(Last Sunday’s Translator Experience Day (TED): Sheila Anderson (German/English/German translator/interpreter) and her friend Valerie Chen (Chinese/English/Chinese translator/interpreter) have decided to launched an all-out assault on the Iron and Steel industry. They’ve started to learn as much as they can about this industry… So, they worked, and worked, and worked. And very soon became experts, real metallurgists, I’m telling you!. Their conversations were peppered with expressions such as “low and high carbon wire rod”, “coated steel”, “scrap steel”…)
Today, they are discussing marketing
The two friends quickly came to the conclusion that to build something solid, you should be prepared to take all the time necessary. It’s much more like long distance running than sprint.
They also remembered Abraham Lincoln: “If you have eight hours to chop down a tree, spend six hours sharpening your ax.” In their particular case, “sharpening your ax” meant “market research“…
And also, “the deeper your foundation, the taller your building”. It’s better to have 10 clients you know very well than 100 you hardly know: Once you have a handful of really good clients, nurture and deepen your relationships. And then expand from there.
1. Preferably, a small business, where you can walk straight to the boss and talk to her. And this does exist in the Iron and Steel sector, contrary to what you might think. Val Chen remembered her grand-father always used to tell her: “When you go to a place, always talk to the boss!”
2. “Later on”, they said “if we still have the time and if we still really need it, we’ll tackle the big ones.”
Now, on to SMBs. I’m sure all TP readers know what an SMB is. Anyway, it’s just a Small and Mid (or Medium)-sized Business. In Europe and some other parts of the world, you often hear SMEs instead, where the “E” stands for “Enterprise”.
Let’s just look at one way Sheila and Val did it. The two friends had always been true believers in online social networking. They both had their profiles at LinkedIn, Ryze, Ecademy, Xing, CEOSpace, Reuters Insight, MySpace, etc.
They decided to try LinkedIn.
Val had 155 1st degree connections (direct connections, you can communicate with them directly, cultivate the relationship, even become real friends, ask them to introduce you to their own 1st degree connections, etc…), 728,000 2nd degree (your direct connections’ connections), and over 3,000,000 3rd degree (your 2nd degree connections’ connections)
Sheila had 112 1st degree connections, 576,000 2nd degree, and over 2,500,000 3rd degree
We’ll follow them, step by step, as they go through their search.
Their Goal: Build a list of 100 SMBs, importing/exporting Steel products, working with China, Taiwan, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Austria
1. Val went to the LinkedIn site, logged in and typed “Iron and Steel” in the searchbox. They got the following message:
“We found 504 users in your network matching your criteria: * Keywords: Iron and steel * Sorted by: keyword relevance”
The Sheila did exactly they same thing. Because their two networks were not identical, they got still more results. The total was now over 1000.
2. Many of these users were in Europe, India, Latin America, and other places. Others were very big corporations.
They selected 100 U.S SMB (about 10% of the total). Most of those whose profiles had one or more of the following decriptions: Owner, Sole Proprietorship, Managing Director, General Manager, Consultant, President, Director of Procurement, Technology Strategy and Management Professional, V.P. Global Sales & Marketing, One was decribed as “independant consultant for the metals industry providing advice, operational and technical recomendations to customers to maximize their plant efficiency and product quality”…
They targeted sectors such as: Selling and Exporting Commodities, sales of Coated Steel Products, steel Trading, Specialize in brokering international deals of commodities such as scrap steel…
3. Now, the two friends had to find a way to directly contact those 100 they had selected
How are they going to do it?
What strategies are they going to use? (as we all know, your ‘marketing strategy’ simply means how you use ‘tools and techniques’ to reach your ‘markets’ and make them perform the ‘desired action’. A marketing strategy connects “markets” on the one hand with “tools and techniques” on the other. Don’t let anyone give you any complicated, half-baked definitions of what a strategy is 🙂
What tools and techniques?
What “desired action“?
Is “buy immediately” a good desired action”?
You’ll get answers to those questions and many others in our next editions of “Translator Experience Day“.
Meanwhile, why not put in your own $0.2 worth :-)) BTW, we’re delighted to note that comments are slowly but surely taking off. Thanks a lot, and keep them pouring in – whether they are positive, negative, or… neutral!
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