Why Sustainable Product Innovation Should Serve Your Customer’s Supply Chain

Episode 220

January 31, 2023

In this episode of The Kula Ring, Sylvain Marseille, VP of Marketing and New Product Development at Pelton Shepherd shares why understanding the pain points along a customer’s whole supply chain is essential when innovating a new sustainable product. He discusses the importance of a long term vision when it comes to developing sustainable products and why your actions should be driven by what the customer needs to build a stronger brand.

Why Sustainable Product Innovation Should Serve Your Customer’s Supply Chain 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 am happy to be here, Jeff, and you?

Jeff White: I’m glad to be here as well. I’m looking forward to today’s show. 

Carman Pirie: Agreed, agreed. You know, this isn’t an episode that’s all about sustainability or anything of that nature, but it does kind of knock on the door of that as a subject, and we’ve kind of danced around it in a number of areas often with respect to the packaging category, et cetera, so it’s kind of… I’m excited for today’s show because it’s kind of a different angle on that, a different perspective. 

Jeff White: Absolutely. And we’ve had a few guests on the show, as well, who have a double life. They might have come to marketing within a manufacturer as an engineer or something like that, but they rarely combine those roles after they find marketing. 

Carman Pirie: That’s fair. There’s not a lot of folks that have been on the show that kind of have a joint product innovation, product development and marketing role, so that is true. Yeah. 

Jeff White: Yeah. For sure. So, joining us today is Sylvain… I’m gonna have a hard time saying this. We talked about it before the show and our guest has a French name and I like speaking French when I have the opportunity, but he felt that it was better to perhaps Americanize it a little bit, to make it easier to find on the internet, and I totally appreciate that. So, joining us today is Sylvain Marseille. Marseille, how we would say it in French Canada, but Sylvain is the VP of Marketing and New Product Development at Pelton Shepherd. Welcome to The Kula Ring. I apologize for butchering that three different ways. 

Sylvain Marseille: Absolutely. It’s my great pleasure. And yeah, I said to everybody you can say my name the way you want. The easiest way is Sylvain Marseille, but if you want to speak French, it would be Sylvain Marseille. And I’m very glad to be here with you guys. I’m super excited about the chance to connect with thought leaders on manufacturing marketing and innovation. 

Carman Pirie: It’s wonderful to have you on the show. Why don’t you, in addition to simply introducing you in two different languages, we could probably dive a little deeper into your background, Sylvain, and perhaps tell our listeners a bit more about you and the firm. 

Sylvain Marseille: Yeah. Absolutely. So, to introduce myself, I’m an engineer by education, but marketing strategist and product guy by trade, and my current role is Vice President of Marketing and New Product Development at Pelton Shepherd. Pelton Shepherd is a gel pack manufacturing company focused on B2B, so we help companies ship perishables and pharmaceuticals that require temperature control, and this is a company that was founded in 1950 by the grandfather of the current CEO, Jack Shepherd. And COVID has been great to our business, if I can say, because a lot of people needed and wanted to have perishables shipped home so they don’t have to get out, and so we had a lot of growth over the past years. 

And I joined the team about a year and a half ago to help with the marketing effort, to continue to fuel the growth, and also to help the innovation part of the business. It’s a company that has been innovative, but because the growth was so fast, the team didn’t have the time to work on new products as much as the CEO wanted to, so that’s why I joined. 

Carman Pirie: Well, Sylvain, I don’t know if Pelton Shepherd’s products are part of what I’m about to mention or not, but if you ever find yourself here in Halifax, Nova Scotia, when you land in the airport you’ll find that there are a couple of businesses there that are dedicated to selling you lobster that you can take on the plane, and of course it has to remain frozen, so I have no idea, but I think if they aren’t a customer, I think we can probably find an in for you there. 

Sylvain Marseille: Okay. All right. Yeah. They could be. They probably are. You know, we have a leading position in that market, and we’re thankful to serve the largest companies in the U.S., but I don’t know about this particular aspect, but I know we can help. Let me put it this way. 

Carman Pirie: Well, look. I do want to kind of dive into what you’ve been doing, what I would characterize as kind of leaning into the notion of sustainable product development and what that means, and through the lens of a beta launch that you’ve recently done, but maybe before we get there we talk about sustainable gel packs and kind of the work that you’re doing there. I’d be curious to understand how you’ve synchronized that effort with customer demand or insight. Because I think one of the challenges when it comes to sustainability for companies in your kind of space is they sometimes struggle with how much they ought to be out in front of the consumer, or out in front of the market, versus reacting to demands for more ecologically friendly solutions. 

So, I guess how did you synchronize, if you will, with the market? What was your customer discovery process?

Sylvain Marseille: Well, I’m glad you asked. Yeah, this is very interesting, because this touches an area which is important to me. The customer discovery aspect, as an engineer in my career, I worked on a lot of new product, and sometimes was disappointed by the success of our product, and I just realized that we were not focusing enough on what was really mattering to the customers. You know, when you’re an engineer you’re like, “Oh, I have this new feature that I think is gonna help,” and it does, but everything equal, and that’s the problem is that you forget that this is just one part of what makes the value proposition for the customers, and if you do pay attention, maybe this particular thing that you’re trying to solve is not that important, actually. 

And so, sustainability is one of them, because our customers are businesses serving consumers, and obviously consumers have a strong pull for sustainable solutions, but we make products for the businesses, not for the consumer, so we have to be careful. As I always say, the diaper is not a product for the baby. It’s a product for the parent. If you ask baby what they want, they say, “Nothing. Thank you very much.” And it’s the same for us. We bring solutions for businesses who serve consumers. 

And so, what I did when I started this role about a year ago is that I did as much as possible a customer survey where I would talk directly to the customers and paying attention to choose the right decision makers. You know, making sure that I talked to the people who are in charge of the business strategy overall and be careful not to talk too much to the people who are in charge of the tactical aspect of purchasing, for example. Not that I don’t want to talk to them. Of course, I want to talk to them, but it’s more important for me that I understand the context of the business. And once I do that, of course I ask about pain points. What is the problem? How is your business changing? What kind of problems does that create for your business? What are you doing about it? That’s very important to understand. What is the customer doing about this particular issue? For example, supply chain issues. And what are the pain points associated with that?

So, you go from the very general down to the nitty gritty. And so, throughout this process you take a lot of notes about what is important, and what they’re seeing, other pain points, and towards the end of the call I ask, “Okay,” so I make sure that I got everything. “You said this pain point, this pain point, this pain point, this pain point. Did I forget anything?” Typically, no. And I said, “Okay. Well, next year, let’s imagine that my budget is whatever, $1 million for new product development. How should I spend this money? Should I split it evenly to solve all those problems? Or should I realign?” 

And people say, “I’m not sure.” I say, “Well, let’s look at it. Let me split it evenly. Does that sound right?” They say, “Well, no. Just put more money here, and there,” and stuff like that. And at the end of this process, you have a ranked specification of the things you should work on. And the reason I’m telling all of that is because when you look at sustainability, people say, “Well, what’s happening in your business?” Well, we need sustainable solutions, sustainable solutions.. But when you ask them to rank it, you just realize that what really helps is reduced cost and improved quality, you know what I mean? Of course, it’s great. Sustainability is great. But it’s not that important. It’s important to do something about it, but it’s not that important. 

Jeff White: Well, and you mentioned too how it’s important for you to be aware that you’re selling to other businesses, but you also have to be contextually aware that they’re selling potentially to consumers, or to other businesses that sell to consumers who may not be willing to increase the cost in order to have a more sustainable solution, even though we all agree it’s better. 

Sylvain Marseille: And so, that’s the challenge is that you have to… If you’re developing a sustainable solution, the end game is to make it as cost effective as possible to the point that there is no cost added to the business, and so there’s two aspects to that. You have as an innovator, a product development guy, I have to test new solutions to see if I can change the basis, right? And so, one of the products we released recently is Terra Ice, and it’s a product that we make to understand how we can help the market with a very sustainable gel pack. Initially, it’s meant to be a niche, because we know that the cost and the usability of it is so different from the standard that it’s gonna be difficult specifically for the big guys to adopt it. But by identifying the people who are trying to create a very strong brand around sustainability and working with those, and making sure we debug it in a way that is interesting to them, we’ll get there. 

Most innovation, they start, and there’s plenty of things wrong with it, you know? And that’s how you win is that little bit little, you improve it, and then you’re the perfect product for the market. Think of the Tesla cars, right? They started, it was supposed to be a niche for an expensive car, for certain people who were kind of like nerds about the technology, and then little by little they get to the point that they’re super cost-effective and they are the most sold car in the U.S., in the world. And so, that’s the approach with Terra Ice. We have something which is very special, very designed to be completely unique in the market, because it’s a gel pack which is completely compostable. It uses certified compostable film and a gel which is made from basically food gelling agents. 

The reason we did that is because we wanted to make sure that downstream from the value chain, you have my customer, the Hello Fresh, the Blue Apron of the world, and then you have the consumer, and downstream from the consumer you have the composting facilities who are the people who are gonna say, “That’s useful to me. I’m glad to see it. I’m okay to receive this.” Or they could just say, “You know what? I don’t understand this. I don’t want it in my stock.” And then once that’s started, it’s very difficult to… Because they’re downstream, to chase. It’s not like you can connect into there and say, “Hey, I fixed my product. You can get it.” No, they’re done. 

And that has happened in the past with people who design compostable cutlery, and they made them look exactly like the plastic counterpart, which was a good idea from a standpoint of acceptance from the customer. Terrible idea from the composter’s standpoint, because the composters are seeing both arriving in their stock and they’re like, “Well, we can’t tell who’s compostable, who’s not, so that’s it. We’re not getting anything that is a white plastic cutlery anymore.” 

And it was really hard to come back from there, because now there’s this perception that anything that is white plastic looking will never go to the compost, so they had to do something different. That’s what I was thinking with this product, is make sure we make it very different looking. The gel pack is very green. It’s transparent. It looks like nothing else. It looks like the scrap bag that you use for your scraps if you’re doing composting. And we make it extremely composter friendly. And also, consumer friendly. One of the friction points we hear from consumers, or being a consumer myself, is that it’s a little bit confusing what you have to do with those gel packs when you want to dispose of them, which is most of the experience from the consumer, by the way. They don’t need that. They just need to dispose of it. 

And so, some of them you have to cut open and empty in the sink. Some of them, to separate the gel from the plastic so you can recycle hopefully the plastic. I designed the compostable gel pack that you just toss it in the compost bin and don’t worry about it. Or actually, toss it in garbage if you don’t have a composting facility. It’s actually better than the plastic equivalent. It will degrade much faster, guaranteed. But don’t worry about it. Just toss it. If it’s not unfrozen, toss it. Don’t worry about it. Just toss it in the compost bin and feel good about it. That’s the idea. 

So, sorry, there was a little bit of segue out of the topic, but hopefully that was relevant. 

Carman Pirie: No, it’s incredibly relevant. I’m curious, though, because you mentioned that sustainability is important, but a whole lot of other things are maybe more important to the business. Cost, et cetera. But you’ve chosen to focus a fair bit of product development effort here on a sustainable solution. In the course of that customer discovery, is it that you just really found that there were two different segments, if you will, and there was one segment that did have a very strong sustainability focus and was maybe even willing to pay more? Is that what kind of led you to go down this path? I’m trying to get a sense of to what extent are you leading the customer or are they leading you?

Sylvain Marseille: Yeah. That’s actually a really… Yeah. Well, first, the customer should always be leading you. That’s my rule. Your actions should be driven by what the customer needs. And that’s something that got me excited when I interviewed for the first time with Pelton Shepherd, is that the CEO is laser-focused on customers and customer service. And so, it should be the customer, but it’s a very good question, Carman. The answer is it is a little bit of a segment. It’s a little bit of a dynamic segment. It’s more like new entrants into those markets have to create their brand, okay? And so, to create their brand, this is a very powerful tool, because you have a gel pack that is very unique. It creates this unique experience for the customer, and you do really show that you’re trying to do something very different from everybody, so that’s the point. The tool that I created is a tool for my customer to have a better branding success. 

That’s for my customer. For my customer’s customer, I create a very frictionless user experience. And for my customer’s customer’s customer, to a certain extent, the composter, I create a safe product to get into. You know what I mean? But the person I serve there first is my customer. And so, those are the customers who are getting into the market, they have to build a strong brand. At that point, it’s more important than anything else, because they have to be known to the marketplace. But you know, the segment is dynamic. 

And I can tell you a story. I was working with this innovator in the field of meal kits, and we were working together on this compostable gel pack, but of course it took time before I got it right. And after about a year I got it right, but by that time that customer who was new to the market, who was trying to build his brand, had shifted to, “You know, our brand is strong enough. Now we need to shift on operations. And you know what? Operations means cost, which means it’s not as important anymore.” You know what I mean? That’s what is interesting. It’s not that it’s a segment. It’s more a stage of maturity in the company. So, yes, it’s a segment, but it’s a dynamic segment, if you will. 

Carman Pirie: I mean, in some ways you might listen to what you just said and say it’s a bit of a recipe that you’re going to be dealing with maybe the up and comers, or the challenger brands in this kind of model, but there has to be some leaders in the category that want to also lead in sustainability. As an example, Patagonia is a very leading brand when it comes to sustainability, but they’re not small by any stretch. 

Sylvain Marseille: Yeah. So, that’s a very good point, and that’s something which has been a big learning on my career, is that of course the big guys, they want to be innovative, and they often are to a certain extent, but when you start with something innovative that you are still building up, okay, we’re still trying to identify how to do it right… And by the way, you always start with something which is not usable, expensive, and stuff like that, and over time makes it work, makes it cost effective and reliable and things like that. So, the big guys who have a large supply chain, of course they want to innovate, but one of the things which is most important to them on an everyday basis is their operations, their quality, and their cost. 

Even though they tell you, “Hey, we want to be innovative,” and stuff like that, you need to understand they are big machinery, and they have… Cost and quality is the most important. And by the way, it’s interesting we talk about that, because I spend much more effort and cost in improving cost and quality than working on this compostable gel pack. Just to let you know. Because for my market, this is actually way more important, right? But I do want to be the first one, at least our CEO is supportive to the idea of we want to be innovative. We want to see how can we do better. And that involves trying stuff which is not perfect at the first time, and that is trying to do something very special, so eventually you can prove it over time and you can have a leading position in this new creation of this new segment. 

Carman Pirie: That’s really interesting texture too around this, the big guys, they may have a genuine interest in innovation. It’s not even necessarily that it’s lip service or that they don’t want it, but it’s just the beast that they need to feed is quite a bit different. Their expectations are different. And their appetite for experimentation as a result of that is quite a bit different. Yeah. That makes sense to me. 

Sylvain Marseille: Yeah. And you know, that’s the lesson that I’ve learned, because I was part of those innovation teams in large companies, so I very much saw the two sides of that. And I was also part of a startup before this role. I was part of a startup. And I’m also an adviser to startups in the Bay Area, and that’s one of the things I tell them. They say, “Oh, we’re talking to this very large account,” and stuff like that, and I say, “Well, be careful. You should absolutely talk to those large accounts. You should absolutely know what they… But understand that the people you talk to typically are… They are disconnected from making a business on an everyday basis.” Because most of those people don’t have time to look at innovation. They want something that solves their problem right now, not something that could be useful in two years when it’s debugged. 

So, you know, you have to be careful when you talk to those people. Don’t get excited that you have a big name. I mean, it’s nice to show it to your investors, but actually your investors should know better. Your investors should be, “Okay, show me people who are buying this and it saved their lives on an everyday basis. That’s what I want to see.” I was on the investor side of the large company and that… When I saw these innovators and they say, “Oh, we can do this.” I’d say, “Well, great. Who are you selling to right now? Who can I call and is gonna say hey, for my business right now this saves my life and that’s the only solution that I have?” 

Sorry, I deviated a little bit, but that’s the same principle, that work with the innovators, the ones that will debug your product with you. Those are the most important people so you can get traction, put it in the field. Because you don’t know what you don’t know until it’s in the hands of the customer, right? There’s maybe a completely big problem that you had with a product that you didn’t know, or the other way around. There may be a usage of your product that you didn’t know. Think of Viagra and Coca-Cola, right? Which started with completely different stuff and then they put them in the hands of customers and they’re like, “Well, what do you know?” Well, Coca-Cola, of course. 

Carman Pirie: Has anybody tried combining them, I wonder? 

Sylvain Marseille: Yeah. That could be a-

Jeff White: Is that like Mentos and Diet Coke? A very different thing. I do think, Sylvain, it’s interesting, because this idea of working with early adopters, and kind of getting their feedback, and going through that, but you’re also incorporating some other elements of design thinking into your process that are as much about building a brand that is built through quality products and innovation that people start to associate with that brand. I’m thinking about your choice of color for the product and kind of putting those things together in order to make it obvious that this is not the same as a plastic gel pack, for example.

Sylvain Marseille: Absolutely. 

Jeff White: Are you coming to the market with that idea? Or is that an example of feedback you might have received from say the compost processors down the line? Or how are you finding that out or thinking about it?

Sylvain Marseille: I’m glad you asked, Jeff, because that is purposeful, and it is also based from the feedback. The best way, in my opinion, you can create a brand, is when it’s linked to your actions, right? I mean, you can yell, “I’m the best,” or you can yell, “I’m sustainable,” enough that people really believe it, or you can be sustainable and just show a few times people that you are, and that to me is a much stronger message. And so, my branding strategy is always you start by acting with a brand, if you will, and making sure you’re consistent in acting the brand. 

For example, at Pelton Shepherd, our brand is about trust. People say, “You guys have the best service.” Because you know, when you buy gel packs, not the therapeutic gel pack that you buy one or two in your life. When people come to us, they are buying supply chain. I like to say gel packs is a service because that’s what it is. They come to us and they buy a partner. They buy a supply chain. We’re gonna work for weeks and they’re gonna get pallets and pallets of gel packs every week. And what matters the most is not only the product. Of course, the product is good. The quality, the price, everything is good. But what matters is that my business is changing all the time, especially when it belongs to consumer products in the end, and so how fast can you react to the fact that my organization is growing so fast that I have no idea what I’m doing, and I have all those changes? I don’t have forecasts that you can trust because my customers don’t… You know, change their mind all the time. And the temperature outside is changing all the time, which means maybe I need two gel packs in my box today, but maybe tomorrow I need three. 

And so, we are very active, and that’s why also you have to be close to operations a little bit, because this is what the brand is. I can yell to everybody and say, “We are very reliable.” But if we’re not ourselves reliable, that’s not worth spending all this money and pretending to do what you’re not, to be what you’re not.

To come back to your comment about the gel pack, creating the brand, it has to be purposeful based on what the customer wants. And so, the customer wanted something that they can’t confuse it with a traditional gel pack, right? It’s a little bit obvious. It’s part of the user experience is that they know, they see this gel pack, they say, “Oh, I remember. It’s the green gel pack. The green gel pack goes to the compost bin.” No doubt. And so, that’s why I trademarked the green gel pack, and so that’s why I designed it this way. It is part of the experience, so the green color, the fact that it looks like a scrap bag is part of the branding and the experience. I’m delivering the brand that I want to create, because the brand I would create is what I deliver. 

Carman Pirie: I think this is some great advice that marketers who aren’t in product development can still leverage greatly. 

Sylvain Marseille: And they should. Yeah. They should. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. This notion of thinking down the value chain and not just… You know, in some ways, this is almost looking for where down the value chain could we face a roadblock? This isn’t even really about… I mean, yes, it is about making composters’ lives easier, but in some ways it’s mostly about making sure they don’t say no. They don’t just start diverting it and ignore the core product benefit, because obviously the upstream impact of that would be massive. I think that’s something… There’s an awful lot of marketers that are working in spaces that new products are being developed and launched, and maybe those product dev teams haven’t thought that far down the line, but the marketers can. 

Sylvain Marseille: Yeah. And you know, the product people nowadays, especially when you’re working with something that’s gonna touch the customer, which means it’s gonna have to have a sustainable framework around it, you have to think about that. And you know, I want to speak about something about sustainability. In packaging, that’s something which is important, and it’s just gonna be for manufacturing people it’s gonna be huge over the next years. It’s the LCA. The lifecycle analysis. There is what the consumer wants and there’s what the data is telling you you should do. And they are often not the same.

I’m gonna say something which is very controversial, but if you look at greenhouse gas emission, my traditional gel pack may be actually better than my super compostable gel pack. Because right now, those supply chains are new. Making a composable film requires more energy and more greenhouse gas typically. Also, because typically for the same performance, you have to have something which is a little thicker, which means you are adding weight to your product, which means you are adding transport cost and gas to your product. 

And so, for example, there’s this study which shows that using plastic bags is maybe better than using paper bags for groceries, because when you look at the LCA, you just realize you’re spending all that energy making it work with paper bags. And I’m not saying we should not use paper bags. On the contrary, I say we should use paper bags so eventually those supply chains are so efficient that they’re just as good as the plastics. But they’re not there yet, right? Because it’s new. Because those supply chains have not had the luxury of 50 years of improvement that the plastic industry has. Do you know what I mean? It’s not a black and white answer. It’s more like, “Okay, from which standpoint are you trying to look at and what are you trying to do?” 

If you’re trying to satisfy your customer and the customer is the consumer, give them what they want. Don’t argue with them. Until they’re LCA experts, just give them what they want. So, they want paper bags, you give them paper bags. As a business, you have to. At the same time, if you want to make the right decision for your future, don’t spit on the plastic. Plastic has its space. Plastic, it should be there. Should be part of the future, but in an intelligent manner. You know, are you trying to avoid the situation where there’s no oil in the Earth and everybody’s starting to kill each other? It’d probably be a good idea to start reducing your dependency on fossil fuel. So, I think that effort is good, and so there’s that argument too. 

Carman Pirie: Your commentary on the LCA is an interesting one because I agree with what you’re saying. The notion of if that’s what consumers want, if they want the paper bag, then give them the paper bag, because trying to make them LCA experts is a losing proposition. And you’re spot on, which is the challenge that somebody who let’s say a flexible packaging manufacturer, who only makes plastic bags, they may be looking at it and saying going out and making paper isn’t an option, so giving the customer what they want means that they’re no longer a customer. And often people propose these kind of LCA arguments as a way of having that conversation and trying to convince the consumer to bring them around to your way of thinking. And man, that is hard. 

Sylvain Marseille: Yeah. That is hard. And some customers are very sophisticated. You know, Amazon, when they talk to us, they say, “Okay, can you show me the LCA data of your product?” That’s the first thing that they ask. They’re like, “Okay.” Because they are very sophisticated. They have the means. And at the scale of Amazon, can you imagine? When they make a decision on their packaging and they shift to it, it has a huge impact on the Earth. I mean, they are one of the most… Probably the biggest packaging consumer on Earth. So, that makes a difference, so those are very sophisticated. And some people are trying to build a brand, and they want to use for example mycelium-based packaging to replace EPS, to replace polystyrene. 

I think it’s fantastic. I think don’t look at the greenhouse gas emission of mycelium because you’ll shoot yourself in the face. It’s heavier. It uses way more energy. But it’s still the right thing to do in my mind, you know what I mean? It’s still the right thing to do because of course right now it’s heavy, and it’s complicated, but by the time it has the scale of plastic and EPS, it’ll be just as good and maybe better. 

Carman Pirie: I think that’s a really clever positioning and kind of argument here that frankly I haven’t heard a lot of. I hear people trying to make excuses, but you’re actually… I like your approach, like, “No, no, no. We don’t need to make excuses.” It is higher greenhouse gases now but now is not the problem we’re solving for. We’re solving for three years from now, five years from now. That’s a really great… And Sylvain, I am going to say as we kind of wrap up the show, I think just to come back to your commentary with respect to branding, I feel it was incredible advice. Do and then tell, don’t yell, if I had to summarize what you were saying. 

Sylvain Marseille: Yeah. That’s really good. I’ll copy that if you don’t mind. 

Carman Pirie: No, it was yours. I’m just copywriting a bit on the fly here. But look, honestly, I thought it was just really, really solid advice, and I think for anybody particularly waving a sustainability flag, it’s something they maybe ought to take to heart, because you can get a lot further with that do and then tell approach, for sure. 

Sylvain, thank you so much for sharing your expertise with our audience today. It’s been great to have you on the show. 

Sylvain Marseille: Well, thank you so much, guys. Well, first it was a pleasure, and I’m so excited that there’s a podcast like yours who talks about our everyday problems as marketers. I think it’s fantastic. And by the way, as a marketer, I think that influencer marketing is much more important nowadays than… I mean, I still have people who send me email marketing, and I feel sorry for them. That’s mean. I shouldn’t say that. I mean, there’s a place for email marketing, but I think this is a medium that is just going away, just like paper. And I think that what you guys do is much more value-added than anything else. 

Jeff White: We appreciate that. 

Carman Pirie: Well, look, I appreciate that, and again, it’s been a pleasure having you on the show. Let’s look forward to reconnecting in a couple of years and we can see if email marketing is dead at that point. That will be the subject of our next show. 

Sylvain Marseille: I certainly hope so. 

Jeff White: Thanks a lot, Sylvain. 

Sylvain Marseille: My pleasure. 

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Sylvain Marseille

VP of Marketing and New Product Development at Pelton Shepherd

Sylvain Marseille is the Vice President of Marketing and New Product Development at Pelton Shepherd. With two decades of experience designing, launching and upscaling B2B innovations, Sylvain specializes in customer discovery and customer-centric product development. He regularly coaches early stage startups and innovators in the Bay Area. Recently, Sylvain designed and launched the first truly compostable gel pack, a new product in competition for the prestigious Edison Award for Sustainability.

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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