How Manufacturing Marketers Can Leverage Visual Media Solutions

Episode 145

August 10, 2021

In this week’s episode, we have guest Jeff Norgord, the Marketing and Creative Director at Gardner Business Media. Jeff talks about the value that media solutions can bring to industrial manufacturing—including increasing brand awareness through a multi-channel approach and helping manufacturers tell more impactful, visual stories. Jeff talks about the importance of print and how it connects with people in a way that digital marketing sometimes can’t. Jeff also touches on the future of the manufacturing marketing trade show industry and its importance to growing and maintaining your network.

How Manufacturing Marketers Can Leverage Visual Media Solutions 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 doing well. I’m doing well. And you? 

Jeff White: I’m doing great. Thank you. 

Carman Pirie: Nice. Nice. Look, another day, another podcast, and another day when I’m kind of a bit outmatched. I have two Jeffs, both of whom are designers on the line, so-

Jeff White: Yeah. No, sorry about that. 

Carman Pirie: I’m kind of like I’m ready to take a back seat already. We’re just getting started and I’m moving to the back. 

Jeff White: You know, the first 15 minutes before we even started recording, we were talking about all the Macs we’ve had. 

Carman Pirie: Exactly. Exactly. All these like inside baseball terminology that I know nothing about. 

Jeff White: Well, then it only had four megabytes. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You’re quoting tech specs of Macs that were available in 1988. That’s not my forte. 

Jeff White: Yeah. No, when they came in smaller packages and folded up was when you kind of got interested. Yeah. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. I think my… It was more of the like… A computer wasn’t something that I needed to buy. It’s just I needed to make sure I had the right roommate in university so I could have access to a computer. I think that was my model. 

Jeff White: Well, I mean, you certainly do have experience in the industry now, and-

Carman Pirie: Yeah. Yeah. No, I’m not a complete Luddite. Yeah. 

Jeff White: No, no. That’s for sure. 

Carman Pirie:  But I also do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of 1980s Apple products. But without further ado, today’s guest does, although we probably won’t talk about that. 

Jeff White: But that’s not what we’re talking about. That’s not what we’re talking about. So, joining us today is Jeff Norgord. Jeff is the Executive Vice President of Creative and Marketing at Gardner Business Media. Welcome to The Kula Ring, Jeff. 

Jeff Norgord: Thank you for having me. 

Carman Pirie:  Jeff, it’s really great to have you on the show and I think… You know, one of the things that I was excited about today’s show the most is of course, as we interview people each week, most often they’re coming to it from a point of view of the business that they work in and the manufacturer that they work for, but at Gardner Business Media you see a much bigger picture, so I’m gonna-

Jeff White: Got a bit of a meta view.

Carman Pirie: Yeah. Yeah. And I’m really excited for today’s show, but first, maybe introduce our listeners a bit more to you and tell us what Gardner does. 

Jeff Norgord: So, Gardner Business Media first is a family-run business. They’ve been around for 90-plus years. We are in our fifth generation. They’ve come on board in the last… Full time, they’ve come on board in the last year now. We had them in the sales model. We actually have some people at headquarters now too, and so it’s really interesting to see a third generation mash up in there right now. I have the emeritus president, Rick Kline Sr., and his son, Rick Kline Jr. driving the ship, and they have a number of different sisters and cousins all working there, and it’s a really interesting blend of knowledge, data knowledge, business acumen, marketing knowledge. Manufacturing is their bread and butter when it comes to what they do, and they have done that well for decades now.

But they are a media company and they have a really interesting intersection of opportunity because when you look at what they’re providing people, they’re providing their audiences, which are curated and qualified, insight to process and technology, and then they obviously have the advertising side of the world, which is connecting the process and technology needs, a solution need from those advertisers, and then obviously we’re feeding information to OEMs and the supply side. So, it’s three different people all intersecting through our media products. 

How I came into the fold was back in 2008. I’d worked for, I guess a niche publisher, that sold craft and special interest publications and I came out from Denver and ended up falling into Gardner’s view and ended up coming on board with them to look at their brands and look at their magazines and look at their websites, and from there it’s just been a wild array of opportunity and exposure to the manufacturing industry. But nonetheless, it’s been fascinating, and given my original education as a graphic designer, expansion of my knowledge both in terms of the design skill and the audiences that I’m working with, but also in terms of manufacturing and actually applying that has been a really interesting and intriguing opportunity to extend my knowledge and work with the applications that I’m common to, obviously Adobe products, but obviously now growing into the CAD side of the world and actually building some of my own products.

So, it’s been a really interesting blend of knowledge and applied technologies, both from a graphic design sensibility and from the manufacturing side. 

Jeff White: That’s really cool. I wasn’t aware of the CAD side of your background, so very interesting. Yeah. He’s currently pointing to all the machines behind him. 

Carman Pirie: It’s hard for the video to really come across. 

Jeff White: No, for sure. Yeah, very cool. 

Carman Pirie: There’s an interesting… Having worked in the agency business for a very long time, and working not just in manufacturing, but over decades in a number of sectors, it seems like different sectors kind of value design differently if you will, so it’s just… It’s kind of interesting the way… I think there was a bit of a hint of insight into how manufacturers value design into your comments just then. 

Jeff Norgord: Yeah. I mean, that cuts a number of different ways. I joke with my designers that we can never have a single message with our products. It’s because we usually have two audiences that are in view of the direct messaging that we have, and that’s our clients and our readers, and we’re trying to connect those dots all the time. So, having a single-line story would be the best tactic and that’s what we want to do as marketers and designers, but ultimately there’s a couple of different needs inside those stories, so we get a little bit more in the B2B space, a little bit more wordy, a little bit more bricked up with some content. Obviously, images help tell the story, but finding the right image obviously from a stock world is difficult, so you’re looking for real-time solutions and visuals that represent where these people are at and what they’re looking at in the common manner, and that’s tough. That’s really tough. 

They’re not pretty. You know, those part manufacturers that we write to and get stories from, some of them have fantastically beautiful shops, but some of them obviously have some older shops that have been generationally changed over and merged with other companies, so those shops are a little bit more gritty, but that’s the story and the pretty ESPN and Nikes and the Apples of the world maybe don’t play as well in the B2B space that we’re in. It’s really interesting to always have an opportunity to go into a shop and capture an image or capture a story and then bring it back out in terms of what that looks like visually and having to do some Photoshop work to maybe get some of the grey and the yellow of the fluorescent lights, but that’s what we have to do. And it’s really nice going to the trade shows, obviously, because the environments there are much more commercialized and they’re more compelling. 

So, I guess it just cuts a number of different ways, but what we try to do at Gardner is elevate to the highest level for both our clients and our readers so that we can show them, “Hey, here’s what you can attain. Here’s the best opportunities that you should look at in terms of reaching your clients and connecting to maybe people looking to purchase your services and products.” 

Jeff White: And I want to get into the what you’ve learned with the longevity of Gardner and all of the different publications that make it up and all of that, but you know, you’ve touched a bit on here, and I don’t want to lose sight of the message of how you’re bringing your customer, your clients, and your audience to life within the publications, and I think because Gardner doesn’t just create magazines, so there are other parts of the media property, as well. Can you talk a bit about how manufacturing marketers can best leverage the media relationships that they have? Whether it’s with Gardner or other publications? 

Jeff Norgord: Sure. There’s a lot to talk about there, isn’t there? Well, I mean, obviously we have monthly periodicals, bimonthly periodicals that go to inboxes, and that’s the physical inbox, and uniquely the position here is that different audiences and different people have desires from different channels regarding information and how you reach them. So, some people like e-newsletters, emails. Some people want to get content in a manner that is physical, and the print magazine is still a very viable and strong device for them to be engaged and learn more processes and technologies. Obviously, websites are a driver when it comes to how people retain information and get influenced by that information. And then obviously, in-person events. 

So, all those really come together in an integrated model, so as a marketer the hard part here is making sure that all those channels are reached. They may need to tell a little bit different story, but the messaging is still the same, and it’s because that channel acumen and the way that information is digested and presented both kind of play a hand in how you create compelling content or create a rational experience for knowledge solutions, and that would be maybe the small frame up of a banner ad on a website can’t tell your whole story, so you’re creating that awareness model. And where you may have a longer email opportunity you can tell a broader story on a solution or a technology. 

So, it just… I think it really depends on what channel you’re speaking to and what devices you use and the contextual nature of that. 

Carman Pirie: You know, and the death of print has been talked about for at least the last 20 or 30 years. 

Jeff White: I think it’s died at least like 20 or 30 times in there and then keeps coming back. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. How are you seeing the audience experiencing the print side of the house? Have you seen a stabilization there? I don’t want to put words in your mouth at all, so I’ll just stop and let you answer the question. 

Jeff Norgord: This is also a complex story but the reality of it is when it comes to process and technology application models to reach people that would be interested in purchasing that. They like the magazine. They also like websites, but they like the magazine, and they like the cleanliness of the magazine. The chatter from the web is something they have a hard time with. The nature of the inbox calling at them through their email is something they get a little tired of. So, they do like the simplicity of the magazine and the quiet voice it offers and the sensibility that it’s not being affected by other influencers or other influences in that manner. 

So, when we’d curate our names, right? So, what we do at Gardner is we go through an audit every year and we look at one, two, and three-year names to make sure that people that are receiving our magazines are the right people. And that’s the difference between the print world that we hear about that is dead and the print world that is technology and process acumen. And there is some truth to the fact that the news cycle is so quick now and it’s so easily attained through the world wide web, that internet thing, that it does become passe the next day. Things have already moved forward. 

People inside the manufacturing space, technologies still move, they progress, but the insight for them is still relevant maybe decades, maybe a decade, maybe five to six years depending on the technology you’re looking at. So, you don’t have to lose sight of the value of print, both in terms of a periodical, or even in somebody’s mailbox. There’s still a value for something that’s tangible and then we’ve looked at information that says people want that and we’ve had responses from a number of our readers that say, “I still want to get the emails. I still want to get the magazine. I still want to get the website.” And some people, a lot of our data, really have an appetite for email. 

So, again, it just depends on how that mix works, but the print world is not going away anytime soon for our properties, and we have names, and they’re not hard to find. People are always requesting it. And people celebrate it with us. You know, they’ve sent us photos of their bookshelves where they’ve collected literally three decades of the magazine, and it’s all sequenced out and beautifully stacked like an encyclopedia. 

Carman Pirie: Oh, man. As a creative lead, if you see that, that’s gotta feel good. You’re like, “Okay, okay, okay. This is who I’m doing this magazine for.” 

Jeff Norgord: Yeah. And they respond to it. And people that have built their careers inside of the manufacturing space have literally said, “Jeff, if it wasn’t for Modern Machine Shop Magazine, I wouldn’t be in the place I’m in. I used this magazine to gain the most knowledge.” And this is actually from one of my marketer friends. He’s like, “I use Modern Machine Shop to learn what other advertisers were doing, but also to learn about the technologies and how people are speaking to each other.” There’s obviously syntax and legal in there that represents a good way to connect to the readers. But that was a device they use, and it was succinct. It was contained. It wasn’t full of the chatter and the background noise that often happens when it comes to visiting the world of the web and how crazy that space is when it comes to getting something in a really constrained environment that you can digest and wholesale say, “I’m taking something away from this every time I open it up.” 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. Yeah. I could see the actual… If forced to give one up, I would actually probably keep email and print publications and throw away the website. Like if you had to… And I say that as somebody who’s made a pretty decent living being associated with the building of websites. But-

Jeff Norgord: Right. Right. 

Jeff White: Yeah. 

Carman Pirie: But there is in terms of the communication channels that endure, you know? 

Jeff White: Well, and you know, you can’t… I’m sure you can, but you know, the nicheness, or nicheness, depending on where you are, of these publications plays a big role in their success and longevity. You know, like if they were about everything, you know…

Carman Pirie: And connecting that to email gives-

Jeff White: Yeah, the ability to cross channels. 

Jeff Norgord: I do think… I just want to point out something I thought was really spot on and that’s the idea that the endurance of print has been proven over and over in a niche model, right? I mean, you talked about that broad scale conversation and it’s tough to convey all the opportunities for a reader on that, but when you go vertical on the B2B space, especially in manufacturing and their niche processes, there’s nothing better than connecting with us. And we have trade shows, obviously, that connect in that space. We have emails that point to that, but the magazine tells that story and connects with those people in a first-person narrative, which is really hard to do online. Email can do it too, obviously, so back to your point about if you had to let go of one of the sensibilities in marketing, which one would you let go of, it’s interesting you said website because obviously that’s… In our studies, the supplier websites are the most used device to get information. But ultimately, all the devices as a marketer that you’re using, the web banners, display ads and print, maybe even custom content pieces, email, they all point back to the website. 

But that’s more of a technical download more so than it is a selling download. 

Jeff White: Well, let’s dive into that then. You’ve talked a bit about what’s been learned over the years, and what you’re seeing, and not just from… Obviously, you know, we’re interested about this from a marketing and media and sales side of things, but I think that there’s a broader influence and some interesting happenings, of course, coming out of the last year and a half. Everything’s changed. But yet it hasn’t, so what are you seeing there? 

Jeff Norgord: I would actually kind of step back and look at maybe the last 15 years and I’m building a presentation with my president right now regarding the impact of our media products and how they’ve really grown from 2006 to 2016, and I think 2016 was a breakout point for a lot of the digital products and opportunities there, and then you look at what’s happening in the last 18 months, 24 months, about where that was ramping up and then how we had to pivot then back to a virtual world, right? Where everything was remote and everything was at a distance, and that handshake does not exist, and I’m really curious to see how the handshake comes back from an in-person narrative. 

But I do believe that having both the awareness side, and the demand gen, and the lead gen models for that funnel still active wholesale in an integrated campaign is really important, but that comes from all the channels. And you have the social interaction there. There could be some conversation there that could be debated about the impact of social. I think there’s probably some stronger channels like LinkedIn to connect the dots there. I don’t think it’s really a place where people are gonna dive into technology and process opportunities. I think it’s a good place to keep connected to people you may already know. It’s harder to reach people you don’t there. 

Definitely on the awareness side, though, you’re still gonna have to have the broad scale approach. You’re gonna have to hit all the channels. Then, once you start diving into building content and helping funnel that into readers, that’s gonna be the part where the new media world’s gonna help provide opportunity there, and generating interest, and looking at capturing activity, and then following up with a lead opportunity. 

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Jeff White: You mentioned the trade show side of things you have. We’ve had some interesting conversations of late with people who think that trade shows are not just going to come back, but they’re going to explode, and they’re going to be incredibly relevant and important going forward. What’s your sense on that? 

Jeff Norgord: We’re human. We are. And we want to talk to one another. We want to see it in person. I mean, I go to these large industrial trade shows and these machines, obviously for safety reasons, all the chips are flying in these boxes, and so you have seven guys there with their hands around their eyes trying to peer into this reflective glass, and you know, it’s not like they’re touching that machine while it’s turning, but they’re getting a sensibility for all the operations that can happen and they get an easier take on looking at seven or eight different businesses in the scope of, what, six hours? They get a lunch in between that too. They may connect with some other coworkers or people they work with in the industry. 

So, that connection is still human, and I think the reality of a trade show offers that human experience both in terms of proof is in the pudding, you can see the machine, you can feel it, you can see the results from it and talk to a knowledge domain expert on that machine, but also you get this environment that, “Hey, we’re in this together.” There’s a trade show happening for our industry and it’s important for all of us to keep the industry alive for the sense of, “Hey, we’re doing this both for our own business’s sake, but also for the country, and also for what the greater good is.” And I think that’s why events are more impactful right now. I think they’re gonna see an uptick. I agree with that. 

I’m really curious to see how the virtual side of events is gonna move, but definitely on the in-person side, we got some really robust events. We’ve launched a couple of dual events coming out of ’20 for ’21 and ’22, and the response from our builders and suppliers has been just absolute delight. “Thanks for putting this together.” We’re really excited to see this. And for the trade shows that we already had established, the need and the opportunity from both our readers and our machine tool builders are like, “Yeah, this is fantastic. Can’t wait to see everybody again. Let’s connect. It’ll be great to see you in person, share a beer at the end of the show, or whatever it’s gonna be.” 

But it’s been really positive, and I think it will come back to a stronger degree. How that lasts and what the turn of events are in terms of five years from now, I think… My personal opinion, I think we could see a consolidation of some smaller shows just because the logistics side of the world and the cost to put a show on at a smaller venue, although those are nice and niche, putting together three or four different smaller shows into a bigger venue may provide a better opportunity for people seeking technology solutions. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. It’s been interesting. I think a lot of the conversation has been around, or a lot of the forecasting has suggested, “Oh, we’ll have more of hybrid models going forward.” Everybody wants a hybrid. Whether they’re talking about their work environment, “Oh, it’s gonna be-“ 

Jeff White: Or their car. 

Carman Pirie: But I’m not hearing that in the people that I speak to that are regular conference goers. Most of what I hear from them is, “If I have to sit in on another virtual conference, I’m going to blow my brains out. And if I can just step away from it for now and go to something in person-“ 

Jeff White: That would be fine. 

Carman Pirie:  That would be amazing. 

Jeff Norgord: Yes. That’s right. I don’t know. How do you cut this up, right? Because ultimately, there’s still the small event world, right? And that relevance is important because you can really focus and point out specific attributes, and I think like a webinar, in a sense, is a great event, right? You can get some impactful audience and I’ve had people that have as few of 60 attendees at a small event webinar that’s maybe three hours long, but we’ve had as many as 600 that have paid for that too, that want that information, so if I don’t have to spend the money to… If I’m a facility and I don’t have to send my engineers across the country for three days, or two days, and keep them on site as our business is ramping up, there’s gonna be some viability with smaller digital events. 

But I think in terms of major and capital equipment investments, I think that in-person experience is gonna be stronger as a way to learn what offerings are out there. 

Jeff White: I have to wonder… What you said there, I don’t know if this is what you meant exactly, but what it spurred in me was a thought, you know, why don’t webinar organizers, trade show organizers, whatever, make available a very inexpensive offering that’s available to anyone who doesn’t want to go and doesn’t want to attend, but they want to have all the material? Like, why don’t we make like a $300 option available for those people? Those would sell really well. Anyway, just a thought. 

Carman Pirie: You mean like a conference attendee, like instead of going to the conference and spending $2,000 to go or something like that-

Jeff White: Yeah. You just get all the stuff when it’s over. 

Carman Pirie: Like the swag bag. 

Jeff White: All the records… Well, maybe you could get that too. But get the recordings, get all the notes, everything. That would be great. 

Carman Pirie: Without any of the in-person hangover. 

Jeff White: Yeah. 

Carman Pirie:  Really. 

Jeff White: Yeah. Exactly. 

Carman Pirie: Okay. Jeff, I wanted to just dig in a bit to just the history of data and information that Gardner has available, this kind of notion of 93, 94 years of historical data on the manufacturing sector writ large, and what you see from a point of view of kind of the cyclical nature of the industry and where we’re at now in the cycle that you see. And I think this is just a bigger conversation, more to help marketers understand the broad context within which they’re operating, if you will. 

Jeff Norgord: So, I will say this out of the box, I am the topical side of that story. I have both a full-time economist and our lead intelligence officer that would probably be better at telling the greater story here. But what I can say right now is we purchased… Over the last four decades, we’ve purchased a number of properties that had long-running surveys measuring the effects on the manufacturing industry. We do have a couple of them that have had a lot of resonance recently and the primary one is the Gardner… The metalworking story here. And that became something we started really diving deep into about 40 years ago, and it was built by association, and we ended up taking over in the mid ‘80s. I’m not sure the exact date, but we’ve been doing that survey now for 40 years, and 40 years of data regarding the newest technology, and obviously the CNC side of the world is affecting all manufacturers, so you can see that cycle through that model in detail.

For marketers, what again is happening as that cycle happens, and we’re in a downturn, don’t shut it down, right? Don’t shut the downturn. Don’t let the downturn take away your budgets. This is when people are looking for efficiencies. People are looking to save costs. And so, through that efficiency model, you can look at generating better returns on equipment. And so, as a marketer, providing opportunities in manufacturing for solution seekers, the awareness opportunity becomes more resonant. They may not be purchasing right then, but you’re starting to build your funnel up and creating that idea of, “Hey, there’s an awareness model in here.” 

We also have a broader survey that looks at the total landscape on the world machine tool survey. And I think around 30 years ago, we took that over. I’m not sure who that was taken over from, but it looks at all the major manufacturing countries, right? So, you’re talking Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and all those people chime in with their GDPs and what they can expect in terms of the spending there. We obviously have a more granular interest when it comes to what the shops are doing, the facilities, the actual manufacturer or discreet part manufacturers are doing, and we have a thing called… a survey called Top Shops, and it’s actually a really unique story. It has a benchmarking model. It talks to facilities and shops about what they’re doing from an HR standpoint that does a story about what they’re doing when it comes to efficiency and labor standpoint. I think there’s four primary factors. Off the top of my head, I can’t remember them, sorry. 

But ultimately, what it does is it looks at what they’re doing. Then we pivot with those shops and with the machine builders and talk to them about, “Hey, where are we going in the future?” So, we also have a survey project that looks at what the best practices are in total for a shop, and that’s a year-over-year benchmarking practice that kind of rounds it all up. There are different verticals that we have indexes for that watch the market conditions in the composite space and the plastic space. Obviously, the metalworkings we talked about, too. And mold making, actually. Given the influx of plastics and all those different end markets, the mold-making world, both over in Asia and in North America, is pretty robust and we can look at that and see the trends moving up or down. 

As a marketer, all those things are relevant, right? 

Carman Pirie: Yeah, of course. 

Jeff Norgord: Because you can start seeing the trends. That’s a way for you to look at investment and look at where the ROI is gonna be relevant. I think everybody is looking for the overall lead gen ROI, right? But you can’t do that wholesale. It’s a good metric to have, but the activity metric in creating awareness and looking at downloads from maybe some content you have, that’s a part of that total funnel. And so, as you go through that landscape of the dip and the rise again, and we’re obviously gonna rise here. Our intelligence shows us that. This is the time when you want to really start getting a bigger budget to reach technology and solution seekers, and also look at opportunities to create, hey, a better connection to them. Whether it be a multichannel approach, which is recommended, and more faceted personal connections to these people that you may have lists from or connected through on the media side. 

Carman Pirie: I think you noted that certainly in an upturn now, and I think most people really feel that, and then they also… There’s those persistent concerns around supply chain, of course, as more and more production is kind of reshored. And coming out of the pandemic, that’s certainly a consistent trend that we’re seeing. Lots of patterns are emerging there. And then, of course, the other persistent concern is will the workforce be there to support this expansion? And so, how does that fit, those specific dynamics, in the context of the cycles that you see and have mapped at Gardner? Because of course, I suppose the labor shortage, or skills gap, et cetera, has been a long talked about concern. 

Jeff Norgord: Let me talk to you a little bit about the labor shortage and what’s been happening there. I can’t dive into all the metrics, and I’d point back to my chief economist, Stephen Kline Jr., but what I can say is that’s obviously a conversation to have skilled labor, pardon me. And one of the things we talk about now is a sustainable workforce, right? It’s not about next gen as much as the people that are already on board with me, how do I make sure that they’re happy, and they’re producing, and they’re effective? And then also, the world of automation is affecting all this, too. 

So, as you look at what happens on constraints with labor, you’re gonna look for a way to still produce your parts. And so, when you look at automation, that will be part of the causation to find efficiencies, to find ways to produce more parts without going through this constant effort to overtrain, and train, and train again, but the idea is that you still have to have people run that automation. You still have to have knowledge experts to put that together, and that’s the hard part, right? That’s the difficult part, is finding the engineers, and the knowledge base to really put the pieces together when it comes to a full process and technology build out. And that’s where it’s gonna be really interesting to see how the reshoring initiative happens, and who’s gonna come into the fold in the North America side to help build those new devices, and build those new systems up, integrated systems, small shop systems. The ease of accessing affordable robotics I think is gonna play into this. 

But you still need the people that know how to do it, so it’s on the culture in large for America to recognize that you still need very talented people, very skilled people, and they have to be educated in a manner that’s applied in the manufacturing space right away. But what does that look like? Well, you can’t do it overnight. So, maybe over a two or five-year period, we look at investing, and we look at really focusing on the needs inside of manufacturing when it comes to design engineering, when it comes to process and manufacturing, and that would have to come from schools, and there is a number of schools that are doing that and looking at this opportunity, but it’s really important we look at it as a broader narrative for America. And if we want to stay, or for some people would say get back in the game in manufacturing, we’ve always been in it, but get back in the high production model, maybe not so much. I think it’s gonna be more finite and high-quality parts in terms of a production model that will play into it, but it takes more skilled knowledge and a higher degree of intelligence, basically, to build all those operatives across the supply chain. 

It’s on the CEOs. It’s on the CIOs. It’s on the CFOs to all come together and recognize if you want to bring it back, it’s gonna take a long view and it’s gonna take a long investment to make sure it all comes back in a way that we can manage it. Because as easy as it went away, you know, and if it comes back with that much of a challenge, well, wouldn’t it be easy for it to go away again then if it’s that much of a constraint to get that back as an operative for facilities and manufacturing? 

Carman Pirie: Well, Jeff, I feel like we could probably just kind of banter all day. 

Jeff White: Riff on that forever. 

Carman Pirie: So, it’s like where do we ever end the conversation? So, why don’t we end it now? It’s been great to have you on the show. It’s just… I really enjoyed the meandering conversation and insight into-

Jeff White: We have covered a lot of bases. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. Yeah. Just exciting to manufacturing writ large. It’s just been a pleasure. 

Jeff Norgord: Yeah. It’s absolutely been a blast talking to you guys and letting me kind of riff with you all. There’s a lot to talk about and I hope we can bring some other people on from Gardner to get more specific, and I think the story on the intelligence world would be a fantastic story for you guys to cover. It’d be great. Thanks for having me on. 

Jeff White: We’ll look forward to that. Thanks a lot, Jeff. 

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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Jeff Norgord

VP Creative Director

Jeff is Gardner Business Media’s Marketing and Creative Director, leading the organization’s efforts to build and grow world-class media brands serving the durable goods manufacturing industries. His deep passion for all things design, advertising and manufacturing equals his broad understanding of and experience in creating strong marketing and creative teams. In addition to his day-to-day marketing and creative efforts, he also jumps behind the camera as Gardner’s studio, event and field photographer. To break out of the media landscape, Jeff will design, engineer and create custom signage and commissioned art installations. Departing from all things technology and design he will journey back West to explore the mountains of Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

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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