyone and yeah, it's a neat organization. It's so primarily good. Well, thank you for being on today and sharing all of your experiences.

Happy to share it with the pleasure.

Thanks for joining me today on content marketing engineered for show notes including links to resources, visit truemarketing. Compodcast. While there you can subscribe to our blog in our newsletter and order a copy of my book, Content Marketing Engineer. Also, I would love your reviews on this podcast so please, when you get a chance subscribe and leave me a review on your favorite podcast subscription platform. Thanks.Today's episode is full of insights of how manufacturing companies can better support channel sales reps through content marketing programs and the Martech stack. While our guest is focused in the electronics industry, the episode is certainly relevant to any of you in a technical industry where manufacturers are using distributors and sales reps to get their product to market.

Let's do this. Welcome to Content Marketing Engineered, your source for building trust and generating demand with technical content. Here is your host, Wendy Covey.

Hi, and welcome to Content Marketing Engineer. On each episode, I'll break down an industry trend challenge or best practice in reaching technical audiences. You'll meet colleagues, friends, and clients of mine who will stop by to share their stories, and I hope that you leave each episode feeling inspired and ready to take action. Before we jump in, I'd like to give a brief shout out to my agency, True Marketing. True is a full service agency located in beautiful Austin, Texas, serving highly technical companies. For more information, visit Truemarketing.com and now on with our podcast. Hey, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Content Marketing Engineered. I'm joined today by Ellen Albright. She's the marketing and communications director at ETA Circuit Breakers. And I recently met Ellen at the Era conference that stands for Electronics Representatives Conference, and she was part of a panel focused on channel marketing collaboration between manufacturers, distributors, and sales reps. And we'll be getting into some of that material because it's really good, Allen, really good. But first, I was hoping you could just tell me a bit about you and your role at ETA.

Sure. So as you said, I'm the marketing and communications director from ETA. I actually started with ETA almost 19 years ago.

Oh, wow.

Yeah. It's wild to think it's been that long. So I did some external marketing internships right out of College and then joined ETA as the marketing specialist. So if you want to go back and do the math, you can figure out about how old I am. And over time, my role has evolved from really just being part of a marketing team to then really leading the North American marketing and communications for ETA. I also work pretty closely with our German headquarters in their marketing Department. So I have like a dotted line, I guess you could say, because I'm a native speaker in English. So they lean on me a little bit just for translation and context when they're creating collateral materials. But it's been a really great experience. As you said, we're a German company, so we have a really exciting and interesting culture that I've been able to be involved in. Yeah.

So I've worked at a global company where the headquarters is in North America. And so I've seen the dynamic right from the other side. But for owning North American marketing, do you have a team or are you a marketer of one?

I am a marketer of one. So I have tried to automate a lot of my work through some marketing technologies, but I am a marketing Department of one, which is helpful then to have that dotted line connection to Germany because they have an entire staff of graphic designers, web developers, and so forth that I can tap into if I need to. So that's really nice to have them as backup for skill sets that I just don't necessarily have.

Yeah. And time that you don't have, obviously, too.

Sure.

Well, I want to learn more about your role in that dynamic. But first, I'm dying to ask a question. So when I look at your company name on your website, it's E-T-A. And so the branding person in me is like, okay, what's that about?

What does PTA stand for? Yeah. And I have to tell you, it's a real pain to try to give anybody my email address. Right. Because it's E. T. Dash. It's crazy, but yeah, the ETA with the dashes is actually a German word for electrotechnic appareta, which is sorry for my German, but that's the long name of our German parent company.

But you don't have to write that out on your marketing materials.

It's actually shortened it, too now because we are registered in the US as ETA circuit breakers. But now our product offering has evolved, so we no longer just build circuit breakers. We also do relays and power management systems. So in a lot of things, I've just shortened it to ETA just period. Because our market sales people feel that circuit breakers limits our offering as well.

And would you say your brand is known just as ETA anyway?

I would say yes, but in North America, I would say that we are most known for our circuit breakers.

I see. Okay.

Good and bad, right? Yeah. High brand recognition for circuit breakers. But we don't want to limit ourselves because a lot of the technology that's coming out of our development is more smart relays, software based. Technology based, as opposed to traditional circuit breakers.

Yeah. So maybe eventually there'll be a formal change. So we all live in that messy middle.

Exactly. Going forward. Yeah.

Well, given that the company is based in Germany, how are marketing initiatives shared? Do you guys have annual planning as a global group, or is it sort of dictated to you or what does that look like?

It's a great question. So a lot of our collaboration in terms of marketing essentials around new product introductions. So we have an annual plan with a product roadmap of what is going to be coming out that year. And then there's what they call an MEP process, which I will not say what that is. I mean, the words are so long, I can't even what that acronym is. But we kind of go through this MEP or new product introduction process throughout the year, and then our marketing plans aren't planned in parallel globally around those new product introductions. I also have autonomy here if we want to then focus on a specific market or focus on a specific product. We have our own plans here as well that I developed with my market sales managers.

I see.

We have a market sales manager for each of our primary industries, and then I develop marketing plans directly with each of them.

Okay. So you have some product campaigns and some industry vertical or application campaigns as well that you're running. And then, of course, there's a dynamic on top of that of you utilize the channel for both distribution and sales. So there's some marketing needs that play into that as well. So is that represented through your relationship with each of those sales vertical people?

Yeah. So primarily it's going to sound like we have a lot of layers, but we also just have a general sales manager. So he and I work directly with the distributors and the manufacturer's reps, and then we take the feedback from our market individuals and then develop plans for our channel mostly also centered around either vertical markets or new product introductions.

So it all rolls back to product and all rolls back. It's a bit of a matrix, but at the end of the day, how you're deploying the channel is one piece of those product campaigns, right?

Yeah. We're obviously doing a lot of account based marketing and really understanding people's activity on our site and then developing content and outreach programs based off of that as well. So we're entering a new focus just based on the way that our structure is and what our sales people need. Okay.

Well, I'm already overwhelmed on your behalf to be a marketer of when accomplishing all this, because recently I'll have to send you the link that I had on Joe Quinn, who's an expert at ABM. And it's hard, it takes a lot of time to do ABM. Right. And of course, there are different levels, but to imagine all your product introductions and having to serve the different markets and distributors and then ABM, that's a lot. How do you find time or how do you divide up your time between strategy and execution and these different areas?

That's a great question. So I think, like I said, a lot of what I have done is tried to optimize things that can be automated. So we use the marketing automation platform that we do. A lot of that wrote activities like routing leads, scoring leads, things of that nature. So anything I joked that if I could automate my entire job and just get paid every day, that would be great. I know it's not possible, but it does allow me to then focus my time more on that strategic type of activity where those more just things that need to be done. I've tried to automate as much as possible. Yeah.

It's very helpful, I'm sure. Yeah.

And I think too what's helpful is that necessary. I am doing most of the execution on my own, but I consider my salespeople partners. So if I'm going to start focusing on an account based marketing strategy, I am working one on one with the strategic account manager to really get an understanding of what's going on, getting all of that information and intelligence from them for me to then develop and execute those programs. So a lot of the heavy lifting comes from our sales people. And then I'm just there really to understand and execute and to provide content that maybe they share and things like that.

Was your relationship with sales always this wonderful?

I mean, yes, they're all wonderful people, but I think that any marketer would agree that there often is a little bit of tension between marketing and sales. So John Geattons, who I think maybe you also met at the Era conference, he and I work very closely together, and we've made it a very deliberate plan to bring me to the table with the sales team, to position myself as a partner or a place where I can someone who can help them, as opposed to a marketer that's just going to say, here, guys, here's this really cool new thing.

Yeah.

So I think that we've built that report back and forth where I can create something, they can provide feedback, and then we come out with maybe a better outcome. That's another thing about a German company, maybe you may know, is they're very open to feedback, and you need to be open to feedback.

Oh, yes. Because you're getting it.

It doesn't matter. I guess one of their rules of thumb is if you want to provide somebody with feedback, you're supposed to ask them first, like, are you open to some feedback? And then you can actually say yes or no. But I mean, you don't say no, but that's kind of ingrained in our culture that something isn't working. Rather than just kind of letting it go, you just have a constructive conversation. And I think being able to build that type of relationship between myself and sales, we're coming out with better programs that support what they're trying to accomplish.

Yeah, absolutely. Well, speaking of German companies and Germans and engineers for that matter, it goes by measurement.

Right.

Where is the data? How are we doing? And I'm sure your salespeople, you build more trust by demonstrating the outcome of your efforts. So tell me a little bit about how you approach measurement or dashboards and that sort of thing.

Yeah. So it's a great question. We don't have the best mechanism. I will be completely honest with you because our marketing tech stack is a little bit disjointed.

Well, you're certainly not alone in the world.

And I've made huge improvements in it because we have a Lotus Notes based CRM system that's.

Oh, joy, I remember those.

That's part of our German headquarters.

Okay.

Everybody uses it. We have all sorts of databases. So that being said, it's incredibly difficult then to tie our marketing automation platform into that. Our sales enablement platform into that. So most of the measurement is coming from marketing engagement type of measurements that I'm able to provide to my sales people. I believe our gap is that closed loop. Right. So our sales people live in CRM where that doesn't necessarily communicate with my system. So it's really hard to get that total end to end measurement. It really is difficult. But like I said, the measurement that's coming from me to them is coming out of our marketing automation software is coming out of outreach and then a number of leads and even your lead scoring. It sounds like engagement. I've also built in some workflows. If one of their target accounts goes onto our website, then they get an automated email saying, hey, so and so from XYZ company just was on our website and did this. Those types of measurements, but definitely a place I do have to say I'll throw myself on the sword and say something probably improve upon.

Hey, you deal with the cards you have and then let's make incremental improvements when you can. So that's a big change to move out of. Obviously, the CRM, that's a corporate thing, right?

That is. But I did actually this year accomplished for the first time ever getting one of my marketing technologies to connect to CRM. So I felt like that was a little the tip of the iceberg. That was nice, at least. So we're getting there. Yeah.

Good. I'm excited for you there. Well, tell me about your relationship with the channel. How much do you interact with the reps or distributors? And I remember something about co marketing initiatives, and I'd love to hear a little bit more about what you're doing there.

Sure. So what we've tried to do, in addition to making that connection with myself and ETA sales people, also to make that connection with our manufacturer's reps. So we have monthly meetings online with our rep network. So I have gone on a few times just to kind of share with them what we have available. And during COVID, everybody was trying to figure out how they were best to engage with people digitally. And what we ended up doing was really offering a lot of what we have in house to our reps, as opposed to them going out and getting their own marketing automation platform or something like that, because to get yourself acclimated with one of those systems takes a long time, et cetera. So what we did was we basically were providing them with email nurture programs where they would provide us with their list of contacts and we would put it into our marketing automation system and send out email nurture programs that were branded to them. Right. Coming from our channel, but obviously it was coming through us that gave them the benefit of not having to have that type of capability in house immediately because it takes time.

But also, I think I shared this during our talk at Era was as a manufacturer, I hold very dear to me controlling content. So this also allowed me to control the message that was coming from our channel out to our customers. So maybe that's a little bit of my type A coming out. Hey, I hear you.

And measurement. Right. You have more insight into how engaged those audiences were. So lots of benefits for everyone, it seems like.

Yes, exactly. So that was one thing that we did for our reps just to kind of help them through. And then from the distributor side, we definitely mostly centered around you product introductions. We'll work with our more national or online distributors to really work with them in parallel with our new product introduction. Okay. And we also do market specific. So we just did one last year with one of our distributors in the Northeast with our medical content driven program. So white papers and a brochure to try to utilize their contact list to promote our medical products.

So again, your content, their lists that are related to prospects for this. It sounds like a really nice win win.

Yeah. And I think for me, when we were preparing for our talk at Era, I think something that really came into my view was we can't be successful without one of the three. Right. So manufacturers are responsible for product content, technical, the rep is responsible for their local network. Right. And then the distributor, also their customer base, but also oftentimes our ecommerce channel, where people actually buy our products. So to be able to optimize that relationship is imperative. Right. And make sure that everybody's speaking the same language, we're all on the same page, and together we win or together we lose. So that was something that was really important when we were kind of preparing with Mary, Allen and Zach to talk through that.

Yeah. It seems also that it provides a competitive advantage for you versus other manufacturers because you're providing this additional content and resources and support. I would think those reps, now that we're beyond covet, still want to do these automated emails and still have learned something about digital marketing and the fact that you've provided that they're now wanting to come back to you over perhaps others.

Right. And I think that, yes, for sure, they're still coming to me and saying, hey, do you have anything on automation products or whatever? But I think that's really nice because it then shows that I can be considered a resource. And I think it's really hard for reps because they have so many lines. So how are they supposed to create content for all of those lines? I mean, it's hard. So as a manufacturer, selfishly, I have the content, and I would love for them to just reuse it as opposed to try to do it themselves. So it works for me because, again, I can control the content and it works for them because they don't have time to do that because they have 16 other product lines that they need to focus on as well. So hopefully it gives them an easier way to work with UTA.

Okay. So I imagine when you're introducing a new product, that's a time where you're sharing. Okay, here's your content resources, here's some training on how to sell it, all that. But then let's fast forward a year or two. If they say, oh, I have an opportunity for this product from way back, where do they go to find content? Do you have a good solution for just storing a repository for content that they go find? Is it on this note?

No, it is not.

I had that.

Yeah, it is not. So what we've done over, I don't know. It's been an evolving process, but we have what we call our ETA sales portal, which is a password protected portal on our website, and we load everything in there that we possibly can. So videos, white papers, product training modules. So those are like short product training videos for them if they need a refresher on a certain product group. I also post like, you can embed LinkedIn posts on a web page. So I've done that as well. And all they have to do is go to that section and go to share, and then they can share it on their LinkedIn to going to our page on LinkedIn, all of our data sheets and everything is there. So it's kind of a one stop shop. In addition, we also have on there all of our pricing and all of that. So it really is just a place where they can go to get anything they need from ETA. I guess it's great for them, but also it goes back to trying to automate everything. Right. So it really is a time saver. If I just say just go to the portal, it's all there.

Do you get the calls, go to the portal, go to the portal?

Yeah. I mean, they're fairly well trained now, but, yeah, it's definitely a time saver because they just know that for the most part, if it's not something specialized that they would be able to go there to do. So also on that portal, I guess I called them trigger email campaigns. So it basically is a Marketo marketing automation landing page where they can add in a contact into the landing page and it sends out an ETA branded email. So again, another way for them to communicate ETA products without having to build an email. And then it goes out from them under their name. But it's ETA content as well. Wow.

You've really invested a lot of time into supporting your channel. These are great suggestions. I'm sitting here thinking, what advice do you give to someone from a manufacturing company, a marketer that's looking to be more sophisticated and you've just given twelve examples. I think my question instead should be if someone's walking in and there's just a lack of everything. Fundamentally, what do you think are the top areas to tackle first? Because, for instance, ABM might be something that's longer down the chain or working distributors. What are fundamentally the top three things that have to be tackled?

First, from a manufacturing standpoint, I would say that it really comes down to being able to position and communicate your products through content. I think that's where you need to start because that then you're able to repurpose into all of your different marketing channels and then you can obviously have that then be used by your reps and your distributors as well. So I think that really is the place to start and really having a good grasp on what product content you need based off of solutions. Right. So what your customers need. So obviously all of that persona type, building and mapping your products to those personas with those benefits, I think that's where they need to start and develop that content. And often what you can do is build long form content. So we have a lot of white papers and then from there you can take like little sections. So we have one that the twelve most common mistakes and specifying circuit breakers. You can turn that into twelve different LinkedIn posts if you wanted to. Right. One problem a day.

Like twelve blog posts for that matter.

Yes. So I think that it's the content and making sure that you have done a really good job in positioning your products and your content together is where to start.

Good advice. And then, okay, those listening that are trying to do marketing for, let's say, reps, and they're not getting support like you described from manufacturing, how might they reach out or what does that look like?

I think that my best advice is to ask your rep principal, sorry, ask the manufacturer who you're working with, who their marketing person is. Because building that relationship between the manufacturers marketing Department and the rep has really helped us. And I think that maybe reps feel like they have to be creating this content because the manufacturer isn't pushing it down on them. But it doesn't mean that it's not there. They maybe just aren't. It depends on how the organization works. If the sales side of the business has bought into or really even that direct connection between the rep and the manufacturer's marketing, I think it would be really helpful.

Good advice. I love that. And I could even imagine. I know some rep firms don't have a marketing person, but the ones that do, even that person understanding. Wow, look at what Ellen is providing. I know exactly how to execute on this. I know the value of it and the time. However many manufacturers they're working with, that's very much a full time job just leveraging the available content and other resources.

Right. Exactly. And I think that was something that we all heard at the era conferences that the apps see a huge responsibility to be focused on marketing which is great. I 100% agree. And I think that if we can coordinate that between manufacturer and rep and then be able to get their materials from the manufacturer, it'll save them so much time. One of the speakers was like, oh well you should just go to the manufacturer's website and pull down their material. And I said, yeah, absolutely. You can do that or just get in touch with the marketing person and they will inundate you with everything that they have. Right. So rather than going and doing it yourself, reps call the marketing people and just say, hey, we want all of your white papers. They have links to everything. You don't need to do it. The marketing people have it. It's just asking the right questions.

Yeah. And there may be additional content resources that you're not finding like you mentioned medical before, vertically oriented things that would be such great benefits.

Yeah, exactly.

Good. Well, Ellen, where can our listeners go to learn more about ETA and to connect with you?

Sure. Well, ETA is Echo. That's our website. You can find me on LinkedIn at just Ellen Albright and my email is Ellen Albright@edga.com and I'll be at eds. I was at the era conference so I'm a member of women of electronics. I like to participate in industry events just to learn and meet new people like you.

All right. Well, I recently joined women in electronics so I'm excited to meet everyone and yeah, it's a neat organization. It's so primarily good. Well, thank you for being on today and sharing all of your experiences.

Happy to share it with the pleasure.

Thanks for joining me today on content marketing engineered for show notes including links to resources, visit trewmarketing. Compodcast. While there you can subscribe to our blog in our newsletter and order a copy of my book, Content Marketing Engineer. Also, I would love your reviews on this podcast so please, when you get a chance subscribe and leave me a review on your favorite podcast subscription platform. Thanks.