marketing for foreign manufacturers

Wow! This year, Gotham is celebrating a quarter-century in the marketing business. A flood of memories – good and bad – return to me as I wax nostalgic about this long journey, but the word that sums it all up for me is gratitude. First, I owe gratitude to God for blessing me with a creative gift, and to my parents, Mackie and Stewart, both artists who nurtured the creativity in me. Beyond that, I owe gratitude to too many people to name in this blog. If you have worked with the team at Gotham, thank you. If you have entrusted Gotham with marketing projects and campaigns, I am grateful.

I was 22 when I started Gotham with two partners in 1989, and I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But there is no better teacher than experience, and Lord knows I have had some experiences. Gotham began with a free tabloid paper called “Unusually Casual.” The paper, distributed around the greater Hickory area every two weeks, was a way to start a business with no capital.

Our initial income derived from advertising sold from a crude mockup of that first edition. My pastor at the time allowed me to use the church computer after-hours to put the first year’s issues together. I learned the advertising trade on the fly by assembling 20 “Unusually Casual” ads every two weeks. That was 1989, when there was no Internet and computer pagination was in its infancy. We cut Rubylith to separate color, pieced “Unusually Casual” together by hand, applied hot wax to articles and ads, then pasted them to a layout page. These layouts were photographed by a huge camera, then converted to a plate for printing. If it sounds archaic, that’s because it was!

After two and a half years, the economic situation surrounding the Persian Gulf War put an end to “Unusually Casual,” but, by then, we had generated enough revenue and expertise to market graphic design services under the Gotham name. And, since 1992, Gotham has done business in such far-flung locations as Irkutsk, Russia, and I have held client meetings in locations including Paris, France and Graz, Austria.

I am grateful for the two partners with whom I originally started the business. Before we parted ways in the early ‘90s, they learned and paid dues with me, and the crash course in business and suffering we received in those early years greatly benefited our experience. Because marketing constantly evolves, I have become flexible in my thinking and have committed to lifelong learning. I still get a rush from selling “mental inventory” and, to me, there is nothing better than being compensated for great ideas.

Over the years, I have worked with many creative people and vendors and been able to meld their ideas with my own to produce great results for our clients. I am grateful to all those people. Special thanks goes to my wife, Kelly, and daughters, Claire and Maggie, who have ridden the dramatic ups and downs of small business with me. They have unfailingly supported my dream of being a business owner and continue to give me the strength to carry on.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that I now possess 25 years of marketing experience and that I’m surrounded by a great team of talented people who care about the Gotham story of the future.

-Woody Stoudemire

While “inbound marketing” which involves pulling prospects to a website is currently the hot trend, traditional advertising and marketing methods continue to produce results. These tactics that have worked for generations are now called “outbound marketing.”

Outbound marketing involves anything your company does to project your message outward.

This may include:

  • marketing strategies
  • advertising in various media channels
  • sales presentations
  • direct mail
  • public relations
  • brochures
  • e-mail marketing
  • trade shows

Taken collectively, these outbound tactics are released strategically and incorporate consistency in design, messaging and purpose to elicit an emotional response from the prospect.

Outbound marketing is focused on “pushing” a message to an audience. Purchasing behavior is rooted in emotion, not logic. With this in mind, messaging is designed to directly appeal to the broad mindset of the audience.

Skillfully applied, outbound marketing enhances brand awareness, imprinting a powerful mental picture in the audience’s mind. Emotionally compelling benefits influence prospects to purchase your products and services. With patience, strategic branding efforts should lead to increased market share and higher ROI.

To learn more about strategic outbound marketing, contact Gotham LLC.


Recently, I was in an antique store in Lenoir, NC. looking for a unique gift for my wife. While the store had some interesting artifacts, I really didn’t find anything that flipped my switch. My daughter Maggie, however, did find something she wanted to purchase.

Ambling up to the cashier to pay, something overhead caught my eye. Looking up, I saw this really cool-looking glass contraption. The object resembled a bee hive and had a lid sporting a wasp on top. There was a reservoir at the bottom to hold liquid. As my curiosity about the piece grew, I asked what it was and in what era it originated.

“It looks like an antique,” said the shopkeeper, “but it’s a reproduction of a Victorian wasp catcher.” The idea behind the wasp catcher is that the reservoir is filled with a sweet liquid to attract flies, wasps, yellow jackets and hornets that fly up through the hole in the bottom. Once inside, the insect eventually drowns and can be poured out through the opening at the top.

I was a little disappointed to learn the item wasn’t an antique, but purchased it anyway because the price was under $30 and it looked to be an interesting conversation piece. Being a family of animal lovers, we placed the wasp catcher in our yard as art, and we haven’t tried to kill a thing with it.

How did this transaction relate to the 4 Ps of marketing? The 4 Ps are Product (uniquely designed and visually striking wasp catcher), Price (under $30), Place (above the head of anyone who stops at the cash register of the antique store), and Promotion (product benefits relayed by the shopkeeper).

That day, it all came together for the shopkeeper in the form of a sale. Once he sells a reproduction wasp catcher, he hangs another to replace it. It’s no surprise to me that he says it’s one of his best sellers.

Consider the 4Ps in your product mix. Do they properly align with what your target market desires?

It’s easy to assume everyone understands the inherent difference between marketing to businesses (business to business, or B2B) and marketing to consumers (business to consumer, or B2C), especially if you’re on the inside of the marketing industry, neck deep in the process every day. 

Here’s a brief rundown of the differences between B2B marketing – with a focus on industrial marketing– and B2C marketing, which caters primarily to retail.

B2C – Persuading Consumer to Purchase Something From A Business

A company marketing primarily to consumers – like Wal-Mart, Ford, or the local deli – have some basic marketing foundations they can rely on when building their campaigns:

  • A large percentage of their sales need to be allocated to their marketing budget because they need to constantly bring in new customers.  Customers are fickle.
  • They can and should establish a target demographic based on age, gender, and other factors, then build messaging around that.
  • They are going to be highly dependent on branding: keeping their name, logo, tagline, or jingle forefront in the minds of their prospective customers so the prospect thinks of them first when their need arises.
  • To accomplish effective branding, a large portion of their budget is going to be allocated to mass media advertising such as TV, radio, billboard, and print ads.
  • Social media has proven itself to be an effective marketing weapon when wielded skillfully, especially Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.
  • Loyalty programs are also very effective as they generate repeat business that would otherwise go elsewhere.
  • The most powerful marketing messages include something surprising and memorable combined with quick snippets of information supporting the emotional impact.
  • It’s not possible or practical to support all marketing by personal follow-ups.
  • Frequent use of sales or discounts as a marketing tactic.

B2B – Persuading a Business to Purchase Something From another Business

Unlike B2C companies, B2B companies – like Murata, IBM, and a freelance consultant – have to approach their marketing very differently:

  • A small percentage of their sales can be allocated to the marketing budget, usually as little as .5 to 2% of gross sales.
  • Their marketing needs to appeal to a broader demographic since they’re marketing to businesses and don’t often have as clear a picture of who the decision makers are, at least at first.
  • They are far more dependent on direct contact: phone conversations, networking, power lunches, and LinkedIn.
  • Social media has proven effective for introducing new products and educating the market, but not for direct marketing or sales the way it has for B2C. Social media is more of a branding exercise for B2B.
  • Marketing messages often need to appeal to engineers and other technical personnel who will have a lot of detailed questions that need answers before a buying decision is made.  These  are facts stirring emotion, not emotion supported by lifestyle marketing (like in B2C).
  • Marketing efforts are very dependent on personal follow-up with leads and current customers.
  • Typically, trade shows are a significant aspect of the marketing budget.

Both B2B and B2C Marketing

There are some aspects of the marketing equation that remain constant across both disciplines:

  • Both are constantly increasing their reliance on digital advertising and messaging channels.
  • Both need to build marketing programs around their web presence.
  • Both must focus on building and retaining a solid customer base.
  • Both have to position themselves effectively in the marketplace to reach the right market.
  • Both must maintain consistency in their brand messaging.

There’s certainly no “better or worse” kind of marketing.  But they’re completely different animals.  And trouble arises when a B2B company spends a ton of money trying to successfully apply B2C marketing tactics.

If you’re considering your marketing strategy for the upcoming quarter, be sure you’re able to identify the tactics that have proven themselves effective for the market you’re trying to reach, then start applying creativity and experience to the problem.

If your campaign is executed strategically, the end result is bound to be successful.

So many people, so much competition, and so little time to make an impression: this is the atmosphere of the trade show.  It’s confusing, complex, and constraining.  So why do so many businesses choose to participate in them? Because it’s the best chance to have face time with the greatest amount of potential customers in one place. It’s a great opportunity to meet the decision-makers.  In fact, 87% of industrial trade show attendees are the purchasing decision-makers for their companies.

Your goal is to attract these decision-makers to your booth.  And, in an age of 3-D graphic capabilities, advanced visual lighting effects, and digital technology, it’s not hard to bring the kind of bling to your booth that will draw conference visitors.  Some show-stoppers for your industrial trade show booth design include:

  • Large Custom Signage – Make it colorful, concise, and clear so everyone knows who you are and what you’re selling. A booth theme that can be seen from a distance will add to the glamour, intrigue and memorability of your booth.
  • Lighting the Stage – Create a total environmental experience with visual lighting effects. This means overriding the glare of existing fluorescent venue lights by backlighting your display or intensely spotlighting your product.
  • Make it Interactive – Engage visitors with digital interactivity installations, such as tablets or wall mounted and table-top touch screens.  Interactive activities are useful for heavy machinery that isn’t appearing at the show.
  • Backlit projection units are unique and can tell your story at the aisle and draw the audience inside the booth.
  • Doing scheduled presentations with a speaker and projection screens allow you to take advantage of a captive audience.
  • Movement, sound and pleasant aromas emanating from your booth serve to draw people to you.

Add to these a nice open space, with knowledgeable, friendly salespeople and your trade show booth will be the star of the show!  Just don’t forget the post show follow up to “close the deal!”

This was written and produced within 30 days of 9/11/2001 by Gotham and used as a self-promotional mailer.

During hard times, smart businesses don’t hide. They THRIVE.

In a down economy, visible companies enjoy the advantage of being accessible to buying customers while their competition can’t be found. Less clutter in advertising means your message beckons customers louder than ever. Many companies experience substantial growth during recessions and emerge stronger than ever, simply because they have the wisdom to employ an innovative marketing plan and stay the course.

Savvy business people realize sales will happen in 2002 but only for those who are proactive and have a well-conceived strategy that will enable them to endure and profit in the swirling storm of economic times ahead. Strategies, guidance and innovative marketing concepts are what the experts of Gotham have been providing our international client base with for over twelve years. We take existing budgets and make them more efficient. We become the marketing resource your company needs to demonstrate new ideas that stimulate sales. Our team can conceive single projects or comprehensive marketing strategies.

Hiding is a strategy. If that’s the course your business has chosen, we wish you luck.

We are seeking companies that believe they will flourish and even thrive, despite the current state of turmoil in the world. We welcome your call for a free consultation at 828.327.8099. We look forward to moving your company ahead of the rest.

I can see you cringe already.

“Another website? It’s enough work taking care of the one we’ve got! And don’t get me started about Facebook and Twitter!”

It’s true that businesses today need to invest far more time in their digital face – company website, social media, and online content marketing – than we did even five years ago. And, no doubt, time is one of your most valuable commodities. So how could you possibly benefit from adding another site to that mix?

Well, here’s how: It’s not really in that mix. It’s above the mix.

A company intranet is basically an internal, secure website created to fill your internal administrative and communication needs. You control what is and isn’t included, and you control who has permission to see or engage with it.

Since it’s inward-facing, rather than outward-facing, the content and design of your intranet will be completely different from your standard company website. This opens up a universe of possibilities for internal communication among managers, employees, vendors and suppliers.

Here are some of the most universal reasons why your company needs (and probably wants) an intranet:

  • Everyone in the organization needs access to various forms, documents, images and information, but making sure everyone has clean, updated copies is a pain. (With an intranet, a 30-second investment of time lets you scan and upload a new form, update the appropriate file on your intranet, or make multiple versions available, and everyone has a printable copy of the most up-to-date version.
  • Your distributors, suppliers, vendors and other external connections want and need consistent access to necessary information or systems in order to work with you, but standard methods are falling short. (By creating customized sections of the company intranet designed specifically with those various users in mind, and giving them secure access to only those sections, your external connections can enjoy all the same intranet benefits your employees have.)
  • You want the organizational benefits without all the hassle or added infrastructure. (You can outsource the updates to Gotham to keep your intranet current, and with password protection and offsite storage, it’s a hassle-free, worry-free win-win situation.)

Of course, with some brainstorming, you can probably come up with a hundred more benefits to be gained by having a state-of-the-art internal web-based solution at your fingertips. Here’s some food for thought: the “10 Best Intranets of 2012” and what makes them so awesome.

An easy-to-use, quality intranet system gives all users access to pertinent company information and frees up employees to do other things for the company. And there’s no arguing with that ROI.

If “SEO” pops up in conversations regarding Internet marketing and you’re not clear on the meaning, you’re not alone. SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization” and it is a key element for the promotion of a website.

Search engines in general are the “Index of the Internet,” searching billions of pages for the key words you have selected and ranking the pages in order of relevance. Search engines “crawl” websites seeking keywords and Meta tags hidden within your website and categorizing each one. Every time someone does an online search, the search engine is able to refer back to its list and pull up the websites that are most relevant to the search.

Due to intense competition, having a website doesn’t mean that anyone and everyone can find you online. If your website isn’t optimized, it is not likely to be found during Web searches. Optimizing your website is a vital step in making sure that you aren’t losing customers or potential clients who are doing research or conducting business online. By selecting and using the right keywords and Meta tags to identify your website, you are increasing your visibility and ranking.

The end result of SEO is better prospects visiting your website resulting in higher margin product purchases.

There are two things you can do to vastly improve your marketing program. First, define what your company is great at. That will be your core competency. Then, delineate the factors that differentiate your product or service from the competition. By defining core competency and communicating the differences between your company and competitors, you are creating a “brand platform.” A brand is your promise to the prospect, so you need to live it and breath it internally, and you must back it by action.

Defining and claiming your brand is more vital today than ever, because virtually all prospects now soft-shop your services via your website prior to initiating contact. If your “brand promise” is homogeneous or unclear, you’ll lose the prospect early in the purchasing curve. The Internet age has removed all boundaries and barriers to purchase. In addition, the entry costs for beginning a business are as low as the cost of a good website.

The most successful businesses in this Internet age narrow their market and are highly specialized. Prospects seek these companies through searches in major search engines. Once a prospect finds a site, the home page must clearly communicate the brand promise, which integrates core competency and differentiation. Once engaged, the prospect may interact with your website by providing their contact information or by calling you.

Narrowing corporate focus will help prospects understand what you have to offer and foster trust that you specialize in an area of interest to them. As a bonus, this marketing approach also is less expensive to promote.

It is important to consistently promote your brand promise on your website and through any other methods of advertising your business.

By Woody Stoudemire

Social media is the new media marketing; in fact, the trend towards social media marketing, in many companies, has become a favorite tactic along with traditional print and broadcast advertising.

To maximize your social media marketing efforts, you can:

1. Take a class to learn which social media outlets exist and target the ones that are most likely to give you the best return on investment. There are thousands of social media blogs, forums and other community outlets. While Facebook and Twitter are the biggest, there are thousands of other niche blogs and social media outlets that may be perfect for marketing your products.

2. Don’t try to do all things-social media. There are a bevy of ways to market your business via social media. Unless you have a team dedicated to manning everything from Twitter to Facebook to all the industry blogs you submit to, you’ll overwhelm yourself just trying to keep up. Pick 3-5 social media outlets and put your all into marketing to those audiences.

3. DO put your all into marketing on the social media platforms you like best. Try to avoid gathering a slew of Facebook Fans only to disappear once you reach your quota. Offer special incentives, something extra to those people. Give them a reward for helping make your social media marketing a success. To be a successful social media marketer, you have to be authentic and experimenting with a variety of messaging to test what works best.

4. Audit your social media efforts. Track what people are saying about your brand with tools like Google alerts. These automated tracking tools can give you “live” marketing intelligence to improve your brand and product offerings.

© 2020 Gotham Industrial Marketing. All Rights Reserved.