MM 062 – Differentiation – What is it? How to get it?

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MM 062 – Differentiation – What is it? How to get it?differentiation

Guest: Andrea Olson, Founder & CEO Prag’madik, Author of No Disruptions – The New Future for Mid-Market Manufacturing

Highlights:

  • “Marketing is about communicating, positioning and perception” [3:00]
  • When you ask your customers about how they perceive your differentiation or position, be sure to maintain objectivity, sometimes a 3rd party is best.[5:00]
  • You can get differentiation on features and benefits if you have a huge, unlimited marketing budget, but it can be a bit disingenuous. [7:20]

  • Perceptions are built over time. Andrea shares an interesting and relevant case study about Dominos Pizza. [10:20]
  • Differentiation is the responsibility of all leaders and all functions within the organization. [16:10]
  • If you want to be better at differentiation, first take a look at the current customer experience. [18:20]
  • You can achieve a differentiated position with a comprehensive marketing program that offers helpful, useful content. [20:30]

Interview Questions:

Question 1 –  First, let’s level set. What does ‘differentiation’ look like? In other words, how does a company know it has differentiation?

Question 2 –  In the manufacturing world, most companies try to differentiate on features. Could be specific features or broader features like quality or delivery.

Is this differentiation strategy working? Is it achievable and sustainable in our globalized market places.

Question 3 –  Let’s talk about the tough ones, the commodities; manufacturers of things like ball bearings, chemicals, industrial gas (nitrogen), raw steel or lumber.  The perception is usually that they are all the same. When that is the perception, the buyers go to lowest price.

How can a commodity manufacturer achieve a differentiated position and perception in their marketplace?  Or is it really only possible by shaving to razor thin margins?

Question 4 – Internally, who are the players who define and achieve differentiation in the marketplace?

 

Challenge Question:

This week our challenge question comes from a VP Marketing in the Pittsburgh area, a manufacturing company that produces welding equipment. Here it is “We sell welding equipment to end users all over the country. Over the past couple of years, our profit margin has been eroding despite our efforts to differentiate the product line. To the point of your book, we do pitch the products heavily and have not shared any expertise. What would you suggest for creating differentiation with a common product like welding equipment.”

  • Be clear about what you are offering. Look at associated options that are around the product not about the product. Like delivery or training.
  • Understand your target audience, their pain points, their perception, areas where they struggle and you can help.

Takeaways:

  • Go out and do some deep dive customer interviews or surveys.
  • Do a competitive analysis from a differentiation perspective.

Transcript of the Show:

Bruce McDuffee:
Welcome to Manufacturing Marketing Matters, a podcast produced by the Manufacturing Marketing Institute: The Center of Excellence for Manufacturing Marketers. I’m Bruce McDuffee. Thank you for listening. Hello, manufacturing marketers. Before we get started today, I just wanted to remind our listeners that here at MMI, one of the services we offer is a turnkey webinar production. If you’re looking for a list of qualified leads to fill that New Year sales funnel, this is something to look at. One recent webinar we produced, we got that client about 300 qualified leads for their sales funnel in pretty short time frame. It’s about the same price. It’s a full paid straight journal add. If you’re interested, just check it out at mmmatters.com/webinar.

Now, onto the show. Our guest expert today is Andrea Olson. She’s CEO and founder of Pragmatic. Welcome, Andrea.
Andrea Olson:
Oh, thank you for having me, Bruce.
Bruce McDuffee:
You bet. It’s great to have you back on the show for number two. Our topic today, folks, is differentiation even for a commoditized product. Before we get into the discussion today, Andrea, could you please introduce yourself to our audience?
Andrea Olson:
Sure. Well, I’ve been in industrial marketing for over 17 years. I led the globalization go-to-market efforts at multiple industrial manufacturers. As you mentioned, I currently lead an integrated marketing firm for manufacturing called, “Pragmatic” where we specialize in helping industrial companies grow through marketing. Most recently, I published a book on marketing and manufacturing called, “No Disruptions.” That’s available on Amazon.com. In addition to that, I’ve been a key speaker at multiple events and conferences including FABTECH 2016 and the Advanced Manufacturing and Design Conference coming up in February in Anaheim, California.
Bruce McDuffee:
Great. Thanks for that background. Folks, we’ll put a link to Andrea’s book in our show notes. Differentiation, I think, in some ways, it’s harder than ever than it’s ever been. In other ways, it’s easier than ever. Let me clarify what I mean here. I think one reason it’s so hard is because of globalization. You’ve got so many products that are so similar. It’s very difficult for yours to stand out by itself. On the other hand, it’s easier than ever because of the democratization of information. You no longer have to have a huge budget for only two channels like radio or television.

Now, we have options to hit our entire target market for not as much money as it use to be, relatively speaking. That’s why it’s easier. It’s only easier if you have the right message. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. Just to tee it up, Andrea, I want to quote from your book, “Marketing is about communicating, positioning, and perception,” which I think it’s a fantastic quote. If you do those three things all well, you can get differentiation. First, let’s level set, Andrea, if you could tell us what this differentiation look like. In other words, how does a company know it has differentiation?
Andrea Olson:
That’s an interesting question because differentiation comes in many forms. Whether that’s product features, value added services, market segmentation, or simply, brand positioning. With ever spinning globalization, it really adds a layer of complexity and how to differentiate, and the number of competitors you have to contend with. A simple way to assess whether you are truly differentiated is to reach out to your top three to five customers and discuss whom they perceive as your competitors and why they work with you over those two other options. If this is simply because of price or they’ve always done business with you, there’s no true differentiation in their minds. That’s the key. Differentiation has to be understood in the minds of your customers, not just simply something that is perceived internally.
Bruce McDuffee:
Right. That’s a great idea, ask your customers. Is it possible that your customers might give you the answer they think you want them to say? In other words, maybe, it makes sense to use a third party to ask your customers. Any thoughts on that?
Andrea Olson:
It depends on who is speaking to your customers, in the sense of, if you bring that down to having a sales person go out and implement a survey. They have a relationship that they want to maintain. That crosses over the line just asking a close friend for their candid opinion, you might get a filtered response. Whether that’s a third party, whether that’s your marketing department, or whether that’s even a customer service, you want someone that cannot only ask the questions but dive deeper past the surface level answer to ask the right questions to get the core information. It’s something that does require someone who is experienced that could be in-house, that could be external. It should be someone that can help guide that conversation effectively.
Bruce McDuffee:
Okay. Yeah. I agree. Yeah. Folks, I would suggest that make sure the questions are objective and that somebody is willing to hear, “No.” I use to work with a company, Andrea, they were developing a new product. The product manager gave us all a presentation and said, “Here’s our new product.” I said, “How do you know this was the right product?” He said, “I asked our customers.” I said, “Well, what did they say?” He said, “They all said it was a great idea.” That’s what you got to watch out for. It can be tricky.
Andrea Olson:
Oh, definitely.
Bruce McDuffee:
In the manufacturing world, Andrea, most companies try to differentiate on the features like, more power, more accuracy, higher precision, and things like that. Sometimes they try to differentiate on broader features like, high quality or faster delivery. What are you seeing out there when you talk to folks in the industry? Is that type of differentiation working or can it work? Is it achievable?
Andrea Olson:
Fundamentally, it’s hard to sustain differentiation on product features alone. That’s simply due to the investment and time required to design and rule out a new product. The cycle for adoption from new customers is much longer than existing one. Many times, for basic products, this simply sustains the relationship with current customers. It doesn’t really expand your market share. I’d say, for companies to truly grow, differentiation has to be a critical strategy element that transcends departments and is part of the organization as a whole. Examining things outside of product development, sales, and marketing departments. It’s a holistic business strategy.
Bruce McDuffee:
I think what you are hitting on there, part of what you’ve just said, Andrea, is that … Maybe I missed this. Let me throw this out there. You can achieve differentiation on features and benefits or even just a brand if you have a lot of money.
Andrea Olson:
Exactly.
Bruce McDuffee:
It’s like, Maytag. I don’t know if they’re even around anymore. Oracle, those huge companies and they throw hundreds of millions of dollars at an advertising campaign that tells the audience over and over and over that they’re the best, they’re the best, they’re the best. You can get it that way. How many folks out there have a huge marketing budget in manufacturing?
Andrea Olson:
Right. To that point, even outside of the financial investment, with social media and the change in advertising and advertising trends that solely repetition of a single message through a standard advertising channel. That’s television, that’s print ads, so and so forth, is a lot more disingenuous than it use to be. There has been a major shift where it is, now, about having a dialogue with a company through people and that the company has become a person and a brand in it of itself broader than just a logo and a tag line. When we’re looking at manufacturing and trying to position themselves as high quality, you look at few dollars put towards it and then every other competitor in that same channel saying the exact same thing.
Bruce McDuffee:
Exactly.
Andrea Olson:
How are you different, externally, if the customer is seeing the same message from you and everyone else? The justification becomes, “Well, it’s because we’re not lying. We’re being honest. We are the best.”
Bruce McDuffee:
Sure. Everyone believes that. Yeah.
Andrea Olson:
That’s a very difficult position to justify without added value or differentiation that supports the claim because when you say, “We are highest quality,” that’s not a differentiator. It is an achievable position. You have to require actions, tools, and programs to support that position.
Bruce McDuffee:
Sure. You have to earn it.
Andrea Olson:
Correct.
Bruce McDuffee:
That’s a great point. We all tend to filter out that thing nowadays. We’re the best. We’re the highest quality or even lowest price. We filter all of that out now. We all do. That’s a great point. Let’s talk about the tough ones, Andrea, the commodities. I’m talking about, literally, commodities. Manufacturers of things like, it could be ball bearings, bulk chemicals, industrial gasses, or even raw steel. In the marketplace, it’s pretty hard to differentiate chlorine or maybe that’s a brand. You get my point.
Andrea Olson:
Sure.
Bruce McDuffee:
When that’s the perception that, “Oh, yeah, their product is the same as the next product. It’s the same as the next product.” How can a manufacturer like that get a differentiated position and achieve not only the position but the perception that they are differentiated in a good way? Is the only option to shave that margin, to razor thin margins?
Andrea Olson:
Well, perceptions are built overtime, just as an individual person. When you meet somebody new, you might have an initial opinion of them. Your perception of them is built over every engagement over a long, long period of time. Even though it’s important to continually examine cost and try to grow margins and see where you can save money, this is not really differentiation. Differentiation is the art of examining new and distinct ways to use the assets and skills that you have in-house to generate new opportunities in revenue. I say this in a lighter way because there are companies outside of manufacturing and industrial spaces that have to deal with this all the time. The example that I use frequently is Domino’s Pizza. You can get pizza anywhere. There are major competitors like, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s and then they have all the small Mom & Pop shops that are local competitors. It’s very similar in industrial structure. Domino’s has gone through a major transformation in the last five years. Today, they’re the second largest pizza chain in the world.
Bruce McDuffee:
Really? I didn’t know that.
Andrea Olson:
Yes. They have 12,500 locations in 80 countries. I think everybody looks back on Domino’s if you knew them 10, 20 years ago as a third tier pizza company. They’re in a saturated market. The new CEO came in and really said, “Okay. We need to reexamine and truly differentiate Domino’s. We have to start from the ground up.” The first thing they did was say, “Okay. What business are we in?” Domino’s realized, they’re not just in the pizza making business, but they’re in the pizza delivery business. They focused on examining and transforming how their operations and underlying technology drove pizza delivery. If you make widgets, you’re also in the widget delivery business. The second thing was that they looked at the brand and created a brand strategy. They realized, while delivery was important, the end product, the pizza, was bad. They launched a complete redesign of their pizza in a complete brand strategy to public, expose and admit that the product and shortcomings and they were dedicated to defining a plan and fixing the problem.

As the product improved and their differentiation efforts expanded, they even opened a Domino’s Pizza in Italy, which you would think would be virtually impossible.
Bruce McDuffee:
Not bad. Yeah.
Andrea Olson:
In addition, they looked beyond the obvious. You look at the product, you look at the delivery, and you say, “Okay. Check, check. We’re complete.” Even though delivery was an integral part of the brand, they said, “How can we experiment and change that?” They looked at new delivery systems. You can order pizza by tweet. You can order a pizza via an emoji. They even designed a special delivery vehicle with a built in pizza warmer inside. They looked at this comprehensive channel engagement of how the pizza gets there. It’s not just on a car and it gets there. This wasn’t just the traditional billboard e-mail marketing creative messaging approach. They transformed that customer experience. They didn’t follow what their competitors did.

Pizza Hut has continued to stuff their crust with, pretty much, everything on earth. Domino’s hasn’t quite gone that way. They haven’t just done what the competitor is doing and hope that their message is the one that gets through. They really stepped outside the box. They’ve taken ideas from outside of the traditional pizza industry. They didn’t just simply upgrade their online ordering platform. Just like manufacturers will say, “Well, okay. We need to go from no online ordering to online ordering.” They expanded it into new channels. Domino’s has crowd sourced new ideas. They developed an app. They function more like a marketing and technology company. Actually, 50% of their headquarter staff are dedicated to software differentiation and analytics. 50%.
Bruce McDuffee:
Wow. That’s amazing.
Andrea Olson:
It is a comprehensive organizational initiative to say, “How can we develop a differentiation strategy to build business rather than simply two or three tactics that we think will make a standout?” They’re two totally different things.
Bruce McDuffee:
That pizza example, it’s relevant for manufacturers because pizza is the product.
Andrea Olson:
Correct.
Bruce McDuffee:
Domino’s is manufacturing a product. This is an important message, folks. Domino’s didn’t grow their business by all around product. They grew it by the customer experience. They made the experience more pleasant or easier. Pizza is okay. Yeah, good pizza, right?
Andrea Olson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Bruce McDuffee:
It’s about the experience. Think about McDonald’s. They don’t have the best hamburgers in the world. As a matter of fact, they tried. They couldn’t even sell a $5 hamburger. Nobody would buy it there. They make a lot of money. They sell a lot of product because of that experience. You may say it’s not a great experience. It’s an experience people want. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s inexpensive. Another great example.
Andrea Olson:
Right.
Bruce McDuffee:
How about internally, Andrea? Some folks out there listening might think, “Yeah, I know. Differentiation, we got to have it. We got to get it. Don’t think we have it.” They don’t know who’s responsible for it.
Andrea Olson:
Sure.
Bruce McDuffee:
Who are the players inside? Let’s go with the B to B manufacturing organization. Who are the players in there? Who should take the lead on establishing that position?
Andrea Olson:
This is going to be one of the hardest things because the internal players that really impact differentiation are the leaders of all the functional areas of your company including the [sea sweet 16:13]. Because differentiation can come in multiple forms. Idea generation shouldn’t just come from one corner of the organization. It really takes the entire organization working together as a unified system to identify and create sustainable differentiation. This could come from sales. It could come from IT. It could come from tech support. Every department has to be involved in really helping develop true differentiation and sustainable differentiation because everyone will be touched in some way by whatever strategy is implored.
Bruce McDuffee:
Yeah, it is difficult. I know. Especially, the bigger the organization, the harder it might be. It almost seems it has to be top down. Is that fair? I don’t see how it could grow from bottom up or grassroots.
Andrea Olson:
It can. It’s going to take an organizational culture that is open to that feedback. There has to be channels available for someone in customer service to be able to say upstream, “I have an idea of how we can do this better different faster.” If those channels aren’t in place, then it’s not that the information isn’t there. It’s that there is probably no access or encouragement to gather it.
Bruce McDuffee:
Sure. That makes sense. Human nature, if I’m working at a company and I keep putting ideas about how to differentiate up the chain of command and nothing ever happens, eventually, I just give up, collect my paycheck, right?
Andrea Olson:
Right. Those ideas, if that individual who contributed that idea is involved in its development, that will also encourage that information and those ideas coming from all corners of the organization.
Bruce McDuffee:
Yeah. That’s true. How about some tactical ideas? I know some folks out there listening might be, as I said, they’re thinking, “Yes, I want to be better at differentiation. I want to get that perception that we’re the best or whatever that is.” What is some tactical or it could be strategic ideas or action steps that you could share with our listeners out there in order that they can do in the short term to achieve that differentiated position?
Andrea Olson:
One of the simplest steps and the first thing that organizations can start to look at is the customer experience. This encompasses the entire process from beginning to end. Are there areas in the organization that can provide new value, eliminate pain points or make doing business easier and simpler. Things like, information transparency. From accessing past bills and invoices online to the ability to view the stages of product creation and see where your product is in the production process. If a customer has to be shuffled around to three or four individuals before a problem is resolved, that’s something that you can impact immediately and likely reduce your own internal cost along the way.
Bruce McDuffee:
I had a client once and they were struggling with growing their business, even keeping the status quo from year to year. They invited me in to help them. I started looking around. The first thing I noticed is, it’s very hard to place an order with this company. It’s so hard to do business. On top of that, once somebody did place the order, and they said, “When can I expect delivery?” The standard answer was, “Well, it’ll be in the next one or two weeks.” Two perfect examples of things that can be fixed pretty easily, pretty quickly, and make a big difference.
Andrea Olson:
Right. Because sometimes, differentiation, it starts with actually fixing the things that are impeding you first before yielding the lily. Those things that you fix can become your differentiators if leveraged properly. In your example, if you can take the time to fix that experience, enhance it, and make it even better than the top five competitors you have, now, you have a differentiator by [rote 20:03].
Bruce McDuffee:
Yes. That goes to differentiating with your marketing. Especially in manufacturing and Andrea, I think, you’ll agree with me on this is, if you can be the company in your space that can help the people and the target audience solve a problem, just that alone can be a differentiator. Because chances are, in manufacturing, your competitors aren’t doing that. It doesn’t have to really be even about the product or about the delivery or about the quality, maybe, those are all really perceived as a commodity. You can achieve it with marketing.
Andrea Olson:
Oh, most agreed. I think given the scenario that the operation is humming along perfectly. That there’s no obvious areas of improvement, which I’d argue might never be a case if you believe in continuous improvement. For this argument, let’s say, that’s the case. As we had talked about earlier, one of the biggest problems in differentiation is communicating that differentiation. We gave examples of companies that talk about having the best quality, the best service, these very generic things. They don’t effectively communicate what their differentiators are. It’s just a generic sales pitch when a person comes up to you and says, “This is what I do.” They don’t tell you a story of how they’re truly different. They don’t let you experience it, give examples, or actually even show you in real time. Those types of things come with much more credibility. That’s where marketing really comes into play because it’s not just about repeating what you believe or what your customer believes as your differentiator but helping people truly internalize that. That’s where things will start to stick.
Bruce McDuffee:
Yes. Absolutely. It comes down, I think, to take this a little further, to this perception of the process or the function of marketing. Marketing is usually perceived in manufacturers as the people who deliver the message over and over in different places, which granted. That’s part of it, yes. Nowadays, in these modern times, if I may, marketing is engaging with the audience. Marketing has the opportunity to engage with the audience much more effectively and efficiently than a sales team. That’s the place opportunity for differentiation. Well, that takes us to the second part of the show, Andrea, the challenge question. Are you ready?
Andrea Olson:
Sure.
Bruce McDuffee:
Okay. This week, our challenge question comes from a VP of marketing out in the Pittsburgh area. It’s a manufacturing company that produces welding equipment. Here it is, “We sell welding equipment to end users all over the country. Over the past couple of years, our profit margin has been eroding despite our efforts to differentiate the product line. To the point of your book, we do pitch the products heavily and we have not shared any expertise. What would you suggest for creating a differentiation when we have a common product like, welding equipment?” I know, Andrea, this is pretty broad and there would be a full investigation into the question if we had it. Top of mind, what are few things you could help this company with?
Andrea Olson:
Gosh. It’s a great question. Honestly, I’ve had it come up a lot. Many times, organizations continue to expand their product lines. Their customers lose clarity on, really, what they offer. It becomes information overload. You were known for these two core products or these two core product lines and then you diversify to the point where it is too much information to absorb and people don’t really understand who you are anymore as a company, what your brand position is, and what unique differentiators are. It’s not enough just to have a wide array of products. It’s about creating something unique and value added that the customer can’t find anywhere else. It becomes a combination of tangible and intangible things. I’d recommend retooling the approach. Stepping back and taking a look at areas of service, technical support, costumer support, sales and marketing. Taking a deep dive into the purchasing process, for sure.

Are there barriers you can eliminate? Are there specific challenges that customers have that you can solve beyond supplying, simply, a product? What about training? What about leasing, financing, rental, and other purchasing options? The critical place to start is going to be by examining your customers in their business and how they work. This will be where your differentiation stems from.
Bruce McDuffee:
Exactly. That’s perfect answer. I was going to start my answer with what you just finished with. It’s a great segue.
Andrea Olson:
Great.
Bruce McDuffee:
The first thing is to know your audience. You can go beyond knowing them. You got to really understand your target audience beyond the fact that they use welding equipment, understand their pain points, understand their perception, understand areas they struggle with that you can help. It’s a great starting point because like I said earlier, I don’t think your competitors are doing that. Most manufacturers aren’t. They’re pitching the product. Just by helping the people in your audience solve a problem, that’s a differentiator. Figure out that problem, know your audience, create some content around it, start sharing it, put it in front of that target audience, and you’ll start seeing that perception change. It takes a little time. Yeah, you got to be patient. Once you get that position as the go-to expert in a particular area, your business will start to grow. Your competitors will start to scramble to copy you. You’re going to have a couple of years ahead of them.

I’ll share an example with this questioner. Suppose that one of the big problems or pain points your target audience has is, they don’t really understand how to weld, do a good weld with stainless steel because they don’t understand the different types of stainless steel. You could share expertise, assuming you have it, share expertise about the different types of stainless steel and the different types of welding that works best. I don’t know if that’s a true one or not. That’s an example. That’s what I would say back to the questioner. That’s how you get differentiation. I’ve seen that work over and over extremely well. You’ve probably seen it too, Andrea.
Andrea Olson:
Oh, yes. One of the clients that we had been recently working with is a forging company. You think, okay, this is something that’s very simple. It’s very price driven and the challenge is differentiation. Currently, they position themselves in a way where they’re prompt, reliable. They focus on high quality. They really try to stand out by saying they’re reliable, they’re prompt, and they’re superior. These are all traits that, I think, they want to achieve. It really doesn’t separate them from every other forging company that is doing the same thing and saying the same thing. There’s another company that also does forging and heat treating. They’ve positioned themselves a little differently. Their main messages were here to make your best parts even better. That becomes the thesis. That becomes almost the mission statement for the company. It’s not just differentiation. It’s how do we do that.

We do that with time frame turnaround. It might be a very specialty service that you can provide that, maybe, another forger or heat treater can’t provide. You can start expanding out with that thesis as a basis to change every functional area of the organization. Because now, you have something to centralize that differentiation around.
Bruce McDuffee:
Got it. Good. Anything else to add before we go into the takeaways?
Andrea Olson:
I guess, the only thing I would say is, you asked about some tactical steps and we spoke about customer experience.
Bruce McDuffee:
Yeah. Sure.
Andrea Olson:
I would say, another tactical step that would be important to share is technology. Many mid-market manufacturers have a web presence but not much more. Technology is really not just a check box item but a way to transform how the business operate. For example, using an online system to connect with your customer’s purchasing system. Not only it would eliminate miscommunication but reduce the time and effort on their end to make a purchase and check on an order. This is something they could expand to things like, automated reorders when a customer’s inventory is low. Technology can be used as a mechanism to differentiate. You still need to have an overarching strategy on how you want to differentiate from your competitor and then plug in all of those tools to help support and sustain that.
Bruce McDuffee:
Great. Thanks for sharing that.
Andrea Olson:
Sure.
Bruce McDuffee:
Let’s go ahead and wrap up, Andrea, with the takeaways. I always ask our guest experts to share one or two, hopefully, actionable takeaways that something our audience can do around this subject of differentiation in the short term.
Andrea Olson:
Takeaway number one, if I was in someone else’s shoes, the first thing I would do that can be done independently as a marketing department, a marketing leader, or an individual is to go out and do deep dive customer interviews. Most oftentimes, you’re going to be far enough removed from that customer that they will be candid with you. There are many great organizations including Pragmatic that can help you, not only shape questions but even do those surveys on your behalf. That will give you, really, the core ammunition to start the discussion about differentiation. The second part I would say would be that, doing a competitive analysis from a differentiation perspective is going to be critical. We’re not talking about simply and solely product and service offerings but how companies position, what markets they’re in, are they positioned uniquely in each of those markets, are they global in how they position globally? Of course, all the messaging and as much as you can tell about that customer experience that you can gather whether that’s online or through conversations with their customers.

That’s going to give you the ammunition to take to the sea sweet to say, “Okay. We need to start looking at differentiation. This is how it can start impacting our organization. This is how we can get ahead of competitors and at the end of the day, gain market share.”
Bruce McDuffee:
Perfect. Two great takeaways. Really, I was thinking as you were saying those two takeaways, Andrea, it goes to the business strategy as a whole. It’s not something that can be done in isolation when you’re talking about differentiation and all the things you just mentioned, it really goes to fundamental go-to-market strategy which is a hugely collaborative and big thing to take on.
Andrea Olson:
Most definitely.
Bruce McDuffee:
Yeah. You got to do it. Last thing, Andrea, would you like to share anything about yourself or your company before we wrap up?
Andrea Olson:
Oh, gosh. I’d say, Pragmatic has been around for quite a few years. As an industry veteran, I think, we’re really passionate about building mid-market manufacturers. We’re located in the Midwest. We work with industries from coast to coast. I think that as a resurgence of manufacturing continues to build in the United States, we really want to be a part of that. One of the things I should mention is, we are actually holding a conference here in the Quad Cities. That’s on the border of Iowa and Illinois coming up in April. That is called, “The Midwest Manufacturer’s Business Conference.” That’s MMBCONF.org. It’s going to be for mid-market manufacturing leaders to learn about front of the house operations and strategies just like we’ve talked about with differentiation and improving to grow their businesses.
Bruce McDuffee:
Great. We’ll be sure to put that link into the show notes so folks can check it out directly.
Andrea Olson:
Thank you.
Bruce McDuffee:
Well, Andrea, thank you so much for being a guest, again, on Manufacturing Marketing Matters and sharing your knowledge and experience and those great stories.
Andrea Olson:
Oh, my pleasure. Always a pleasure. Thank you.
Bruce McDuffee:
That was Andrea Olson, founder and CEO at Pragmatic. For more information about Andrea and her business, visit the guest bio page and see all of the show notes at mmmatters.com. Thanks for listening to Manufacturing Marketing Matters. If you find this podcast helpful and useful, please subscribe at iTunes or stitcher.com. You can download this episode of mmmatters and get the show notes and learn more about the podcast at mmmatters.com. I’m Bruce McDuffee. Now, let’s go out and advance the practice of marketing in manufacturing today.

 

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