TMCNet:  A product of the times [Electrical Apparatus]

[July 05, 2013]

A product of the times [Electrical Apparatus]

(Electrical Apparatus Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) New forms of multimedia are allowing companies to market their products in unique ways IT WASN'T TOO long ago when the primary way for manufacturers or distributors to promote their products was through a catalog or a well-placed phone call to a possible client. However effective these approaches were, the evolving multimedia landscape has paved the way for even more opportunities to market motors, drives, bearings and other products.


The emergence of YouTube and the ease of video streaming has given companies a new arena for spotlighting specific products. One company that is taking advantage of this is Motion Industries, a Birmingham, Ala.-based distributor of products in mechanical power transmission, and electrical and industrial automation, The company has a video channel titled "MiHow2" which can be found embedded on their Web site (www.mihow2.com) or as a video series on YouTube.

A MiHow2 video is like a product demonstration where a representative from a manufacturer appears on the show and displays the practical application of certain products to the show's host. The goal of the instructional series is to share practical industrial applications that viewers can adapt in their own facilities. Guests of the show represent well-known manufacturers of bearings, chains, thermal imaging cameras, drives, hydraulic equipment, motors, and gearboxes. There are currently more than 20 videos in the series. One video demonstrates how to align rotating equipment, in this case an electric motor and a gearbox, using a straight edge, shims, gauges, and a wrench.

The show's set has the appearance of a workshop, and with an average runtime of around five minutes, each video allows for an in-depth look at a product and how it can be applied to solve a problem. It's this instructive aspect that prevents the show from falling into the phony infomercial well. Yes, manufacturers go on the show to promote their company or a particular product, but the host and structure keep the program well-rooted in education.

A different approach to marketing through videos can be seen on the Siemens YouTube channel. Instead of a scripted conversation, these videos from the global manufacturer of electronics and electrical engineering feature narration, music, a variety of settings, and computerized diagrams. The videos are well-produced, at times relying heavily on computer-generated images, and cover a range of products like HVAC controllers, power distribution, Smart Grid, electric car charging, and data center products.

The voice-over for the product videos can be grandiose at times, and those looking for human beings using certain products in practical scenarios may find some of the videos somewhat cold and detached.

The company is striving for a futuristic, on-the-cutting-edge feel by showcasing production values. The Siemens YouTube channel has more than three thousand videos, not just for marketing products, that include interviews with corporate staff, convention presentations, and visits to smaller factories that are using new technology to create jobs.

Also, inspiring stories like how martial arts changed the life of an impoverished Indian boy are featured. His martial arts program is provided through the "Happy Feet Initiative" at St. Catherine's Home, which is supported by Siemens as part of its Corporate Citizenship initiatives.

Beyond videos, manufacturers are using social media platforms to market their products. Through Twitter, companies can promote their products directly to their followers, providing links to their Web sites for further information. The direct messaging function can allow interested buyers to contact the manufacturer or distributor and express their interest in making a purchase.

Pinterest, fairly new to the social media game, provides a space for large product photos. Users have boards where they "pin" images or videos. All pins link back to their original source, usually another Web site. KB Electronics, a Coral Springs, Fla., manufacturer of a-c and d-c drives, has a Pinterest board that features large images of its products that include specifications and links back to the company Web site for those who want further information.

Pinterest can work from a marketing standpoint by presenting a large visual showcase for products and a detailed organizational system. Since the site is in its fledgling stage and used largely for decoration and other purposes, visitors will not find much in the way of electrical engineering.

The marketing departments for some companies are utilizing apps for smartphones and tablets too. Cooper Bussmann is offering a new mobile application that simplifies the search for the right fuse and fuse block replacement. Available for iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile devices, the app features a database of more than 130,000 fuse and fuse block cross-reference part numbers where users can find replacements for old parts.

Bosch Rexroth has developed an eBook catalog series for engineers and OEM project managers on the go. Formatted for the iPad, Kindle, and Nook, it combines all current focused delivery program catalogs into a digital format, with added features such as embedded videos, touchscreen control, white papers, and links to online company resources. These apps give marketers a way to continuously promote products on-the-go and by using media that is immersive and visually striking.

Let us know what you think about these new marketing opportunities. What is the most effective way for your company to market its products? Does your company use new multimedia and social media platforms to promote its products? Do you see any drawbacks using these avenues? Please respond by e-mail to boleary@barks.com.

By Bill O'Leary, EA Associate Editor (c) 2013 Barks Publications

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