Will Manufacturing Lead the Way?

How Manufacturers have traditionally recovered from recessions

Written by: Madilyn Movsesian – Marketing Intern

State Budget Course Finance Recession Economy

Since the Covid-19 outbreak in March of 2020, there has been a worldwide crisis amongst manufacturers. Like many other industries, manufacturers have been working tirelessly to conform to the new normal. Kristen Fowler for Forbes magazine states, “historic data demonstrates that manufacturing has borne the brunt of the financial damage in past U.S. recessions,” meaning that manufacturing has had the worst financial impact. As the world works to get back to normal and better the economy, the manufacturing industry is facing high levels of demand while simultaneously battling decreases in production in certain areas. 

The manufacturing industry can lead the world out of another recession due to the fact that the industry is one of the first to recover from previous downfalls. Kristen Fowler also writes, “between the early 2000s recession and the Great Recession industrial manufacturers experienced 300% higher recoveries in corporate profits.” This large increase was one of the factors that led our country out of the recession. In 2021, the manufacturing industry is hoping for the same results in order to get back on its feet. In order for this to happen, manufacturers need to meet global supply chain needs and have a strong employee base. As we discussed in our recent blog, Endless Job Opportunities with Manufacturers in the U.S., there are many tactics manufacturers can use in order to attract more employees. 


The global supply chain issues that have surfaced from Covid-19 are ones that manufacturers will have to overcome in order to recover. Everywhere around the world products are being delayed due to the fact that there are shortages of workers and raw materials. It is crucial to weigh your options and possible alternatives in order to meet the demand of consumers. Fowler writes in response to the initial Covid-19 shockwaves, “by devoting new resources and energy to building supply chains, manufacturers will drive economic growth in communities while mitigating the risk of international disruptions,” as a manufacturing company it is critical to have a defined response to supply chain issues. 

The manufacturing industry faced the lowest employment levels after Covid-19 surfaced. It is crucial to have a hiring method that will attract employees and meet the economic needs of production. Rapid hiring of quality employees will lead the manufacturing industry to success. To overcome the challenges created by Covid, manufacturers need to confront the supply chain and hiring shortage that is in today’s current society. 

Interested in learning more about this tactic and how to further engage your prospects and customers? Call Rob Felber (330) 963-3664 or email RobFelber@felberpr.com 

Endless Job Opportunities with Manufacturers in the U.S.

Help Wanted”

Have you seen the “Help Wanted” signs at businesses in your city? It’s no secret that Covid-19 impacted every business across the globe. We are currently living the aftermath of the virus. As more people get the vaccine, businesses are starting to open up completely and there is a high demand for workers. According to Eric Morath, writer for WSJ, he stated, “openings continued to grow in May (2021) according to job search site Indeed.com. That followed an increase of nearly 1 million unfilled positions in April, to 9.3 million, the highest level on records back to 2000,” leaving endless opportunities for those looking for work. The number of job postings in May reached 27%, which was led by various industries who are looking for help. Manufacturing has seen a growth in the number of employees in May of 2021, but not enough to counteract the losses in April.

The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics stated in their report, “Job Openings and Labor Turnover – April 2021,” that in December of 2020, job openings increased in various industries, reaching a high of 9.3 million. In manufacturing, this number reached (+78,000) job opportunities. As of April 2021 hires in durable goods manufacturing were (-37,000), showing that the manufacturing industry has still not recovered from the Covid-19 outbreak. The manufacturing industry will continue to suffer if nothing is done about the drastic decrease in hires.

How can your company recruit more workers?

With these record-level job openings across the country, it is crucial to have a marketing plan in order to attract potential employees. Here are a few ways to get your company’s name out there to those in need of work:

Print ads in local papers announcing job fairs

  1. Make applying for a position easy. Use online forms on the company website
  2. Host job fairs with access to proficiency and drug testing, factory tours, and benefits discussions
  3. Continuously posting on job recruiting websites 
  4. Reaching out to previous employees or current employees and telling them to refer those in need of work
  5. Post in the local newspapers
  6. Utilize local radio advertisements 
  7. Have a strong social media presence that is updated regularly
  8. Utilize billboards
  9. Movie commercials (those pre-movie ads in the theater)


How one local manufacturer is pulling out all stops for recruitment: a case study with Grand River Rubber & Plastics

Grand River Rubber & Plastics Company is a 100% employee owned company in Ashtabula, Ohio. Grand River specializes in lathe cut gaskets, vacuum sweeper belts, and drum and pail gaskets. Since Covid-19, Grand River has been using various marketing tactics in order to attract more employees. Grand River utilized a billboard, continuous social media posts on Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter, print ads in local newspapers as well as movie commercials (those in theater pre-movie commercials), and a local radio commercial, to gain the attention of potential employees. 


Strategically placed billboards near the facility









Social media posts were placed on Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter

The billboard advertisement will help to gain the attention of anyone driving alongside the highway. With the link to the website on the billboard and big lettering saying, “We’re Hiring,” this will catch numerous drivers’ eyes. Having clear and defined social media posts is what will attract potential employees. Knowing which channels to use is also a crucial factor when deciding where to advertise. The print ad is detailed and organized with valuable information on Grand River and how to apply. The movie commercial will be played before any screening when the audience is waiting for the movie to start, giving it a large reach. Lastly, the radio commercial that will be played in the local radio stations near the factory is a great way to geo-target a specific audience in search of those who could be potential employees.


“Yes, please come visit our shop.”

The world, and specifically the sales side of manufacturing is opening up. Factories are welcoming their suppliers and vendors back for in-person meetings. This is a far cry from last year, and especially what we wrote about in our August 2020 blog How to Adapt B2B Manufacturing Sales Strategy for the COVID-19 World.

During the pandemic, we learned to market our manufacturing companies differently. Where we previously relied on visiting customers, trade conferences, and phone calls during Covid we turned to Inbound Marketing, digital content, automated email, and targeted social media. This was not only needed to maintain relationships but to make sure we can still nurture our prospects through the sales process. 

It worked, and now those same prospects are saying,

 “yes, please come visit our shop.”

As we transition back, we need to stay organized and balance both worlds. Prospects that still prefer a remote process and those that want us to schedule meetings. Having a world-class CRM such as HubSpot can make the difference. 

Here are three key attributes that will keep you organized and not let any opportunities slip through the cracks. 

HubSpot tasks offer a tremendous organizational tool


  1. Use the task feature so you do not lose track of opportunities. Schedule a call, email, or to-do for your prospect. Set priorities and reminders and you will quickly find a clean and efficient way to organize your prospecting. You can even build a custom queue to further organize lists, e.g. by industry, territory, or product mix.


  1. Use HubSpot’s meeting scheduler to eliminate the back and forth scheduling scavenger hunt we all go through when trying to find a mutual time to meet. Your contact can see when you are available and pick the most convenient time for them. 


  1. Your prospect’s behavior often is an indicator of future success. Know when they are visiting your website, what they are reading, and even if they viewed your proposal (And…how many times!). This is great intelligence that you will use as you prepare for that first in-person sales call. 


HubSpot offers many levels of features, starting with free CRM, MarketingStarter, and Marketing/Sales Professional. You can start small and grow. Interested in a demonstration? Contact us today.

The Trade Show is over – Now what?


You did it! You effectively pre-planned your show (You committed to a trade show, now what?)  and you worked the show successfully (Trade Shows – Owning the Floor), what should be your next step after the show?

I know you might be thinking of soaking your feet and adding up the frequent flyer miles, and you are not too far off. As the dust settles and you wash off the grime of travel, how will you measure success? Do you have a system (think CRM) in place to measure the results and report on the return on investment?

Let’s start with the activity first. If you are not following up within 3-7 days you will be forgotten! We all return to the office, exhausted and with best intentions, but if you do not reengage with those you met, your name recognition drops like that soggy breakfast sandwich they put out at your hotel.

Next steps:

  • Have pre-planned emails targeting the attendees written and automated
  • Make sure the messages and graphics are the same as those used in your pre-show and booth graphics for consistency
  • Upload the leads you obtained and let the email automation do its job
  • If available, obtain the list of attendees and consider sending a separate “sorry we missed you” message to those you did not talk to at the booth
  • Set tasks and reminders to review each lead, assign to team members if needed and continue the conversation

Finally, evaluate your entire campaign. Did you achieve the goals you outlined in the pre-planning? Did the booth activity go as planned and generate excitement? Did you pull reports on the leads generated and determine their overall value? All these steps will help you determine your return on the entire investment, improve your plan for the next show and impact the growth of your company.

Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for a job well done!

PS. Need more? Download our Trade Shows for Manufacturers Guide here.


Trade Shows – Owning the Floor

Rolling out the carpet, pulling up the retractable display, and filling a large punch bowl with hard candy just does not cut it at a modern trade show. You need to drive traffic to the booth, capture leads, and make the very best impression in an incredibly compressed time. Our last blog introduced the concept of pre-show planning. Now, let’s discuss the show itself.

Let’s first start with the old real estate mantra, location, Location, LOCATION! Many shows let you bid on or pick your booth location. Pay attention to entrances, lounges, bars, and the main stage. You may also want to see who else has chosen their space. Are they a big draw exhibitor or your largest competitor? Can you get a corner booth that will provide two directions of travel versus being stuck in the middle of an aisle? Or, better yet, can your budget support an island booth?

Once your location is set, the single most valuable resource you have is who will be representing your company in the booth. At the show, for all practical purposes, this is your office. First impressions should not be that of a booth worker, sitting down, talking on the cell phone, eating a hoagie while they drip sauce on their laptop. Admit it, you have seen this at every single show you have ever attended.

Booth personnel should first and foremost, want to be there. Believe it or not, salespeople might see the show as a waste of their time. They have clients to meet with and calls to make. Standing in a booth often seems like a waste of their time. Who would be great in the booth? Consider your customer service team. They rarely get to travel but might have decades-long relationships with customers. Customers they have never met face to face.

Booth traffic builders, product demonstrations, press conferences, entertainment on and off the show floor are all considerations when building your plan. Check out the full section on During the Show planning in our eBook. Trade Shows for Manufacturers Guide. In our next post, we’ll wrap it all up with Post-Show promotion.

You committed to a trade show, now what?

Pre-show preparation is key to success and achieving a return on your investment


Step one in your trade show plan is goal setting. What do you really want to happen at this show? Knowing the outcome is key to effective goal setting.

  • Can you expect actual sales and signed purchase agreements?
  • Are you introducing a new product, feature, or service?
  • Is your goal to improve and strengthen the relationships with the customers you know will be in attendance?
  • Or, perhaps you are attending to create stronger relationships with other vendors and exhibitors
  • Lastly, media relations and creating opportunities for editors to write about your company is a worthwhile goal with long-term benefits.

Check out the full section of pre-show planning in our eBook Trade Shows for Manufacturers Guide.

One of the best tools for pre-show planning is the exhibitor handbook. This should be made available as soon as you commit to the show. Rules, order forms, sponsor information will be detailed. Make sure to order on time and secure valuable sponsorship opportunities before they are gone.

Once you have defined your goal, consider the theme of the event. Is your theme a one-time use or do you anticipate a motif across multiple shows for the year? While a baseball theme could work in the spring or an Olympics theme is tied to a particular season/year, a sports theme across an entire year offers more opportunity to engage your audience with varying promotions.

As you develop your booth, theme, and tactics, turn your attention to activities that will drive prospects to your booth. What advertising opportunities, online and in print are being offered? What about announcements to the show media? Many publications publish pre-show guides months in advance. Do you have news or announcements that should be in these trade publications? What about demonstrations at the booth or press conferences? Yes, there is a lot to consider ahead of the show. With proper, thoughtful planning you will arrive ready to tackle the challenge of the show.

Next week, we will discuss Owning the Floor with During the Show planning.


Will Trade Shows Be the Shot in the Arm for Manufacturers?


Did you see what I did there? Vaccine shots….

Manufacturers, like many businesses, have had to completely rethink their marketing approach. For years, it was feet on the street and months of trade shows, conferences, and hosted lunch & learns. Then, the doors were locked, events were canceled worldwide, and well, you know the rest of the story. Over a year ago we started writing about the huge interest in digital marketing and all things virtual. Here’s where our head was a year ago: How to Adapt B2B Manufacturing Sales Strategy for the COVID-19 World. Digital is here to stay, but another log is back on the fire.

It is April 2021 and we are once again hearing about trade shows. Will the attendees and exhibitors return at past levels? Who knows? People may be just so sick of quarantine they will attend just to get out of their basement office and see prospects in person. This very well may be an early adopter situation.

We’re sponsoring a meetup in Columbus Ohio for manufacturers. If you are in town on April 28th, contact me for tickets.

What we do know is the planning has not changed. If you are considering a show in the 4th quarter of 2021, that may sound like a long time away. It is not. Over the next few weeks, we will revisit all that is the trade show. We will cover planning, sponsorship, media interviews, and more. Our consulting on trade conferences covers three critical phases: Pre-show, During the Show, and Post-Show.

Here’s a primer, written in 2015 to get you started. Trade Show Preparation 101 for Manufacturers

If you are ready to get serious about your exhibition and creating a return on investment, download our free Trade Shows for Manufacturers eBook

Our “Best of LinkedIn” blogs

LinkedIn continues to be the go-to platform for manufacturers to connect, promote, and engage prospects. Our manufacturing clients have integrated LinkedIn with their HubSpot CRM, connected paid social campaigns, and routinely generate leads from the platform. Here’s a collection of our most popular blogs on all that is LinkedIn.

5 Templates to Connect with Someone on LinkedIn That You’ve Never Met

3 Manufacturing LinkedIn Posts That Drive Engagement

5 Unique Ways to Prospect on LinkedIn

Hungry for more? Here’s the entire collection.


Guest Blog: Company Values and the Relationship to Leadership

By Glenn Levar, President/CEO
Shared Time Human Resources Management, Inc.

During a crisis such as COVID-19, it is time for manufacturing executives, directors, managers, and supervisors to become leaders. Leadership is the art of influence and the skill of creating the conditions to achieve operational and organizational success. Managers manage things: budgets, strategic plans, and operational plans. On the other hand, leaders respect others, coach, build teams, provide feedback, encourage feedback from others, and improve employee skills to accomplish goals. Great companies are built on values and mutual trust.

The leader, entrepreneur, or business owner establishes the company’s values and is responsible for communicating them to employees, customers, vendors, stakeholders, and the community. The organization’s leader is its prominent cheerleader for company values.

Values are the foundation of the organization. Leaders must live and thoroughly understand the company’s values day in and day out.

The values steer the organization’s acceptable business behavior. Company leadership must align itself with its value statement. For an organization to be effective, leaders are responsible for agreeing with their company’s values.

As a leader, your values are essential to your overall organizational success. Today, employees want to work with a company with a purpose (mission) and values that meet their needs.

Leaders’ expectations are based on the company values that may be formally written or even unwritten. Many start-up companies, for example, may not have formally written values statements, while established companies have written value statements. Their values are long-lasting. They guide decision-making and might never change.

Recently, Shared Time Human Resources Management had an appointment with a multi-generational, family-owned business. During the meeting with two senior managers, we discussed numerous issues. When asked what the company’s values were, neither senior manager could identify a single value. They guessed and subsequently admitted they did not know. As our conversation continued, we discussed retention rates. Shared Time discovered senior and recently hired employees with ten (10) or more years of service. In the last twelve months, more than 50 percent of the company’s employees voluntarily left for other opportunities.

The following are examples from two major corporations: one followed its values; the other did not.

In 1982, Johnson and Johnson (J&J) were alerted that someone had tainted Tylenol Extra Strength capsules in at least half a dozen pharmacies and grocery store shelves in the greater Chicago area. J&J chairman directed all consumers not to resume using the product until the extent of the tampering could be determined. J&J stopped advertising Tylenol and ordered all Tylenol be removed from store shelves. J&J acted following their corporate values and did not want to risk public safety. J&J corporate leaders admitted upfront there was a problem and responded to the Tylenol crisis. J&J’s response remains the benchmark on why values matter. J&J’s corporate values.

British Petroleum (BP) purchased Standard Oil of Ohio (SOHIO) in 1987. BP wanted Standard Oil of Ohio for several reasons including its Alaskan pipeline, distribution system, and employees. Twenty-three (23) years after the acquisition, on April 20, 2010, BP had a disaster in the Gulf of Mexico with its drilling rig platform, Deepwater Horizon. At the outset of the crisis, BP officials stated oil volume leaking from the rig was low. Several days later, the rig sunk, and eleven workers were dead. The investigation found BP took shortcuts, cut corners in drilling, and ignored early warning signs before the explosion. BP’s corporate leaders were not truthful from the outset of the crisis. BP’s corporate values (code of conduct) were updated in July 2014.

Values are what the organization lives by. Value is about the discipline it is getting people aligned and engaged in taught action to solve problems. Values are the underpinning on which the organization’s culture rests. Culture is the company’s business operating system to make decisions and communicate with employees, customers, vendors, shareholders, and communities.

In his book Good to Great Jim Collins stated, “enduring companies preserve their core values and purpose while their business strategies and operating practices endlessly adapt to a changing world. This is the magical combination of preserving the core and stimulate progress.”

If you are interested in learning more about this blog or case study, its results, or the human resources services Shared Time offers, please contact Glenn Levar (telephone: 440.979.1046, e-mail: grlevar@sthrm.com).  To learn more about Shared Time Human Resources Management Inc., please visit www.sthrm.com

Shared Time welcomes referrals from clients and friends. Please pass this human resource case study along to anyone who may have a need or be interested in Shared Time’s HR services.

Who moved my (CHEESE) Trade Show Booth?

The National Tooling & Machining Association featured our article in their printed newsletter The Record. With trade shows canceled due to the pandemic, manufacturers are struggling with a huge gap in their lead generation.  See the entire article here.