“I market for the same reason a pilot keeps his engines running once he is off the ground.” – William Wrigley Jr.
IS MARKETING taken as seriously as it should be by your in-plant? After all, you’ve got a captive audience, right?
You’ve no doubt heard about outsourcing attacks. I’m not about to tell you they’re all due to an absence of promotional activities. What I will say is that in-plants that create and foster a positive awareness program among their “stakeholders” have the best shot at being successful. For our purposes, I’ll define stakeholders as:
• Supporters: administrators and executives (a.k.a. decision makers).
• Clients: those who understand your value (or have no choice but to use you).
• Prospects: those who have not yet been convinced of your value and/or don’t use you.
Like you, I have observed many in-plants over the years through, at the very least, the pages of this magazine. We marvel at the successes and pity the failures. In many of those failures rests the underlying fact that communication with one or more of the stakeholders has been ignored and that somewhere along the line, the original value of the in-plant was lost.
Two Different Approaches
Glenda Miley of Auburn University and Joanne Rotert of the University of Missouri-Columbia both make sure that doesn’t happen at their in-plants. They were part of a panel at this year’s IPMA conference that focussed on in-plant marketing techniques.
A systematic approach is taken by both of them. In Joanne’s case, she uses her marketing background to the department’s benefit. Glenda utilizes marketing talent through a student internship from Auburn’s School of Business. Although specific campaigns differ at each institution, established professional marketing principles are adhered to by both. Promotion is viewed as an annually planned strategy with specific goals. Some activities reinforce the departmental brand, while others track and measure responses.
Vic Nathan Barkin has more than 35 years of experience in the printing, paper and wood products industries and currently owns a consulting practice specializing in business development, workflow, and technology implementation, focusing on “Green Procurement and Production” practices. Vic is a QMS Lead Auditor certified to ISO 9001:2008 standards, is a consultant for the Rainforest Alliance as an FSC Chain of Custody and Controlled Wood senior auditor, is an FSC, SFI and PEFC lead auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers and SGS North America, and has engaged in more than 700 site assessments and audits.