One year ago I was given the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance to build a marketing and sales effort from the ground up and run it with minimal oversight. All of the great teachers and mentors that have helped me get to this point warned me to brace for significant terror associated with taking on an effort of this scope. While I am the only one that carries the title of marketing and sales here at Stellar Mold & Tool, I am far from the only employee responsible for our brand. I have found that in the mold building industry, not unlike most industries, the people you work with are every bit as integral to the success of marketing and sales efforts, regardless of positon or title.
I came into the world of plastic injection molds with a background in the aftermarket automotive parts industry. I have always had some measure of success with cars, regardless of how I interact with them. However, after working hard to obtain a marketing degree I wanted to build a plan such as this from scratch. Working in my previous field for a traditionally large corporation marketing and sales efforts are massive undertakings with departments full of people all managing tiny aspects of an overall vision. This opportunity would allow me to shape every detail focusing on the customers that best suit the company and our goals. Using varying types of internal and external data to build a brand and deliver it to a target market in an effort to build long lasting relationships. The research, segmenting, targeting, advertising, pitching, and selling of it all is a masterful dance between managing expectations and servicing needs.
I arrived at Stellar Mold & Tool with what I perceived as a satisfactory mechanical understanding. I have been working on cars and tinkering with all types of mechanical things since before I could remember. My mother at one point stopped buying me anything mechanical or electrical because I would always take them apart to see how they worked. However, as an adult, little can prepare you for the intricacies of the plastic molding process. What is capable by mold builders, carving and fitting steel into works of mechanical art made me reassess everything I thought I understood. How would I ever be able to convey, with confidence, the abilities that had been attained through so much time and hard work? Ultimately, I had a secret weapon at my disposal though. The collective knowledge derived from decades of consistently delivering to satisfied customers. My fellow employees here have done an amazing job in conveying the awesome level of detail that is required in the mold building industry. The knowledge they have passed on to me has made every difference when interacting with prospective customers. I am certain this accounts for any success I have enjoyed whatsoever. Their experience, and most of all patience with my learning curve, have been the deciding factors in forging new relationships.
No marketing or sales effort can be sustained if the quality of the product is not satisfactory. You may be able to achieve some short term success, but without an excellent product and customer service you will ultimately fail. In manufacturing today the standard practices of quality management have raised the bar for every supplier, manufacturer, and service provider. From cars to computers and all of their components everything is expected to be delivered with a zero defect rate. This precision is fully realized in the mold building industry and the level of excellence that is required to achieve this feat is staggering. It’s actually easy to comprehend once you consider that the perfect plastics parts that are needed in quantities in the millions, are completely reliant on the tool running in the press day and night. Every plastic product imaginable, made from a masterfully built piece of steel that is capable of decades of service without failure. Tolerances finer than a human hair play heavily into the success or failure of any mold build. These types of strenuous factors are completely lost on most of the end users of plastic products.
If every mold builder is held to this inconceivable standard of excellence, how is anyone to gain an edge without constantly expanding or becoming overly lean and risking exhausting the superb skilled employees that helped get us here? In the automotive industry, including aftermarket parts, there is a continuous battle over who has the best product. This is where the significance of my fellow Stellar Mold & Tool employees comes into play. Those of us in marketing and sales have the pleasure of informing prospective customers as to why they should buy from us and not from the “other guy.” It takes a definite understanding of the product being represented and a confidence that there is inherent value. In the past year, I can say with certainty, that if not for the leadership, direction, knowledge, excellence, and customer service that is so ingrained here at Stellar Mold & Tool, I would have been discouraged by the terror very early on. Instead, I am writing this one year into the most rewarding career choice I could have made.
While it is extremely difficult to open new doors in this business, it can be done. But, even once you have opened the door and gotten past the so-called “gate keepers,” then what? You still have to prove your product to someone. A person or company that, more than likely, has a relationship with a mold builder that has existed since before you where born. When you know you can trust the amazing skill of the craftsman that will be responsible for completing the work, it makes for a much easier pitch. I would even go as far as to say that it is less of a pitch and more of a simple exchange of information. Prospective customer explains expectations, I explain capabilities. In typical sales situations you are explaining the benefits of your product and possibly even informing someone who may be completely ignorant to your product. In the plastic molding industry, everyone has an understanding of the mold and the crucial role of its craftsmanship. This is why the confidence inspired by the history of consistency of Stellar Mold & Tool is such a valuable factor to the success of our brand, marketing, and sales.
Every manufacturer has a quality program today. Most sales and marketing efforts have access to increasingly healthier funding and resources every day. Cutting edge technology is only as good as the understanding of its capabilities. People however, are not just crucial to the actual work involved with building a mold. They are the key to the success of any marketing and sales effort as well. And, when you have nearly 40 years’ continuous success in an industry as demanding as this one, accomplishment is unequivocally reliant on the skilled people responsible for building the mold.