The Road Show: Bringing Tactile in Person Marketing Back to B2B Manufacturers

Episode 270

January 16, 2024

Many aspects of our lives changed in the COVID era. B2B marketing was no different. This week we sat down with Nick Baranowski from Keystone Technologies to discuss how the pandemic era solutions have fueled huge success with mobile showrooms that now tour the US all year. This is a super cool idea and Nick shares some of the successes and pitfalls to avoid.

The Road Show: Bringing Tactile in Person Marketing Back to B2B Manufacturers Transcript:

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

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

Carman Pirie: I’m doing great. I’m doing great. This is one of the last episodes we’re going to record within 2023, I think will probably be released in the New Year. But it just has that end of year feel, Jeff.

Jeff White: Yes it does, along with all of the, the audio hiccups you expect as you’re just kind of trying to record some episodes before going to the holidays. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. So it’s not just the hosts, but also the equipment that has apparently been on the bourbon and eggnog is maybe a bit too much or something.

Jeff White: I think it’s because we lent our patch cords to the DJ  for the Kula Christmas party. And you know who they’re still wishing they were back doing that. 

Carman Pirie: Exactly. Highest and best use for the patch cords.

Jeff White: Yeah, exactly right. So they wish they were on the road.

Carman Pirie: I’m excited for today’s chat. I think the what? I guess there’s been and this has been pervasive, you know, kind of throughout my career, it feels like it keeps kind of coming back, this notion of getting closer to the customer and taking that, you know, how do you deliver customer experiences in new ways. And that’s why I’m just so excited for today’s guests. I think we’re just doing some some great things that are bringing their brand closer to the customer. And it’s something that a lot of manufacturers can listen to, listen to and learn from.

Jeff White: Yeah, absolutely. I’m really excited about it too. So let’s get right into it. So joining us today is Nick Baranowski. Nick is the marketing director at Keystone Technologies. Welcome to The Kula Ring, Nick.

Nick Baranowski: Hey, guys. Thanks for having me. I appreciate being here. A little jealous. You guys have to send me some of that eggnog. Apparently. I like the bourbon taste in that, so you’ll have to send some of that down, and I’m happy to be here.

Carman Pirie: Look, I got to tell you, as a little bit of a holiday note, being up here on the East coast of Canada, it’s a bit of a rum country here, right? Like, I mean, all the rum runners from back in the day bringing illegal rum into into Atlantic Canada. So it’s a bit of a nostalgic thing. And therefore, you’re kind of brought up to drink your eggnog with rum. But the second you switch to the bourbon, you realize that folks down in the States, you’ve got something figured out there. It beats rum hands down in the eggnog.

Nick Baranowski: And I’m a little partial to it, but that’s okay. I’ll let you guys enjoy it either way, is good with me.

Carman Pirie: All right, sir its great to be chatting. Let’s start by giving our listeners a bit of an overview of Keystone and how you ended up there.

Nick Baranowski: Yeah great Keystone is was founded in 1945 where a third generation privately held company. We are a lighting manufacturer. We service commercial and residential lighting goods into mostly intellectual distribution market. But the overall construction space. Really great story. I’ll give you the short version. Three generations ago, someone came back from World War Two. The founder was looking for work to do, went to a hardware store and said, What are you guys having trouble with? What’s hard for you? And they said, Hey, there’s this thing called a fluorescent ballast, this new thing fluorescent lighting is out and we can’t find them. And took off from there. He started his own little shop at his house, started to manufacture them. His cousin was an engineer. So they started building themselves. Fast forward, the next generation takes over and LED expansion happens. Third generation comes into play. We start expanding. Even more, and now we’re providing lighting solutions all across the United States to just distribution contractors and specifiers across the United States.

Jeff White: I love that. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s a tough space. The people that you’re trying to sell to that you’re trying to get in front of, and there’s an awful lot of people that want their attention and they don’t seem to be all that keen to give it. That really must be at the heart of why you’re doing what you’re doing from a mobile customer experience perspective.

Nick Baranowski: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think a lot of manufacturers like us, we consider ourselves like a B2B2B2C, right? So by the time we get to the final one, there’s a few legs there. And being one manufacturer, obviously there’s plenty of other lighting manufacturers in the market to vying. And then to your point, you try to go to the person you’re trying to sell into their branch to get to the next level of the customer and even influence them. And they have wire customers and lighting customers and plumbing customers. And you’re one of maybe 300 or some vendors that they have to have on their shelves for their customers. So getting their attention is very hard. You have to have purpose, you have to have reason, and most importantly, you have that timing and their needs vary. So trying to find that perfect space is what led us to the creation is something we’re going to talk today about where I’m sitting today in Keystone Live and Keystone Live on tour, our kind of mobile version of where I am today.

Jeff White: So tell us a bit about the kind of the impetus for the creation of the space and what you’re doing with it.

Nick Baranowski: So I have to rewind back, I came here a little over three years ago in the middle of this great thing called the COVID pandemic, if you guys remember what that was right now that you guys talked about ending the year that’s kind of spiking and different units again. And what we found in our industry was really this unprecedented closure of doors where our business is very much kind of a people business, a partnership business and that kind of building of relationships is key. And our organization found ourselves where they said, you can’t come in just because that’s what the government was requiring in different areas. And we said, Well, how can we get to customers, especially in a landscape where a lot of people like to touch and feel a product? That’s what has them understand what it actually is. So a lot of this kind of, hey, see, my sample of door to door sales became a barrier and we quickly said, Well, how can we get around that? What can we do? And we came up with two solutions. One is we actually built out an entire showroom inside, which I’m in right now. And what you can’t see about what’s in front of me right now is we kind of took a hospital type setup of a motorized power unit with video and audio gear, and a gimbal with a remote phone and allowed us to, in essence, build out our space with every product we would want to take to a customer that allows us to come and grab it and walk up close to any product that we service and have and have them ask questions to get as close as we could to get that hands on feel without actually being put something in front of them. But then we found that that still created some barriers. So we ended up building out five mobile units. So what’s behind me kind of packed into a unit that we can drive around and do. And our barrier there was, well, if we can’t come inside, but we’re allowed to be outside, we can also bring our products to where you are in an environment that allows customers to see and feel things at the same time. And boy, is that growing we started with one unit, we’re up to five now, even post-pandemic it’s proven to be a true game changer and we’ve seen other companies start to do that same type of mobile experience to try to meet the customers where they are.

Carman Pirie: So are we talking about like like a sprinter vans type of set up? Is it a big 18 wheeler? What is this mobile a mobile experience that contained in.

Nick Baranowski: Yeah, that’s a it’s a great question actually something that we had a lot of debate about, right. There’s pros and cons and there’s really big budgets for 18 wheelers. Sprinter vans sometimes get a little too small. We have a really big portfolio. So what we actually have are towed behind trucks and we have about 18, we have 16 foot units and 20 foot units that are in essence a huge stand-in trailer that’s been converted into a trade show unit that tows behind a unit so you can pull up into a facility like a K through 12 high school. You can pull up into a hospital, you can pull up in front of a distributor location. We may be stocking a plethora of products and it’s having a lot of contractors and customers come through and all experience the product so that mobility and kind of size was really something that we had to pay attention to because the first thing was saying, where does it need to be? Right? Because sometimes those 18 wheelers are really cool and they’re exciting, but all of a sudden like, Hey, you can’t get around the corner to show a guy in the city anything so that doesn’t really become quite viable at that point.

Carman Pirie: Yeah, that’s a great point. I’m curious. I mean, I’m sure the percentage kind of varies a bit, but as you’re bringing these kind of mobile showrooms to the customer, what what’s the rough split from, you know, targeting it at the distributors and kind of kind of trying to catch a lot of contractor level folks out the distributor versus going to the going to them directly maybe on a job site or what have you, versus the educational component that you mentioned. I’m just kind of curious about those different uses and kind of how it breaks down.

Nick Baranowski: Yeah, if you had to put that in a total kind of view, I would say, you know, at a core, big customer location where people, multiple people would be coming through is probably around 50% of the traffic that we had. Then I would say we have probably about 20% of that is direct at a specific customer location where maybe there’s a whole team or it’s a contractor to take, bring it to my whole team before they leave for the day. You can go there. We have another about 15% where it actually travels to regional trade shows. So we also bring it into kind of shows that maybe don’t require that big budget of building an entire booth in a setup, but you don’t really just want a table set up as well. Allows us to enhance that experience a little bit. Then the rest of the time it’s just general training where maybe ad hoc locations.

Carman Pirie: That’s a nice little hack on the trade show too. It gives you some presence out in the parking lot rather than just having to wait for them to get into the end of the show itself in the right situation that could work pretty well.

Nick Baranowski: Actually. Even brought it into shows and used it as the booth.

Carman Pirie: Oh, nice,nice. 

Nick Baranowski: Because you are eight foot tall. They have a door that drops down with two entry points. Again, some of the sprint events, the challenge there was, Hey, do you want to use it for a trade show? Oh, yeah, sure. Let me get a line. Have people walk into a crowded box and stand around people and then walk out of a crowd. It didn’t really work, so it kind of gave that nice opportunity there as well not to knock the smaller unit. We are looking at adding another. So we do have some territories that are very dense urban and we’ve gotten some feedback that that the size of what we have actually makes it a little hard to get into the finished locations. So we are looking for like a compact version as well for more dense urban environments.

Jeff White: And how many kind of geographical areas are covering with these five units that you have now? Like how far is it spreading you out.

Nick Baranowski: Coast to coast. So we have five units in tour 365 throughout the year. Obviously, seasonality comes into effect, not too many people want to be outside walking through a unit if it’s two feet of snow on the ground. But we kind of operate all around the contiguous US throughout the year.

Carman Pirie: Seems to me that, you know, this is really just an extension of that. You know, the factory tours and those kind of really high touch experiences which are typically delivered either to customers that you’re trying to deepen a relationship with and maybe gain more share of wallet or prospects that are in the very late stages of a buying process. But it would seem to me that as we make this a more mobile experience, it would allow us to get in front of prospects at an earlier stage in the cycle. Has that been your experience?

Nick Baranowski: Yeah, I would say depending on the customer that’s absolutely true. And I think the good thing of what we built is, you know, we did it not with just one, right? I think our purpose when we looked at what we were going to do is we said, Hey, we have a corporate office, we enhance that tour experience. We need a virtual experience like this for maybe a very short time window. Or maybe people who don’t have the opportunity to travel, and then we need another unit where we can go to them. So I think what we found is that those mobile units and having all three of those experiences allows us to do exactly what you said, right? That allows us to get in front of the early thought of a purchase person, whether in that kind of evaluation stage, we can say, Hey, listen, we could do a quick 30 minute thing. We’re not going to fly all the way out here to do this big group tour. Let’s give you a taste, right? And then we could do that virtual or we can bring it to you. Then you get a little bit more interested. Then you can really come in and give that full sample. So I think to your point, the other element that is really kind of qualify that lead a little bit more of the to come and see our kind of corporate facility is a great experience. Typically a home run is typically a little hesitant to bring a whole team out here and rather expensive one too, if you want to kind of cover some of the costs or kind of do entertainment, why you’re here to try that evaluation of is that person really qualified or at the point that they really need that deep dive or is that happening too early kind of in that buyer’s journey has also given us some good ability to kind of teach this.

Jeff White: Have you found like, is anybody calling you up asking for you to send the mobile unit?

Nick Baranowski: Yeah. So there’s something we’re trying to solve right now. As you know, we launched and thought like, Hey, this is great. You can give it to your sales team and they can make their appointment to go and now so you get your sales team going, you know, everybody wants it, but the sales guy wants it. All the customers who have heard about it want it and they want it next week. They want it here. So now we’re actually kind of more into scheduling. We need to enhance our ability to kind of schedule and plan out and architect kind of where will it be when it started very opportunistic and it’s so such an item in now that we kind of have to find ways to expand them as well as kind of do a better operational execution throughout the states.

Jeff White: Man the joy of overnight success.

Carman Pirie: Yeah, exactly. That’s a great problem to have to try to solve. I think, you know, it’s it’s something that I think a lot of marketers maybe skip past or they don’t think about a lot in this space. But I think part of what we do as marketers when we’re doing our job most effectively in the manufacturing space is giving salespeople both something to talk about the confidence to talk about it, the excuse to talk about it like they’re inherently pretty good at building relationships and having conversations. And sometimes they just need an excuse to do so. And it sounds as though, you know, when I hear about all the sales people are clamoring to want these mobile units in their, in their region or at their customer locations. That’s just basically what they’re telling you is they you know, they found it a great thing to talk about.

Nick Baranowski: Yeah, and I agree. You know, I think I really view marketing as a service. Right. Your service to either your internal customers, your sales folks or your a service to their customer. And I view marketing as your whole goal is identify what the customer wants to talk about, how they want to talk about it and what they want to see right in that perfect mix of kind of solving that right. We think about it with SEO evaluations of online right. That’s got to be the right word. You want to get to the right place as quick as possible. I think this is no different. If your customers want to touch and feel something, how do you allow them to do an experience? We have a lot of other programs in our company too. We do a lot of free samples. We ship a sample to somebody, but there’s that level then where you talk about that buyer journey where it’s, Hey, I saw it, but now I want to talk about it. Putting those two together is kind of where you want to execute that time of commitment. And I think salespeople screaming for it, is that, it’s them saying, You’ve given me something that allows me to have the right conversations with different customers at the same time, give it to me,right and then, okay, well, now we make sure that you’re giving it to the right customer at the right time. Let me help you vet some of that out will be one of the next challenges.

Carman Pirie: Every, every sales person is going to get a mobile showroom, Jeff.

Jeff White: So that’s how it works. Yeah. For Christmas, you get one and you get one. But I do think though, know, there’s this there’s this wonderful notion of kind of getting back to the physical with this. You know, it feels even better than like, hey, we’ve gone back to trade shows. It is more like, no, we’ve gone back on our own terms and we’re doing this in a way that really enables us to tell the message we want to tell in the way that we want to tell it. While showcasing the products right in front of people. Have you digitally enabled this at the same time, from a marketing and sales perspective?

Nick Baranowski: Yeah, I would say that’s been a debate that we are still ongoing and having. I think what you’ve seen as a trend especially is some software. It becomes an easier entry point is kind of, Hey, why don’t you just take your whole showroom, why don’t you map it out with some really great software, have some idea about a topic and get your spec sheet and do it themselves. Right. We’re exploring that as a potential, but I think what we found right now is that part of the benefit here is the live engagement, right? It’s the interactive nature that happens outside of digitization. So if you’re sitting here and you say, well, I have a question on that, but wait till we get to the point where you can have that kind of live engagement while somebody is virtually doing it themselves. We still think this kind of human touch point is an important part to have. Definitely evaluating how that would be done for doing that is kind of a subset and that kind of buyers journey to figure out maybe someone or something more. Still on the roadmap for us.

Carman Pirie: I would be interested to know because you say we’ve built five of them now, correct?

Nick Baranowski: Yep.

Carman Pirie: So I’m pretty sure that by the time the third one rolls around or fourth year, you would learn some lessons, things that you wish you had done in the first one of the second one. Uh, I’m curious what those lessons there top things was. The top things we wish we would have done the first time.

Nick Baranowski: My goodness, I’ll get out a list, this long. So I have some experience in telecom, a lot of kind of experiential  marketing, mobile marketing as well. But I think when it came to this kind of manufacturing space, big kind of hivcups that we learned along the way, one is training, training, training for the sales team in operations. Right. I think there’s some people that say like, hey, I’ve I’ve done, I’va driven the car, I’ve towed a camper before. And all of a sudden you’re saying like, hey, well, now you’re going to set up this whole mobile experience yourself. A lot of the things that we found us sprinting on in the first year of introduction, it’s like, Man, how do we make that easier for a guy who maybe has never done some type of mobile marketing before, right? They’re now responsible for plugging and setting up, putting out the materials. Where do the materials go? Right? Like we thought we had everything perfectly packaged, but I think a lot of it’s just kind of training getting from your people. What would you do if you just got this right and then we were like, Oh, well, you don’t know how to set up the tent, you don’t know how to set up some of these things. So some things that just seemed really basic were not that they can’t set up a tent, right? But from a marketing side to get the branding exactly right to get the layout right. I think we needed a lot better documentation. And then the second was just operations. We thought we could kind of say, Hey, we can do this and leave it a little loose. We really found that you need somebody dedicated to go in and kind of just manage operationally where it’s going, who’s getting it next, what’s the give away, what’s the lead capture from it? We had that very separated at first with the different people who would be in charge of that role, if you would? What we’ve found is that creates a lot more confusion of, well who’s doing this and where is that happening. So I’d say don’t underestimate the importance of a dedicated resource just for managing it. Sometimes it’s like, is that all they’re going to do all day. But man, the amount of things in there. And then the third was we talked about size valuation. We found the right size for what we needed from our experience, and then we quickly found out when you got so big that you now need to be a D.O.T. certified vehicle and that comes with a lot of additional legalities around it too. So that kind of like run that walk sometimes I would say, you know, make sure your operational plans there. Make sure you have appropriate researching for it, make sure you get training pre lined up before you kind of get it into the market. Our tagline here at Keystone is light made easy but we try to carry that through everything that we do. I think that we found out that we had a lot of improvements to make to make everything easy for our internal customers as well as our external customers.

Carman Pirie: Sounds like its a good idea for somebody heading down this path to be eyes wide open. With that first year, there are going to be some kinks and and just lean into them and understand that they’re coming versus be surprised.

Nick Baranowski: Yeah, I don’t freak out right, your hair’s not on fire. The world’s not burning. We can’t do it anymore. So when there’s a challenge, you bump into them in every every kind of new roll out that you do so. And I would say, you know, there’s a lot of organizations out there that kind of do this. You go to a third party organization and say, Hey, will you run my mobile store? I think a company has to look really hard at the cost and what they want to execute. And do you want to lean on kind of a third party resource to do that? We found that we wanted to kind of test a bunch of areas and test different setups and displays, and we had a lot of ability to do that internally with rapid iteration, a lot better than we did at cost immediately going out to kind of a third party and saying, Hey, we want to do it, you build it, you run it. Yeah. So kind of key decision, I think you have to make early on.

Jeff White: And I have to think too, you know, nothing like that is going to survive contact with the enemy the first couple of times. So you know, you’re going to have those learnings that if you then have to go back to somebody and have it rebuilt or reconfigured, that that just makes it very, very difficult to justify and want to do probably.

Nick Baranowski: Yeah, I would say that’s definitely hidden under that. What’s your resource and operation plan here? We just this past year we’ve come out with 320 new products. So the valuation of the unit, when could it get changed out when it’s upgraded with your latest Good. How is that happening? Who’s actually doing the installation, where it’s going? A lot of those elements are kind of that back end learning lesson where it’s like, Hey, we got to go. Well, a year later, a year and a half later, hopefully you guys have something new to talk about, right? You want to go back, see another customer? What is that upgrade process? We actually to your point, just had a conversation yesterday about, you know, we never really sat down and evaluated the end of life cycle and what does that look for? How long do we expect a particular unit to last? Right. It’s driving around, contiguous US. Is that a five year life expectancy plan where we should be budgeting for that early on? Is definitely something that we’re kind of learning from as well.

Carman Pirie: How have you have you found this kind of compares to what you see the competition doing and what has been the customer response?

Nick Baranowski: I would like to say copycat is the best part of flattery. I would say when we first launched both of these units, I would say I had not seen really our competition doing anything close to it. I think the closest thing I found is a lot of manufacturing places having training centers that came in or doing webinars. And I think this was like that in-between ground that really hadn’t been done before. Year one we got a lot of notoriety, a lot of kind of press came out of that as well. A lot of earned media from people seeing it and saying it was great. Our customers and our competitors rapidly evolved. And I would say now we see probably 30 to 40% of our core competitors doing something similar and trying to get it in and I would say at different scale, some take different approaches of an 18 wheeler versus Sprinter van, like you said. So I think we see, we take that as, hey, it has to work because what we actually found was our customers were going to other vendors and say, Keystone came by, did this, and man our customers loved it. Do you guys have something like that and they didn’t at the time. So we know I think the customer demand for it kind of introduced a new segment, at least in our space, where I see a lot of our competitors kind of quickly trying to ramp up to do something similar. And for us that now pushes us what’s the next thing right? How do you continue to enhance the experience which we’ve began to work on just improving engagement, maybe improving interactions. So we have a head start. So we have some learnings and as long as we’re putting them back in the machine, turn out to re enhance that experiential experience that will stay in the lead there. So we just have to keep improving, right? If you get stagnant and say Hey it works, just run it for seven years, it’s going to keep working. Every six months or so, we look at it and say, What do we have to change to make it better?

Carman Pirie: I think that’s important learning, too, because there’s a you know, an awful lot of folks would see competitors coming on board and doing something similar and think, oh well they’re catching up. But they only catch up if you stand still, if you keep evolving that experience, then those learnings that you got along the way, they’re going to find it awfully hard to catch up.

Nick Baranowski: Yeah, I will say one thing I personally struggle with, but I think it’s helped me in this process is I like to have all my things lined up right. Well, hey, we don’t want to introduce that experience until we can get the leads. If we can’t get the leads in, until we have a connected to our CRM system, we can’t connect it to our CRM systems till we have an automation plan for re-engagement afterwards. And I found that these type of experiences have so many different touchpoints and engagements. You really have to start with the plan to react, right? So it sounds a little different than just do something and react and figure out what to do. But if you start knowing I’m going to learn, I have to react fast. We have to iterate, we have to be flexible. I think that’s been our biggest key to success right. Start small with the one, get the learning, introduce two or three, get the learning, grow now, figure out how to connect systems, because at first I would have said we probably would have done a lot of work that wasn’t right because what customers were engaging weren’t really that funnel input that we thought our first rate first was a lot of kind of purchaser decisions, not their customer engagements. Now that we’ve expanded, we had new customers come in. So new touch points, new automations a lot of other things that we have to evaluate now, but start small and use it as like Lego blocks as opposed to say, I know exactly what that journey is meant to be, so make it happen. I think you’ll find a lot better success that way.

Jeff White: It’s almost taking a page out of the SaaS song sheet a little bit and just, you know, the idea of kind of release frequently and iterate and take feedback rather than wait until you have the perfect app or what have you. You know, it’s a bit of that sort of thinking that you’re employing there.

Nick Baranowski: Yeah. And I think, you know, especially at least for me, when it gets in the customer experience, you kind of drop some of the learnings that you have as a core marketer, right? Most marketers, we think about it, we say, Hey, we want to do some ads? Well yeah, I’m not throwing my whole budget, I’m going to do a test group, did it perform? Did it not perform? And then you get in the mobile experience, you might go like, Oh, this is a big investment, so we have to get it perfect, right? You still need that, hey, we’re going to learn from it. We’re going to test and we’re going to grow just maybe a little bit more upfront cost that you have to think through. When that happens.

Carman Pirie: You’ve got me thinking of something there earlier, and I don’t know if there’s a there, there or not, but I’m going to ask anyway to see if there is. It would seem that maybe the earliest people that will experience something like this when you create it are probably those customers that like you the most. I mean, in some way they’re the customers that the salespeople will be most excited to show them the new toy or what have you. Right? And I’m just I’m kind of rattling around in my mind this notion of maybe the customers that you’re learning from in the early part of the experience aren’t the same type of customer that you’re actually trying to reach on the prospect stage. You know what I mean? Like, you have to learn from those early things, but also recognize that the person you’re talking to might be a different person. Does that make any sense?

Nick Baranowski: Yeah, I would say that I think we’ve found that exact thing. You know, who is the customer that’s engaging with you at what point and kind of going through and saying, That’s not exactly who I thought it was. Hey, there’s a new influencer that we didn’t really know about. This guy followed up with us with questions, and then the customer who we thought made all the decision, called us that day later, I think found more about where the influencer in the lifecycle was a lot more than we thought we would have.

Jeff White: I guess we’ve already kind of covered, you know, this idea that you’re you’re constantly thinking of the next thing and how are you going to integrate new products. That is a massive number of new products to launch and and also promote via a mobile offering, I have to say. But, you know, so you’re clearly thinking down the road with this, but what are you most excited about for 2024?

Nick Baranowski: I’m really excited for that kind of enhanced engagement. Right. What are we doing to make it even more memorable for our customers, customer? Because I think that’s, you know, getting in front of your customers. Great. Getting in front of your customers, customer creates, the pull through. And I think that’s the next part that we’re really focused on is how do we take our tool and now extend our tool from our sales team to our customer sales team. We’ve started to find a lot of success for that. That requires a different kind of engagement, a little bit kind of different experience with why do they want to come and see it right? Sometimes there needs to be some type of prize or engagement opportunity in there or even just communication around that. I’m really excited to see that as it comes up. You did just mentioned one part that’s an important consideration for maybe any marketer doing this. That’s sales alignment. We have roughly 7000 SKUs inside of our system. Not small, but for some manufacturing companies that get in the hundreds of thousands. But you imagine going into your sales team saying, hey, I’m going to create a mobile sales unit for you that has everything in it. What’s everything right? And we started when I first came, even in our trade shows, some of our our key kind of sales influencers where we need the version, the physical version of everything displayed doesn’t matter if it looks exactly the same, if it’s a little bit different here, a little bit different there, we have to show everything or else the customer won’t understand. So getting that kind of core product solution set down in the what you could actually contain in that mobile experience probably took us about two and a half months of very deep engagement continuously with ourselves, our different sales teams, because we also operate in four different channels. So trying to find that collaboration and negotiation between all the different groups to say. Hey, you need to give and take a little bit so we can create this great experience. Was was a big lift for a lot of thought to make sure you have the right thing early that that was probably the biggest thing.

Carman Pirie: I would have some great advice, Nick, for the listeners that are looking to maybe take this idea and run with it, I’ll be curious to to hear those from those who do, because I think there’s a, there’s a really big there there and I’m just incredibly impressed with what you’ve been able to create. Thanks so much for joining us on The Kula Ring today, Nick.

Nick Baranowski: Yeah, thanks for having me. I appreciate that. I hope that some of the stuff we talked about, maybe out other marketers that are looking at kind of getting a new experience for their customers and I had fun talking with you guys ready to dip into some eggnog.

Carman Pirie: Exactly. It’s been a pleasure. And we’ll be sure to link up some videos or some stills of your, your space, so, for folks listening, please check it out on the, on the main Kula Ring site and we’ll we’ll get that to you. I think it’ll be interesting for people to check out. It’s really, really cool.

Jeff White: Yeah absolutely and that’s thanks so much Nick.

Nick Baranowski: Thank you guys have a, have a great end of the year and enjoy the kick off next year.

Carman Pirie: Cheers mate.

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 K-U-L-A

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Nick Baranowski

Marketing Director at Keystone Technologies

Nick Baranowski is the Marketing Director at Keystone Technologies, a lighting industry leader for more than 75 years. A veteran of the pharmaceutical, telecommunications, and lighting industries, he leads collaborative teams in omni-channel marketing approaches, utilizing both data-driven initiatives and creative talents to develop incisive, memorable, and successful marketing campaigns, and pushing innovation in customer engagement and interaction. When not thinking of the next big idea, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children and tackling the next house project on his to-do list.

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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