What type of employer is HGR? Q&A with HGR’s Marketing Department

HGR marketing team
l to r: Gina Tabasso, Matt Williams, Joe Powell and Paula Maggio

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Matt Williams, HGR’s chief marketing officer)

What does your department do?

The Marketing Department at HGR Industrial Surplus is responsible for all inbound and outbound marketing. Core responsibilities of the department include: e-mail marketing, social media, events and tradeshows, graphic design, videography, blogging, public relations, and community relations.

Over the past two years the marketing team at HGR has focused intently on content marketing (hence all these great blog posts!) in the company’s efforts to learn more about its customers, vendors, and community and to serve as a connector in the manufacturing sector.

How many people work in your department, and what are their roles?

The Marketing Department currently has three full-time employees and one part-time employee and also relies upon the expertise of several contractors and consultants. Gina Tabasso is our marketing communications specialist and is responsible for developing content, interviewing customers and other stakeholders in the community, and managing a variety of different departmental functions integral to the team’s success. Joe Powell is our graphic designer and videographer. Joe designs fliers, website landing pages, internal communications, and a variety of other internal and external communications pieces used throughout the organization. He is also an FAA-licensed drone pilot. Paula Maggio is our social media specialist. She manages our Facebook, Twitter, and other social media posts. She is also a skilled public relations professional and drafts and distributes press releases for HGR. Matt Williams is the chief marketing officer at HGR and is responsible for managing the marketing team. Matt also has principal ownership of the website and e-mail marketing and manages the activities of several contractors.

What qualifications do you need to be successful in your department?

The Marketing Department receives daily requests from various departments at HGR. Organization to make sure that deadlines are met is critically important. It’s also important that team members are able to bring creative ideas to the table and to synthesize the ideas of other stakeholders in the company to help bring those ideas to life.

What do you like most about your department?

The Marketing Department at HGR has the latitude to pursue creative and innovative ideas to drive engagement. This has been evidenced recently through the F*SHO modern furniture show that was hosted at HGR and which drew somewhere around 5,000 visitors during a five-hour period on a Friday evening in mid-September.

What challenges has your department faced, and how have you overcome them?

Working on the website was very difficult just two years ago. The website was developed by a South Korean firm. While the firm is very technically sound and capable, the language barrier required the use of a translator for e-mail and phone calls. Additionally, the difference in time zones slowed things down. The Marketing Department worked with a local Web-development firm to redevelop the company’s website on the WordPress platform, which makes it much easier to publish posts just like this one. It has become the foundation for our content marketing efforts.

What changes in the way your department does business have occurred in the past few years?

The Marketing Department at HGR was retooled in 2015. All of its current employees were hired in 2015. This created an opportunity to take the company’s marketing efforts in a different direction, and the feedback from other employees and stakeholders has been very strong. One of the biggest changes has been the launch of a new website in 2016.

What continuous improvement processes do you hope to implement in the future?

Gina Tabasso has been interviewing customers for the past several months and has conducted more than 100 interviews. These interviews will be used to develop a customer satisfaction survey that will be sent out in the first quarter of 2018 to gauge opportunities to improve how we do things.

What’s HGR’s overall environment like?

HGR is a relaxed work environment where people care about one another. It’s a fun place to work. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we’re serious about the work that we do.

What is your perspective on manufacturing, surplus, investment recovery/product life cycle/equipment recycling?

HGR helps customers to extract the last measure of life out of older capital equipment. Our company serves a role in the manufacturing ecosystem where we help entrepreneurs, startups, and high-growth companies to preserve capital for growth by putting equipment that might otherwise have been scrapped back into service. We also help to validate end-of-lifecycle of capital equipment. If no one buys a piece of equipment from us, it has probably met the end of its useful life and will be recycled. Finally, we are seeing an uptick in interest in industrial elements (e.g., machine legs) that are upcycled into other products, such as modern or steampunk-style furniture.

Organic SEO tips and tricks

Tips & Tricks iconWhat is SEO?

Many companies have websites or social media pages but don’t maximize them for search engine optimization (SEO). So, first, what is SEO? Basically, it is all the techniques (paid and unpaid/organic/earned) that affect the visibility of your website in key-word search results that potential customers are conducting. Then, these potential customers will be better able to find your website or product and, hopefully, be converted into customers.

As you may know, this search hinges on algorithms created by the leading search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!. Their bots or spiders “crawl” your website for key words then index your website in the search results based on a complex mathematical formula. This is called unpaid, organic or earned SEO.

How can you maximize organic SEO?

Tip #1: Optimize your images by creating alt tags and descriptions. Yes, images count.

Tip #2: Use internal linking to drive traffic to a poorly performing page on your site and get backlinks to your website from other websites.

Tip #3: Keep your content fresh since the spiders crawl the pages regularly.

Tip #4: Use key words in your page titles, subheadings, product descriptions, category landing pages, file names, link text, URLs and blog posts.

Tip #5: Create a Google Plus and Places page and get reviews since Google also indexes these.

Tip #6: Create a YouTube channel and add videos since Google ranks YouTube videos highly in search results.

Trick: If you create meaningful content that can be shared on your social media pages, mention others to increase the likelihood of shares, likes and saves. That way, you get in front of their followers, as well! Social media content also is indexed in search engine results.

What else can you do?

You also can increase the likelihood that potential customers will find your website with paid SEO or search engine marketing (SEM). This is where you gain traffic by buying ads or conducting pay-per-click campaigns on search engines through Google AdWords, Bing Ads or Yahoo Search Ads.

6 reasons why you need digital marketing to expand your business

woman touching digital screen

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Liz Fox, senior marketing associate, MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network)

Manufacturing has always been at the forefront of change and innovation, notably in creating and implementing new measures to better serve the needs of the company and its customer base. But the rapid pace of technological growth – paired with reluctance to invest in new and/or unexplored systems – has left small- and mid-sized businesses struggling to keep up in an increasingly connected world.

However, digital marketing services can be utilized for different purposes in different industries with the ultimate goal of increasing revenue and establishing credibility. The following reasons not only address the numerous benefits of incorporating digital marketing in your overall strategy, but also how different techniques can grow your business sooner rather than later.

  • Lead delivery and conversion – Lead scoring empowers companies to better track how customers are finding them. By using a marketing automation platform in conjunction with customer relationship management (CRM) software, manufacturers easily can monitor how incoming traffic gets converted to leads, followers, subscribers, and/or closed sales.
  • Reduced marketing costs – Traditional media, such as print, radio, and television, harbor high rates and are, in some cases, ineffective at getting to your target market. Digital marketing not only touches a wider range of clients, but also bears better returns on investment. In fact, according to Gartner’s Digital Marketing Spend Report, 40 percent of surveyed small- and mid-sized companies claimed they saved money by using digital means of promotion.
  • Level playing field – Now that digital marketing services are becoming more cost-effective, they are no longer exclusive to large, multinational corporations. Smaller companies are granted access to services and capabilities that can help them better compete in growing industries. Sales and marketing strategies as a whole also are subject to expansion, which enables manufacturers to compete on similar levels.
  • Better customer interaction –In today’s world, consumers are more likely to follow or purchase from companies with a personal touch, and aspects of digital marketing allow small manufacturers to reach out to their customer base with new products and updates on the company. In particular, branching out into social media – especially Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn – builds trust and credibility, which leads to substantial increases in sales and revenue.
  • Enhanced identity and brand reputation – In addition to customer interaction, active social media accounts and a comprehensive website offer brand enforcement not found in traditional media. People are more likely to trust companies that have clear messaging and a substantial digital presence, as interactive elements, such as forms, buttons and feeds, can generate excellent results.
  • IoT integration – Over the last decade, the Internet of Things has grown into a hot topic for manufacturers, and many companies are embracing the ideology of interconnected devices on the shop floor. Digital marketing can act as the first step to preparing you for this shift and, eventually, will play a larger role in how you streamline your business.