The ISA put together a marketing and sales summit held for the suppliers of process automation to process manufacturers around the world. Now, if you’re a process manufacturer, you’re probably asking yourself whether or not it’s a good thing for us to discuss how we communicate better with you.
Jane Lansing, the vice president of marketing for the whole Emerson Process Management group, kicked off the morning with a keynote address on how we communicate and perhaps should communicate with you. I hope this post stimulates some of your ideas with comments about how we could do this better.
A key idea Jane raises is how we as automation suppliers in our communications don’t do a good job of thinking about engineers beyond their narrow role as engineers. All of us have multiple roles as business professionals, parents, family members, sports enthusiasts, community volunteers, etc. which shapes who we are. This narrow focus leads to thinking of communications in terms of specs, features, and benefits. Also there’s a trend from specialist to generalist among manufacturers with fewer and more time-pressed automation professionals through retirement and reorganization. Much of this expertise has moved to automation suppliers and integrators. Jane describes these trends as creating a situation where suppliers seemingly are marketing to themselves. The language of specs, features and benefits are more meaningful to the experts within the suppliers’ organization than the engineers within the manufacturing organizations.
Jane’s point is that automation suppliers need to try to meet you half way–where we better understand what you are trying to accomplish and the role our automation technologies and expertise can play. This is opposed to throwing a bunch of specs, features and benefits your way and asking you to figure it out (in your spare time of course!)
Looking at automation suppliers collectively, what do you think?