The Kula Ring

A podcast for manufacturing marketers

Customer Experience Episodes

Episode 118

How a Manufacturer Leverages a Distributor-First Ecommerce Model

Featuring Jeff Bercume, Director of CX Marketing at Berry Global.

How can manufacturers leverage their distributor relationships through ecommerce? In this episode of The Kula Ring, Jeff Bercume, Director of CX Marketing at Berry Global, shares how the company’s subsidiary brand,, operates as an ecommerce site with a distributor-first model. He talks about how the website’s workflow is geared towards distributors, and how this ecommerce configuration can address capacity issues across manufacturing.

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Episode 113

Manufacturing a Self-Service Platform for Customers of All Sizes

Featuring Melanie Virreira, Director, Global Commercial Enablement at Ball Corporation

How can manufacturers better serve customers of various sizes? In this episode of The Kula Ring, Melanie Virreira, Director of Global Commercial Enablement at Ball Corporation, talks about how her team created a digital self-service portal for multiple customer segments. She shares lessons learned from mapping customer journeys on the self-service portal, and how her team integrated the portal with sales.

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Episode 106

Integrating Marketing into the Manufacturing Enterprise

Featuring Heather Smriga, Marketing Communications Manager of EaglePicher Technologies.

In lean manufacturing environments that focus on product development, how can organizations prevent marketing from becoming an afterthought? In this episode of The Kula Ring, Heather Smriga, Marketing Communications Manager of EaglePicher Technologies, shares how the company’s Voice of the Customer research is fueled by feedback across the enterprise and provides insights on how leveraging different talents in the organization improves their approach to marketing strategy.

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Episode 105

How a B2B Manufacturer Leverages Data Sharing to Improve CX

Featuring John Joyce, Global Marketing Director of Brennan Industries.

Customer demand for real-time data is driving manufacturers to build web-enabled systems to share information more efficiently across channels. In this episode of The Kula Ring, John Joyce, Global Marketing Director of Brennan Industries, talks about how he helped his organization make data more accessible to their distribution channels and partners. He shares insights on how leveraging data improves customer experience and the role of the marketing department in implementing customer-facing technology.

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Customer Feedback Lessons from The Kula Ring’s First 100 Episodes

Featuring Jeff White and Carman Pirie, co-hosts of The Kula Ring.

To celebrate 100 episodes of The Kula Ring, co-hosts Jeff White and Carman Pirie share lessons from remarkable podcast guests on customer feedback across the manufacturing enterprise. They reflect on insights from Greg Palmer, Director of Marketing at National Nail, on how to develop a customer-centric approach to product development and marketing. They share thoughts from Tim Bay, Head of Digital Marketing at Fellowes Brands, on how his team leveraged customer feedback to introduce new products. Finally, the co-hosts talk about digital transformation in light of comments from Augie Ray, Senior Research Analyst & Executive Advisor of Customer Experience at Gartner, Inc., on how marketers should focus on CX and customers’ unmet needs.

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Episode 91

How Customer Collaboration Informs B2B Marketing

Featuring manufacturing marketing veteran Ahsan Javed

Digital marketing enables manufacturers to fine-tune their tactics down to their best-fit accounts, but it can also create a false expectation that each marketing engagement can provide a guaranteed ROI. In this episode of The Kula Ring, Ahsan Javed, manufacturing marketer veteran, talks about his customer collaboration framework and how his background in engineering and marketing guides his iterative approach to co-creating products and solutions.

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Episode 57

Using Video To Build and Strengthen Customer Relationships

Featuring James Stanaway, Director of Marketing, Epilog Laser

James Stanaway, Director of Marketing at Epilog Laser, talks with Carman and Jeff about how video content plays a major role in their marketing strategy. From creating how-to videos that support their customers post-purchase, to co-creating video with customers and showcasing user-generated content, James shares how Epilog has grown its YouTube channel to over four and a half million views—along with how they track each video’s contribution to sales.

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Episode 56

Taking a Customer-Centric Approach to Product Development and Marketing

Featuring Greg Palmer, Director of Marketing, National Nail

Greg Palmer, Director of Marketing at National Nail, talks with Carman and Jeff about how the marketing and product teams work together to use a customer-centric approach to product development. They also discuss which channels National Nail finds successful when launching products including trade shows, social media, and print.

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Episode 55

Using a Listening-First Strategy to Create Effective Marketing

Featuring Jen Miret, Director of Marketing, Bendheim

Jen Miret, Director of Marketing at Bendheim, describes the listening strategy she uses to create marketing that resonates with specialty architectural glass and systems customers. Tools such as keyword research, social media, and public relations enable Jen to identify market opportunities so that Bendheim can better serve its customers.

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Episode 50

Customer-Centric B2B Channel Management in the Age of Amazon

Featuring D. Bruce Merrifield, President of Merrifield Consulting Group Ltd. and partner at Waypoint Analytics

D. Bruce Merrifield of the Merrifield Consulting Group and Waypoint Analytics brings over 40 years of B2B insight to this episode, in which he talks about how Amazon Business applied learnings from their overwhelming success in online consumer sales to take on legacy B2B distribution channels. Bruce says manufacturers need to radically transform their relationships with distributors—and distributors must reinvent their business models—not only to succeed, but to survive in the Age of Amazon.

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