Peace, Happiness & Prosperity to You

December 17, 2008

As another year comes to a close, I’d like to thank you for including Robotic Industries Association in your personal and professional activities. To all our members, friends and partners we wish you peace, happiness and prosperity. Have a safe and wonderful holiday season.

 

— Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR, Robotic Industries Association


RIA Members See the Good in a Bad Economy

December 11, 2008

By Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR, Robotic Industries Association

 

Lately, I’ve had the good fortune to see and talk to a lot of RIA members and I’ve made it a point to ask for opinions about doing business in this economy. We know robot orders are down 19% through the first three quarters of 2008, but most people I talk to seem fairly positive in their business outlook. One of those people was Dan Peretz, Vice President of Sales at IPR – Intelligent Peripherals for Robots, who was kind enough to have lunch with me and talk business.

 

He works with Nicky Borcea, who is President of IPR and a good man to know. His company uses German and American engineering to make various end effectors, grippers, tool changers, seventh axes rails for robots and much more. They are expanding their product lineup and investing in new technology that can help users in automotive and non-automotive markets.

 

Since they have a foothold both in and out of the automotive industry, we were able to talk about the business and economy from several angles. Dan explained to me that his company helps users and integrators take some of the fixed costs out of design and fabrication of end effectors, plus they help eliminate risk by taking full responsibility for their part of the job.

 

We got to talking about business philosophy and Dan is an advocate for investing in your business and your marketing when the economy is down. For his part, Dan plans to help IPR do more marketing to make sure customers know what makes them special. An upturn will happen eventually, and with guidance from Nicky he plans to position IPR so it is ready to capitalize on upturns in demand.

 

He also gave me his take on the role of Robotic Industries Association. I told him that despite economic unrest so far membership is up somewhat over last year. He thinks one reason is that business people look a little differently at not-for-profit trade associations. They want RIA to succeed in its mission to build business and goodwill for the industry. He plans to use Robotics Online to position IPR for success and is looking at investing in higher levels of marketing with the Association.

 

We also got to talking about the future of the industry and why robots seem to have risen in popularity lately. One of our conclusions was that more students are coming out of technical colleges with skills and degrees in robotics which makes it easier for employers to adopt technology they can use. RIA has taken an interest in this important industry segment and the Membership Committee is devising a new set of benefits for educators to use.

 

I appreciate the chance to sit down with people like Dan who is an industry veteran and really good guy. He is one of many that make this such a good industry and I am honored to help promote such an interesting technology whose products and services contribute so much to productivity and quality. In my childhood I was a big Isaac Asimov fan and fate brought me to this industry so I want to give back what I can to our members. Please contact me if you have any questions about member benefits and what RIA can do for you. (734/994-6088)

 

As Poinsettias spring up around us and the holidays unfold I hope you have time to find happiness and fulfillment. If times are bleak for you, I hope they are soon sweeter than ever, and if you are well I hope those around you are lifted up by your good spirits. Peace unto all and to all a good year!

 

NOTE: Click the comment link and let us know what you think companies should do to succeed in an economic downturn or leave your own holiday message.


Accountability is Big Story for Nation and the Robotics Industry

December 4, 2008

By Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR, Robotic Industries Association

As we approach the New Year, an automotive rescue plan is a topic that dominates the national media. Close on its heals is a growing number of reports that the federal treasury cannot fully account for how money was used after it was injected into the financial market bailout. Whichever way one looks, accountability seems to be the central issue of the biggest news stories.

When it comes to your business, should you pull back on spending or is this the time to crank up the budget? Some members of RIA say hold on to your money. Others say spend. Both choices require accountability.

If congress chooses to deny the request by Detroit’s Big Three for financial assistance, they would be doing what the public wants according to major news polls. CNN says six in 10 people are against a “bailout” as reported on December 3, 2008. In other words, let the car companies be accountable for their own success or failure.

In a story worthy of Hollywood’s best cliffhanger productions, the same people that should have safeguarded the public against the financial crisis that ravaged the U.S. economy are in charge of the fate of the nation’s automotive industry. A weary public says, “No more. Don’t spend the money to bail them out.”

President elect Barack Obama has stated publicly he favors support for the automotive industry, and by many accounts this includes financial assistance. At least one school of thought says invest now or lose the manufacturing base that won several wars and almost single-handedly rescued the economy after 911 with zero-percent incentives that kept consumers spending.

And as long as they could get loans, consumers did spend. Then gas zoomed from two bucks to four in one summer. As quickly as it went up, gas prices crashed even faster, now to lows not seen since 2004. Right in the middle was a historic meltdown in the banking industry that froze credit tighter than a lobbyist’s hold on special interests. What does it all mean?

Money is at the center of the debate, that’s for sure. Banks and business need it. At one time they could practically mint it in the form of fantastical (some might say predatory) loans and big ticket vehicles. Now, the government (which really does mint the nation’s currency) is dolling out cash faster than the treasury can keep track.

In marketing, there is a basic tenant that when times are bad make sure consumers know how great you are. This may require investment in your sales force, your training, your manufacturing facility, and for sure your corporate image. Those who stop broadcasting their sales and marketing story will suffer from customer migration, especially when times improve and people gravitate to companies that are perceived as better or stronger than the competition.

A trade association such as Robotic Industries Association can be instrumental in promoting a solid case to do business with members. Membership is one way to get extra attention for a company’s sales and marketing message with a minimal investment. Membership is testimony to a company’s dedication to a particular marketplace. Membership makes it easier for customers and partners to do business by illuminating who is involved, and therefore credible, in a particular sector.

If you are in the banking business, you probably want to make loans to good customers and secure credit from companies that are qualified to lend. If you make cars, you want to sell to good customers and do business with companies that understand car manufacturing. If you use or can use robots, you should get to know the members of Robotic Industries Association. This dedicated bunch knows robots and their membership affirms their true nature as serious players. It even helps determine the best solution providers inside and outside the automotive sector.

Let RIA help you get your sales and marketing message out in a way that reflects well on your company and maximizes your marketing dollars. A New Year is coming soon and promises to be amazing. America will look to its first ever African American president for leadership amidst the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. A new automotive landscape will evolve from the legacy of one of the safest and most productive manufacturing centers in the developed world. Energy technology will make advancements in ways not seen since the atom was split. And at some point a recovery will be at hand and business will boom for those who are ready.

We hope you’ll be with us when it happens. RIA is accountable to its members and pledges to help them grow and prosper. Thank you and have a wonderful holiday season.


Why Robotics Online is a Competitive Advantage to RIA Members

December 4, 2008

By Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR, Robotic Industries Association

 

According to Google Analytics and as of November 2008, more than 19,000 “Absolute Unique Visitors” go to Robotics Online each month and click around so much they create five times as many “Pageviews” topping 100,000 per month. Thanks to search engine optimization, it is common to see member content indexed and served up by Google within days of a posting to RIA’s site. Robotics Online gives members a competitive advantage in the battle of search engine relevance and corporate sales strategy.

 

Since it launched in June 2008, more than 120 quote requests (RFQs) were delivered to members through the new site, and 380 inquiries came from Company Profiles (as of late October). Membership makes this possible – members can post free content – and the larger your footprint is the better your chances are of attracting customers.
 
It should be no surprise that advertisers have greater contact with customers from Robotics Online. More than 28,000 clicks were recorded by advertisers since the time the site launched (through late October).

 

As good a start as it has been for the new Robotics Online it has only begun to realize its potential. Pageviews are up 21% compared to the old site and at the same time the new site has fewer people “bouncing” off it than was the case for the old one. (A lower bounce rate suggests higher reader satisfaction.)

 

The fact that bounce rates are down and pageviews are up supports a conclusion that overall visit quality went up with the new site. Engaged visitors are more likely to convert to prospects and business associates. Meanwhile, the volume of absolute unique visitors is on the rise.

 

Given the statistics from Google Analytics and ad tracking from Robotics Online, RIA members can make a strong business case for membership. Their own sales strategy is enhanced by using Robotics Online as a way to broadcast their sales and marketing story. Any product or service listed on a member site should and can have a page on Robotics Online.

 

All websites ultimately succeed or fail on the quality of content, and members not only benefit from the performance of Robotics Online, but contribute to its success with news, case studies, technical papers and pages about products and services. RIA has made it possible for members to upload unlimited amounts of content and they are encouraged to keep doing so as a matter of self-interest and to share the benefits of an Association site that promotes and lifts business for the entire robotics industry.