Niching Down is a Necessity for Manufacturing Marketers

Episode 162

December 7, 2021

Joseph Lewin, the Marketing Manager at CADENAS PARTsolutions, the latest guest on The Kula Ring, shares that niching down is a necessity for manufacturing marketers. He describes his unique process called The Brand Compass, which helps companies align their brand messaging company-wide. Learn from Joseph as he shares his knowledge on brand positioning and his success using highly targeted niche marketing strategies.

Niching Down is a Necessity for Manufacturing Marketers 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. You know, Jeff, I can’t help but think that we kind of almost introduced ourselves twice because Floyd does a great job of introducing us, and then we come onto the show, and we introduce ourselves.

Jeff White: Sure. But we know ourselves better than Floyd. Yeah. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. I see what you did there. All right. 

Jeff White: I have thought about this when editing episodes in the past. 

Carman Pirie: Anyway. Well, I think, look, today’s show should be fun. I’m excited just to kind of kick around one of our favourite topics in a slightly different way potentially. 

Jeff White: You know, and I think the comment about the format of the podcast is relevant because this is a bit of a meta podcast because we’re also having a podcaster on the show. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. Yeah. But I assure listeners that this is not a podcast about podcasting. 

Jeff White: It is not a Seinfeld podcast. 

Carman Pirie: So, do not worry about it. 

Jeff White: There will be actionable manufacturing marketing content. 

Carman Pirie: Maybe. 

Jeff White: Yeah. 

Carman Pirie: Let’s see. 

Jeff White: I think there is. So, joining us today is Joseph Lewin. Joseph is the Marketing Manager at CADENAS PARTsolutions and host of The Strategic Marketer Podcast. Welcome to The Kula Ring, Joseph. 

Joseph Lewin: Yeah. Thanks for having me. I really am excited for our conversation today. 

Jeff White: Same. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. Joseph, I’m gonna jump right into it before we even get you to introduce yourself or CADENAS PARTsolutions a bit more, because CADENAS PARTsolutions, I believe one of your colleagues has already been on our show, but we’ll cover that in a minute. Niche versus niche. This is the question of the day. This is the ongoing terrible dad joke that Jeff and I have told on this podcast I don’t know how many times. And you know, as the Canadians have to be the most-smug population on the planet-

Jeff White: Quietly. I mean, we’re sorry about it. 

Carman Pirie: Oh yeah. We’ll apologize about it, but that’s just a cover. Anyway, so we always use it as a way of poking a bit of fun at our American friends, that y’all typically pronounce it, see what I did there with the y’all? Y’all typically pronounce it as niche. 

Jeff White: But you have scientific proof of how people think this should be done. You have a runaway successful poll. 

Carman Pirie: Which is how we came to know Joseph, actually, so there was a LinkedIn poll. Is that correct, Joseph? 

Joseph Lewin: Yeah. I ran a LinkedIn poll and it kind of took off. It’s one of those things where you spend a lot of time crafting thoughtful content and educational content, and spend two hours writing a post, and it gets one like on it, and you’re like, “Okay. Well, that’s worth my time.” And then you take one minute and work on a different post and it goes absolutely bananas. It’s kind of the nature of the beast, I think, of social media. 

Carman Pirie: So, but it-

Jeff White: Clearly hit a nerve. 

Carman Pirie: It was a question of import. It was a question of import. We have niche versus niche. Over 8,000 votes, if memory serves? 

Joseph Lewin: Yeah. Over 8,000 votes and over 500 comments of people arguing back and forth over what the real pronunciation is. 

Carman Pirie: And who won? 

Joseph Lewin: Yeah, so it was very clearly niche won. Yeah, and kind of some background on why I did that, so I used that word in my podcast and in different processes I’ve created, and I called it niche for a long time, and that’s always what I heard growing up, so I kind of thought that was the right way to say it, and then I started hearing people say niche and at first, I kind of thought that they were just stuck up and trying to make me feel bad. 

Carman Pirie: Which is true. 

Joseph Lewin: Yeah. Exactly. It is true. But then I started to go, “I don’t know,” so then I’d use niche sometimes and I’d use niche sometimes, and then once I started the podcast, I was recording and using that word in almost every episode. It would come up with different marketing people. And I decided, “You know, I need to go to my LinkedIn audience and find out what the common consensus is on it.” Because you go to Google and you look it up, and Google says it’s niche. But then when you dig into it, and you look at any of the dictionaries, it says both, and you’re like, “Okay. Well, that wasn’t helpful at all.” 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. I think it’s probably not only being Canadian but coming from Canada’s only officially bilingual province, niche pronunciation-

Jeff White: Certainly, flourishes a bit more. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. So, I hope I didn’t approach it just from the point of view of trying to be stuck up. 

Jeff White: I think one of the things that’s really funny, though, and sort of speaks to the way that people process language, and we could say process there too if you want to be Canadian, but we’ll use niche in conversation with our clients and they’ll actually say niche back. So, it’s really interesting, like they’re interchangeable in a lot of people’s minds, and they hear the word and it… I wonder when I say niche, are they hearing niche? 

Joseph Lewin: Or are they hearing a stuck-up Canadian? We won’t ever know. 

Jeff White: We’ll never know. We’ll never know. They talk about that behind our backs. 

Carman Pirie: Oh, man. 

Jeff White: But in any event, now that we spent five minutes on the most important part of the podcast, tell us about yourself. 

Joseph Lewin: Yeah. Well, I’ve been in marketing I guess technically for about five or six years. I started out creating visual content, doing videos, and photos and started a business doing that, and then I’ve transitioned into working at my current company, CADENAS PARTsolutions, a few years ago. Two and a half years ago. And that was a huge jump and just a huge learning curve because I’d never been in B2B marketing and I’d never been in industrial marketing, marketing to engineers, or marketing to industrial marketers, and we kind of have both of those going on, so it was a lot of learning three-letter acronyms. You know, CAD, PLM, ERP, trying to figure out what all this stuff means and decoding that. So, it’s been a fun journey and I’ve definitely been learning a lot and seeing a lot of value in the engineering and manufacturing space, so it’s fun to be on a podcast that focuses on that side of things. 

And then recently I started The Strategic Marketer Podcast and I’ve just been learning about marketing. One of the most important things is to be connected with other marketers, especially marketers in the same space that you’re in. It really brings a lot of value, so that podcast has been a great way to network with other marketing people and learn from them, and then hopefully have other people get exposure through the podcast, as well. 

Jeff White: Now, is that… Is this your personal media vehicle or is it actually a PARTsolutions initiative? 

Joseph Lewin: No, it’s my personal podcast, and yeah, basically I was on LinkedIn, reaching out to people really for a couple of years, saying, “Hey, I’d love to get coffee with you if you’re local, or do a virtual coffee,” and for one it’s kind of weird and awkward to do that. It was effective. I did meet a lot of people. But it just feels a little funny. And then secondly, when I was doing that and getting on virtual coffee with people, I was getting something out of learning from them, and they were getting something learning from me, but then as soon as that hour coffee is done, then most of the time the relationship kind of fizzles out. And then maybe five out of 50 to 70 people that I’ve met doing that ended up turning into long-term relationships. 

But the podcast is great because it lets other people in on our conversation, so then it’s not just me learning from them and them learning from me, but now it lets other people learn from our conversation, as well, and then brings exposure to both me and to them at the same time, so it’s kind of a way to keep doing what I’ve been doing for a while, only bringing more value I think to everybody doing it this way. 

Carman Pirie: And asking for an interview is a little less weird than asking for a virtual coffee, maybe. 

Jeff White: Yeah. Although in the last 18 months, I don’t think that that’s necessarily the case. I think people are probably more comfortable with that than ever, but I mean there’s no question that a piece of co-created content has value to both of you and beyond. 

Carman Pirie: Indeed. 

Jeff White: Just gave away our whole strategy. 

Carman Pirie: Exactly. Yeah. 

Joseph Lewin: Love it. 

Carman Pirie: I’m kind of… I don’t want to gloss over it too quickly here. Some of our listeners may not have heard the Adam Beck episode, so CADENAS PARTsolutions, what do you all do there? Just so we’re clear. 

Joseph Lewin: Yeah, so we have two products. One of them is an engineering software that helps engineers find and reuse CAD models that already exist in their system with 3D shape search and just different tools to help them reuse parts. That’s kind of the lesser-known process, but it’s actually pretty cool technology. You can make a napkin sketch of a profile of a part and find it in PLM if anybody in your company has created something like that before. You can find it and reuse it. Which has a compounding effect of saving costs, and tooling costs, and everything like that. 

And then it kind of ties into the other side of our business, where we create CAD models of the parts that manufacturers make and embed those CAD models on your website so engineers can find and download CAD models from you, and it kind of acts as a lead magnet. If you’re used to marketing and marketing terms, you have something of value on your website that people are willing to give their information in exchange for that, and CAD models, engineers are looking for CAD models. They need them. And the more data and information you put into that CAD model, the more value it has to the engineer. And if you communicate about the extra value you have through data, you’re able to really add a lot of value to the engineer and make it easier for your parts to be specced into designs and ultimately purchased. 

So yeah, that’s what we do in a nutshell. 

Jeff White: Man. That extra metadata that people are adding to their models, has to be incredibly useful to the right types of people. So, you know, if somebody finds that valuable, you’re really getting into a potential relationship and potentially a conversation, or-

Carman Pirie: You know you’re talking to a buyer. 

Jeff White: Yeah. Exactly. And I mean that’s been part of what you’ve been doing since before you were at CADENAS and it’s kind of what you’ve brought to them, too, is really helping to identify who is that ideal customer and what do they need, and how do you talk to them through the mediums that you have available, isn’t it? 

Joseph Lewin: Yeah. Yeah. That’s definitely… I would call it positioning probably is… Finding a niche. I’m still catching myself going back and forth. Finding a niche and focusing down on a specific group of people. I think you have to have the positioning step as part of that and I think niching is kind of underneath positioning. In other words, finding where you can bring value that nobody else can and looking for an area where you can go the extra mile and kind of separate yourself out that way. Because if you don’t separate yourself out through something other than just your product itself, then you’re gonna end up being in a commodity situation, especially in manufacturing. I mean, there are a few products that are actually totally unique, where the customer isn’t gonna think of it as there being competition. But that’s gonna be extremely, extremely rare. No matter how much you think that your product is completely unique, your customer might not agree with you even if it is. 

Jeff White: Man. How does somebody combat that? As a manufacturer, think that your products are unique, but you’re treated as a commodity by your buyers. What is it that… Obviously, this is a marketing podcast, so I’ll take a bit of a marketing angle, but what is it that marketers and by extension sales teams can do in order to bring that extra value in and make what otherwise is seen as a commodity part or piece of equipment by the customer as something unique? 

Joseph Lewin: Yeah. That’s an excellent question. I think that comes down to the heart of marketing and a lot of manufacturing companies, marketing departments, I would call more like a sales-plus department. And so, more of a sales support, and so they’re creating documentation, and going to trade shows, and setting up trade show booths, and creating brochures. If they’re really advanced, they might do a webinar where they have their sales guy share about some topic or something like that. But the heavy focus on sales support or sales enablement, it kind of gets you away from what marketing is really good at long term, which is creating a brand, and I’m in Cincinnati, and we have P&G is based out of here, Procter & Gamble, and they create everything. Soap, diapers, all these commodity products, and I’ve met with a lot of marketing people just because I’m in this area from P&G, and they talk about brand. 

And I feel like a lot of those marketers lose some of us that are in a more sales-heavy environment because brand becomes this kind of ethereal thing. It’s like, “Oh, we need to have a brand guide with our colours, and we need to get awareness by putting our billboards up with our logo on it.” And it’s so far separated from sales that it becomes somewhat meaningless, and unless you’re a Fortune 100 company, you can’t really compete and get that level of brand awareness that some of these companies do. But the challenge is on the flip side, where we’re at, I feel like we focus a little bit too heavily on sales sometimes and not enough on brand. 

So, with that background, in order to move from really sales heavy to be able to differentiate yourself, you have to think in terms of what is it that our customers need, and what problem are they solving with our product, and then what’s a way that we can separate ourselves not based on our product, but on all the peripheral things that add extra value to our customer but we’re not necessarily charging for. 

Carman Pirie: I’m gonna try to… I don’t know if this makes any sense, so this could be the biggest waste of five minutes on a podcast in the history of podcasts. 

Jeff White: I find that hard to believe. 

Carman Pirie: Well, no. Okay, so I’m gonna talk about the Grateful Dead. 

Jeff White: This is not where I thought that was going. 

Carman Pirie: Well, sure. But you know, I think it’s Jerry Garcia that has been quoted as saying he didn’t want to be the best at what they did. He wanted to be the only people that did what they did. Which, okay, so like the marketer in us can be like, “Okay, we like that.” And we know that there’s a real interesting uniqueness. I mean, even if you’re not a Grateful Dead fan and a loyal Deadhead kind of thing, you know parts of that legend, if you will, or the mystique around it all. But then the real fact of it if you actually start listening to the Grateful Dead for very long, you’ll realize that they have an awful lot of cover tunes. So, they’re gonna be the only people that do what we do. Not just the best, but the only, but they’re actually, if you will, starting from the point of view of a commodity. They’re starting with a song that’s already been… They quite successfully did Me and Bobby McGee. A number of other people also did, you might recall. 

So, it’s just it strikes me that there’s an interesting nuance there about when we think about commodity markets and manufacturers kind of staring down the barrel of selling a commodity that is fundamentally good enough, and then-

Jeff White: Adding that extra layer of how it’s delivered and the community around that. 

Carman Pirie: The mystique. 

Jeff White: The mystique. Yeah. 

Carman Pirie: There’s the pixie dust that’s added on top that’s somehow different. And of course, when we refer to it like that, that’s when every salesperson on the planet is just going to roll their eyes and say, “This is why I think this brand business is-“

Jeff White: Foolish. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. 

Jeff White: Yeah. 

Carman Pirie: That was a nicer, PG way of saying it, Jeff. Thank you. 

Joseph Lewin: Yeah. I was kind of rambling there a little bit-

Jeff White: No, not at all. 

Joseph Lewin: When I’m talking about some of these things, it gets a little-

Carman Pirie: You were rambling? I just went on five minutes about the Grateful Dead, for goodness’s sake. 

Joseph Lewin: But yeah, I think the challenge is when you’re focusing on sales, it becomes a commodity, and then you have to start doing things like cutting your prices or selling solely on the features and benefits, but what the customer is buying it for is the value that it brings to them, and so how can you figure out a way to have the same product that you have, but add extra value in ways that don’t necessarily cost you a lot more money, but add a lot more value to the customer? And that kind of leads us to the idea of finding a position to hold. 

So, I’m a big fan of the book Blue Ocean Strategy, and the basic idea is commodities are where everybody knows kind of what to expect, they know the basic idea of the product, and when you go out there and you create a product in that category, there’s blood in the water. And where there’s blood, sharks are gonna come. But the area where there’s blood in the water and there’s sharks is really small in the grand scheme of the ocean, so go out a little further and look somewhere where everybody else isn’t going after this market, and then you have a blue ocean where you can find a lot of business in an area that other people aren’t focusing. 

And that could be delivering exactly the same product but just changing the way that you communicated about it so that people separate you out automatically from everybody else. Not necessarily based on the product itself, but these other peripheral things. So, we could call it pixie dust, and I would say some of the things that people think of as brand, like your colour scheme, website design, usability, those are all important, and I’m not downplaying those in the overall look and feel of your company establishing a brand. But I think some of these other pieces that are involved in positioning are what makes branding and brand much more valuable to the sales team. And that’s where when somebody thinks about your company, they automatically have trust because they know that you have expertise in this particular area. And that’s something that makes it a lot easier for your sales team to actually sell. 

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Jeff White: And I think you talk about this from the perspective of how do we achieve clear messaging for sales so that they understand how to communicate those things that otherwise they might think are pixie dust, but really you know are going to be valuable to communicate the special qualities or the nicheness of your product to your potential customers. I think you call this the brand compass. Is that right? 

Joseph Lewin: Yeah, so I created a process a while ago called the brand compass, and it helps companies to think through and align their messaging across their company so that marketing is using the same language that sales is using, and they’re using the same language as implementation and customer service, and that way you… When you hit the same thing every single time, it starts to give people the language that they would use to share about what you do with other people. So, if we want to get… I know the term dark social keeps coming up a lot, especially on LinkedIn, which is what are all the things that are happening that help you to win customers that you can’t track? 

And so, a conversation that we have offline that’s not recorded about whatever, maybe the value of HubSpot, or Salesforce or something, HubSpot and Salesforce can’t track that conversation that we had, and I might say, “Using HubSpot has changed my life and it’s tripled our business,” but HubSpot can’t track that. But there’s a ton of value in them giving language to their customers to use to have those conversations. And if you aren’t even aligning on your own messaging internally, how are you expecting your customer to be able to use clear language to recommend you to other people? 

Jeff White: I really like the… It’s interesting because this is becoming something of a trend. It’s something that we talk about with our customers. Recently recorded a podcast with Sangram Vajre from Terminus talking about his new book about aligning sales, marketing, customer success. He comes at it from a bit of a SaaS angle, but really you can apply the same thinking to manufacturing, and think of customer success as service, and all of those elements and components. And this idea of giving voice or language to your service people and the folks who are going in to do installations, and the technicians on the ground, and the engineers who answer the phone when you call tech support, and all of that, and giving them the ability to understand that brand language too is… You know, that’s new. That’s kind of thinking about things in that way, and that has real value and can bring a lot of alignment internally to an organization where traditionally we were just trying to get marketing to pass off different leads to sales, and now we’re kind of trying to get that… I hate to use the word flywheel, but if HubSpot is listening, it’s their fault. 

But you know, try to get that idea of alignment internally on how you talk about things and how important that is to absolutely every portion of the business. 

Joseph Lewin: Absolutely. Yeah, and maybe I can just give a breakdown of… maybe we can make it practical. You guys can tell me if you want me to go a different direction, but just kind of explaining how you could go about finding that niche in a position and what that could look like in a manufacturing setting. 

Jeff White: I think that’d be great. 

Joseph Lewin: All right, so if you’re a manufacturing company that sells motors and you’re trying to sell motors to anybody that needs motors, that’s a really tall order to fill. It’s almost impossible to be everything to everybody. And what that takes is it takes a really skilled and well-connected salesperson to sell that kind of product. Or it takes you having the cheapest prices of anybody out there and you’re basically then selling on price, and that’s a losing strategy because somebody’s always gonna end up being able to create it cheaper, or get it out to the customer faster in the long run, so if you want to get out of that commodity game and you want to have more inbound leads coming in that are buying your products, and scaling from the marketing side so that you don’t just have everything happening from a few killer salespeople, then you have to think in terms of how do we clarify that message. 

So, if I was at a company selling motors and I was gonna try to niche down and find a position to fill, I wouldn’t say, “You should just start out with coming up with a niche to focus on and then going, changing all of your messaging around everything and running at it.” I’m more of a crawl, walk, run kind of guy. So, what I would do is I would go to the sales team, and I would interview everybody on the sales team and start learning what it is that customers are saying, and then I would get on some customer calls and listen in for what’s going on, what some of the common themes are, and then I’d try to get on with actual customers and interview them and find out what are our best customers, what industry are they in? The people who complain the least, that the deals close the fastest, that pay us on time, and what are some of the threads that tie those customers together? 

And then you’re gonna start to listen for language that those customers are using, and then you might go interview people from other departments on your team and start learning about what are some of the business objectives outside of my little tiny area that I would typically focus on, so talk to people in finance, or customer service, and customer service and implementation are also a good place to go to for this kind of information because they’re gonna hear customer questions or complaints, and the customer service team might say, “Well, yeah. The sales team said that we could do X, Y, and Z, and we get a lot of complaints about that, but that’s not exactly how it works. It’s more like this.” You know, and that can help you fine-tune your messaging. 

So, then you’re gonna take all of that information and you’re gonna start to look for one industry that you can focus on. The one that you’ve kind of narrowed down based on doing that customer research and those interviews. And then you’re gonna take language that you heard directly from those customers and you’re gonna start to create some language based on that. And then the other piece of it is what is something that you can do for that industry that adds a lot of value outside of the motor itself? And so, I work at a company where we talked about, where we help you provide more metadata on the models that you provide to engineers, so I’m just gonna give an example based on that because that’s kind of what I understand. 

So, if you’re working with a company that… or sorry, if that best customer that you’re focusing on is in the manufacturing space, so your motors are then gonna go on industrial machinery for packaging, well, something that’s really moving in the industry right now is industry 4.0. And that’s the idea of collecting as much data as you possibly can from the factory floor and then making decisions based on that data. It’s much more complicated than that but from a high level. And that’s gonna allow you to test and do simulations and testing on your machines before they ever go out if you can get that. 

So, if on that motor you add kinematic information, and you add RPMs, and wattage, and all this metadata into that model about how that part’s gonna work, the engineer can then put that right into their design and run simulations based on that. So, that adds a lot of extra value to that engineer. That doesn’t cost you hardly anything to give to them but makes a huge difference in their ability to be able to use it. And now if your competitor sells the exact same motor but they only offer that motor in a step file that doesn’t have that kind of information, or if they only offer that information in a spec sheet, then your model is going to be worth more and you could potentially even sell it for more because for that company that you’re working with or you’re selling to, that data is worth far more than the value of your motor. Because they need that information to predict maintenance downtime, and maintenance information, and things like that, and if your motor fails and they’re able to predict that based on the data you gave them, that saves them millions of dollars down the road. 

So, that’s an example of kind of how you could start narrowing down and finding a specific niche and then adding value to that exact group of people, versus saying, “We sell to everybody.” 

Jeff White: Man, talk about meeting your customers where they are. 

Carman Pirie: Well, and it’s something that a lot of marketers and salespeople have a huge struggle with is… You know, I’ve encountered a lot of people that would say exactly what you said a few moments ago. Everybody can use this product. Every engineer. Any engineer that would talk to us is an engineer that could use this product. And you start trying to narrow down on verticals, and man, the hesitancy is huge, and-

Jeff White: That’s gonna limit us! 

Carman Pirie: And so, I appreciate the description and the detail around some different ways to think about that, i.e., it’s not that other clients are bad, but maybe which segments have faster sales cycles? Which have the ability to maybe buy the most from us? Have maybe the largest first-time orders? There’s lots of different ways to carve it up and there’s not necessarily one single right way, but choose one or two and carve it up accordingly. 

Jeff White: So, you can have your niche and eat it too, is what you’re saying? 

Joseph Lewin: Exactly. Yeah. I mean, I think the value-

Carman Pirie: You’ve been waiting to use that for a while.

Joseph Lewin: Yeah. I think the value, it doesn’t necessarily mean your entire company has to shift towards that, and that’s kind of what I was saying by crawl, walk, run, is that start with a marketing campaign focused on that group and try it for a month, or maybe a quarter would probably be a better length of time to test out language to that audience and focus a lot of your marketing efforts on that audience, and then you’re gonna learn a lot from that. Maybe you find out this audience actually is horrible. The more we get customers from that side, the less we want to work with them. Or maybe you find out that you’re able to actually start charging more for your product to that audience when you add these peripheral things. 

And data is just one example. I mean, you could offer some kind of a worksheet around not just the motor, but how does that motor operate in the larger system? If you can add something that makes their job easier within the whole system and not just your individual part, that’s adding value. Anything that you can find that kind of makes what you do more valuable to them, it helps with that. And then the final piece of that is that makes it so that you can start having marketing that isn’t just generalized, like, “Hey, buy our motor.” That’s when you can start saying, “Here’s how you can cut the amount of time you spend engineering an industrial machine in the packaging industry by 25%.” And then you have experts in engineering excellence come on with you and do a webinar on that topic. 

Now you’re building industry expertise and thought leadership with that core group of people and then they’re gonna start to assume that your product is better and that your company is better because you’re being associated with other people in their specific niche, so then your marketing becomes more about educating customers on that niche topic that nobody else is focusing on. So, if you want to get rid of the noise, everybody says… or not everybody, but a lot of people say people have the attention span of a goldfish. And that’s only true if your content is irrelevant, or boring, or both. And I think most B2B content fits into that, whereas we’ve had content that we’ve created that’s an hour-long that when people get into it, they watch 90% of it. And that’s not two seconds, right? 

Some of my best performing content on LinkedIn was focused on industry 4.0 and I was writing 3,000 words on a LinkedIn post with a five-minute video, and those got some of the most engagement of anything I’ve gotten, which is totally the opposite of what people will tell you to do on LinkedIn. But it’s because nobody else was talking about that topic. And so, the more you niche, the more you can talk about a topic that other people don’t focus on and get away from the noise that’s out there. 

Jeff White: I mean, that is a great idea, but we did start this off with a three-second poll that got the most engagement of anything you’ve ever done, so-

Joseph Lewin: That’s fair. 

Jeff White: So, which is it? 

Joseph Lewin: Both. 

Carman Pirie: There are exceptions that prove rules, Jeff. 

Joseph Lewin: Exactly. Exactly. 

Jeff White: Yeah. I love that. That’s great. 

Carman Pirie: I think you had said that in your Strategic Marketer podcast, that almost every episode, somebody brings up the word niche or niche, and if you do a Google trends analysis on the use of the word even, you’ll notice that it has come into much more prominence over the last while. That’s not just in manufacturing marketing, not just in B2B marketing, but it’s obviously broader. And I think it’s obviously largely driven by commentary… Well, just as you said about the noise that’s ever-present in our media environment. 

And that noise is louder than ever before and denser than ever before, and it’s making the requirement for niching down for our American friends all the more of a necessity, really. It’s a fascinating dynamic. I think it’s impacting not just B2B but also B2C, et cetera. 

Jeff White: Yeah. 

Joseph Lewin: Yeah. Now’s a good opportunity to start doing that because people are gonna do it more and it’s gonna make it harder for you to sell to general audiences than it is now because those general audiences will have somebody else marketing specifically to them before too long. But the good thing is a lot of people talk about finding a niche and doing it and very few companies actually do, so you still have… There’s still a lot of greenfield available. A lot of blue ocean is available by niching if you actually are somebody who does it and implements it. And in my experience, lots and lots of marketers talk about it, but very few companies actually buy-in and go for it. 

Jeff White: Yeah. I mean, the same can be held true for so many progressive… Geez, I can’t think of the word I was going for here. 

Carman Pirie: Well, there’s a lot of ideas that are things that you know work, that people all know is a good idea, but-

Jeff White: But it doesn’t mean they’re gonna do it. 

Carman Pirie: The devil’s in the implementation. Yeah. 

Jeff White: Absolutely. I think that’s wonderful advice, Joseph, and I really appreciate you bringing your perspective to our audience. 

Joseph Lewin: Absolutely. Yeah. Thanks for having me on. This was fun. 

Jeff White: Fantastic. Thanks. 

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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Joseph Lewin

Marketing Manager

Joseph is a marketing manager at CADENAS PARTsolutions and host of The Strategic Marketer podcast. He started his marketing career filming videos for a nonprofit called Waweza Movement while living in Kenya and travel blogging through parts of Africa and Europe. Next, Joseph brought his content chops to small businesses with an agency he started. He created The Brand Compass, a marketing framework, and course that helps small businesses focus on a specific niche and clarify their messaging to win bigger deals faster. In 2019, Joseph started working for CADENAS PARTsolutions. He first helped to simplify the messaging and sales process for CADENAS PARTsolutions engineering software tool. He now manages the content team. This includes researching and writing about engineering topics like digital twin and Industry 4.0 as well as creating content to help industrial marketers with marketing strategies and tactics.

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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