SelmarQ Sees Growth in US Manufacturing

Charlotte, NC, May 24, 2007 --( Moving production offshore has been perceived as a “magic bullet” for making a lot of US manufacturers more competitive. So why would a marketing agency target US manufacturing as a growth segment? At least one Charlotte firm thinks the opportunity to prosper in manufacturing is viable now more than ever. SelmarQ, a 24-year-old business-to-business marketing agency, helps small to medium US manufacturers prosper by raising the perceived value of their products. Their experience with building brand equity is one reason SelmarQ was recently retained by Hersey Meters, a Rowan County producer of residential and commercial water meters. Hersey still manufactures all their meters in Cleveland, NC.

Contrary to common belief, manufacturing in the US has been growing. According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), 62% of all US exports are manufactured goods. That’s double the level of just 10 years ago. While manufacturing jobs offer wages and benefits averaging 25% higher than non-manufacturing jobs, over 80% of companies responding to a recent NAM survey indicated that they could not find qualified workers to fill the available positions.*

“Since the early ‘90s we have seen companies embrace everything from Kaizen, and Just-In-Time to Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing in an effort to remain competitive,” remarks Jeff Rothe, president of SelmarQ. “These programs can all be effective at reducing costs. But most business buyers today look at more than cost before making purchase decisions. That’s where a company’s image for reliability, responsiveness, and value as well as green manufacturing and ethical workforce practices can really help to close sales. That’s what good marketing or ‘branding’ should encompass – and what so many manufacturers could use.”

Hersey’s new branding efforts were kicked off with the production of a corporate image brochure, new trade show marketing and redesigned business documents. SelmarQ also developed a new positioning line for the 140-year-old company that emphasizes the legacy of Hersey’s rugged product offering as well as their commitment to developing new metering technologies: “Proven Performance. Measured Innovation.”

“What attracted us to SelmarQ was the quality and consistency of their own branding,” noted Darryl Casper, Product Manager for Hersey Meters. “They quickly identified and personified our corporate culture in terms that make buying from us attractive to our markets. Also, their presentation focused on what we wanted to accomplish, not what they had done for others.”

Matt Thomas, Hersey’s Vice President Marketing Services, was impressed with the firm’s practical demeanor. “Unlike agencies we’ve seen in the past, SelmarQ made it very easy for us to upgrade our image right away, as well as prepare for our long-term marketing and branding needs. It was clear from their first concepts that they could quickly understand our products and markets.”

Hersey is a subsidiary of Mueller Water Products, Inc. of Atlanta, GA. Their residential and commercial water meters are marketed throughout the United States.

“There is only so much to be cut in manufacturing costs,” Rothe states. “Aside from improving the product, the only way to gain a competitive edge is to change the attitudes and behaviors of those who buy from competitors. That’s what a long term and consistent program of branding can do for companies in the US manufacturing sector. That’s where we aim to maintain our growth.”

SelmarQ Brands’ Best Friend® specializes in brand stewardship and marketing design. Their association of business development professionals focuses on building more business, enhancing brands and increasing customer loyalty. SelmarQ works with firms headquartered across the US, as well as Europe and the Pacific Rim.

* Source: Industry analysis of Exhibition & Event Marketing Trends for Manufacturing & Industrial An industry analysis by Skyline Exhibits and Tradeshow Week.

Jeff Rothe
704-342-3400 x 119