Media Mettle

Ace World Companies vice president Camron Ghanemi marks completion of his first year as a blogger, talks about writing for a leading steel publication and looks forward to AISTech 2016.

Time flies, as writing this blog proves.

It was a year ago this month (April) that I penned my first blog. In it, I remember talking about the importance of building strong relationships with media. Many equipment manufacturers, in the lifting sector and others, continue to mismanage this important marketing facet. One should be bifocal in addressing trade and sector media.

Whether it’s cranes, sortation systems or forklifts that a business manufacturers, a marketer must look beyond lifting, logistics and material handling magazines and websites. Sure, it’s important to tap into these audiences—many invest in circulations that reach advertisers’ target markets—but a deeper drill into end user communities is equally valuable.

Here are two tips to harness the power of sector-specific media:

1. Tailor your advertisements
2. Commentate on the market

I often flick through paper, concrete, marine, mining and more magazines. I see equipment manufacturers’ advertisements that are duplicated from the ads they place in the trade media that covers their own markets. Why pay thousands of dollars to take advertising space, but not take the time to design a relevant artwork?

Think about it—a generic picture of a crane isn’t going to have the same impact as a crane lifting molten metal, if the advert is in a steel magazine read by end users. Similarly, a photo of a shiny forklift rolling off the production line with a big product name and number plastered all over it will mean far less than a gritty lift truck moving a load relevant to the marketplace where that ad is placed.

Thought leader

Buying decision makers are increasingly looking for proof of credentials. Website visitors are commonly searching blog pages to assess a supplier’s knowledge of a marketplace, for example. It adds kudos, therefore, if a product supplier can emerge as a thought leader in the sectors that consume the equipment they make or provide. Magazines themselves are always looking for commentators to write articles so it’s a good idea to get a reputation for being able to provide educational, non-commercial content.

This month, I was honored to received a phone call from Michelle Binns, the editor of Iron & Steel Today magazine, who invited me to write a Viewpoint article for their May issue, which will be distributed at Association for Iron & Steel Technology’s upcoming AISTech show, which takes place 16-19 May in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

As I put in my Viewpoint article, we might be an overhead crane and hoist manufacturer, but steel is our biggest market and we consider ourselves part of the industry. To continue to command respect in the sector, I planned my article to add value to steel professionals. In other words, I set out to help them before promoting us.

It was important to write it with the audience in mind and give them something valuable in return for reading it. There’ll be steel professionals picking up the issue from literature stands at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, for reading there or taking it back to their facility. Many others receive the title every month and peruse its pages for information.

In the article, I touched upon using steel as a blueprint for our entry into the ports sector, state of the market, our biggest ever order for 24 cranes from Big River Steel, the Advantage product line, and our new service company, but it was predominantly an informative and balanced piece for AISTech visitors and Iron & Steel Today readers.

Showing steel

I would have jumped at the opportunity to commentate on our biggest end user market anyway, but Michelle’s offer was enhanced by the fact that the issue will be their special edition, distributed at AISTech, a show for which we’ve spent months planning a huge presence.

Having taken a 20-foot by 20-foot space at the front of the exhibition area at the 2015 event in Cleveland, this year we have a sprawling 20-foot by 30-foot steel crane-focused exhibit (#1813), which will be impossible to miss by the 8,000 steel professionals expected to attend.

We understand that U.S. steel producers are focusing on increasing efficiencies and they continue to be more competitive with foreign imports (I blogged in February about the need to introduce a weighty tariff on imported goods and services, but this post isn’t about that).

Thus, our exhibit will demonstrate that we can manufacture lifting equipment designed to operate continuously at full capacity every day, every night, all year round. It will show that we provide cranes built to last, easy to maintain, and require less parts over time than any of our competitors. We also explain how we can directly impact productivity and efficiency by installing our overhead crane and hoist systems.

Once we’ve shown purchasing decision makers what we do and how it can help them address the challenges of their market, only then is it important that they associate that with the brand and support it with marketing. Stacy Thomas, our marketing manager, has done a great job of coordinating the graphics and showcasing the brand so our booth appeals to the audience of the day—and sticks in their mind.

Consider how much less traction we’d have gained if we took a self-serving approach. Busy, knowledgeable steel professionals would avoid our exhibit just as readily as they’d turn the page of an article titled, The Best Crane Company in the World. That we might be, but it’s how it helps end users is more important.

Ace provides overhead bridge cranes, overhead gantry cranes, wire rope hoists, electric chain hoists, crane kits and end trucks. Follow us on Twitter at @AceWorldCompany and use the hashtag #AISTech to engage with us live from AISTech 2016 in Pittsburgh.

Thank you for reading my anniversary blog. More soon!

Camron Ghanemi
Vice President, Ace World Companies
President, Pullift Corporation