Brands – Help is on its Way

Traditionally, when a manufacturer produced a new item, it would simply issue a new product notice or flyer, to its distributors and retailers, with the hopes that they would incorporate the new item into their marketing program, and hence, be seen by the public, thus creating demand.

As media information delivery sped up during the 1980’s, a new challenge popped up, how to get information to the public faster?  To offset this, a new practice was used; send out notices when product was in an early stage of initial production.  As you can imagine this was a little dangerous, because this really put the manufacturer under the gun if there turned out to be a big demand quickly.

Since this seemed to work well, some manufacturers during the 1990’s took this a step further.  They decided, why not take items we’re thinking of making or in development, send out notices that they are available now, see if demand for them is there, and then make them.  As you can imagine, this was highly dangerous.

This really turned out to be a dumb thing to do.  Now folks were ordering items expecting to get them and would have to wait forever for them.  Or in some cases, retailers thinking stuff would sell, thought I want to be first to market, so they put it into its marketing programs, only to find out later that the manufacturer no longer planned on making the item.  It seemed that everyone got burned one way or the other.

With this lesson learned the hard way, most everyone retrenched and went back to only sending notices out when something was already in production and would definitely be available for any demand necessary.

With the Internet exploding into the scene in the late 1990’s, manufacturers were skeptical on how best to react.  It looked to them, a great way to get their items seen by a broader audience.

Since they knew they needed to react, they took a traditional route, besides notices to distributors and retailers; they issued press releases, set up their own marketing departments, used public relations firms, or just hired someone to get the message out.  These all seemed to work well.

As the Internet evolved, manufacturers found themselves challenged again.  They realized that having or not having their own website, was now a direct reflection of their business image.  They found that benefits could be achieved with their distributors and retailers, by simple having information available to be downloaded.  The more technically inclined, even created a mechanism so orders could be placed directly through the website, thus speeding up product turnaround.

To adapt, manufacturers now set up their own technology departments, used outside service agencies, or just hired someone to handle their technology needs daily.

For most manufacturers, this was a difficult step.  It was one thing to understand how to design and produce products, it was another to understand how to be involved in marketing, but it is quite a different thing to deal with technology.  With so many technology providers, and everyone saying they knew the answers to everything, a lot of folks got burned.  It got to be, who do you trust to do something in budget and on time, two areas that never seemed to happen when dealing with technology requirements?

As always, given enough time, things sort themselves out.  It got clearer on what to do where and what would lead to the best results.  There was a feeling that this too, was something they could master, and would give them a competitive edge over those who failed to move out of the dark ages.

So, just when they though their challenges to do business were stable again, the Internet evolves into a social media communications network, all done through new age technology.  Whether it was blogging, Facebook, or Twitter, everyone knew from experience that ignoring this would be a huge mistake.

As usual, a traditional route was taken, by using their in-house marketing person to deal with this, or their internal technology resource or outside website provider, to set up a blog, Facebook, or Twitter, thinking this will solve the problem, and keep them in pace with the public.

But the results received were mixed.  With low responses or activity from consumers, the question was, why if we’re doing it right?  Well, with the shear mass of the whole world going social media at once, it is impossible to be seen or heard with so much competition for the same visibility.  It basically boiled down to, if you don’t have the traffic, you won’t rank.  If you don’t rank, you won’t be seen.  If you’re not seen, you’re back to square one, with nothing gained.

But fear not, HELP IS ON ITS WAY.

We are a group of industry professionals who are not in this with the latest gizmo, or are looking to drain you dry while getting nowhere.  We are all about results.  We’ve simply taken, through our own personal time, the effort to lay out a strategic way to solve this problem.  We even decided to take this a step further, and have the first impartial automotive industry portal, as a search directory and social interactive media outlet.

We originally offered a wiki system for mini-brand sites.  We also offered a wiki system for product types.  Through this effort, we realized manufacturers weren’t ready to move fast enough to populate this, either because they were technology challenged or are just insecure over what to do.

To solve this, we have expanded our efforts, along with more participants, to make this easier for manufacturers to get their brands included, and directories populated.

We have one advantage no one else has, we simple are not bound by funding, since all participation is done by industry folks, who enjoy giving their time to be a part of something worthwhile, and who believe in putting together something for the long term.