Last summer, using only LinkedIn, I identified the 3,000 largest companies in North America that use PCBs in their products. When I say your customers and prospective customers are on LinkedIn, I’m not spoofing you.
But social networks like LinkedIn seem to represent a blind spot for most PCB manufacturers. They automatically come up with excuses about why they don’t want to address the thousands of potential customers that you can find in, oh, one hour.
True story: I had some interest from a PCB executive in Michigan who really needed to improve his sales. I left a message for him to call me. In the next 20 minutes I built a list using LinkedIn of the 30 biggest PCB users in Michigan. He never called me back. (Anyone want that list? I still have it.)
But there’s some weird resistance built in to using LinkedIn. If I said, "Here is a list of 3,000 prospective customers that read e-mail newsletters," would you say, “We haven’t done that before, it’s too hard”?
And if you found 3,000 prospective customers were going to a specific trade show in Chicago, what would you say? “Ah, it’s too expensive to exhibit there. We won’t go.”
And if you found statistics saying 80% of your customers said they read a specific industry publication, what would you say? “It’s too hard to figure out the ROI on advertising there. Forget it.”
So how does social media like LinkedIn get treated? As an afterthought...
President of a PCB company: “Everyone is talking about this social media stuff. I think it’s time we tried it out.”
Marketing type (with eyes bugging out): “Really? You mean it?”
President: “Yes, let’s test the waters. How about MySpace? My daughter used that and seemed to like it when she was in college.”
Marketing type: “Ummmm...”
President: “And we don’t want to spend any money on it. This stuff is free, right? So just put out the PDF version of the brochure, maybe some press releases about those people we hired a while back...”
Marketing type: “All those people have left.”
President: “Oh, yeah, and we have to have some old pictures from the Christmas party, and the photos we took of the equipment for the insurance company...”
Marketing type (stalling for time at this point): “Well, that may take me some time to put together, and I’m kind of busy right now...”
President: “Oh, I wasn’t thinking of you, I was going to assign Sidney, Clayton, and Jugdish to do it.”
Marketing type: “The guys in plating? The plating guys are going to run our social media program?”
President: “Well, it’s quiet back there right now, they have spare time. You know, I’m really feeling good about this whole idea.”