MXD Process: Daniel Loeschen – Is Social Media for Manufacturers Actually Helpful?
Daniel Loeschen, Marketing Director of MXD Process, shares how investing in the company website and social media catapulted them ahead of the competition.Danny:All right, well welcome back, let’s go ahead and jump into this episode. Before we do that, like always, we’ve got Daniel Loeschen here, if you can just introduce yourself to the audience and who you guys are, MXD Process, what are you guys up to?Daniel:So my name is Daniel Loeschen, I’m the Marketing Director for MXD Process, we’re based in Louisville, Kentucky. And we are a process manufacturer, process equipment manufacturer, and we take a three pronged approach to how we do it. So we manufacture everything in house, in Louisville, and we have a mixing equipment side of our business, so we build industrial agitators, mixing equipment, and then a stainless steel tank shop where we build stainless steel tanks from five gallon to 25,000 gallon, and then a process controls, like batch control systems. And we tie it all together though our process engineering and programming and all that right in our plant.Danny:Great, awesome. So, a couple questions I actually want to ask just to clarify on that, as far as your go-to market strategies, do you guys deal primarily with distributors? Are you dealing direct? Obviously I would think direct where you apply something.Daniel:Yeah, mainly direct. We’re not exclusively direct. The company started kind of that way, because we wanted to do something a little different in the industry where it was a hundred percent distributors, suppliers, sales reps, and so we started wanting to go direct to kind of cut that out, take the Warby Parker approach except in an industrial scale.Danny:Sure, yeah.Daniel:But over time, we don’t want to ignore that that’s how business is done. And so we do have some sales reps, but we don’t make any exclusive deals to do that.Danny:Gotcha. Okay, so, a little backstory for our audience who’s watching us. So we found MXD Process and we found Daniel through Twitter, actually, was interesting. So noticed that you guys had a really interesting profile, it was very well done. It was very accurate, there were a lot of things going on. And so we thought we’d reach out and just kind of see, what you guys are doing, if there’s value there and just to get an understanding of your story. And so, I’d love to just go through your story, I mean how you guys kind of transitioned, ’cause it’s kind of interesting, where you guys started from when you weren’t doing digital marketing, what was that aha moment and to where you are now? So, what did it look like? I think what you said is, the company’s about eight years old or so. Give us the snapshot of what it looked like back then?Daniel:Yeah, so, really, it started with our CEO. He was a chemical engineer by trade, and he was a vice president of another mixing company that just did mixers. And he worked there, I don’t know how long he worked there, but that’s where he started to learn all the ways that the industry is lacking in marketing specifically and ways that things could be done better, like going direct to the customer. ‘Cause one of the things that he believed was that the customer is smart enough to be able to know what they want. Which I don’t think… a lot of companies, at least, don’t encourage that. And so when he parted ways with the previous company he started, Mixer Direct was the name of the company at the time. And we just did mixing equipment, just mixers, not tanks and all that stuff. And so he wanted to take a different approach. An online first approach, which was something that had never been done in the industry. Really a customer online first approach to marketing and sales.Danny:So what did that look like? What was the landscape? You were taking it online, what–Daniel:Yeah, invest heavily in a website, which most, I would say 50% of the competitors at the time, didn’t even have a website.Danny:Wow.Daniel:And you’re talking 2010, so I mean, that’s crazy behind, but that’s the way, that’s the landscape of the industry. And so, invested heavily in a website and an e-commerce, which was a first in the industry to be able to actually sell that stuff online. For a customer to get online and buy an industrial mixer without ever talking to the sales person was completely new.Danny:And having a printed catalog or whatever.Daniel:Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. And so, because the industry was old, you didn’t want to just ignore that. And so he did, we made a catalog and they sent it out, like the first time they blasted it out just to let people know, “Hey, we exist.” But then after that, never did it again. And that started driving people to the website, and then invested in SEO. I started, at first, there was a company that he was paying to consult and do that, same with ad-words, started doing ad-words. And then a couple years into it, we started seeing competitors kind of jump on board, trying to do the same thing, seeing that there’s probably value there. And that’s when I came on. So I got hired really to start the marketing department at now MXD Process, we’ve changed our name since. And so when I came on, that was where we were at. Everything was outsourced. We had an SEO company that we were working with, an ad-words company that we were working with, no social media. And we had a blog with two posts or something. Because someone probably told them that you needed to do that. And so when I came on, I started just evaluating, trying to figure out the industry, ’cause I didn’t come from manufacturing. Trying to figure out what it is that we need to do. What is working, what’s not working, just throwing everything at the wall, seeing what sticks, that kind of thing. And that’s when we started investing in social media, we brought SEO in-house. We brought ad-words in-house as well. Because of how niche our industry is, it was really hard to find partners that understood what we were doing and where the value was. And I imagine a lot of other industrial companies experienced that same thing, but most of the PPC companies are SEO companies come from e-commerce backgrounds, they were wanting to sell shoes and stuff like that.Danny:What do you search for?Daniel:Right.Danny:For industrial, I’m looking for big take.Daniel:Right, yeah, they just have no idea, which is understandable, but, we knew better than they did it, at what we were trying to do and where the value was. So, we brought all that stuff in-house and started optimizing it and trying to figure out where the value was. And, we were just from the out of the gate, just dominating our competitors in online search specifically. That was the first domino to fall was, we just–Danny:Online search.Daniel:Online search. We owned that and we did that by content, a lot of content and we still pump out a lot of content.Danny:So what different types of form? Like what forms of content?Daniel:Yeah, I mean back when, four or five years ago when infographics were a big deal, we jumped on that train and invested a lot to get really well done infographics that weren’t just cool pictures, but actually informative. And that drove a lot of leads to our website and started showing up in search results back when Google did rich snippets. I don’t know if you remember that?Danny:Oh yeah.Daniel:So that’s when we invested in video, we started, we bought equipment and started shooting a lot of videos, customer videos, and internal videos, just showing process builds and things like that. And that was really valuable then, because Google would rank those search results in there.Danny:You actually get search results from that.Daniel:Yeah. And then they killed that, they don’t do that anymore.Danny:It was funny, it was actually a short blip almost. It was like a year or so. And then everyone had, and then it, they said–Daniel:They were talking about it at conferences and everything, and it was a huge thing. And then all of a sudden they just killed it. And so video was still really valuable, but we just had to shift direction. So we use video now more as like a lead nurturing thing, not necessarily like a lead capturing, tool.Danny:Sure, yeah.Daniel:So yeah, search traffic was the first one to really go. And then we hired someone to start building our social media and I mean, I think now I haven’t counted in a couple months, but I think we have a following total of around 150000, which is by far more than,Danny:Across all on different social media platforms.Daniel:Across all the social media channels, yeah. Which is by far more than any of our competitors.Danny:I would think so, yeah.Daniel:Yeah. And I think the reason there is just because people don’t see that it is valuable. I remember a couple of years after we were doing it, we did a trade show in Germany. And I had someone from Russia that came up to our booth and was like, “I follow you guys on Instagram”. And he came and talked to us in our booth.Danny:Interesting.Daniel:And they were manufacturing something in Russia, so that global reach that you can get through, especially with social media, minimal investment. And we still to this day have not done paid advertising on social. It’s something we’ve looked into, and I know that there probably is value there. We just haven’t, it hasn’t been a priority for us with the way it’s going. ‘Cause it’s going well. And we’re investing heavily in search advertising. So I think that we will at some point, but that’s not where we’re at right now.Danny:That’s really interesting. So what would you say, let’s walk us through this ’cause a social media thing is,