For the first two decade of its business life, EF Precision achieved success as a machine shop and assembler. But, when global competition emerged in the mid-1990s, the company saw its revenues drop and realized that a reinvention of the company was necessary for survival. Over the next decade, the company revitalized its business by expanding capabilities, investing in advanced machining and assembly technologies, adding an engineering department, retraining its workforce and achieving the accreditations necessary to cultivate customers in the defense, aerospace and medical markets.
What did not changed, however, was the company's approach to sales and marketing. "EF Precision was not a sales-driven company," notes The E F Precision Group Vice President Bud Tyler. "We had focused on our business and had blinders on in terms of looking at how we were perceived in the market, and in our approach to generating new business." Tyler saw that despite the investments made in expanding the company's capabilities, EF Precision was still pigeon-holed as a "machine shop." Making the idea of marketing even more challenging was the reality of selling advanced machining, engineering and assembly capabilities to companies requiring highly complex, critical components. "We're not selling widgets," says Tyler."We offer a very technical capability. It takes time to develop customers. We know that for us, the best means of generating sales is through word-of-mouth recommendations and networking." Tyler felt that he needed help in building market awareness of the company's expanded capabilities.
Tyler turned to DVIRC for assistance in repositioning the EF Precision brand, raising the company's profile in target markets, identifying potential new business contacts and facilitating networking opportunities.
A team of DVIRC marketing professionals led by Director of Marketing Services Chris Scafario worked with EF Precision to strengthen and reposition the EF Precision brand, improve market outreach and open doors to potential customers. "We served as EF Precision's outsourced sales and marketing support team," notes Scafario. "Our goal was to drive success through a structured rebranding process, and to do so in a way that optimizes every dollar, while allowing our client to maintain focus on core responsibilities."
The DVIRC developed a strategic marketing roadmap, and implemented a number of tactics, including:
Revised Value Proposition
DVIRC helped EF Precision to establish a value proposition that more effectively captured the benefits and strength of the company's expanded capabilities. This provided a foundation for building the marketing strategy, and helped to create a strong, consistent message for all marketing efforts
Research was conducted to identify potential opportunities within EF Precision's target markets. Companies and decision makers within those companies were identified, and a database of prospects was created.
DVIRC facilitated the redesign of the company's logo, business cards and other communications materials to better reflect EF Precision's positioning as a company with advanced technologies and capabilities.
Web Site Redesign
The E F Precision Group's website was redesigned and expanded to create a more dynamic vehicle for communicating the company's complete services and technologies.
3D Animation and Video
3D animation was developed for The E F Precision Group's website to illustrate the complexity of the components machined and fabricated by the company. A corporate video was produced to introduce prospective customers to the company and provide an inside look at company facilities, people and technologies.
DVIRC created a direct marketing campaign, including a letter, email blast and postcard to increase awareness of EF Precision's capabilities.
A public relations strategy was developed and implemented. Press releases about company successes, accreditations and other news-worthy topics were sent to local and national media. A program of continuing outreach to editors of industry trade publications was also initiated.
Networking and Matchmaking
DVIRC supported Bud Tyler's networking efforts by introducing him to other DVIRC corporate contacts, and helping to open doors to new opportunities. "We have broad industry contacts throughout the Greater Philadelphia region," notes Chris Scafario. "We often serve as a matchmaker when we become aware of companies that have the potential for a mutually beneficial relationship. We were able to facilitate a number of valuable introductions for The EF Precision Group." In addition, DVIRC invited Tyler to be a member of the DVIRC CEO Forum. Forum members meet on a regular basis to share ideas and address business issues.
Manufacturer of the Year Nomination
During the initial meetings between the DVIRC team and EF Precision, it became clear that the company's achievements in successfully reinventing The EF Precision Group were worthy of recognition. DVIRC nominated EF Precision for the Manufacturer of the Year award given by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. DVIRC assisted EF Precision in presenting its story to the award committee.
For EF Precision, the work done in building the brand, market outreach and PR dovetailed perfectly with the announcement in late 2009 that EF Precision had been named the 2010 Manufacturer of the Year by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. DVIRC used the award as a springboard for building recognition within EF Precision's target market. With a new website and brand image already rolled out, a strategy was developed to communicate the Manufacturer of the Year award. Prospects that became aware of EF Precision as a result of the award saw the company in its dynamic new persona. Others who had been aware of EF Precision previously, became aware of the company's new positioning and image.
The DVIRC public relations effort in publicizing EF Precision's award resulted in feature article placements in a number of prominent local and national trade publications, including:
- The Philadelphia Business Journal
- The Intelligencer
- Northeast Manufacturing News
- Design to Part
- Industry Week
While it is difficult to put an exact value on this exposure, if the value is calculated based on the cost to place a full page ad in each of these publications, EF Precision gained more than $107,000 in exposure.
Bud Tyler's networking efforts have accelerated and expanded as a result of the award and related marketing and PR. "I've received invitations to the Pyramid Club, the Union League and other prestigious business groups and forums," Tyler notes. "These have been excellent opportunities for me to meet corporate leaders, learn about their companies, and to share the capabilities of my business." Tyler is currently speaking with at least four of these companies about possible business relationships."
Bud Tyler is an active participant in the DVIRC CEO Forum. "This is the biggest bang for your buck of anything I've done," says Tyler. "The forum provides mentoring and camaraderie with manufacturing leaders who have been there and done that. It's a wonderful group that shares experiences and can quickly solve problems." Tyler notes that he has formed business relationships with several of the companies represented in the forum.
Outreach efforts implemented by DVIRC, including the development of the prospect data base, PR releases, letters and emails have supported Bud Tyler's networking efforts and resulted in contacts with a dozen potential new clients.
The E F Precision Group was established in 1977 as a CNC machine shop fabricating close tolerance, complex parts. Over the years, the company's capabilities have evolved and expanded. Today, The E F Precision Group is a solutions provider offering machining and fabrication of high-tech custom mechanical and electro-mechanical components, full assembly operations and engineering services ranging from simple projects to complete turnkey documented machine builds.
The E F Precision Group serves clients in the defense, aerospace and medical products markets and has earned the accreditations necessary to meet the demanding requirements of these industries including AS9100:2004C and ISO 9001:2008. The company is targeting to receive ISO 13485 accreditation as of July 1, 2011. The E F Precision Group is also ITAR and UL508a registered, and is registered as an FDA Critical Device Contract Manufacturer.
Headquartered in Willow Grove, Pa., The E F Precision Group employees 85 people and operates out of a 65,000-square-foot facility equipped with 50 CNC machines and other advanced technologies.
Bud Tyler plans to continue investing in marketing and PR to support his networking efforts. DVIRC has provided him with a mechanism for easily updating his website, and for sending email blasts to customers. “I can use these tools to inform and update my prospects,” says Tyler. “I haven’t done it yet, but it will be part of my plans going forward.”
Tyler is also expanding his outreach and networking activities to include area high schools and colleges. “I’m trying to help young people see that manufacturing is not what it used to be. Today, it’s highly technical and provides excellent career potential. At the same time, I’m increasing awareness of The EF Precision Group.”