How A Robotic Forklift Company Markets Online To Manufacturers

Episode 218

January 17, 2023

BALYO is a global manufacturer of autonomous robotic forklifts. In this episode of The Kula Ring, Jeff and Carman sit down with BALYO’s Global Marketing Director, Rob Patey, to discuss what makes marketing in manufacturing unique. They also talk about the challenges of digital marketing for manufacturing companies, the best way to find and reach customers online, and what sets BALYO apart.

How A Robotic Forklift Company Markets Online To Manufacturers Transcript:

Announcer: You’re listening to The Kula Ring, a podcast made for manufacturing marketers. Here are Carman Pirie and Jeff White. 

Jeff White: Welcome to The Kula Ring, a podcast for manufacturing marketers brought to you by Kula Partners. My name is Jeff White and joining me today is Carman Pirie. Carman, how you doing, sir?

Carman Pirie: I’m out of practice, and you?

Jeff White: Yeah, indeed. We’ve been playing some old favorite episodes and republishing some stuff from earlier in the year with a big push to begin recording some new stuff for 2023 and it’s been a bit. It’s been a minute as the kids say. Yeah.

Carman Pirie: So, no pressure on today’s guest, but you kind of have to set the tone for the entire year now. 

Jeff White: It’s like season five starting out. Yeah. It’s a pilot. Which, anytime anybody says something’s a pilot, I always think of that exchange early in Pulp Fiction, and when Samuel L. Jackson says-

Rob Patey: What’s a pilot? 

Jeff White: … what’s a pilot? He goes, “You know, if they sell that show and people like it..” I don’t watch TV. And he goes, “Well, you are aware that there is this invention called television, and on this invention they show shows,” which I always thought was a really weird way of saying it, but here we are. 

Carman Pirie: This is where I feel like you’re just gonna bring up the movie thing so you can completely impress with your knowledge, contrast it to my lack thereof about such a thing, but so you win that round. 

Jeff White: Well, if we get into Dylan lyrics, you’ll be top of mind. 

Carman Pirie: There you go. There you go. I’ll see if I can turn it to that eventually. Why don’t we introduce today’s guest, though? 

Jeff White: Absolutely. Joining us today is Rob Patey. Rob is the Global Marketing Director for Balyo. Welcome to The Kula Ring, Rob. 

Rob Patey: Well, thank you, and you pronounced Patey correctly, which happens about one in ten cases, so I appreciate it. 

Jeff White: Really? What are the alternatives?

Rob Patey: Pate, Patty, and then I’ll often get people thinking it’s a typo and just go right for Patel. 

Jeff White: Oh. Actually, that’s what my iPhone did when I tried to reply. 

Rob Patey: Did it? Yeah. Yeah. 

Jeff White: Or when I was searching you out. So, yeah, yeah. No, Carman can relate to this. 

Rob Patey: People see me, I’m six-foot-five and blonde, so they know that the Patel is probably off, so yeah. 

Jeff White: [Laughs] In this digital age, things are different, though. You’re getting introduced blindly. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah, exactly right. Well, look Rob, let’s learn more about the company and how you find your way there. 

Rob Patey: All right, fantastic. Yeah, so Balyo is a manufacturer of robots, essentially. So we take standard forklift trucks, and we make them completely autonomous. That means no drivers, all robot guidance, all robot pick and place of pallets. How I found myself there was essentially I had spent 15, 18 years—I hate going through the numbers at this point—in software and IT marketing, most recently doing a 10-year stint at IBM, and then two years with an agency, just because I wanted to keep behind the veil and see what you guys do in the agency world. I’d been paying for SOWs for 20 years, so I wanted to see what all those line items actually meant. 

Agency shifted directions, so we parted ways, and then basically I went out on LinkedIn with my “will work for food” sign, and Balyo actually found me. 

Carman Pirie: Oh, very cool. It’s an interesting shift from the… We won’t even stop at the agency experience side of it. It would suggest it’s an interesting jump from a fairly long stint in software and tech into, I guess, somebody that’s kind of quasi-manufacturing space, but very technical too. I mean, it’s not like you’re in a low tech space. 

Rob Patey: No, no. There’s a definitive software and technology bend to what we do. I would say we are as much a software company as we are an equipment company. Probably more so. I mean, we’re getting the standard base trucks from our OEM partners, but really the magic is happening with the software and the intelligence that we apply to the machines, so that’s very much within my bailiwick. 

And as far as moving from software and IT services, I’ll be honest with you. If I had to write scalable, flexible, or cloud one more time in my career, I probably would just throw my head into the screen. So I was definitely ready for that mid-career shift into something new and something different to actually try to wax poetic about and push out into the market. 

Carman Pirie: You know, I think it’s important to pause there, Rob, and just say I think it’s good for people to hear what you just said, because too many marketers think… They push to be in tech, or they don’t think about… They wouldn’t think about a robotic forklift company as being as exciting, potentially, and what they’re not really seeing is that the world of software and tech isn’t necessarily bright lights in the big city, either. 

Rob Patey: No, and I think what people get wrapped in—and they’ll do this even within software and tech—is that they will find their niche. I’ll definitely use cybersecurity as an example, because that’s the last group I was in with IBM. A lot of people, there’s such a bifurcation, trifurcation of what you can market in software and technology that people even get stuck in what I’ll call those micro ruts, right? Of, “I’m just going to do mobile device management. I’m just going to do cybersecurity. I’m just gonna do ERP systems.” So, they even get stuck within those micro-niches in what we can do. 

And I think what they forget is that people are people, right? And we’re always marketing to people—that’s the fundamental. You’ll learn all of the other stuff as long as you have the core group of skills in place, and you know what you’re doing from the marketing standpoint… I don’t want to say what you’re marketing doesn’t matter, but it’s certainly not as important as having the tactical skills to get the job done. 

Jeff White: I mean obviously, you learned some things in the agency along the way, but as you came into more of a manufacturing marketing role, what are the differences that you’re seeing compared to what you were experiencing at IBM? 

Rob Patey: One of the big differences I’m seeing, if I look at what we did at IBM and even before that, digital was our primary focus. It was all digital, all the time, and I’ll say that manufacturing really hasn’t caught up to that yet. Manufacturing is still… I don’t want to say an early 2000s game, but I marvel at the number of trades and associations, and the power and sway that they still hold over especially your brand awareness, and getting your name out into the market. I also marvel at the fact that they all have similar names. I mean, I will confuse them on a daily basis. There’s Materials Handling, there’s Handling Materials, there’s Supply Chain & Demand, there’s Demand for Supply Chains. It’s boggling. I just recently received a press list or a trade list from one of the shows that we’re doing, and there’s over 600 different trade publications that are coming to this. And again, the names just… You really have to squint to be able to see the difference between them. 

Carman Pirie: And man, I don’t know what you find, so not to lead the witness too much—I’ll just tell you what I have found with it—is that most of them overstate their effectiveness in reaching their audience-

Rob Patey: Of course. 

Carman Pirie: … and overstate it digitally, and they’re still getting away with it. Whereas in other categories, that just wouldn’t be the case. I think they’re still getting away with charging exorbitant rates for almost no reach and digital property that’s 20 years-

Jeff White: Our newsletter is seen by 2,000 eyeballs. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah, or whatever. 

Rob Patey: And I read these newsletters and they just seem to be like Sears catalogs. Let’s date ourselves and age ourselves, why don’t we? But you know, they just seem to be just catalogs of ads, and that’s really where you’ve got to say to yourself, “You know, what is the traction I’m getting from my presence in these?” And we have so many tools available to us as marketers today to be able to say, “Let’s take a look at your referring sites. Go into your HubSpot. Go into whatever your CRM is or whatever your marketing automation is and see where your referring sites are coming from. And are you getting any traction coming in from these domains?” Especially because they’re producing these things in digital issues, you should be able to see people are actually clicking the link in the ad or clicking the QR code that you’re putting in there. You really have to monitor and manage that yourself as a marketer to make sure that you’re getting any kind of ROI off of what you’re spending. 

Carman Pirie: Rob, how long have you been with the company right now?

Rob Patey: Okay, we’re gonna go there. A whopping four months. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah, so it’s early days. 

Rob Patey: Absolutely.

Carman Pirie: I think that’s important to note, because my guess is that you’re starting to see some of the… enough data to begin to question some of that trade spend. 

Rob Patey: Well, that was month one. This was almost like a reverse order for me as far as coming into this job, in that I know I had the marketing skills, and I know I had that prowess, and what’s going to be the long tail for me is learning the industry itself. Learning the lingo, learning all those subtle nuances I took for granted in IT and software. But again, those marketing principles, those marketing practices I should say, are something that I could really get into and attack in my first 90 days. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. It’ll be interesting to see how the marketing evolves with you at the helm. And I’ve got to think the category you’re in gives you a bit of permission. I mean, you’re marketing robots, which I think obviously gives you permission to enter the digital space, maybe more than what some more traditional manufacturers might. 

Rob Patey: You know, quite possibly. It’s a matter of really kind of going to where the audience is. And just because I’m marketing robots does not mean that… You know, my buyers, my prospects still might be flipping through all these trade magazines, for instance. So, that’s still something I have to keep an eye on, but I’m using that as a specific example. If I look at the biggest arsenal and the biggest tool we have, it’s the same from marketer to marketer to marketer, and that’s search. Let’s be frank with each other. 

Search is the cash cow. 

Carman Pirie: And that’s a game that’s changing quite rapidly. 

Rob Patey: Search, it is. It has and it hasn’t. I mean, there’s always that element of search in that, you are in it for a pay to play, right? I mean, Google will always go in and they’ll update how they present the ads, and what ads are presented, but it has always been an auction house, right? Even from day one. I remember when I invested in my very first Google campaign, it was back in 2004, 2003, and I spent a whopping $100,000 with them for a year. They treated me like the king of the castle. The Google swag that I got for the office, it came in boxes and crates. A year and a half later, I had a hard time getting anybody to talk to me on the phone with what became then my paltry $100,000 spend. 

Carman Pirie: When I say it’s changing, I guess I could take the whole podcast over and kind of begin to imagine where search is going as we start to see reports of ChatGPT, for instance, being integrated into Bing. Interesting to imagine what that could rapidly do to search. 

Rob Patey: Sure. 

Carman Pirie: And Google’s position in it. But nevertheless, I’m kind of curious. The market that you’re marketing into, material handling, I wouldn’t say that they’re stuck in their ways, but I think that would be maybe inaccurate, but I think the idea of getting robots integrated into that space isn’t something I think maybe a lot of people that have a warehouse or whatever, don’t necessarily think that that’s open to them, or maybe that’s possible for them yet. I guess how much of that missionary work are you doing and kind of just getting the-

Rob Patey: A lot of it. 

Carman Pirie: … people to understand the marketing potential of it.

Rob Patey: Yeah. I mean, obviously our jobs, if we want it in the two highest categories, it’s brand and demand, right? So, that education that robots are for you, robots are easy. What is stopping people from changing? It’s a fear of change. Let’s be honest. That’s what it boils down to. So, you need to look at what those fear factors are, and what those drivers are, and it’s always seen as a matter of complexity. So, specifically at Balyo, we are working to really show people that it’s simple, right? You can change simply. You can simply change over to robots, and it’s not going to disrupt your operations and processes as much as you believe it will. 

Because if you look at everything on paper, robots make perfect sense. I mean, from a safety perspective, from an ROI perspective over time, when you account for labor, and damage to goods, and things like that, robots simply make sense to make the move over. It’s all those ancillary things of the management of the robots, the setup of the robots, that’s what’s giving people the biggest amount of consternation.

Carman Pirie: That makes sense to me. 

Rob Patey: Good. All right, so you guys are my test audience for messaging, so thank you for validating. 

Carman Pirie: Who are you finding to be the earliest adopters or those segments that are most receptive to your message right now?

Rob Patey: Your pioneers, of course, are your large organizations. I mean, they’re always going to be. They’re the ones that have… They can afford the time. They can afford the resources to really get into the project, and understand it, and be able to develop and deploy it, and work with you as a partner on it. They get the most leeway to be pioneers, right? And it’s that way in the software industry. I don’t think that’s specific to something that’s manufacturing-based. But it’s definitively going to be your large companies that can keep their current operations on a flow and keep them working while they deploy this new technology. Because it is a technology, it is new, you do have to have a dedication to it as with any project to be able to make sure that it gets up and running correctly. 

So, we look at our primary customers right now, it is those larger organizations, and specifically the ones that are in labor droughts, let’s say. Because there are definitively parts of the world right now that are having a very hard time filling warehouse, distribution center, manufacturing jobs. Everybody wants to be an influencer now. They don’t want to lift a box. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. It’s long been a bit of a disconnect, particularly in North America. There’s a strong political will to have manufacturing jobs come back, and politically I think people have one vision of what that actually is, and in reality the jobs that are in demand in the manufacturing space are quite a bit different, often, and frankly the people justaren’t there to do them. 

Rob Patey: Sure. 

Carman Pirie: Both on the ones that are more laborious, as well as the ones that are more high tech. They both present the challenges. Yeah. 

Jeff White: How are you seeking out these large leader type organizations who are susceptible or interested in hearing the messaging that you’re putting forward to get more people thinking about robots? 

Rob Patey: It’s really, really easy, because robot saturation is still so low. So, you can honestly… I hate to say this because it’ll make my job seem like a cake walk, but honestly, you could kind of close your eyes, and point to a map, and boom, you’re gonna hit warehouses, you’re gonna hit distribution centers, and the chances of them having a robot are very low, right? I mean, I don’t want to say we’re in the infancy of adoption, but certainly it’s the nascent stages of adoption right now. 

Automatic guided vehicles have been around for a very long time, but what’s made the shift and what’s so totally different now is that with a true AGV, automatic guided vehicle, you needed magnetic tape, you needed reflectors, you needed QR codes on the ceiling, right? So, that left you in more of a greenfield situation, where it was when people were creating a new warehouse, they were accommodating for all of these infrastructure changes that needed to occur to be able to bring in these automatic guided vehicles. What Balyo does specifically, and we are only one of a handful of companies that actually do this, is that the brains are built on board, right? No magnetic tapes, no strips, no reflectors, nothing to your infrastructure. All the brains are on board as I like to say. 

If I’m being pithy with things, I say we’re brawn and brains combined with the robots that we build, so enough strength and power to lift, and then the intelligence inside to be able to guide itself around your warehouse or your distribution center environment using basically lidar and SLAM navigation. 

Carman Pirie: So, I appreciate that you could pretty much throw a dart at a map and you’re going to hit a warehouse that could potentially use what you sell, but you still have to get in the door and talk to them, so is it largely just trying to get the sales folks to knock on the doors, or do we have something a little bit more advanced at play? 

Rob Patey: We have something a little bit more advanced, obviously. We’re basically really uplifting the digital prowess of what we do and making sure that there’s a high qualification of who we go after. So, I wouldn’t say that we’re at the point yet where we’re purely in an ABM state, an account-based marketing state, but we’re certainly hyper-selective of those organizations that we’re picking up the phone and we’re making calls to. We want them to be scalable, as well, right? We want those organizations to be able to say, “Okay, we bought one robot. We’ve tested it out. Now let’s get ready to deploy our fleet of 10.” 

So, I don’t want to say we’re turning people away, but we cautiously vet to make sure that they’re the right organization for a robotic solution. 

Carman Pirie: That’s a nice place to be in. 

Rob Patey: It really is, yeah.

Carman Pirie: Yeah. It helps keep the polarity of the sale coming your way a little bit, which is nice. 

Rob Patey: There’s a lot of interest. I mean, the robot market is going to grow. The robot market has grown 10 fold over the past 10 years, and it’s going to grow another 10, 20 fold over the next 10 years if you look at what all the prognosticators say when they look into their crystal ball. 

So, there is that hyper interest in it, but you know, we want to do what’s right for the organization, as well as what’s right for Balyo, so there’s part of it that really does require that kind of careful vetting to make sure that they are robot-ready, or to use a term from Seinfeld, let’s say ‘robot worthy.’ 

Jeff White: Oh, man. If you do put trade publication ads together, that has to be the tagline. Are you robot worthy? 

Rob Patey: Can I tell you, though? It does not transcend. It does not transcend across all geographies, and it can be a very uncomfortable conversation to explain the sponge worthy reference from Seinfeld. 

Jeff White: I can imagine those conversations. Just flew in town and offended everybody in the first three seconds. 

Rob Patey: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Bonjour. 

Jeff White: Are you robot worthy? Yeah.

Carman Pirie: To be fair, robot ready is a little bit more… flows of the tongue quite nicely, so some options beyond the scalable, flexible, cloud that you had to say for 15 years or whatever. 

Rob Patey: Exactly. Well, again, with the software and IT, it was just this sea of sameness that I could not get past, that it was no matter who you went to, that’s what they were putting as their buzzwords into the advertising. 

Carman Pirie: Jeff, you had a question, I think, before I interrupted you. 

Jeff White: You know, the scaling cloud thing is the equivalent of the sustainable green and everything else that you see, and the sea of sameness in packaging manufacturers that we certainly see. It is really hard for people to, kind of, separate from their competition when it’s people, quality, and service are your core competencies.

Rob Patey: I was just gonna say, I have a theory on that. Search has been one of the greatest door openers for marketing, but it has also been one of the drivers for us all to produce this sea of pablum that we’re forcing people to imbibe, because we’re all trying to capture the small core set of keywords. And so, we all go running after and chasing them. 

It’s like when I look at Twitter, or Instagram, and I look at hashtags, because when hashtags first came out, every executive was breathing down your neck. Oh, we gotta capitalize on hashtags, we gotta capitalize on hashtags. And I just said, “But look at the hashtags. Look at who’s sharing them.” It’s just this self-serving circle of marketers. When you scroll through the first 20 mentions of the hashtag it was all marketers. No buyers. 

So, we were all kind of almost chasing our tails in regards to, kind of capturing that zeitgeist of the moment, but where we really… I have a much dirtier term that I’m not gonna say on the podcast for this, but of how we were all just kind of talking to one another rather than just actually talking to the market. But that same sea of words—and it goes for the flexible, scalable, and cloud, as well—and that’s a direct result of search and us trying to capitalize on just a small set of keywords that have the highest search density. 

Carman Pirie: It begs the question, because I would have to think anybody else selling robotic technology into warehouses is using the same value prop. Savings over time, total cost of ownership, especially versus staff, the safety components, et cetera. How are you thinking about distinguishing your firm from that sea of sameness in that space?

Rob Patey: Really, it’s the simplicity of change. And I would say where we are unique in this regard is that we’re building the tools to make the deployment of those benefits easier. I mean, there’s from costing and scoping out a project, to actually building the software and building the logic behind how the robot moves around the warehouse, how it lifts, how it places, where it does all these activities, where it does the transfers. Who’s going to win in this regard is the person that can make it most easy and self-serving for the client. 

So, obviously there’s this time where you’re working together, and you’re a partner, but at a certain point in time you also have to have that handoff. So whoever builds the tools in place that are going to make that handoff the easiest and make the organization the most self-sufficient moving forward with building and maintaining the robots, or managing the robots, that’s the person that’s gonna win. And that’s one of the reasons… That was one of my first thoughts when Balyo approached me, obviously, was I kind of looked at that, and then when we talked a little bit more, that ideal of our CEO—to be able to make this something that is so easy to manage, so easy to run within the environment as using a timesheet and flipping an on switch, which is what they’re doing today from a manual standpoint—that’s whose actually going to differentiate and that’s who’s gonna lead the pack. 

And as I said, this infrastructure list, this way of the brains on board for the robot, that is unique. 

Carman Pirie: I think it’s pretty interesting for people to think about that, like the notion of we’re basically saying we’re going to invest in competitive differentiation that really comes to life in the onboarding, kind of early adoption phase, but you’re not gonna get this benefit until post-purchase, right? It’s like something that happens after the buy stage, but we’re going to use that as our way to win and promote that, obviously, in our earlier awareness stages of the buying journey. It’s just an interesting way of thinking about it. 

Yes, I’ve heard lots about ease of use, ease of implementation, or ease of change management being a hook, but I guess I hadn’t really thought about it through the lens of that full kind of 13, 14-stage B2B buyer’s journey, and just how far down that we are when we’re talking about onboarding, but how it can impact early. 

Rob Patey: And I think where we get lost in this whole buyer journey conversation, because you know, especially when I was with the agency, I’ve done thousands of content maps. Where we get lost and where we get misguided in the buyer journey, is that sometimes we have to bring that lower level up to the forefront, right? It’s not enough to simply try to get away with three key terms in your awareness phase, right? Sometimes you really do have to get into the nitty gritty at a higher level, right? 

We get so averse to talking about features and functionalities these days in the awareness phase, and I just think there’s… That’s myopic of us as marketers to think that. And also, you know, we have to realize that people are in all fluxes of all stages right now, right? The funnel we’ve known has been dead for years. 

It is absolutely an intricate web that we’re looking at from a buyer journey standpoint, with the user in the middle, going wherever the hell they please, right? Awareness, consideration, evaluation, purchase, they all almost overlap on top of each other. And the other thing we have to be very aware of is that it’s happening much faster than marketing can react to, right? People are moving from that awareness, to that consideration, to that evaluation, to that purchase way quicker than we can build assets. Way quicker than we can even get in front of them. 

It’s almost when you launch something, when you launch a campaign, when you launch your plan, you almost have to have it all at once. You can’t even build it in phases anymore as a marketer. 

Jeff White: Yeah, because you’re going to have people at those various phases from the get-go. Yeah. 

Carman Pirie: People are starting from different places, yeah. 

Rob Patey: Yeah, and much of what you’re trying to tout, or much of what you’re trying to espouse, let’s say, in this education phase, there’s 20 other sites that have done it already. Right? I mean, unless you have something that’s really unique and really new to the market, there’s 20 other places that the users are gonna get that information, and they’re gonna trust that information a hell of a lot more than if it’s coming from a company. 

Jeff White: I do think that what you said a moment ago is worth emphasizing. There are an awful lot of marketers who are pushed to talk about deep features and all of that at every stage of the journey, whether they’re educating, or informing somebody who’s already kind of made the decision to make this kind of purchase but maybe not with your specific brand. Choosing when to roll out information and not giving too much away too soon is just… It’s a bit of an art, I would say.

Rob Patey: Oh, it’s absolutely an art. It’s absolutely a science. And in my experience—and this was again a great learning experience from the agency standpoint, because I was able to look at and work with 25, 30 different companies—it really boils down to time and budget, how much you try to stuff and cram into each part of the journey, right? I mean, if you only have the budget, you only have the time to produce two assets that year, yeah, you’re gonna produce documents that are 12 pages long and cover almost every stage of the journey in one document. 

Carman Pirie: I think too it’s important to recognize the further you move into that, we think about the awareness stage of a buying journey and kind of break it down a little bit, choosing to be active in the more unaware stages of that journey comes at a cost that’s higher than the cost of being active in later parts of the buying journey as a marketer. I think that marketers, sometimes it’s easy to get excited about, “Oh, we’re gonna do the missionary work. We’re gonna educate the market.” And it’s like, “Yeah, you don’t have the budget to educate the market. You can’t afford to educate the market. You’re not IBM.” IBM could educate the market, right?

Rob Patey: Right. And could spend all day doing it. No, that’s a great point, Carman. There’s the two things you need to consider: there’s the message that you’re gonna deliver, and then there’s the tactics of how you’re going to deliver it. And it’s really in the awareness phase, the tactics are so costly that you can’t have a ton of messages at your disposal, so you have to be very careful. 

Carman Pirie: Well, look, we could go on forever, but we are probably reaching the end of the show today. I’m curious. Rob, you’ve been at this a while, and you’ve seen some stuff in tech and software. You’re now in the more manufacturing space, although I appreciate it’s certainly not industrial manufacturing, per se. But I guess I’m just curious, if you had the benefit of being able to go back and tell the young Rob who was just starting out in marketing, give them some advice, what would you give them? 

Rob Patey: My advice would be… That’s a great question. Make sure you stay focused on the trends in technology, which is something that I’ve always done because I’m kind of a nerd. As we were prepping for the podcast, obviously, I was talking about video games for the first 10 minutes we got on the call with each other, so I love the technology to begin with. But I mean that is really what I would tell my younger self, is that don’t be afraid to experiment with something new, and to push that envelope. 

We get so lost and so mired in results, and immediate and fast return on investment, that sometimes you can’t spend the time you need to with the new marketing technologies that come at your disposal. Also, I would tell myself don’t fall for false promises, because if I can count the number of hours that I wasted on Facebook campaigns with a certain organization because we thought it was gonna be the end-all be-all, I would like to get those moments of my life back. 

Jeff White: If not the money. 

Rob Patey: No. The money, most assuredly. Yeah. 

Jeff White: It’s gone. Oh, man. 

Rob Patey: I helped pay for development of the Metaverse. Let’s put it that way. 

Jeff White: I think we’ve all paid a bit of a tax on that at some point. 

Carman Pirie: Exactly right. I’ve enjoyed the chat today. Thanks, Rob. 

Rob Patey: So have I. Thank you guys for having me. I appreciate it. 

Jeff White: All right. Cheers. 

Announcer: Thanks for listening to The Kula Ring, with Carman Pirie and Jeff White. Don’t miss a single manufacturing marketing insight. Subscribe now at That’s

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Rob Patey

Global Director of Marketing

Rob is currently the Global Director of Marketing for BALYO, the leading provider of autonomous robotic forklifts for manufacturing, warehouses, and distribution centers. Rob started his career 20 years ago as a web editor and quickly moved into learning the tactics and techniques to get those words found by prospective buyers. This moved Rob into the career of digital marketing and later inbound demand generation for global companies like IBM, Vertex Inc., and Unisys. When not plugged into the matrix for work, Rob plugs in for pleasure, simply search gamer tag robpatey on Xbox, Switch or Fortnite and send an invite.

The Kula Ring is a podcast for manufacturing marketers who care about evolving their strategy to gain a competitive edge.

Listen to conversations with North America’s top manufacturing marketing executives and get actionable advice for success in a rapidly transforming industry.

About Kula

Kula Partners is an agency that specializes in maximizing revenue potential for B2B manufacturers.

Our clients sell within complex, technical environments and we help them take a more targeted, account-focused approach to drive revenue growth within niche markets.


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