Under the Microscope

Diversified Woodcrafts Featured Product of the Month

 

Fab-Lab Workbench

 

Flexibility is the key component of this workbench. The bench is perfect for Makerspaces and Fabrication Labs. 

·     Adjusts in height from 24″H to 34″H

·     Optional 5″ locking casters

·     The legs are 12 gauge steel and have 14 gauge stringers

·     The steel base is finished with a gray baked enamel finish

·     The static weight capacity is 2000 lbs. and the dynamic load is 500 lbs.

·     Two top choices:

·     1-3/4 thick maple work surface

·     1-1/2″ thick ShopTop®

·     30″D and available in three lengths: 60″W, 72″W or 96″W

 

 

RELATIONSHIPS MATTER

 

“In life and business, relationships are important – but they are empty unless they are established and based upon trust.” Horst Schulze – legendary luxury hotelier.

 

First and foremost, we are in the relationship business. We connect with our manufacturers, resellers, and end users to develop positive relationships.  The genesis of it can start with a face-to-face conversation, a phone call, a video conference, or even an interaction via social media ending with a new relationship.

 

We value our relationships. Relationships build trust.  Once trust is built we create a history of shared experiences which enables both parties to work more effectively and efficiently together.

 

Stephen Covey captured the value exceptionally well in his book The Speed of Trust. Stephen Covey uncovers the very basis of the new global economy and he shows how trust and the speed at which it is established with clients, employees, and constituents is the essential ingredient for any high performance successful organization.

 

Our founding president of Midwest Resource Group, Ed Glass often spoke about the value of relationships stating “With all things being equal, people buy from people they like.  And with all things not being equal, people still buy from people they like.”

 

-Steven Glass

The Lost Art Of Calendaring

 

Time is what we want most, but we use worst.”—William Penn (1644-1718)

 

The English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher and founder of the colony of Pennsylvania was very knowledgeable.  Penn’s words are quite the insight to the fact that even more than 300 years ago, with few outside enticements available to draw people away from their normal-day tasks, time management skills were still a far cry from being highly developed.

 

An excuse for those caught in Penn’s critical eye could be that the ‘New-Style’ calendar (using months and leap years instead of conveying time in relation to the cycles of the sun and moon) wasn’t even employed until 1752, well after his passing.  But then or now, it’s not so much the availability of calendars as it is the daily utilization of them.  However, there was a day 30, 40, 50 years ago when plan books, day timers, Filofax, Chandler’s, were all the rage and the constant companion of highly efficient people.

 

Calendaring was taught in schools, albeit sometimes subliminally. On the chalkboard students would see the dreaded lines remaining day after day, prioritized due dates and exams—like a beacon, so in theory there was no excuse not to know about it.  For adults, there were even time management planning classes focused around calendars and systems of how to move important tasks daily to the top of the page.  To a certain extent, it was ingrained into one’s DNA as a businessperson.

 

Unfortunately, those concepts might as well be written in Sanskrit now.  Why? It’s easy to blame it on technology but delving deeper the burden must be placed on the individual and whether they possess the knowledge manage themselves.  The tools are there.  While Microsoft Outlook or any number of calendaring applications are far more powerful than at any time in history, the fact remains that the true organization and management of time just hasn’t been taught, person-to-person, for many years now.

 

And to be honest, it doesn’t even require fancy planning software to execute.  Instead of the daily routine of working out of an Outlook inbox or a to-do list, dropping tasks in the empty spots and hoping for the best, we all would be better off taking time to manage our time.  The reality is that we could look at a task we have to get done, calculate how long it will take, and simply put the time into the calendar.  That time will then be allocated to the specific issue.  It’s a beautiful thing.

 

We should be talking about this, as it’s a crucial business issue from a productivity standpoint.  Here’s the key—the only thing we have, our true inventory and currency, our biggest asset individually, is our time.  We’re selling our time to our employers, our employers are selling our time either internally or externally to getting jobs done to satisfy other stakeholders, whether it be customers or suppliers.  It makes sense to harness that time to the utmost.

 

-Dan Glass

Solution-Based Sales-Centric Product Marketing

 

With the shift to digital marketing, we need to rethink the materials we’re delivering to the market. It’s more important now than ever to make sure that your products are being presented clearly and giving end-users all of the necessary information to make their purchase decisions. At Midwest Resource Group, we start with the end in mind.

 

Go online and critique your product’s presentation to the end-user, which is being delivered through your customers’ websites. Ask the basic questions: Is the information I see persuasive? Does it communicate the features and benefits of my product as well as what the associated solutions are? In many cases (perhaps most cases), the answer to this question is no.

 

So how can you create a better user experience? Most of us are so far into the forest that we can’t see the trees. We need to step back and engage a more sales-centric product-marketing orientation. Strategy is the most critical part of building these assets to enhance user experience.

 

We need to realize the solutions that the products represent are not always evident. If we can’t show those solutions digitally, our hopes of someone else understanding and purchasing the product is diminished.

 

Simple steps to focus on:

1.     Utilize an enhanced image strategy, which should include basic images, feature images, in-use images and infographic images to tell the individual product’s complete story.

2.     Be sure to have high definition product videos to enhance the user experience online.

3.     Improve the written copy to be more feature-benefit-solution oriented, leveraging keywords and focused on optimizing internal search.

4.     Be consistent between all of the products in your brand, so that there’s a similar feel, look and message across the entire product line.

 

It’s difficult and sometimes expensive, but it’s also one of the few things you can do to ensure a better user experience that can convert to basket.

 

-Dan Glass

Managing Rich Content

 

Persuasion is clearly a form of demonstration, since we are most fully persuaded when we consider a thing to have been demonstrated.” —  Aristotle

 

What does this quote by the ancient Greek philosopher & scientist mean in current context, and why is this relevant for the topic of managing rich content?

 

First, the definitions. Operational content consists of sizes, weights and dimensions. Rich content is images, copy and videos. The persuasive, convincing aspect of rich content is all-important in the conversion-to-basket scenario that drives us at Midwest Resource Group. This is emphasized to an even greater extent with the addition of unstructured content syndication capabilities with multiple resellers.

 

Part of our job is working with Manufacturers, Resellers and Incomar Services (our affiliate company) to ensure that the persuasive story telling with copy images and videos are representing the true products.

 

Getting to that critical point and working in tandem with the client involves closing the gap between what they presently have and what the market demands.

 

We make the case for this by analyzing current content, organizing assets, identifying gaps, opportunities and attaching appropriate naming conventions to the data. All while focusing on processes to place these assets on the resellers websites.

 

The ‘devil is in the details’, of course. We promote having a consistent methodology in naming, which also lends to becoming very well organized in the overall structure of the information, and how and where it has been distributed at all times, a digital trail, as it were.

 

According to data website Adobe Digital Insights, a snapshot in time for Black Friday 2017 showed a nearly 17% increase in online sales from the previous year, with no signs that the trend will change anytime soon. Without the user experiencing the tactile, hands-on approach purchasing a product, the persuasive user interface is ever more crucial. It is in that spirit that Midwest Resource Group puts ourselves in the shoes of the end user, constantly asking the question, “Would this content help me make a purchase decision?”

 

-Steven Glass