The Future Happens Anyway: Being Ready for Tomorrow

Episode 233

May 2, 2023

As marketers we are always looking to enable today’s sales. What about the sales of the future? How will the market change? Can we be ready for the next step before it comes? Allen Rozon has put considerable effort into what that looks like for ELTEC. From environmentally sound fluids for their machines to what sales might look like in the high tech future we are all destined for. He is going to share some of his experience and findings with us this week.

The Future Happens Anyway: Being Ready for Tomorrow 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. Look, I’m excited for today’s guest because we’re talking… Well, we’re not talking about the actual equipment, I suppose. We’re talking about marketing it. But we’re talking about big machines that cut trees down, which I understand that some people may not like the idea that there are machines out there cutting trees down, but my grandfather ran a logging company for pretty much his entire life and so I just kind of grew up around that a little bit, so it’s kind of cool to be talking to someone who is in the business of marketing for a manufacturer of this kind of equipment. So, I’m just in my happy place, Jeff. 

Jeff White: Yeah. Yeah. No, I am as well, and another great thing is our guest is located in Canada, in La Belle Province, Quebec.

Carman Pirie: There you go. 

Jeff White: Always exciting. But yeah, I don’t want to make this about you and me, but my first gig as a designer out of university was working for the region’s largest forestry company and I spent most of my time in the woods chasing feller bunchers around with a camera, so I’ve seen this stuff in action. It’s pretty awesome. I’m excited to dive into it, so why don’t we do just that?

Carman Pirie: Sounds good to me. 

Jeff White: All right, so joining us today is Allen Rozon. Allen is the Director of Marketing Communications at ELTEC. Welcome to The Kula Ring, Allen. 

Allen Rozon: Thank you for the invite. Love being here. So, just before I even get into myself, I actually… Before I started working for this company, actually while I went to school I was a tree planter, so I was kind of on the opposite spectrum of this industry, and I told a few people initially, “Hey, I’m gonna be working for this place,” and you kind of get a mixed review until you ask them, you ask the person who’s kind of like, “You work for a company that destroys forests?” And it was actually during the pandemic that I started working for these guys and I said, “How do you like your lumber prices right now? How is your house built?” And so, that immediately draws a, “Hmm.” A slight pause. 

And then there was… I still kind of personally struggled with it a little bit, but I made friends with an engineer at ELTEC, and he, if you know any engineers, they always have a very logical sort of way of dissecting, and processing, and telling you things, and the argument, which I went and confirmed on my own afterwards, is this. As long as forestry, the practice, is properly managed, and it’s sustainable, which is proven to be the case in a lot of areas. That’s not the case in some areas. But as long as you cut down the tree and you don’t burn it, you’re actually… That’s a carbon capture method. So, for people that are concerned about climate change, et cetera, when you look at… It’s a balancing act. So, there’s gonna be a negative impact and a consequence, but if you want to be able to build your house in any kind of way that’s affordable, that isn’t 3D printed, you’re still gonna need wood. 

Jeff White: I’ve always seen forestry, probably as a result of that initial three-year stint at J.D. Irving as… It’s basically a completely renewable farming process. If you’re managing it properly, and you know, we can still have diverse forests, but we can also have farms of forests that are used to create a product that is absolutely needed. 

Allen Rozon: And there’s also the methodologies, which continue to evolve, and research will… You know, science is science. Science, you’re supposed to question it so that it becomes better. So, what you’re seeing are forestry practices are shifting towards selective instead of clear cutting, and that’s pretty much across the developed world, and for ones that want to do clear cut, they’ll use the plantation method, which is focused mostly on eucalyptus and jack pine. You know, jack pine in New Zealand, which isn’t a native tree, but the thing grows like a weed. It’s a gigantic, gigantic product at the end of the day. I think they might be done, but unfortunately they were exporting most of it to China. I think that’s maybe on the… That might be a little less the case these days. And I’m sure will be as inevitably more sanctions are gonna come through that affect the world. 

You know, we had Russia as a client before the war. Just to give you an example of how a small company in a relatively isolated part of the world, which is northern Quebec, was international. It’s kind of like one of these weird things where it’s a longtime friend who owns this place who never did any kind of concentrated effort for marketing because they didn’t have to. They always had… Their sales list was always, and still is, months if not years lead time, so they never had a problem selling the machines. But as the world sort of shifts, and things change, and they’re seeing less demand for big machines, they’re seeing growing demand for smaller machines, so they’re going in that direction. Now there’s talk about hybrid in terms of the machine itself. Is it always gonna run on diesel? Today, it does. Will it tomorrow? No. What’s that gonna look like? 

So, nothing is static. Everything from forestry practices, to what the machine does, and how it’s built, and what it’s supposed to do, all those things are… If you’re looking to lock something into a forever mode, you’re probably gonna fail because things are constantly changing, and this industry is no different. 

Carman Pirie: Man, we bounced around fast there. First off, I want to say that I think an awful lot of manufacturing marketers find themselves working in categories that possibly their friends or the great unwashed masses don’t understand, and maybe carry a negative view of because of that lack of understanding, and so I do think that discussion about forestry was helpful not just for forestry, per se, but I think it’s a commonality. Whether it’s somebody working in an area that is maybe tangentially related to mining and metal extraction, or something of that nature-

Allen Rozon: Listen, there’s no denying that there’s always a consequence. There’s always gonna be some level of negative impact. It’s a matter of how much you mitigate it and how intelligent you are in approaching that. 

Carman Pirie: Well, and I do think it’s kind of incumbent upon the marketers a bit to kind of-

Jeff White: Tell that story. 

Carman Pirie: Well, and it’s okay to struggle with this narrative in order to figure it out yourself because it also helps the brand. 

Allen Rozon: I’m gonna give you guys a reveal, and I don’t think I’m shooting myself in the foot, and I want to give you the complete picture. So, ELTEC, the company I work for which makes the machines, is actually a group of companies, and one of those companies, just to show a level of fortitude, now of course it’s financially based because why else would you run a business? But one of the companies is called Interlube. Now, not the greatest brand name. I wasn’t there to select that. But the company itself is biological, so biodegradable fluids. Hydraulic, motor oil, antifreeze, all this stuff. And they cater to mining because mining is quickly shifting toward electrification underground and they are moving to all their fluids being biodegradable and it’s a really early category, but these guys were smart enough to develop a quick company and service it, and they’re growing it like crazy. The demand for it is… They can’t meet the demand. That’s what that business is. 

So, the reason mining is adopting this so quickly is because if they have a spill, if there’s a hydraulic hose that bursts and there’s a spill, it’s not a contamination issue, right? So, if you spill hydraulic fluid today on a mine site, the machine shuts down, the inspector has to come in, they report, they calculate the area, they calculate what they have to do to remove the ground to take it away. There’s a work stoppage against that. If there’s biodegradable hydraulic fluid in that same machine, the pipe bursts, which inevitably, heavy equipment runs into stuff like that. It’s hard work no matter how big and robust you make a machine. So, hydraulic hose bursts, hydraulic biodegradable fluid spills to a certain quantity. This is all sort of governmentally regulated from a quantity perspective and all that stuff. 

But to a certain percentage, that spill happens, they replace the hose and keep working. Because you know, the sales guy, I was working with one of the sales guys, and he was doing a presentation on the mines, and I said, “Why don’t we do this?” I said, “This stuff is really… We have versions of this stuff that is completely non-toxic, right?” And he goes, “Yeah.” I said, “Let’s put it as salad dressing on all the tables.” And he’s like, “Are you crazy?” I’m like, “Well, do you think you could drink it and not die or not have any negative… Where are you on this product? How far can we go?” And so, he’s like, “Yeah…” We didn’t go quite that far. We did something else. But you know, he took a shot of it. He drank it. And he’s like, “This is what’s in your machine.” 

If there’s not a proof of confidence in the product from a non-toxicity perspective, that was kind of like a shazam kind of sales moment or magic trick, so to speak. 

Carman Pirie: ShamWow or something, maybe. 

Allen Rozon: That was the tactic. That was the tactic. You know, it was a PowerPoint presentation behind, and then he kind of goes like… It’s brilliant. It works. Now, the reason I’m saying all this, because this is another business that I work on because it’s part of this group of businesses which include ELTEC, so this business services primarily mining and the reason for that is because governmentally, the government has really forced mining to become much greener. And that’s in this region specifically, there’s a lot of lithium deposits, and they’re gonna be mining that to God knows what end, so they’re trying to really push an environmental component so that our stuff is as clean as possible. 

That regulation was pushed, but it’s going to trickle to other industries, including forestry, so what I’m going to be doing with the launch of the new product, which is the new website for ELTEC, is we’re going to… I’m just taking two pieces to a puzzle and putting them together, and it’s not a prerequisite. It actually costs more to do this for the distributor and the operator, but it’s inevitable. It’s coming. We’re gonna offer ELTEC Bio. So, there’s no demand for this. There’s no one calling us going, “Hey, can we get your machine with biodegradable fluids in it?” No one’s asking for that because why would they, right? But it’s gonna come from a regulatory perspective. It’s going to arrive. It’s inevitable. So, it gives us the chance with two existing pieces that are already under the same ownership to create a new product and be the first doing it. 

So, that’s the kind of stuff where I come in, and as a marketer the perception oftentimes, especially in these environments, is you’re gonna come in, you’re gonna write copy, you’re gonna take pictures, you’re gonna do the social media, but you know what? We solve business problems too. And we create business opportunities. And that’s one example which I’m literally announcing now, which I may be shooting myself in the foot because if it doesn’t get launched for whatever reason, then I’m essentially lying at this point, but I’ve been working on these guys to do this for about six months, because there’s a lot of moving parts, and there’s already an issue with the pipeline to service the existing business. 

It’s one of these businesses that’s literally on a hockey stick curve. They have so much demand that they can barely get enough product to satisfy it, so all I’m doing is I’m adding to that demand, so they’re kind of like, “Whoa, hold on a second.” 

Carman Pirie: Well, let’s talk about adding to that demand, because of course the company’s in the process of expanding capacity and production, and that’s not something that every marketer finds themselves working in, but it’s surprising I must say. Thinking through even the clients that we work with here at Kula, there’s a good percentage of them that are actively engaged in expanding their production facility, so it is a bit of a consistent challenge in some ways for at least a slice of manufacturing marketers to say, “We have this pipeline today. We have what feels like excessive demand. But we also now know that we’re five months away, or six months away, or one month away, or whatever it is from that capacity coming on stream.” 

I guess what are we doing to build that pipeline in advance? Or is it required? Because you mentioned there’s a lot of demand already.

Allen Rozon: It’s actually, with ELTEC specifically, it’s kind of simple in a way. So, their production facilities are gonna double their production numbers, their output. Now, that’ll take three to six months to get to where they’re flowing and they’re spinning machines out that way. Right now, today, we have about… I think it’s a six to eight month sales list, so there’s a production schedule, and there’s that many machines that have had a deposit, and that’s kind of how they run. The production schedule is actually in the assembly plant. And just so everyone knows, that’s the one to work on. Next ones are here. Just to kind of keep it there. 

Once they increase, once that three to six months down the road, that production is doubled, well, that six to eight month lead list goes down to three or four, so that’s… With a business that doesn’t want machines sitting in the yard, that’s… Once you get to that three month, you’re sort of going like, “Okay, we need more. We need more.” So, it’s a little bit reactionary, but the reaction is this. I worked on OTDA, Ontario Tire Dealers Association, so I have dealer’s world experience. Pretty extensive, actually. So, ELTEC only has… I think it’s… I mean, if it’s 10 dealerships, I think I’m kind of on the money there. They don’t have a lot of distributors. So, how do you get more sales? You get more dealerships. And all it really takes, so there’s a list of machines ordered, and that’s that window, and then without… Before I arrived, one of the sales guys kind of kept sort of a rough lead list. And all I had to do, and I just did it probably a month ago, I think. All I had to do was write kind of a nice email, and gave it to him, and an HTML email with an image and stuff like that, but he’d already established the communications. And it’s not that this was sort of ground through a CRM platform. This is just him on the phone and sending emails. And so, with that short lead list he took my email, and he sent it, and we got a dealership. 

And that’s part of the reason why I’m sort of shifting the way I work, is because I’m not really in the business of demand generation. I’m in the business of demand… I’m sustaining demand. I’m used to being in a position where it’s Pepsi versus Coke and you want half a point market share increase. How much do you have to spend to get that? That’s kind of my… That’s where I came from and that’s not what it is today. 

Now, their plan is to grow into a company that has another manufacturing plant, turn it into a large corporation as opposed to a family business. Today, it’s still a family business. The plan is to grow it into something that sort of can compete on a larger stage with some of the competitors that are out there. Now, some of the competitors are still private. The one that we get compared most to is Tigercat. Tigercat is everywhere. They’re global. The funny thing about ELTEC, for as small as it is, it’s also global, and what could be perceived as a weakness from not having all of the sort of tools in place to process requests and do that, you know what that actually does as an alternative? What actually occurs is it gives the sense of a personalized service. So, when you call, it’s a person. There’s no ticket assigned to your request. There’s none of that stuff. But if you want to scale the business, it’s gonna be inevitable. It’s a necessity if you want to get to a point where you’re servicing a global, true global sort of distribution model where you’ve got hundreds, if not thousands, of machines being spit out every year. They’re not that yet. 

So, on the flip side, I’ve tried to use the things that seemingly are lacking, and I’ve repositioned them as strengths. So, the way we get dealerships on is yeah, when I call Caterpillar, they don’t answer me for two days. When I call ELTEC, I got the person on the phone when I called them. I look at all those things and I go like… I assumed myself coming in that’s a weakness, and in the long term as you scale up it will be, but today, right now, it’s actually a strength. 

Carman Pirie: Trying to… That’s who it was, it was Smed. They were an interior wall for offices and whatnot manufacturer based out of Calgary that was eventually purchased by Haworth out of Michigan, I believe, and they had… For the longest time, if you called Smed, the phone picked up before it rang. I don’t know what they had in their system or what kind of… You would never hear the phone ring. You would call them, and it would just pick up and it was a person. And that was designed. So, you’re saying, “Oh, we just don’t have the efficiencies yet.” Well, you know, I think even as you incorporate those efficiencies, you can find ways to deliver on that service. 

Allen Rozon: Listen, I mean, I can’t say too much, but there is a lot of… As the building expands, the message is clear that other things need to change and evolve, as well, so I don’t want to get into too many specifics because we’ve also run into a scenario where, as a small manufacturer, we… How can I say this without saying it? We’ve been targeted for various things that come down to corporate espionage, and so the systems we’re putting in place are to raise our level of security and all that stuff. We’re gonna have a VOIP system for calls. Today, it’s still a landline. So, we have a receptionist. There’s a receptionist who’s at the front desk and she takes all the calls, and she redirects them. It’s still that way. 

So, yeah, the things you’re mentioning I’m well aware of. I actually had… I launched Vonage in Canada way back in the day, so I’m super familiar with VOIP. All the other things that I’ve mentioned, from CRM, to sort of extendable or cloud-based ERP solutions, and a help desk, they will come. I’ve been the carrier of the torch. But there needs to be… You know, I can’t do this alone, so what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to corral buy-in kind of similar to the extent where I’ve been able to convince ownership of providing a product that has never been requested in terms of a bio forestry product, bio fluid forestry product, it takes a while for the message, and then they gotta hear it sometimes from somewhere externally, and then you go, “Yeah, I’ve been hearing that from my guy internally,” and then next thing you know it starts to move. 

They are very much… The logo for the business is by loggers, for loggers. That’s not a coincidence. The guy, my friend who owns this, whose name is Patrick, he, his father, and his grandfather, they were all loggers. That’s where they came from. I grew up with Patrick but then I went my way to Toronto, and he went into the bush, and he cut trees for 10 years. So, he knows the machines. He knows the market for machines. He knows the manufacturers. He knows the players. And he knows how to build them at this point because they’ve had 12 years to figure that out and get it to a place where it’s kind of like, “Yeah, these things run really well.” But when it comes to talking about, you know, share a voice from an advertising perspective when you’ve kind of tried or not tried to spend any dollars on advertising. What’s the point, right? I’ve got eight months. I’ve got an eight month waiting list. Why would I? 

So, all these things are coming to be, but it’s not a flick of the switch. I’ve seen some… We’ve had a couple consultancies come in for various things unrelated to anything I’m speaking about today, and the consultancy, because they don’t… They want to present things in a very sort of flowery way, these guys are loggers, man. These guys… I did an annual report for all my activity last year. That was the first time they’d seen an annual report for marketing activity. There was no one doing that before, so it’s all new, and you can’t expect when you’re presenting all new stuff for it to kind of… It’ll flick a switch in terms of like, “Huh, I didn’t know that.” But buy-in, spend money, do this, train people, all the things that come with that, the butterfly effect, so to speak, it’s not small. 

Carman Pirie: So, it’s easy to imagine in this kind of scenario where there’s no question that there are a lot of marketing challenges in a business that hasn’t focused a lot on marketing, is in the early stages, and so it’s easy to imagine the benefits that come with having a level of personal friendship or connectivity with the ownership. So, yeah, it’s easy to imagine that there would be some benefits that come with having that level of personal connectivity with ownership. And I’ve encountered a number of marketers in a similar position in the past. 

I’m always curious, though. What’s the downside to it? 

Allen Rozon: So, the upside is easy. It’s trust. 

Carman Pirie: The upside’s the simple one to me but what’s the downside? 

Allen Rozon: I don’t want to get fired. What are you trying to do to me here? 

Carman Pirie: No, I’m just thinking, do you feel like it makes you… Does it change how you have to sell ideas? I’m just thinking for somebody listening to this what maybe they ought to keep eyes wide open to. 

Allen Rozon: Yeah. So, my personal experience is when I… I worked in ad agencies downtown Toronto for over 15 years, and in that world, you will have a true variety of clients. You’re not gonna have the same guy twice or same woman twice. So, you do have to learn how to sell to the target, and you know, if we’re taking marketing, the owner is my target audience to sort of convey and convince of ideas or things that I think need to be done. I usually get a nod in terms of that sounds good. It’s not always easy to get the nod to go ahead and execute. And part of the reason is because there’s a level of sophistication to marketing today, which is way surpassed what it was 15 years ago, that is not easy to digest. 

So, I try to figure out what moves the person. How do you present stuff in a way that doesn’t make them feel inundated or inadequate to sort of make a decision based on what you’re telling them? So, you gotta figure out how to frame your argument, your conversation, your idea. You have to figure out how to frame it because you can’t frame it the same way for every person. So, what I’ve come to figure out with my friend is if I have an idea and it’s a result of a business problem, so what I do is I go around the office and I look for problems. So, if I’ve got bandwidth that leaves me some space to do other things, I go around and I look. How is the training going? Because they have to go out and train dealerships. It’s like can that be converted into an eLearning opportunity? Can that be transitioned, as opposed to flying a guy out every time, is there a way to gain efficiency? What do the training manuals look like? Can we put them online and turn it into a test so that they’re picking multiple choice as the person on the dealership end? How do you gain efficiencies? 

I look for problems and then I try to solve them through marketing. And you know, one example of that is we were… Because we’re playing against Caterpillar. We’re playing against Komatsu. We’re playing against Hyundai. We’re playing against global, gigantic… You know, SANY in China. We’re playing against gigantic companies that have gigantic pockets. And so, one of the things our dealers were coming to us with is like, “Hey, you know, it’d be great if you guys gave us a simulator.” Now, a simulator is basically, as I came to learn, so I went in… It was handed over to me because they’re like, “How do you do this?” 

So, I went and looked at it. I found a company in Montreal, actually, called D-BOX, and they do it for Caterpillar, and they do it for… So, basically it’s a seat in a box with a screen configuration, either horizontal, or vertical, or both, and it incorporates all the functionality of the machines. You got joysticks, and foot pedals, and all that stuff. And it’s a simulator. It’s a training simulator so that when they sell a machine, the guy who’s buying it or wants to buy it can try it out, actually cutting trees, virtual trees on a simulator. Now, this thing costs in the neighborhood of 40 grand per. It might not be a huge number for Caterpillar or Komatsu or whatever, not a small number for ELTEC. 

So, we needed something, though. I was trying to… It’s one of those things where I knew I had to look for the biggest bang for the smallest buck, so we started… I scanned a lot. I monitor a lot of activity. That’s kind of not expensive to do to sort of have feeds come in that show you when stuff is… You know, I’m trying to push ELTEC. I’ve been for about a year now, I’ve been pushing ELTEC Forestry, so that’s working a lot smoother now, so a lot of people are tagging the way I want them to. So, started noticing Farming Simulator, and I’m actually in communications. I have direct communication with  all the dealerships, but even a few operators. I have a few operators who I can actually call and have conversations with. And the reason for that is because they’re the kind of guys that… They have drones, and they like shooting stuff, and so that’s a content channel from my perspective, and that’s why I try to encourage it. 

And you know, that’s another thing. I found a nut and then I went, “Oh, I’m gonna plant this as a tree and I’m gonna cut it myself.” So, with the simulator thing, I started seeing Farming Simulator, which is a huge, gigantic PC and console game if you haven’t heard of it. I used to be a gamer. That, to be completely honest, that game bored the hell out of me. I had no interest in going and farming, or cutting trees, but within the universe of Farming Simulator there’s a subgroup that is dedicated to logging. So, you know, they set up these custom rigs, so I started seeing these videos, then I talked to these loggers that I have direct contact with and I’m like, “Do you ever play Farming Simulator?” It’s like, “Yeah, I love it.” I’m like, “Okay. All right.” 

And so, I started seeing all these videos, and there was a couple people who kind of made a version of ELTEC, because you can insert mods into the game with Blender and a couple other tools. It’s not that difficult to kind of do your own versions of stuff. And so, I was seeing some of that. And then I found, and then I went like, “Well, what’s it take for us to do this and have the whole fleet, the whole series of machines done to spec?” In terms of dimensions, but also functionality, that it’s an exact replica of ELTEC machines but inserted in Farming Simulator. What does that look like? 

So, I became part of the universe for a couple months. I bought the game, installed it, got to know the community, yada, yada, yada. Found a kid, found several, but I had to boil it down and I found a kid in B.C. who… FDR Logging. I’ll throw his name out because he’s a great kid. And he is a kid. And he’s big on Farming Simulator, big on logging, wasn’t logging yet. He worked heavy equipment, but he wasn’t a logger. He was a gamer, essentially, who did mods. He’d already done mods for Pro Pac and a couple other companies, but we were the first kind of like established, big manufacturer to approach him with this project. 

And so, I said, “Hey, man. What are the files you need and how much?” He was so enthusiastic. He wanted to do it for free. And I said, “No, no, no. I’m gonna pay you for your time. It’s obvious that you’re a proponent of everything and it’s great that…” Because I didn’t know what level of competence this guy had, either. Turns out the kid’s a genius, so he took our engineering file, our reduced, very, very reduced, engineering spec files. I gave him all the spec sheets in terms of speed, functionality, torque, all those sort of physics-based specifications for the machine’s performance, and one by one we build out the machines, I had the platform, and actually I found a couple guys at ELTEC, so I’d be like, “Hey, do you play Farming Simulator?” And a couple guys sort of popped up, goes, “Yeah, man. I love it.” 

So, I recruited them. They became part of my beta team. And you know, over the course of I think three or four, maybe four or five months, he did… I think it was eight machines. The whole series. Everything that ELTEC makes as their newest, latest series. And so, from beginning to end, and some of it was like pulling teeth because the engineer doesn’t have time to give you files, reduced files of their work for a video game. That’s not something that they necessarily get excited about until they see it in game, actually, and then everything changed, right? But initially some of it was like pulling teeth. 

But you know, as I would get one, and then someone would come see my screen and say like, “Holy shit, you got the… Wow, and can you…” And I don’t know how to log, so I’m kind of like… You know, I’m the worst operator in the world on the thing, but I’m getting it, and the two other guys are kind of like, “Yeah,” give me input, and things would evolve. So, I’m not gonna tell you the price, because whoever wants to hire this kid to do that kind of work should pay him. He should ask for as much money as he can get out of them. But he did it for a very reasonable price and he owned it, so he became the… We paid him to do it and then he does all the updates, all that stuff. We offer it off our… It’s the one new webpage from scratch. I modified some stuff. But it’s the only new webpage on the existing website that I made is for Farming Simulator. We offered it as a free download and throughout the whole marketing aspect of it, I just really encouraged anyone to use #EltecForestry if they’re gonna record content. 

Now we have logging crews that are regularly getting together with ELTEC and other machines. I mean, the realistic component is you’re part of a mix necessarily. We do have a couple ELTEC crews, so once a month I’ll scan YouTube and I’ll look for videos that I haven’t already found, and I’ll put them onto the playlist that I’ve created, and I’ll recirculate on other social media. As a result, this is kind of funny. We had a couple dealerships who called us angrily saying, “Can you guys stop promoting this ELTEC Farming Simulator thing?” And we were kind of like, “Why?” And they said, “Well, because we’re getting calls about it. Our operators are calling us asking us technical questions about how to set up the joysticks in the game,” and stuff like that. 

I’m kind of like… And in my head, I didn’t say it, but in my head I’m like, “Well, your phone rang because of me. You’re welcome.” That’s beside the point. I get it. You don’t want to answer those questions. But that, for me, was a true measure of success, was when it became not only… There are metrics, rough metrics that I kind of did, and just based on the YouTube activity alone when I did that annual report, which was… I think we were like eight months into that thing, maybe seven, eight months. We were already at 18 million impressions. And that’s everything from game review podcasts, which get crazy numbers, so anytime ELTEC showed up in like, “And we just got this new…” You know those guys, those streamers who do that stuff. They get crazy numbers. 

Now, am I saying that the entire universe of gamers are loggers? No, I’m not. But you would be surprised by how many loggers finish their work, jump out of their machine, go home, have supper, and jump onto their other rig in the virtual world. It was a surprising statistic in terms of the rough percentage I was able to calculate of loggers that go home and continue logging virtually. 

The other thing is from an overall branding perspective, it would be harder to spend less and get more than what I did with people now knowing. So, the dealerships, which is kind of how we extend our business in terms of demand, so when we call, or the dealerships actually call, a couple of them called us, when they call it’s like, “Yeah. No, I saw you guys in Farming Simulator.” So, it’s hard to get a better bang from my buck, and I’m not gonna tell you guys what I spent, but it was pretty efficient. 

Jeff White: Man, if you would have told me that the way that this show was going to go is that we’d end up talking about Twitch videos of logging equipment in Farming Simulator as the climax of the show, I would have been surprised. 

Allen Rozon: That one didn’t show up on my compass either when I started this job. 

Carman Pirie: Look, I think we need to wrap it up or else we’re gonna go for an hour and a half here. 

Jeff White: It would be very easy to do so. 

Allen Rozon: Yeah. I’ll follow your lead, of course. Just to kind of sell myself a little bit, I do have a pretty extensive background in advertising, but today what I’m doing with the business is I’m actually trying to future-proof it. So, that’s everything in terms of the stuff I talked about from a CRM, ERP, help desk stuff. That’ll come. I’m the torch bearer at this point, but that’ll come. But that’s also further down the line all the way to blockchain. So, eventually I know that they, ELTEC, are gonna get requests to have their machines paid for through crypto. It’s gonna happen. Some country is gonna want to… El Salvador. If ever we get into El Salvador, they’re gonna wanna buy their machines with crypto. There’s no doubt about it. 

Now, am I the guy to set up the infrastructure for the financial pipeline? I can be part of the conversation but I’m not gonna set it up. That’s gonna be the CFO. What I can do is I can lock in, because there’s such a thing as crypto URLs, so ELTEC.crypto, ELTEC.nft, ELTEC.dao, ELTEC.blockchain, all those things. I bought all those things. I’m just sitting on them. I’ll eventually set them up as one pager landing pages for stuff. But I’m sitting on them. And the reason I’m doing that is because you know, we’re not the only ELTEC in the world from a brand name perspective, and I don’t own, but I’ll tell you what. No one else is gonna own ELTEC anything else while I’m around. 

So, you know, I have taken the lead, even if it’s not something that’s going to be fully utilized today. I have ensured that the business is much more future-proofed than perhaps even most people realize internally, and I do consider that part of my job, is sometimes you gotta take people by the nose hair and pull them in a place they don’t necessarily want to go, because staying here is more comfortable. My job oftentimes is to take things to a less comfortable place knowing that in the long run it’s better that you do it early than late. 

Jeff White: I think that’s some excellent advice for marketers. We’ll leave it there. Thanks very much for joining us today, Allen. 

Allen Rozon: Thank you for having me. Appreciate it. 

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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Headshot of Allen Rozon


Allen Rozon

Director Marketing Communications, ELTEC

Allen Rozon is a seasoned student of influence and the invisible hand, with a passion for digital identity, decentralization, gamification, creative commons philosophy, blockchain technology, practical AI use cases, and sword smithing. As a curious forward thinker, he is constantly exploring the evolution of communication platforms and the journey people take to acquire knowledge before making decisions. Allen’s expertise lies in planning… everything, everywhere, all the time. He believes that the future is decentralized and that gamification and practical AI will play a crucial role in shaping it. He is also an advocate for creative commons licensing and is a proponent for the use of blockchain technology, whether it be through the implementation of smart contracts to being the backbone for financial transactions. In his free time, Allen can be found perfecting his sword-smithing skills to fulfill various collector commissions and travelling the world to spend time with his remaining masters. His nature and forward-thinking mindset make him a valuable asset to any team that will benefit from outside thinking to ensure good ideas stay that way. Connect with Allen to learn more about his work and how he can help your business stay ahead of the curve. If you’re looking for a subject matter expert in target audience communications, digital identity, decentralization, gamification, creative commons licensing, blockchain, practical AI, or sword smithing, then you have arrived at your destination. Find him on his public profiles to stay updated on his latest insights and ideas.

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.

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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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