Happy New Year! As we move forward into 2024 and reflect on the last year, let’s take some time to celebrate our state’s victories and successes! If you (like me) want to head into the new year focused on hope for the future, then why not look back at some of the positive news stories?
Here’s the countdown (albeit arbitrary ranking) of my favorite pieces of CT news from last year:
The title pretty much says it all. Even though it goes into effect in 2024, I’m including it in my 2023 recap. The gist is that fewer claims from injuries on the job have been filed over the years and thus companies have been saving. Some of this is due to the hard work manufacturers invest in to make jobs safer. Businesses have more funds to put back into their workforce and business. Win-win!
The future undoubtedly needs to be green, so learning that students at UConn are taking charge of this initiative is great news. In short, this is a two-year initiative working in tandem with the government and businesses to help train current and future engineers. Connecticut’s manufacturing sector is strong, and it’s great to hear of people pushing things forward with strong initiatives to remain competitive as a state.
This deal is unprecedented in what it’s accomplishing. Although it’s worth reading the entire article for the whole breakdown, in total this bill would mean funding and investments for the three Connecticut defense companies, support and more money for the 9,000 sailors and officers based in New London, and continued support for this type of research. Lots still to be figured out and approved, but this is the start of a big win for everyone in defense throughout the entire supply chain.
Ok so I’m cheating a bit with this one because it’s a video and a series, not just one article. But hear me out! It’s so refreshing to see a government official who goes online to help keep us up to date on the news in a fun and upbeat way. Not only is Connecticut the only state to have a Chief Manufacturing Officer, but you can see the passion and energy Paul has for his job and helping his state.
If you take one thing away from his series, please let it be this: consider following Paul’s LinkedIn or other social media page of your choice. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something new and share some of his excitement.
Each of these news features from 2023 reflect commitments from federal and state legislators to keep the manufacturing industry strong in Connecticut. Web Savvy Marketers and its sister company, the Connecticut Manufacturer’s Resource Group (CTmrg.org), are equally committed.
Contact us to learn how we can help you grow your business.
I was recently listening to a podcast when someone posed this question: “Would you rather be an expert in your field, or a jack of all trades and master of none?”
These types of hyperbolic questions can be a bit ridiculous because what we would ideally want is a balance of both, right? If I had to choose, I’d prefer it if everyone was an expert that we could reference as needed. Why? Well, think about it this way: Would you want to get your car fixed by someone who isn’t an automotive repair specialist? Or more vitally important, would you want a surgeon operating on you if they weren’t a specialist?
The same is true for marketing. In an age where anyone can build a website or generate social media
content it can be tempting to forgo hiring an experienced marketer, but that would be a mistake.
Knowing how to effectively market and influence your target audience takes time to master just like any
other skill, and you’ll get better results with a professional who specializes in this. Here are three
business reasons to hire a marketing professional:
- Help Recruiting Efforts
Good marketing can help you attract potential employees. Companies must effectively pitch
themselves to potential employees to entice them to apply. A well-crafted marketing pitch will
increase your number of job applicants.
- Develop a Targeted Marketing Strategy
What’s your niche? What are you doing that your competitors aren’t? Who’s your target
audience, and how can you reach them? If you already know all of this, that’s great! If not, a
marketing professional can determine these things and create a targeted strategic plan. Many
business owners make the mistake of being too broad with their marketing approach and end
up investing resources where they aren’t needed. A marketing professional will find your niche,
analyze your competitors, and promote your products directly to your target audience.
- Determine Return on Investment (ROI)
There’s more marketing data available than ever before, but it’s only useful if you know where
to find it and what to do with it. Seasoned marketing professionals know how to find and
analyze data that can be used to determine the ROI of your marketing efforts. This allows them
to fine-tune your future marketing investments, so your business gets the maximum ROI.
As a manufacturing professional, you probably already have more daily tasks than you can manage. Why overwhelm yourself with another that isn’t your specialty? Wouldn’t it be smarter to focus all of your energy on what you do best, and let the marketing professionals do what they do best, especially when it will help increase profits?
The team at Web Savvy Marketers specializes in marketing, specifically for manufacturers. It’s ALL we do. And although I’ve provided three reasons to reach out to our experienced team, there are countless others.
Contact us to learn more.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the world around us, and these AI programs are making it possible for everyone to experience the benefits of this powerful technology. From writing and coding assistants to creative tools and productivity boosters, there is an AI program out there for everyone.
Would you believe me if I told you that that first paragraph was written by AI? Hello! A real person is typing now, but isn’t it interesting how with a simple prompt this AI could do my job for me? That’s what I want to talk about today. Not about how I want to be replaced but how this technology can help create more content quicker.
I’m sure you’re all keenly aware of the thousands of articles debating AI and the other half-dozen buzzwords surrounding these new technologies. From ChatGPT to Midjourney, there are dozens of companies vying for your eyeballs on their service.
But what if you’re not sure how this technology could be best utilized for your marketing needs?
Well, I did some research and I want to showcase one service (Bard) that could save you time and energy.
To start, I’d like to highlight some issues that you might be aware of with these experimental new technologies. It’s not all sunshine and roses but as my mother told me, “You should always hear the bad news first”, but if you stick around for the pros portion, you’ll find some great tips there.
For manufacturers specifically, this is a big one. You could be dealing with terms or acronyms that could be very specific to your work that an AI might not know how to handle. This actually leads well into the second point where
Not False, but not specific.
I’m sure you’ve heard the tales. An AI program creating facts out of thin air with no idea where it got that info from. In my personal testing, Bard claimed things that were technically true but made for a bland story. In writing, specifics help ground and compel your audience and I often found Bard failed in that sense.
Repetition. Repetition. Repetition!
The program is great at finding different ways to re-phrase the same points and that’s certainly a skill, but in reading over what it gave me as a whole, it wasn’t an asset.
Alright, now that we’re done with the cons we can get to the good stuff. How could we use this for your website, social media, etc. content? As a writer myself, I don’t want to advocate for a program that could replace me, but in my eyes, this is a perfect tool to market your company. Let’s imagine a scenario.
You’re sitting at your desk with a cursor blinking at you. You’ve created an amazing product but now you need to sell it. How do you sum up years of work into a simple tagline, slogan, or about section? The blank document stares at you as the deadline fast approaches. You know what they always say, “The hardest thing is to start”, but you just can’t.
That’s why we’re here. To find a way to use innovative technologies to help brand your business. We’ve started to use AI programs like Bard as an idea generator. Let’s look again at the cons I brought up in a different light.
Imagine you have a ton of text full of these explanations that span pages and pages, and you know the casual viewer of your website isn’t going to want to read all of that. You need to hook them in. How do you do that? We can submit all of that text to Bard and ask it to make a list of the key topics. It might not be able to provide details, but it’s able to highlight content a casual reader would care about to draw them in.
Not False, but not specific.
In fact-checking these claims, I stumbled upon a 2022 report full of statistics about manufacturing in Connecticut with dozens of interesting statistics and reports on the state of things. Would I have found this great resource if I wasn’t looking for the exact number of employees in the manufacturing sector in CT? Probably not! Now you have a statistic to write a more compelling story/blog post.
Repetition. Repetition. Repetition!
The repetition highlights what the AI thinks is important. In this online world, key terms are vital to all parts of the writing process to get traffic. That’s how these algorithms work, right? And an AI knows that. So, a particularly helpful thing I’ve found is that Bard is great at creating lists. These can be full of ideas that will allow you to submit a bunch of text in your prompt and have the program narrow it down.
These types of new technologies are what we use to help make more new content faster and more effectively. If any of this sounds interesting to you feel free to ask us for help!
In the end, there are so many ways to use programs like this to help create more content. To start, we use AI as a brainstorming tool.
In the world of Connecticut manufacturing, navigating every facet of running the business can be a daunting challenge. That’s where Web Savvy Marketers steps in.
Web Savvy is not just a marketing agency, but also the founding member of the Connecticut Manufacturer’s Resource Group (CTmrg), an organization dedicated to helping build the strongest possible manufacturing environment by bringing together services and resources under one roof.
Through a unique blend of skill and resources, Web Savvy Marketers has proven to be more than just a marketing agency; they are a driving force behind their clients’ growth and development.
Let’s take a look at what Web Savvy has done for Radcliff Wire, a leader in high quality, custom-shaped wire manufacturing, as an example of what can be accomplished with a well connected marketing team.
Harnessing State Resources
Web Savvy harnessed the power of Connecticut’s great resources for manufacturers in a couple of ways to support Radcliff Wire.
- Energy efficiency and savings: Beth Devine at Web Savvy, invited in the Southern New England Industrial Assessment Center, funded by the US Department of Energy and administered through UConn engineering faculty and students. Radcliff Wire underwent a comprehensive energy assessment, meticulously analyzing energy consumption and identifying areas of loss. Though the final report is still pending, the promise of substantial energy savings and sustainable practices showcases Web Savvy’s dedication to Radcliff Wire’s growth and environmental stewardship.
- Funding through the Manufacturing Voucher Program (MVP): Through the stewardship of Web Savvy, the Manufacturing Voucher Program (MVP) has been a game changer in Radcliff Wire’s journey towards expansion. Thanks to Beth’s familiarity with the program and its application process, Radcliff Wire secured nearly $30k in funding. This financial boost fueled the acquisition of new equipment, laying the foundation for better productivity, efficiency, and quality.
In a survey conducted by CCAT after the MVP grant process, Charlie Radcliff, President of Radcliff Wire was asked how he would rate the process of getting the MVP funding. His response says it all: “It was really easy, I just gave it to Web Savvy and they took care of it!”
Of course, Web Savvy Marketers is also an experienced marketing agency with a proven ability to improve brand awareness, increase top of the funnel growth, and even support talent acquisition. Web Savvy’s multifaceted approach has been yielding remarkable results for Radcliff Wire. Below are just a few of the projects and their current or expected results:
- Amplified Prospect Reach: Through strategic cold-calling initiatives, Web Savvy Marketers has expanded Radcliff Wire’s prospecting database by an astounding 400%. This amplified reach is opening doors to new opportunities and partnerships.
- Press Release Triumphs: Notably, two 2023 press releases captured sizable attention. The first press release – an introduction of Radcliff’s new medical product, mandrel wire, garnered coverage from 105 outlets, reaching an estimated 9 million audience members and bolstering SEO with valuable backlinks. Similarly, a press release regarding the visit of CT’s Chief Manufacturing Officer, Paul Lavoie, resulted in coverage by 140 outlets, with a potential reach of 25 million.
- Establishing Industry Authority: Radcliff Wire’s expertise was showcased through an article published in “Today’s Medical Developments,” solidifying their reputation as an industry frontrunner.
- Digital Evolution: Recognizing the importance of an online presence, Web Savvy Marketers spearheaded a comprehensive website redesign project, ensuring that Radcliff Wire’s digital presence aligns with its excellence in custom-shaped wire manufacturing.
- Enhancing Recruitment Strategies: Finally, in today’s tight labor market, manufacturing positions can be extremely difficult to fill. This is where recruitment marketing can make a huge difference. Starting with the basics, Web Savvy Marketers ensured that Radcliff Wire’s job descriptions were clear, interesting, and reflective of the company as well as the audience. They are now ready to go out into the world as compelling job postings.
“When we first started with Web Savvy,” said Charlie Radcliffe, “I thought we just needed support to promote a new product. But the more I learned more about Web Savvy’s wide ranging marketing expertise, the more confident I felt handing them whatever came our way – articles for professional publications, website updates, recruitment support. I knew Web Savvy would not only offer outstanding strategic advice, but they could also implement whatever tasks we needed to the highest level.”
In the dynamic landscape of Connecticut manufacturing, Web Savvy Marketers sets itself apart as an incredibly well connected and knowledgeable resource in so many areas a manufacturer may need support.
As a cornerstone of the Connecticut Manufacturer’s Resource Group (CTmrg), Web Savvy’s partnership with Radcliff Wire has exemplified the potential of collaborative marketing and resource utilization. From energy efficiency to strategic marketing, Web Savvy Marketers, alongside CTmrg, has propelled Radcliff Wire towards success.
If you’re a Connecticut manufacturer seeking a transformative journey like Radcliff Wire’s, Web Savvy Marketers is your partner in turning aspirations into reality.
With Climate Change continuing to be a major point of discussion, many industries continue to seek and find new ways to reduce their emissions. One of the larger industries to make headlines recently has been steel for a few different reasons…
On December 6th of last year, Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch from the American Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) wrote an article titled: “U.S. and EU are Said to Be Weighing ‘Climate-Based Tariffs’ on Chinese Steel.” In it, Brotherton-Bunch explains that China is responsible for over 60% of global emissions from steel plants and half of the world’s steel production. This is causing not only record pollution, but a global surplus. “…climate change is a real problem, and one that cannot be properly addressed unless China reduces its carbon emissions, and that can’t happen unless China reduces the pollution emitted by its steel industry.”
It’s not all bad news though, because 9 days later, Brotherton-Bunch wrote a follow up piece titled: “America’s Steelmakers and Workers are ‘Well-Positioned’ to Lead the Way on Clean Steel.” U.S. Steel intends to be carbon neutral by 2050 and produces more low-carbon steel than any similarly competitive country. Additionally, growth seems ripe with opportunity: “The global market for clean steel is expected to be 20,000 to 25,000 million tones through 2050, equivalent to around $10 to $15 trillion in cumulative steel sales.” In addition, “if the U.S. is able to capture a ‘$570-810 billion share of that market by focusing on opportunities in North America,’ about 30,000 new jobs will be created…”
More locally, many Connecticut manufacturers are going above and beyond to ensure sustainability of their products and practices. During a time when greenwashing is prevalent, here are a couple of manufacturers that are putting in the work to significantly reduce their carbon footprints.
AMGRAPH Packaging, Inc has been at the forefront of sustainability since 1984. From their water-based inks and adhesives and product research investment, to their fuel cells and insulated concrete facility that requires up to 71% less energy for heating and cooling, AMGRAPH is wholly committed to environmentalism. They even prioritize zero landfill waste. To learn more about their packaging solutions Contact Amgraph. For a full list of the many measures they take to maintain environmental stewardship, be sure to check out their sustainability page.
Another Connecticut company of note for their green practices is Preferred Utilities based in Danbury. Preferred installed a fuel tank on their site that can burn Bio-Residual Oil (BRO-500), which is a renewable and plentiful resource. BRO-500 is produced from recycled fats and oils such as used cooking oil, inedible corn oil, animal fat and other vegetable oils. It has been used at Preferred’s facility since 2018. To obtain more info on how you with make your fuel consumption more sustainable, Contact Preferred.
If you’re a CT manufacturer and would like to highlight your sustainability practices, Contact Us.
I have been working directly with the Web Savvy team since 2017. In the time that I took my position at the head of the marketing department until now, my company and the marketplace have changed immensely. With Web Savvy’s expertise, I have been able to navigate those internal and external changes in my company and do my job better.
As an integrated part of my own team, Web Savvy has learned about my business, how we go to market, and how we support our sales team. They take proactive steps to proofread me, touch base on deadlines, do research into new avenues of market outreach, and maintain my contacts database. In addition, they have provided consulting on social media strategies and identified gaps where we do not have content or marketing material.
The Web Savvy team has helped develop strategies for special projects like trade shows and webinar series, but also yearly goals and strategies for product roll-out, content creation and publication, and growing our engagement and brand awareness. Web Savvy’s extensive network of connections has also allowed me to do business with other Connecticut based companies and expand my own network in the manufacturing world. I recommend the Web Savvy team and services to my colleagues and other businesses. – Ruth O’Donnell, Marketing and Communications Manager – Preferred Utilities Mfg Corporation.
As the strains from the COVID-19 pandemic lessen, some employers are increasingly providing workplace amenities to entice workers back to the office. Hanna Snyder Gambini writes about this in her article titled “Employers turn to amenities to lure workers back to the office,” published November 21 in the Hartford Business Journal.
From soundproof phone booths to golf simulators, Connecticut Wealth Management is kicking out the cubicles in favor of spaces it hopes will foster better workplace collaboration and comfort in equal measure. By allowing employees to partake in activities after work that they’d normally have to leave the office for, CTWM aims to strengthen workforce ties.
Communal spaces that seem more like lounges instead of seas of cubicles is where workplace design is headed. Airy, open spaces that encourage interaction are the goal. But privacy, and the comfort it provides, is just as important to this design philosophy and was what led to the introduction of soundproof phone booths and Steelcase work tents.
Another means to support workplace collaboration and minimize distraction is addressing the rising costs associated with commuting. Lunch and gas costs being the main culprits, some employers are investing in desirable cafeteria settings. Travelers Cos., a property and casualty insurer, did precisely that in Hartford with a space that offers numerous food and drink vendors and seats hundreds of employees.
Changes to the office environment should be a two-prong approach explains Jennifer Gaggion, a Board Member of the Connecticut Manufacturer’s Resource Group. “It’s imperative that design changes include the input of HR to ensure the transformation of the workplace can be supported culturally and aligns with the business strategy.”
Should more large companies require employees to come into the office, we may start to see workplace landscapes reemerge and working from home diminish. For now, though, according to an HBJ poll referenced in the article above, most employers aren’t requiring five full days back in the office just yet.
“We’ve learned working from home can be highly productive for organizations. Now it’s a matter of striking a balance by creating spaces that foster the desire to return to the office – even if only for a modified week,” Gaggion says.
This transitional period is pivotal in establishing and reestablishing workforce synergy. If your business is seeking assistance designing an environment befitting its workplace culture, feel free to contact us.
Happy New Year! We hope your festivities were refreshing because there’s work to be done to build on the momentum of 2022. During this season of resolutions and champagne, we’d like to look back at what made 2022 one of the most significant years for American manufacturing in recent memory. According to the Alliance for American Manufacturing’s Tyler Vazquez the top story was A Factory Resurgence.
“From electric vehicles to batteries to solar panels to semiconductors, corporations big and small invested billions upon billions of dollars this year into planned factories and manufacturing facilities…” And with new facilities come new jobs. An impressive 750,000 new factory jobs were created since January 2021 and over 45,000 jobs are expected with these new ventures in the coming years. These anticipated numbers are bolstered largely by the domestic production of semiconductors with 40 projects already in the works.
The big names looking to build plants in various states are familiar ones: Intel, Micron, and Texas Instruments are just some of the players. All of this is made possible by The CHIPS and Science Act that was passed last year providing $52 billion in direct funding and $170 billion for R&D of these integral computer components. The pay looks good too with Intel anticipating $135,000 as the average yearly salary among its new Ohio facility workers.
Further North in Detroit, automobile manufacturers made significant moves last year to grow the American EV market. With production of the Ford F-150 Lightning underway, consumers now have a fully electric alternative to the most popular American automobile. Beside General Motors also intends to fully transition to EV production, though it’s unclear how long that will take. GM has said it will invest billions to achieve this lofty goal.
But EV’s are only as good as the batteries powering them. Across the country, from Indiana to Kansas and North Carolina to Tennessee, companies such as Stellanis, Samsung, Panasonic, and others plan to heavily invest in better battery technology for electric and hybrid vehicles. Charging stations are also in the sights of the San Francisco-based company TeraWatt, which hopes to expand nationwide.
Speaking of nationwide expansion, it was a whirlwind of a year for U.S. solar but one that will lead to significant development in the coming years. Thanks to the financial flexibility afforded by the Inflation Reduction Act, companies such as First Solar, Enel North America, and Cubic PV are planning to build several facilities. These factories will go a long way toward making America more competitive in the global solar market.
Of course, many of these developments will continue to require substantial federal backing. But the initiative to bring manufacturing back to domestic soil following a global pandemic is a significant step forward. For more details on the successes of 2022, check out the AAM article. Are you ready for the potential growth and employment challenges of 2023? If not, contact us for assistance.
As a champion of the neurodiverse community, I’m sometimes frustrated by the misunderstandings people have about the capabilities of neurodiverse people. This is a challenge when attempting to get more manufacturers interested in employing this demographic.
While it pleases me to see big companies like Microsoft, SAP, JP Morgan Chase, and Hewlett Packard actively recruiting this segment of the population into their workforces with unanimously successful results, for every company that has a neurodiverse hiring program, there are thousands who don’t.
This begs the question: why not?
Recent conversations I’ve had with three manufacturers quickly revealed why they’re not recruiting neurodiverse workers. One said the work they do is “too complicated.” The second said their “machinery is very expensive” (the implication being that such an employee might break it). The third, an aerospace manufacturer, said their industry requires too much precision.
The common thread among their feedback is the misconception that “neurodiverse” somehow equals “intellectually disabled.” But they are NOT the same. At all.
While looking for the best way to explain neurodiversity I came across a TEDX Talk by Elisabeth Wiklander, a world class cellist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra who was diagnosed with Asperger’s, a form of autism, at age 28.
This incredibly gifted young woman explains it beautifully. “Autism doesn’t necessarily equal disability,” Wiklander says. “Thankfully, we have a word that challenges this negative terminology: neurodiversity. Neurodiversity describes how diverse we are as human beings from a neurological perspective. It suggests that the many variations of human brains, like autistic ones, should be accepted as a natural and valuable part of humanity’s genetic legacy.”
Wiklander goes on to say that many of our most important inventions, pieces of art and music, and scientific discoveries have come from autistic minds. A quick Google search can confirm this. Researchers have long suspected that Albert Einstein, Sir Issac Newton, Charles Darwin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and artist Michelangelo di Ludovico Buonarroti were all on the autism spectrum. Today’s entertainment industry is filled with people who have been diagnosed with autism, including Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Dylan, Dan Akryoyd, Anthony Hopkins, and creative genius Tim Burton.
Wiklander notes that autism can have catastrophic impacts on people’s lives, but that it’s not because of the autism itself, but because of the ignorance of it. “If we need a cure for anything,” she adds, “it’s not for autism. It’s for ignorance and intolerance.”
Recognizing how we differ from each other from a neurological perspective helps us to coexist more easily without having to hide who we are. This, Wiklander says, allows our “natural skills, talents, and creativity more freedom to roam, not just for people on the autism spectrum, but for all.”
Wilkander says although her autism negatively affected her social interactions with family and friends for many years before she was diagnosed, they have since embraced her uniqueness, just as she has. She sees her autism as something positive. “My mind had been blessed with gifts, like analytical skills, intense mental focus, and high capacity for memorizing information,” she says.
Neurodiverse people have a great deal to contribute, but they need to be given the chance. In closing her Ted talk, Wilklander says, “Every human being is a resource, and society has to broaden its framework to allow everyone a place in it.”
This includes the manufacturing industry. If you’re looking for capable, dedicated, reliable employees, Contact Us to help you create a program for recruiting, onboarding, and retaining neurodiverse individuals.