Friday, May 18, 2012

How to get more business

The president of the small to medium-sized machine builder had always made himself a reasonable living from developing custom-based vision systems to inspect one particular type of widget.

And although the market for such widget inspection systems wasn't all that large, his system, or variants of it, had been purchased and widely used by most of the widget makers in the industry.

Recognizing the fact that the Internet might provide his company with more exposure, the President decided to hire a developer to create a web site that would explain to any new potential customers the capabilities of his company.

And that's exactly what he did. Prior to developing the web site, however, a member of the web site development team went to visit the outfit to find out more about the system. Once there, he was treated to an hour long dissertation by the company's marketing manager who explained to him exactly why there was a need to inspect such widgets and a very brief description of the system that they had developed.

After the meeting, the web developer went back to his office and created a stunning web site for the company. Not only did the web site provide a background of the company and its university origins, it also detailed the inspection problems faced by the widget manufacturers. Unfortunately, however, there was only the briefest description of the system itself, the functions it performed and its performance – all listed in bullet points alongside a rather sorry-looking photograph.

When the web site was launched, the President was confident that it would offer the world an insight into the capabilities of his company and lead to a number of new leads, not just from companies involved in widget manufacturing, but other outfits that might be faced with similar inspection problems.

Sadly, of course, that didn't happen. Having won orders with most of the widget makers already, the website attracted no new customers whatsoever. The president and the marketing manger were disappointed – not in the least because they had spent a considerable amount of money developing it. And they were both at a loss to understand why the reaction had been so poor.

Some months later, a journalist from a magazine that covered the field of vision systems design came to call upon the company. Unlike the previous interview, however, the journalist grilled the president to discover exactly how the system had been designed. He went away confident that his description of the hardware chosen for the system and the software that had been written for it by the engineering team would prove a hit with his readers.

And it was. When the article was published, it became immediately apparent to many of the engineering readers how the company could tweak the widget-inspection system to help them inspect their own products too.

The president is now a happy camper. Having received several enquiries from some potential new customers, he is now looking forward to expanding his business into new markets. More importantly, however, he has at last recognized the importance of publicizing the technical capabilities of his technical team rather than just promoting a single product line.

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