I began my career in the metalworking field managing a local industrial distributorship in New Jersey that specialized in cutting tools, abrasives and machine tool accessories. During my years there, I learned a great deal about what worked and what didn’t, in getting our sales people to proactively and effectively focus on and grow sales for the particular products and brands that meant the most to us – especially as we had many brands – even competing brands in our portfolio.
Ten years later, Hanita Cutting Tools recruited me to bring their brand of end mills to the U.S. market. At the time, their business was almost entirely private label and was served directly by their plant in Israel. The overall objective was to build the brand and its market share to a leadership position and we were quite successful. By the time the company was sold to Greenfield Industries and subsequently to Kennametal Inc., Hanita was considered one of the top 2 or 3 end mill brands in the U.S and perhaps the most innovative one. It was also one of the most desired brands by the industrial distributor network.
For both Greenfield and Kennametal, I was their product marketing manager for all their brands and activities regarding end mills and carbide rounds. My product group, which included 9 separate brands of similar product, competed with many other Kennametal product groups for time and attention from the company’s multiple sales forces and subsequently from the various distribution networks. We weren’t just competing with other brands, we were competing with other Kennametal products. Once again, lots of experience pursuing mind and time share of the field sales person.
Over the next 25 years, using strategic marketing and positioning, focused tactics and targeting appropriate end user customers, we developed our end mill and carbide round business to where in aggregate, we owned the largest market share of such product in the U.S. Along the way, I worked with every sales channel and type of distributor. I learned a great deal about what worked and what didn’t about selling and marketing to this unique, B2B industry.
In 2009, I began Steve Abrams Marketing, so I could provide the expertise I’d gained over those many years to other companies seeking to grow their business in this sector. Most small to medium sized manufacturers and suppliers to the metalworking industry are owned and managed by individuals whose experience comes from the company being a family business, or whose background is engineering, or manufacturing, or finance. Very few have marketing expertise, or as broad a knowledge of the U.S. metalworking market and all its segments.
Further, most marketing agencies are experienced in completely unrelated fields. Consumer products, tech services, advertising, web development… all fundamentally relevant. But because they don’t know the metalworking industry in particular, or the nuances of the various sales networks serving that industry, they often miss the mark with their tactics. Couple that with a reality that manufacturers don’t often give agencies sufficient information about product benefits or application needs, so they can create relevant and effective marketing materials, they end up with “pretty pictures” and “flowery language” and disappointing results.
Not every company or brand has the same needs. Not every company or brand has the same marketing situation, or desired objectives. And most important, companies need to implement marketing plans within an affordable budget – again, unique to each company and even to each project. My approach is to find out what those real situations are and what the short and long term objectives are. We can then create effective plans and milestones to fit “the budget” and as we measure results, generate and maximize the ROI.
The bottom line… we help our clients get where they want to go… faster and with greater return. With years of experience including both wins and misses – ours and the competition, we know the market and the available methods well enough to bring outstanding added-value to our clients management teams.
Interested in whether we can help you?
Give me a call!