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I started an engineering company in February, and up until this point it's going better than expected.  However, I need to step up the marketing and pick up a few more customers for long term success.  

The list of services I offer is to help manufacturers improve throughput, design new machines, processes, or products, plan, manage and document projects, improve safety, reliability, reduce downtime, Source and evaluate new OEM equipment, Provide dynamic, kinematic and FEA analysis and simulation of machines and mechanisms.

Marketing up till this point has been targeted emails to the owner, or operations manager of small and medium sized manufacturers.  The response rate has been around 1%-2%. By response I mean I got some type of acknowledgment back like "thanks, we might have something in the future and will keep your info on file".

I sat down with a couple volunteers from SCORE and they gave me some suggestions to implement; get in front of more people any way I can, leverage the contacts that I already work with, trade shows, develop my 30 sec introduction, change message to "benefits and solutions" instead of "services offered", etc.

What type of marketing works best for this type of business? Trade shows, trade magazine ads, articles, seminars, phone calls?



RE: Marketing

Be a speaker at a seminar.  Good exposure, if you are a good public speaker.  Be honest about it-if you do not present well, don't go that route.  I have called speakers, but not if I felt they were boring or disorganized.
Target a well-defined group- for example, my firm identified real estate agents as potentially interested in topic, and we held our own, invitation only, seminar with drinks and snacks (we are only 6 people), and we got a big turnout.

RE: Marketing

Lunch and Learns are very popular.

For you:
- captive audience (although most are stuffing their faces)
- large cross section of the company (from admin to engineering)
- long presentation window (1 hr to 1.5 hrs)
- can target invitees (make sure the guy/gal making the call is invited)
- can bring all of your brochures, CD, DVD, info and put it in their library and/or give out
- collect business cards

For them:
- free food
- additional information
- easy to assemble the large number of people interested
- vendor coming to them rather than they having to go somewhere (no parking issues)
- free swag
- did I mention free food?

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
Have you read FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies to make the best use of Eng-Tips Forums?

RE: Marketing

Hi there:

How about getting a simple web site and trying to grow your busines with a monthly, a quartely, a semi-annual and/or an annual e-newsletter.

Such e-presence would allow you to get a postive feedback from the potential customers and have a 24/7 worldwide exposure.

The above should only work in addition to what you already have.


Gordan Feric, PE
Engineering Software

RE: Marketing

My marketing is done at eng-tips.com, plus papers and seminars.  It is amazing how often I find prospective clients from people who like my technical posts here.  I also get good responses from people finding my papers and magazine articles, but more from here.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering
Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips Fora.

The harder I work, the luckier I seem

RE: Marketing

The 1-2% response are just the polite guys responding.

There is nothing like one-on-one and referrals.  Learn to overcome any resistance to cold calling, and develop your 30-second pitch.  Try to get a face-to-face somehow....it's amazing how the cost of lunch will break down barriers.  The other suggestions are all good.  Pursue targeted audiences at any opportunity.  Trade shows and conferences are usually desperate to have good speakers presenting good topics (that's what brings in the $$).  

I have similar background as you and I found the greatest hindrance to success was this:  most manufacturing operations in the US are in desparate need of improvement.  But few people want to admit this, or hire someone who can bring in expertise to effect improvements.  When it does happen, it's sweet.

Blue Technik LLC
Advanced Robotics & Automation Engineering

RE: Marketing

Targeted mailers and emails to a specific person have worked well for us.  Make sure your email identifies a problem they are having and how you can solve it.  Follow your Carnegie and talk about them first. Don't jump in like every other email/mailer that gets deleted/tossed and say, "Lee Engineering is an engineering consulting company with experience in .....and we ....blah, blah, blah...".  Instead try, "We noticed you had a new assy line being installed.  With a lot of industry experience in setting up these lines, we could help you startup faster. etc.etc."


RE: Marketing


I am not yet running my own business yet but the following are my observations of what I have seen from the good employers.

Good marketing is not just about making people aware of you, it is also about looking at it from the clients perspective.

What do you offer that their existing consultant does not? If you cant answer this question then why should they stop using their existing consultant?

If you can find your niche then you will get your market.

Also think of what magazines e.t.c. your clients read and focus your marketing there.


RE: Marketing

Many people here have offered some great suggestions that I think would work well.

I think for the engineering business, you may find that you will get some really great results if you can turn your existing customers into your marketing partners.

When I say marketing partners, I mean try gently asking them for referrals of other business people that they know who might be in need of your services. You may also consider offering them some little finders fee, or brining them out to dinner, or to a sports game, etc. to thank them for referring the business to you.

Also, if you can find some companies or firms that are in related areas that don't overlap with your practice, you may be able to partner with them to possibly get some of the work that they wouldn't generally take as part of a project, but which they would be willing to take and subcontract out of they had the right vendor.


RE: Marketing

Emails are pretty useless IMO. I get emails from Thomas Edison and other famous ( dead and alive) people.  It's an easy click to put them in the waste basket.
A couple of pizzas or a bucket of chicken will get you remember especially if your talk is good.
The peons may remember you but remember they may not the ones that will hire you.
The ones that hire you will be looking for value.
Anything you leave that is paper will not last, business cards, brochures etc.  Nice calendars may last a year.
I think good nerd toy with your name and phone number on them get you the most bang for the buck.  One of the best I have seen was a pocket template that would draw the usual triangles, hexagons and squares plus a smiley or frowney face and a profile of a comode with a large arrow pointing to the opening. I don't know if the guy lasted in business or not but no one threw his phone numberr away.

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